How Sleep Boosts Heart Health

How Sleep Boosts Heart Health

Experts have long suspected that sleep plays an important role in overall health, but new research published in the journal Circulation indicates an especially strong link between getting ample slumber and maintaining heart health. Specifically, individuals with the healthiest sleep habits slash their risk of heart failure by 42%. The condition happens when the heart can’t pump blood as well as it should, resulting in insufficient blood and oxygen to the cells. Patients experience fatigue, breathing challenges, and other health complications as a result.

The study characterizes healthy sleep as an early wake time, a duration of seven to eight hours each night, and no bouts of snoring, insomnia, or excessive tiredness. Markers of heart health included low LDL (“bad” cholesterol), reduced inflammation, and higher HDL (“good” cholesterol). These measures are commonly used to evaluate heart failure risk.

More than 408,000 participants were tracked over a decade, with 5,221 people developing heart failure. The data revealed the following trends:

  • People who woke up early had an 8% lower risk of heart failure.
  • People who didn’t experience frequent insomnia had a 17% lower risk.
  • People who regularly got seven to eight hours of sleep had a 12% lower risk.
  • People who didn’t feel sleepy throughout the day had a 34% lower risk.

Although the research couldn’t confirm whether poor sleep led to heart issues or vice versa, the researchers noted that they aimed to exclude people with existing heart failure from the study. Thus, the results in this particular study seem to suggest that poor sleep contributes to the condition, though a bidirectional relationship is possible.

The Potential Link Between Sleep & Heart Health

Other studies have examined a connection between poor sleep and cardiovascular issues, including arrhythmia, coronary heart disease, and coronary artery disease, all of which can contribute to heart failure. It’s also worth noting that two markers looked at in the study—daytime tiredness and snoring—are also potential indications of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While the possible role of OSA in heart failure would need to be studied further, research has already linked it to other cardiovascular issues, including stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure.  

Finding the Sweet Spot

Getting enough sleep is important to overall wellness, but it’s also important to consider that too much sleep could present health issues. Sleeping over eight hours was associated with poor cardiovascular health in the study, and other research has also linked it to cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe excessive sleep could also point to health issues such as chronic illness or depression, which could explain the correlation. For this reason, it’s best to aim for seven to eight hours a night.

Tips for Healthy Sleep

In addition to getting seven to eight hours a night, try to wake early and address any sleep challenges, such as snoring, insomnia, or sleep apnea, with a healthcare professional. You can also use the following tips to improve your overall sleep habits:

  • Turn off all electronics. At least a half-hour before bed, spend time away from screens. The blue light can disrupt the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
  • Establish a winding down routine. Consider taking a soothing bath, listening to relaxing music, reading a book, or meditating.
  • Turn the lights down. This can kickstart melatonin production and communicate to your body that it’s time for sleep.

For more health awareness blogs, please visit stemedix.com/blog.

Vitamin D Deficiency: What You Should Know

Vitamin D Deficiency: What You Should Know

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps the body process calcium and supports bone metabolism. Unfortunately, an estimated one billion people across the globe are believed to be deficient in the vitamin. Deficiencies have been linked to depression, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and certain cancers, as well as soft bones.

Certain populations are more prone to deficiencies, including people who are careful about their sun exposure, those with milk allergies, and anyone following a vegan diet. Vitamin D is produced when the skin is directly exposed to sunlight, but it can also be found naturally in select foods, such as egg yolks and some types of fish. Select dairy products are also fortified with vitamin D.

People with dark skin may also have lower vitamin D levels, as melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make the nutrient with sunlight exposure. Individuals with certain conditions, including Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, may also be deficient, as the digestive tract may not sufficiently absorb the nutrient. Moreover, as we age, our kidneys lose their ability to convert the vitamin into its active form, making seniors more prone to deficiencies.

Could You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency? 

Because vitamin D deficiencies are linked to so many adverse health outcomes, including increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, and MS, as well as cognitive impairment in older adults and severe asthma and rickets in children, ensuring you have ample vitamin D levels is important to promoting overall wellness.

Fortunately, vitamin D levels can be assessed through a simple blood test. A concentration of fewer than 20 nanograms per millimeter (ng/mL) is considered inadequate and requiring supplementation, while less than 12 ng/mL is considered a deficiency.

While wearing sunscreen is important to minimize your skin cancer risk, it does inhibit vitamin D production. If you’re not getting enough vitamin D from the sun or your diet, talk to your healthcare provider about supplementation. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for the vitamin varies by age and one’s specific medical history so it is important for your healthcare provider to determine the adequate dose.

Many looking to discover what deficiencies and insufficiencies they may have may want to discover Stemedix’s new Precision Health Program. This program is designed to give a more scientific-based health blueprint with recommendations provided by a board-certified provider that can be shared with your current healthcare provider.

What Is BPC-157 Peptide & What Does It Help?

What Is BPC-157 Peptide & What Does It Help?

What Is BPC-157 Peptide & What Does It Help?

BPC stands for “body protective compound.” BPC-157, in particular, is a synthetic peptide with 15 amino acids. It has been derived from digestive proteins and is largely used to prevent stomach ulcers. Recently, however, the supplement has been shown to offer many other benefits.

For instance, BPC-157 has been found to help stabilize the microbiome or healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. It also controls blood pressure function by interacting with the nitric oxide pathway. In addition, it promotes growth factors, unlocking the regenerative potential to help the body heal and empower its systemic repair response.

Across various bodies of research, BPC-157 has been linked to a wide range of healing benefits. In addition to repairing blood flow, it has been shown to:

  • Help with burns
  • Increase collagen production
  • Aid in the healing of sprains, tears, and other muscle injuries
  • Help with inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Repair ligament and tendon-to-bone injuries or damage
  • Protect the cardiovascular system
  • Reduce damage from drugs and the effects of corticosteroid injections
  • Improve responses to allergens and viruses
  • Boost brain health and mood
  • Protect scar tissue formation

BPC-157 is often taken via oral capsule, especially when its goal is to treat stomach or intestinal issues. It can also be injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly and used as a nasal spray. The best delivery method may vary based on the patient and their unique concerns, so be sure to discuss your goals with a medical professional when deciding to introduce BPC-157 into your supplement regimen.  

For more information to discover if this peptide may be a benefit for you, please call our team at 800-531-0831.

Exploring the Safety and Efficacy of Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Patients with Heart Failure

Exploring the Safety and Efficacy of Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Patients with Heart Failure

After a decade of research, the safety and efficacy of intravenous infusion of bone-marrow-derived stem cells for therapeutic treatment in individuals with heart failure have been well established; however, until Bartolucci et al’s phase 1 / 2 randomized controlled trial of intravenous infusion umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) on heart disease, no clinical studies have examined the safety and efficacy of similar intravenous infusion of UC-MSCs in patients with chronic systolic heart failure (HFrEF).

Specifically, therapeutic treatment of heart failure with stem cells harvested from bone marrow has demonstrated improved cardiac function and regeneration of damaged heart tissue resulting in moderate clinical benefits in survival, left ventricular function, and improved quality of life in patients with HFrEF.

While MSCs isolated from adult bone marrow have demonstrated benefits, the invasive harvesting procedure and differentiation potential related to donor age and comorbidity associated with BM-MSC present several disadvantages when evaluating for clinical application.

On the other hand, when compared to BM-MSCs, umbilical cord-derived MSCs, or UC-MSCs, are easily attainable, demonstrate less cellular aging, and are not obstructed by potential ethical concerns.

With preclinical research demonstrating UC-MSC supporting enhanced vascular regeneration and cardiomyocyte protection, Bartolucci et al’s study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravenous infusion of UC-derived stem cells for therapeutic treatment in individuals with heart failure.

This RIMECARD trial was the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of intravenous infusion of allogeneic UC-MSCs in patients with chronic HFrEF. Although there has been limited experience on intravenous administration of MSCs in patients with cardiovascular diseases, it has been well established that MSC-based therapies are considered safe for therapeutic use in this application; further review of prospective clinical trials also did not detect a risk of infusion toxicity, organ system complications, infection, death, or malignancy in treated patients. 

The results of the RIMECARD trial demonstrated that delivery of UC-MSCs seems safe for use in the HFrEF population with observable improvements in LVEF in patients receiving intravenous UC-MSC treatments.  Researchers have proposed many potential reasons for the clinical benefits of the application of UC-MSCs among patients with heart failure including reduction in myocardial cell apoptosis, less myocardial inflammation and myocardial fibrosis, the formation of new cardiac-related blood vessels, and increased cell differentiation.

One notable observation of this study was the notable cardiomyogenic differentiation potential between UC-MSCs and BM-MSCs. It appeared that BM-MSCs presented a more favorable profile of transcription factors related to cardiac differentiation; however, findings demonstrating poor retention rates after intramyocardial injections of BM-MSCs render them potentially insufficient for what is required to be deemed clinically beneficial.

By comparison, the paracrine factors observed demonstrate a significant advantage of UC-MSCs over BM-MSCs with the most prominent difference being the expression of hepatocyte growth factor in UC-MSCs from all tested donors (BM-MSCs showed low to undetectable levels).

While further analysis and outcomes were considered limited based on small patient sample groups, IV infusion of UC-MSCs was found to be feasible and safe among patients with HFrEF, inducing no humoral immune response among test subjects. While findings suggest significant improvements in left ventricular function, functional status, and quality of life, the impact of UC-MCSs in patients with heart failure would be further supported through larger clinical trials.

Reference:  (2017, September 26). Safety and Efficacy of the Intravenous Infusion of Umbilical …. Retrieved December 28, 2020, from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.310712

Will an Apple a Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?

Will an Apple a Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?

The old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has roots that can be traced back to the mid-1800s. Naturally, one might assume that such outdated advice would have little value today. While an apple a day indeed lacks the ability to reduce the frequency of your doctor’s visits, adding the fruit to your diet could improve your health in several ways. Here’s a look at the many benefits of apples.

Nutritional Value

Apples are highly nutritious, delivering a considerable dose of fiber at just 95 calories on average. They also have 9% of your daily value of vitamin C, which helps neutralize harmful free radicals and works to protect the body against illness. Apples also have antioxidants such as caffeic acid, quercetin, and epicatechin.

Heart Health

Regularly eating an apple could reduce your risk of several chronic illnesses, including heart disease. Experts suspect this could be due to the flavonoids in the fruit, which curb inflammation and promote heart health. They also contain soluble fiber, which helps to control blood pressure and cholesterol.

Cancer Prevention

The antioxidants in apples, including flavonoids, could help to reduce cancer risk. Eating more apples has been linked to a reduced risk of lung cancer and colorectal cancer. A diet that prioritizes fruits and vegetables could also help prevent against cancer in the stomach, lungs, colon, oral cavity, and esophagus.

In addition to the benefits listed above, regular consumption of apples supports weight management, can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and may prevent against cognitive decline. Apples can also control the risk of diabetes and asthma.

Of course, there’s always the potential to have too much of a good thing, and rapidly increasing your apple intake may backfire. For example, the fiber in apples could lead to stomach issues, such as gas and bloating. Apples are also fairly high in carbohydrates, so people following certain diets, such as the ketogenic diet, may need to avoid or reduce their apple intake.

Ultimately, eating a varied diet with many different fruits and vegetables is likely best if you’re seeking the greatest health benefits. While you can certainly aim to eat more apples, you might also consider swapping them out with other fruits and vegetables as well—especially those packed with nutrients. Bananas, blueberries, carrots, kale, broccoli, grapefruit, spinach, raspberries, peaches, pears, pineapples, and strawberries are all good options to consider.

For more health awareness blogs, please visit stemedix.com/blog

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