Taurine Reduces the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
For women with high cholesterol, incorporating taurine into the diet can reduce the risk of heart diseases.
According to the European Journal of Nutrition, it is revealed that taurine, the amino acid found in high amounts in poultry, meat, and in other food products, is highly useful and works as a protective element against heart disease, mainly in women with a higher cholesterol level. Taurine is always a part of blood pressure regulation, and it has a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The current study is the first of its kind that examines risks involved in humans and heart disease.
According to researcher Yu Chen, PhD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, the risk of coronary heart disease reduces considerably by having amounts of taurine in the diet.
Taurine is mainly found in dark turkey and chicken meat, and seafood, like white fish, mussels, and clams. It is also found in some energy drinks that are used to improve athletic performance. Taurine found in energy drinks is man-made, and the total content in the drink is unknown. In this study, only natural sources of taurine were taken into consideration. Preliminary animal studies on this amino acid have shown that taurine is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and is also found to have antioxidant properties.
Data for the study was collected from the NYU Women's Health Study, which recruited more than 14,000 women between the ages of 34 and 65. The blood sample and the diet of 223 women who developed heart disease during the study were compared with that of 223 women who did not develop any heart problems. The participants were divided into three groups based on the level of taurine in the blood.
When the group with the highest levels of taurine was compared to those with low levels of this amino acid, the reduction in the risk of heart disease was not substantial. In women who had high levels of total cholesterol in the blood (over 250 mg/dL), the lowest risk of heart disease was found in those who had high levels of taurine in the blood. Women who had high cholesterol levels and high amounts of taurine in blood had a 60% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. Researchers were not sure what foods to advise to naturally achieve such high levels of taurine.
It is not known how taurine is linked to lowered risk of heart diseases. According to Chen, it could be due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of taurine. “Those with high cholesterol levels can be recommended with a modified diet in addition to medications," adds Chen.
NYU Women's Health Study
The entire study involved over 14,000 women between the ages of 34 to 65 from 1985 to 1991. The doctors have measured the level of taurine in two prediagnostic serum samples from 223 participants who developed coronary heart disease and 223 women who had no history of the disease over the study's twenty-year follow up period.
Women with a high intake of saturated fat are assumed to experience a lower intake of taurine. According to the researchers, taurine also offers a protective effect against the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. If the findings are simulated, additional taurine intake from food might be suggested for women with elevated cholesterol, who are at the higher risk of having cardiovascular disease.
"Our findings were very interesting," commented Dr Chen. "Taurine, at least in its natural form, does seem to have a significant protective effect in women with high cholesterol."
Women with cardiovascular disease
American Cancer Society and Tufts University researchers evaluated data from 38,180 men and 60,289 women who had no history of heart disease upon enrollment in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition in 1999. Dietary questionnaire responses were analyzed for the intake of seven classes of flavonoids, including flavan-3-ols, flavanones, flavones, flavonols, isoflavones, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins from a variety of plant foods. The subjects were followed for seven years, during which 1,589 men and 1,182 women died from cardiovascular disease.
Subjects whose total flavonoid intake was among the top one-fifth of participants had an 18 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those whose intake was among the lowest fifth. Among classes of flavonoids, increased intake of flavon-3-ols, flavones, flavonols, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins were associated with a reduction in the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease. For men, the protective effect of increased total flavonoids was greater for stroke than for heart disease.
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Biotin water-soluble vitamins
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A heart-healthy diet includes:
- Meals low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium
- Sodium levels under 2300 milligrams/day for most people
- Sodium levels under 1500 milligrams/day for people who are 51 or older, have diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease
- Balanced diet that includes food from all food groups
- Recommended diets: Mediterranean or DASH diet
- Mediterranean diet emphasizes healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Olive oil is the primary source of fat, fish is preferred over red meat, and red wine is encouraged
- The DASH diet, ranked best overall diet of 2012, emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes.