Testosterone and cardiovascular disease, obesity, Organic Foods Production Act, saturated fat

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

Blood pressure…low testosterone levels could be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD)? It’s common knowledge that a man’s testosterone levels decrease as he ages. It is also common knowledge that age is a risk of CVD. However, most people, including most MD’s, do not know the relationship between low testosterone levels and CVD. Researchers have shown that men with CVD have significantly lower levels of androgenic hormones (testosterone is the main androgenic hormone); however, the relationship between the two is still unclear.

Researchers used 206 males from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Their androgenic hormone levels were measured for 33 years. The study hypothesized that androgenic hormones prevent CVD by reducing arterial stiffness. An increase in arterial stiffness is recognized as an early risk factor for CVD. An increase in the stiffness of larger arteries leads to a rise in systolic blood pressure, which causes left ventricular hypertrophy. Researchers found as testosterone declined with age, arterial stiffness increased. (Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. Sept. 2005)

…Americans are fatter than ever? Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer. Type 2 diabetes is an out-of-control epidemic. And your odds boarding a plane and sitting next to a really fat person who has to stuff themselves in the seat is increasing exponentially. For more than four decades, we have been told to cut back on the amount of fat -- mainly saturated fat -- we consume. As a country, we have cut our overall fat intake by 21% since 1910. However, vegetable oil consumption has increased 437%. If reducing our fat intake was the correct thing to do, why have we progressively gotten fatter and unhealthier as a nation? Could it be it’s not the amount of fat but the type of fat? (Fat, Cholesterol and the Lipid Hypothesis)

…the Organic Foods Production Act allows four different organic categories based on the percentage of organic ingredients?

  1. 100% Organic: Foods that have been exclusively made using organic methods and contain only organic ingredients.
  2. Organic: The OFPA was recently amended to include products containing at least 95% organic ingredients. The remaining 5%t of contents must be natural or synthetic ingredients not available in an organic form. These products may use the USDA organic seal.
    Bullz-Eye Buyer Beware: Make sure to read the ingredients list. Products under this category may have ingredients like hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats.
  3. Made With Organic: Products with 75% - 90% organic ingredients may display a “Made with Organic” label that also may include up to three organic ingredients on the front panel of the product.
  4. Products that are less than 70% organic can list organic ingredients only on the ingredient panel, with no mention of organic on the main panel.

Categories 1-3 prohibit the use of any ingredients produced using genetic engineering, irradiation or sewage sludge.

The “USDA Organic” seal may be used only on products that are 95 – 100 percent organic. The use of the seal is voluntary, but manufacturers and growers are increasingly using it to help customers identify organic products.
(“Organic Labeling.” Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts, Spring, 2005; 7(1))

I cannot stress enough the importance of reading food labels. I’ve walked through many “Organic” sections of grocery stores and am appalled at the garbage being passed off as healthy.

…saturated fat lowers Lipoprotein(a)? Lp(a) is a blood marker that is very accurate at predicting proneness to heart attack. Researchers found that coconut oil-based diets lowered Lp(a). In a study conducted by researchers in Norway, Lp(a) was lowered when subjects consumed diets containing saturated fat. The Lp(a) levels were reduced by 13.3% in subjects who consumed a high saturated fat diet and 5.3% in those who consumed a low saturated fat diet. The saturated fat used in both diets was coconut oil. The control diet, which was high in a monounsaturated fat, caused no change in Lp(a) levels. (Jour Nutr. 2003;133(11):3422-3427)

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