June 28, 2010

If You’re Still Taking Folic Acid For Your Heart, You Can Stop Now!

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:25 am by keepyourhearthealthy

When I first started learning the ropes in treating cardiac patients, some of my colleagues were still recommending that patients take Folic Acid supplements for heart health.   I never quite got into the routine myself because the popular supplement gradually grew out of favor with many cardiologists.  There were still some strong hold-outs for Folic Acid but a new study has pretty much squashed the old theory that it lowers heart attack risk.

A review of over 12,000 patients with a previous heart attack showed that taking Folic Acid did not change the frequency of repeat heart attacks.  The results were recently published in JAMA and a highly opinionated article was written about it in Newsweek (http://www.newsweek-interactive.com/2010/06/22/observe-and-report.html?from=rss).  Apparently the old school of thought was that elevated levels of homocysteine led to increased heart disease.  Since Folic Acid reduces homocysteine, it seemed logical that Folic Acid would prevent heart attacks.  Now that this theory has been disproven, heart attack survivors can save their money for the necessary heart pills like an aspirin, a statin, a beta-blocker and niacin.

June 20, 2010

Increase Your HDL to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, New Heart Studies, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 12:06 am by keepyourhearthealthy

A new study shows that people with a higher HDL also have a lower risk of cancer.  If you remember, HDL is the good cholesterol which should be ideally over 35 or 40.  Most people with heart disease have their cholesterol monitored closely because improving cholesterol numbers results in lower risk of heart attack and death.  Now it seems though that there is an added benefit of keeping a low LDL and raising the HDL…less occurrences of cancer!

The most effective ways of increasing your HDL include: taking a statin, taking Niacin (or prescription equivalent like Niaspan), exercise and proper diet.  Some butter substitutes like Smart Balance have been shown to increase HDL when used as a majority of your fat intake.  Basically, making healthy food choices, exercising and following your cardiologist’s prescription advice can help you live longer in more ways than one!