As you may know, you have to do two things to avoid a heart attack. You have to keep your vascular system free of blood clots, especially the arteries around the heart. And you have to keep your arteries soft and supple. Hardened arteries, or atherosclerosis, occur when the arterial walls thicken because of a build-up of fatty materials. Many times, these two conditions go hand-in-hand. As the arterial walls thicken, they become more likely to clot.
In past Nutrient Insider articles, I’ve showed you how to keep your blood from clotting by using nattokinase. Now there’s new evidence on how to keep your arterial walls soft and elastic.
Researchers from China recently published a study in the prestigious journal Atherosclerosis on a simple treatment for hardened arteries. The study focused on methods to lower homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that many believe causes arterial hardening and thickening. Studies show that high blood levels of homocysteine can double or triple your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Other studies show that B vitamins lower homocysteine levels. And one of the most effective is folic acid. And this new study shows that taking a folic acid supplement does indeed reduce thickening of arterial walls and stops atherosclerosis.
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The researchers looked at 10 studies that included 2,052 people. They found that folic acid consistently provides powerful benefits for the heart — including softening of the arterial walls. They made special note of the fact that the highest degree of protection came in the studies showing the greatest reduction in homocysteine.
Their conclusion is that homocysteine is a direct cause of hardened arteries. However, they didn’t prove cause and effect. While the lower homocysteine correlated with softer arteries, it’s still possible the folic acid addressed another underlying cause. I’ve presented the theory that homocysteine levels go up because the body needs greater levels of the amino acid when the arteries harden. When the arteries soften, the body doesn’t need the amino acid as much, so homocysteine levels go down.
Regardless of whether the theory is correct or not, it’s clear that folic acid softens hardened arteries. The typical dose of folic acid is 500 mcg daily. This is the amount you’re getting if you take Healthy Resolve. This is a good dose for prevention. If you already have cardiovascular disease, you may want to take additional folic acid. The researchers in this study said you can take up to 5 mg daily.
One final note: This study found that it can take up to 18 months to see the greatest softening in hardened arteries. So give the folic acid time to work. It can dramatically lower your stroke and heart attack risks
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.