Be Heart Smart With These Promising Nutrients

blackberry probiotic natto

As we near the month of Valentine’s day, it seems only natural to turn our thoughts to heart health.  In recent studies, these nutrients showed promise in supporting three different aspects of heart health.

Black Raspberry for Blood Pressure

Black raspberry extract may lower blood pressure in those with elevated levels. In this study, 45 people with prehypertension took a placebo or 1,500 mg or 2,500 mg of black raspberry extract powder per day. After eight weeks, while there were no changes for placebo, those in the high-dose black raspberry group saw an average decrease of 3.3 mmHg in 24-hour systolic blood pressure, and a 5.4 mmHg decrease in nighttime systolic blood pressure. The berry benefit may come from the bioactive anthocyanins, flavanols, resveratrol, and tannins in the fruit that stimulate nitric oxide, a natural compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels.
Reference: Nutrition Journal; October, 2015, Published Online

Probiotics May Lower Cholesterol

People are interested in finding alternatives to prescription drugs for lowering cholesterol. Doctors analyzed eight fermented milk-product studies and three probiotics capsule studies that included men and women with or without elevated cholesterol. Those who used any form of probiotics saw an average 6.56 mg/dL decrease in total cholesterol and an 8.49 mg/dL decrease in LDL cholesterol. Using probiotics for more than four weeks was more effective than a shorter term, and benefits were greatest in those with mildly elevated cholesterol. The decrease in LDL suggests 8 percent fewer major heart and circulatory events, doctors said.
Reference: PLoS One; 2015, Vol. 10, No. 10

Natural Blood Thinner

Doctors were searching for a natural blood thinner and in this study, gave 12 healthy men, average age 22, a single dose of nattokinase (NK), an enzyme from fermented soy. The dose was 2,000 fibrinolytic units of NK or a placebo, in two alternating phases two weeks apart. The men had no blood disorders, were not consuming food natto, had never taken NK, and were taking no other medications.

At two and four hours after taking NK, clot-forming action was slightly prolonged, and at six and eight hours, signs of anti-clotting action were increased. All changes were within the normal range.
Reference: Nature Journal Scientific Reports 5; 2015, Article No. 11601

Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement, especially if you are taking any medications or have a medical condition. For example, black raspberry and nattokinase also thin blood.

Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well Being.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.