If you ask most cardiologists, they'll tell you that it's just about impossible to reverse atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries. It's the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. So if we had a way to reverse this disease, it would save countless lives. Well, there is a way. In fact, there are multiple ways to do it.
I showed you a few weeks ago how l-citrulline can soften your arteries and lower your blood pressure. Then, three years ago, I told you how folic acid can soften hardened arteries. Four years ago, I revealed the artery-softening abilities of vitamin K2. And, then there's fish oil, which is one of the most studied supplements for atherosclerosis. But now there's another way to soften your arteries and keep them soft.
If you remember the story of l-citrulline, the reason it works so well is because it helps provide the raw materials your body needs to produce nitric oxide (NO). NO is an amazing free radical that softens your small arteries and allows them to dilate. So the more you can do to help your body produce NO, the better.
But l-citrulline isn't the only way to produce NO. Researchers from Italy wanted to find out if pomegranate juice could increase the production of NO. But they didn't want to know if it would produce NO in general. Rather, they wanted to see if it could increase nitric oxide synthase activity in sections of the artery that have already developed atherosclerosis.
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When plaque builds up in your arteries, blood has to force its way around it. This causes significant stress on your arterial walls. This stress reduces nitric oxide synthase expression. What's worse, it sets the stage for the formation of yet more plaque. If the pomegranate juice increased NO in these sections, it could reduce the stress – and eventually reduce the plaque levels.
To conduct the study, the researchers used mice that were genetically predisposed to develop atherosclerosis. Then they put the mice on a high-fat diet and let plaque develop for six months. After six months, they added pomegranate juice to one group's drinking water. And they gave the placebo group plain drinking water.
The researchers found that the pomegranate juice was effective at increasing the expression of nitric oxide synthase in all of the blood vessels, regardless of whether they were healthy or had atherosclerosis. What they found amazing, though, was that the juice increased the NO synthase expression the most in blood vessels with the most plaque buildup. Healthy blood vessels saw NO synthase expression go up by only 3.3%. The areas that had less atherosclerosis saw an increase in NO of 26.1%. But the areas with the most plaque buildup had NO production increase by 46.7%. They also saw a significant reduction in atherosclerotic lesions.
So if you're looking to avoid heart attacks and strokes, then make sure you're drinking some pomegranate juice every day. Mix in a scoop of Advanced Greens Formula, which contains pomegranate, and you'll have a powerful heart-saving drink. And, in a future Nutrient Insider, I'll tell you about another reason to drink pomegranate juice for your heart.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
de Nigris F, Williams-Ignarro S, Lerman LO, et al. Beneficial effects of pomegranate juice on oxidation-sensitive genes and endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity at sites of perturbed shear stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005 Mar 29;102(13):4896-901.