Learn how low levels of vitamin C can affect heart health. Antioxidant activity, supporting healthy vascular smooth muscle cells, healthy collagen production and healthy lipid profiles are just some of the ways vitamin C supports cardiovascular health.
The scientific literature is clear: low levels of vitamin C can affect heart health. Vitamin C supports heart health via several important mechanisms:
In an interview featured in Element magazine, naturopathic cardiologist Daniel Chong, ND explains research on this connection:
“The idea that vitamin C may be a key component in cardiovascular health was first conceptualized by Linus Pauling and Matthias Rath in 1990. Humans are one of the few animals on the planet that are unable to make vitamin C. They are also one of the few animals to develop cardiovascular disease. The only animals that have heart attacks like we do are guinea pigs, and they don’t make vitamin C either.”
Chong continues: “Vitamin C is required for collagen production. Pauling and Rath suggested that vitamin C insufficiency weakens blood vessel walls which triggers a biological repair process leading to plaque formation. They noticed that one of the most effective repair molecules to be mobilized during the process was lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)]. They observed an inverse relationship between production of Lp(a) and vitamin C levels, and proposed that Lp(a) might act as a surrogate to protect the blood vessels when vitamin C levels decline.”
The Dr. Rath Research Institute then developed a mouse model to imitate human metabolism. The mice were genetically altered to lose the ability to produce vitamin C and at the same time gain the ability to produce Lp(a). Mice were placed on a consistent diet with varied amounts of vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid).”
The study results showed that mice consuming less vitamin C produced more Lp(a). Also, the production of Lp(a) paralleled the development of atherogenic plaques. Even more exciting is that the researchers were able to achieve a level of vitamin C where the mice had no plaque formation at all.”
Vitamin C is a nutrient vital to human health. As integrative practitioners know, determining how much vitamin C to recommend can be highly individualized, based on a person’s age and health status. “I don’t feel many of the human studies of vitamin C supplementation have been useful in estimating the amount that’s sufficient to support cardiovascular health because they rarely use dosages of more than 1,000 mg per day,” explains Chong. He says this is inconsistent when compared to amounts produced endogenously in animals. “For example, goats produce a baseline amount of vitamin C of a few thousand milligrams per day when they’re healthy and not under stress,” says Chong. “Interestingly, when they are exposed to stress of any kind, goats increase production of vitamin C to over 10,000 mg per day.”
All experts agree that when taking vitamin C, regardless of the dose recommended, it’s always best to consume multiple doses throughout the day versus one large daily dose. This mimics nature, says Chong, who often recommends 2,000 mg per day. “Some patients may need more, depending on their diet and lifestyle,” says Chong.
I have been hearing it from many patients who were on track and doing well. There’s something about not having structure that makes it really hard to stick to their workout plan and they’re eating plans. With homeschooling, working from home, gym closures, and our very forgiving sweatpants it’s easy to see why it feels like the cards are stacked against us. This is really why Intermittent Dancing + Intermittent Fasting or Intermittent Fast Dancing. This the way to go- Seriously it’s going to be a new trend and you’re hearing it here first because I’m pretty sure I invented it – at least I have never had a client tell me they had been prescribed this before. I’m actually going to dare you to do it for one month because it’s really easy to stick to and it works. Comment below if you are going to take the challenge and share it with others- and then click here to get started KinderFayssouxMD.com
The Plan and why it works:
We are combining the power of Ketosis (Fasting) and Dancing (High Intensity Interval Training at a Minimum Effective Dose )
Fasting can be done for two main reasons- Longevity or Weight Management (loss or stabilization). I have an article on Intermittent Fasting here already, but essentially when you are doing fasting for weight loss the 16:8 works best and is the easiest to maintain long term. This means you eat for only 8 hours a day and you fast the other 16. The best window can vary depending on your schedule, but for most people 12pm-8pm or 10pm-6pm work best because it is really hard to fast if you have a family and everyone is eating dinner. Fasting is really easy- you just don’t eat.
So, what do you eat when you are not fasting? I’m going to tell you exactly what I tell my clients- You will plan to have 2 full meals during your 8 hour fasting window. And, you will take a ketone ester (not a ketone salt) – 1 capful if you are female, 2 if you are male 20 minutes prior to each meal. Your meals should consist of a protein, a carb, and a veggie and if possible you will eat them in that order (if you are having a sandwich you don’t need to take it apart and eat it in pieces- that’s just weird). If you get hungry, you can have one snack between your meals preferably something low fat like fruit. The only other food rule is that your meals is you can only have 100 calories of fat with each meal – you choose it, mayo, oil, butter, cheese, avocado, dressing, etc… The first two days might be a little adjustment period as your body gets used to burning your stored fat for fuel, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to do this after 3 days- and that you don’t even get hungry. Drink water, unsweetended tea (hot or iced), no alcohol, black coffee,
Now for the Intermittent dancing- super simple- you have to dance (and sing outloud if your location permits) for 5 minutes a day, but if you are only to purposefully exercise for 5 minutes a day you better be doing it hard enough so your body and muscles get the message and start producing all of the beneficial signaling hormones of exercise. This is exactly how you do it- turn on your favorite music, start a timer for five minutes and you dance as hard as you can until you are out of breath and feel like you are going to die (energy level required for this will depend – if you are in shape you may have to throw some really high energy moves like jumping, squatting, somersaulting to get you winded -but do what you gotta do) and when you feel like you are going to die- dance for another count of ten and then stop and count to fifteen and start and repeat until your timer rings. Dancing is way more fun, but if you wanted to be a little more structured or take it to the next level- just do any body weight exercise you can remember from middle school PE ( Burpees, Cherry Pickers, Jumping Jacks, Butt Kickers, Mountain Climbers, Squats, Quick Feet, Lunges, Cartwheels, Pushups) with the same of idea of setting your timer, doing them until you feel like you are going to die, stop for 15 seconds, repeat until timer ends.
The reason 5 minutes can work is because of a concept called minimum effective dose of exercise- the smallest dose or exercise required that will produce a desired outcome. And for most of us busy people if done correctly it can mean as little as 5 minutes of HIIT exercise a day and combined with fasting can produce real results with respect to fat loss without muscle loss.
Kinder Fayssoux MD
This challenge is for fun- but we will be opening up our new Fat Loss in 5 minutes a day course again in June. Enrollment is limited, so gather your friends and hold your spot at the Quarantine rate of $399 for a 8 week program If you would like to hold a spot click here.
Walking is a simple way to increase your health and longevity with little effort. Here are five reasons you should do intentional walking at a moderate intensity (fast enough that conversation makes you a little breathless) for 30 minutes a day:
Reduces chronic diseases. Walking at a moderate pace can decrease your risk for diabetes, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If that came in a pill form, everyone would be on it.
Enhances bone and joint health. Walking puts very little stress on joints compared to other types of exercises, and it is very hard to do wrong. Studies show it can also reduce the risk for osteoporosis. Patients often state that after they’ve been walking a while, they can’t walk fast enough to feel a moderate intensity. The easy fix? Wear a weighted vest or ankle weights.
Positively impacts mental health. Studies show walking to be just as effective, if not slightly better than some anti-depressant medications.1 Another study showed that just 10 minutes of walking (especially in nature) significantly reduces anxiety symptoms.2 My favorite mental health boost that comes from walking is that of socialization. My walks are often when I connect with friends, my husband, or my kids; whoever decides to accompany me that day. If no one is available, I use that time to listen to my favorite music, a book, or a podcast, or take the time to meditate.
Boosts your immune system. A daily walk can decrease your likelihood of coming down with colds and catching viruses.
Helps manage weight. Walking is a powerful tool for weight loss if done consistently. To boost the benefits, walk after meals, and in combination with a healthy diet. And it is pretty cheap; no gym membership required. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes.
The simple act of walking 30 minutes a day can lead to better overall health.
– Kinder Fayssoux MD
Our desert heat makes it a little difficult to get out during the day, but early morning and dusk are perfect for walking. Start with just a few minutes and work your way up to 30 minutes a day. If you don’t want to get outside, you can always hop on a treadmill. It doesn’t matter how or where, just incorporate this habit into your daily routine for better health all around.
References: 1) Netz Y. Is the Comparison between Exercise and Pharmacologic Treatment of Depression in the Clinical Practice Guideline of the American College of Physicians Evidence-Based?. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:257. ; 2) Jeffrey Conrath Miller et al. Walking facilitates positive affect (even when expecting the opposite) Emotion. 2016 Aug.
The process of fasting involves abstaining, or partially abstaining from food. Prehistoric humans lived in a state of intermittent fasting, eating only when food necessary for their survival became available.1 In the last decade more and more researchers have started to study the health benefits of fasting on the human body and discovered numerous beneficial effects on health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, antioxidant stress, cognition, obesity and weight loss.1,2 It has also shown positive effects on delaying aging and promoting longevity.3
Research is available on fasting techniques like caloric restriction, dietary restriction and intermittent fasting (IF), where IF proved to have the best outcome on health and longevity.1 During intermittent fasting food is consumed within a certain time window, while refraining from eating for the remaining time.2 Some of the most popular intermittent fasting methods are:2,3
16/8 method – eating window of 8 hours and a fasting window of 16 hours
5:2 method – alternate day fasting where calories are restricted for 2 days of the week
Time restricted feeding – eating a standard number of calories within a restricted timeframe
Periodic fasting – abstaining from food and caloric beverages for continuous days
Fasting mimicking protocol – special diet developed by Prof. Longo that tricks the body into thinking that it is in fasting mode
How does fasting work?
The proposed mechanism by which fasting modulates its health effects is the possible reprogramming of metabolic and stress resistance pathways and triggering processes like ketogenesis, autophagy and lipolysis.4 When ketogenesis is triggered, the body starts producing ketones from stored fat as a source of energy when glucose has been used up. The body goes into ‘fat-burning mode’ and gives weight loss efforts a boost.2
“When I don’t eat I can’t make bad decisions about what I eat.”
– Kinder Fayssoux
The fasting mimicking protocol
Prof. Longo and colleagues investigated the effects of prolonged fasting on key markers associated with the stress resistance pathways and longevity, finding low glucose and IGF-1 and increased ketone bodies and IGFBP-1.3 They used the results of this study to identify a diet that will mimic these effects.3
The fasting mimicking protocol, also called the fasting mimicking diet (FMD), is a periodic diet followed for 5 days a week, once a month. It is plant-based, low in calories, sugars and protein and high in unsaturated fats.5,6 In the clinical trial conducted in human subjects, foods were carefully sourced according to their ability to reduce IGF-1 and glucose and to increase IGFBP-1 and ketones and provide optimal nourishment.3 Foods were included in the form of vegetable-based soups, energy bars, chamomile flower tea and chip snacks.3 Calorie consumption on the FMD is 1090 kcal on day 1, followed by 725 kcal on days 2–5 with protein content less than 10%.3
The outcome of the study on human subjects after 3 cycles of fasting mimicking showed reduced glucose and increased ketone levels during the 5-day period, reduced body weight by 3% without reducing lean body massand reduced inflammation markers like C-reactive protein that plays a role in cardiovascular disease.3
Another study performed in 2017 to further evaluate the effects of the FMD found that after 3 months the participants had reduced body weight, body fat, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and IGF-1.6 Participants who were at greater risk of chronic disease also showed a decrease in triglycerides, total and low density cholesterol and C-reactive protein.6
These studies indicate that the fasting mimicking protocol can affectively be applied to reduce certain markers and risks that play a role in aging and age-related diseases.6 Prof. Longo’s studies on mice further indicated the potential benefits of FMD on cognition, cancer, longevity, immune system, bone mineral density loss and visceral fat.3
Other clinical study results on the FMD:
May reduce inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) associated inflammation7
Modulates and promotes gut microbiota species7,8
Neuroprotective in mice with Parkinson’s disease8
May help to prevent autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis9
Can improve efficacy of cancer treatment and reduce resistance when used in combination10
ProLon® and the fasting mimicking protocol
ProLon® is the 5-day fasting mimicking diet created by Prof. Longo in physical form. It provides packaged meals with the correct ration of micro and macronutrients to mimic fasting without calorie deprevation.5
The meal plan should be followed without any additional food sources for 5 days, periodically every month to see optimal results.
On the ProLon® website the following benefits are noted, supported by clinical studies:5
Promotes weight loss through fat loss
Enhances cellular function and regeneration
Improves metabolic health for better glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation control
The effects of fasting on aging and longevity is supported by research.11 The fasting mimicking protocol, where some calories are consumed, has shown almost no side-effects compared to other types of fasting diets.3 It has proved to be an effective weight loss solution by stimulating the body to burn fat and can be considered in healthy patients and those struggling with age-related chronic conditions.
Ahmed, A., Saeed, F., Arshad, M., Afzaal, M., Imran, A., Ali, S., Niaz, B., Ahmad, A. and Imran, M. (2018). Impact of intermittent fasting on human health: an extended review of metabolic cascades. International Journal of Food Properties, [online] 21(1), pp.2700-2713. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2018.1560312 [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Brandhorst, S., Choi, I., Wei, M., Cheng, C., Sedrakyan, S., Navarrete, G., Dubeau, L., Yap, L., Park, R., Vinciguerra, M., Di Biase, S., Mirzaei, H., Mirisola, M., Childress, P., Ji, L., Groshen, S., Penna, F., Odetti, P., Perin, L., Conti, P., Ikeno, Y., Kennedy, B., Cohen, P., Morgan, T., Dorff, T. and Longo, V. (2015). A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan. Cell Metabolism, [online] 22(1), pp.86-99. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4509734/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Longo, V. and Mattson, M. (2014). Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications. Cell Metabolism, [online] 19(2), pp.181-192. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3946160/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Wei, M., Brandhorst, S., Shelehchi, M., Mirzaei, H., Cheng, C., Budniak, J., Groshen, S., Mack, W., Guen, E., Di Biase, S., Cohen, P., Morgan, T., Dorff, T., Hong, K., Michalsen, A., Laviano, A. and Longo, V. (2017). Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Science Translational Medicine, [online] 9(377), p.eaai8700. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6816332/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Rangan, P., Choi, I., Wei, M., Navarrete, G., Guen, E., Brandhorst, S., Enyati, N., Pasia, G., Maesincee, D., Ocon, V., Abdulridha, M. and Longo, V. (2019). Fasting-Mimicking Diet Modulates Microbiota and Promotes Intestinal Regeneration to Reduce Inflammatory Bowel Disease Pathology. Cell Reports, [online] 26(10), pp.2704-2719.e6. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6528490/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Zhou, Z., Jia, X., Sun, M., Zhu, Y., Qiao, C., Zhang, B., Zhao, L., Yang, Q., Cui, C., Chen, X. and Shen, Y. (2019). Neuroprotection of Fasting Mimicking Diet on MPTP-Induced Parkinson’s Disease Mice via Gut Microbiota and Metabolites. Neurotherapeutics, [online] 16(3), pp.741-760. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13311-019-00719-2 [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Choi, I., Lee, C. and Longo, V. (2017). Nutrition and fasting mimicking diets in the prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases and immunosenescence. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, [online] 455, pp.4-12. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5862044/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Nencioni, A., Caffa, I., Cortellino, S. and Longo, V. (2018). Fasting and cancer: molecular mechanisms and clinical application. Nature Reviews Cancer, [online] 18(11), pp.707-719. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6938162/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].