Your Stomach and Cardiovascular Health

May 15, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Your Stomach and Cardiovascular Health
Just about everyone now realizes that the size of your waistline reflects your degree of cardiovascular risk. A new angle on the issue has emerged and it has to do with your stomach itself, as opposed to the amount of extra belly fat. It has to do with your stomach's hunger signal, ghrelin.

It is particularly important to understand this because drug companies will be coming out with ghrelin suppressing drugs in the next few years and saying their benefits in treating obesity outweigh their rather dramatic risks (which won't be clearly explained to the public).

Ghrelin is excessive in overweight people, causing you to eat too much. Once overweight it tends to stay elevated too long and is not released at the right time. It is a convenient drug target, and is clearly suffering from “guilt by association” with obesity problems. However, we must get past the simplistic idea of drugging ghrelin off, because it is not a simplistic hormone and it is vital to your health.

A compound called nitric oxide is responsible for relaxing your circulatory system so that your blood pressure does not elevate. This is friendly nitric oxide and is called eNOS (e is for endothelial lining). Nitric oxide is also released in acute inflammation, induced by some irritant, this is called iNOS (i is for inducible). This type of nitric oxide is also important for health, but gets involved with disease processes when inflammation becomes chronic.

As it turns out, ghrelin is a wonder compound when it is working properly. It sustains the production of eNOS1 while helping your body cope with stress so as to naturally lower iNOS2 because the irritation is actually fixed. This directly protects your heart cells from damage3. If there was any drug that could do what ghrelin does it would be the top selling cardiovascular medication on earth. Yet, Big Pharma wants to knock out ghrelin to make money treating obesity – willing to ignore that doing so is likely to cause high blood pressure and prevent your body from properly repairing itself.

To harness the natural cardiovascular protective and repair powers of ghrelin all you have to do is eat in harmony with leptin (high leptin throws a monkey wrench into ghrelin function), as explained by the Leptin Diet. Use leptin-helpful dietary supplements, as needed, to help keep your appetite in check and metabolism working better. As you lose weight and your body establishes more normal ways of working again, ghrelin naturally falls into line. Having a normal appetite at the right time and feeling satisfied on a proper amount of food are the hallmarks of health that will not only help you achieve and maintain a proper body weight but have far reaching consequences on maintaining your health over the course of your life. It is never too late to get started!

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ The Importance of Ghrelin to Cardiovascular Health   Endocrinology.  Xu X, Jhun BS, Ha CH, Jin ZG.
  2. ^ Ghrelin Balances Nitric Oxide Function  Br J Pharmacol.  Sibilia V, Pagani F, Rindi G, Lattuada N, Rapetti D, De Luca V, Campanini N, Bulgarelli I, Locatelli V, Guidobono F, Netti C.
  3. ^ Ghrelin Protects Cardiovascular Cells from Damage  Toxicology  Xu Z, Lin S, Wu W, Tan H, Wang Z, Cheng C, Lu L, Zhang X.

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