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Posts Tagged ‘cardiovascular disease’

12 Healthy Heart Habits, Including Vitamin B12 Supplements

Monday, December 26th, 2011



Keeping your heart healthy requires making many lifestyle changes; most people don’t realize that avoiding vitamin B12 deficiency is just as essential for your heart as eating heart-healthy foods, exercising, and reducing stress.  Below are some pointers for promoting cardiovascular health, including reasons why extra vitamin B12 supplements are beneficial for a healthy heart.

1- Monitor your vitamin B12 levels

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, supports many necessary biochemical functions in your body.  Vitamin B12 helps you produce plenty of red blood cells, helps maintain your nervous system, assists in building DNA, and sustains normal metabolism, cognitive functioning, strength, and energy.

Vitamin B12 is also an essential nutrient for heart health, as it regulates homocysteine levels. In many studies, the hormone homocysteine has been found to increase your risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Vitamin B12 helps your body break down homocysteine, thus reducing your risk for heart disease.

The American Heart Association urges people to eat a healthy diet that includes folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 for optimal heart health.

Goal: Get tested! Elderly individuals, people diagnosed with pernicious anemia, patients of gastrointestinal disorders, or anybody who has had gastrointestinal surgery involving the removal of the ileum (gastric bypass) cannot absorb vitamin B12 in the stomach, and must take B12 supplements in order to avoid suffering B12 deficiency.  To find out if you are at risk, request a blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency from your doctor.

Read more about vitamin B12 and heart disease-

B Vitamins prevent Cardiovascular Disease- B6, B12 and Folate

2- Get moving

All health experts agree that incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, at least 5 days per week, is the single most important lifestyle change you can make for your heart.  Conversely, increasing evidence indicates that living a sedentary lifestyle- watching several hours of television each day, sitting at a desk for long periods without breaks, and shunning exercise- is one of the biggest contributing factors to heart disease.

Goal: Break it down! If you’re daunted by the idea of spending 30 minutes on a treadmill, plan three 10-minute breaks in the day for exercise, instead.  Walk your dog or do a window-shopping run around the mall (without stopping!).  If you work at a desk, set your timer to alert you to get up and stretch at regular intervals.

Staying Fit with Fibromyalgia: 13 Pain-Free Workouts

3- Eat more heart-healthy foods

Prevent cardiovascular disease by following a low fat, low cholesterol diet.  Avoid saturated trans-fats, and opt instead for small doses of healthy monounsaturated fats, like olive or canola oils.  If you normally eat red meat, switch instead to lean poultry, which also contains plenty of vitamin B12.  In addition to cutting down on fats, you should also eat more vitamin-enriched foods that are low in salt and refined carbohydrates.

Goal: Spice it up! Train your tongue to like nutritious, low-fat foods that have fewer “empty” calories.  Go for high-fiber vegetables, grains, and legumes, lower-fat meats, cheeses, and spreads, and shake things up with dashes of cayenne pepper, ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and granulated garlic.  By focusing on the spices, you’ll feel more satisfied, and less likely to miss that fatty mouth-feel of fried foods.

The Best- and Worst- Cooking Oils for Heart Health

4- Mind your weight

Numerous studies conclude that obesity is one of the greatest health risks that affect people today.  Being overweight overburdens your entire body, contributing to illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and other life threatening conditions.

Goal: Size it down! By cutting down the size of your plate, you alternatively cut down your dress size.  Try using smaller plates, include veggies, omit surgery drinks, eat slower, and resist the urge to go for seconds.

Vitamin B12 for Weight Loss- Why it Works

5- Don’t ignore the elephant in the living room

If you think you might be suffering some of the symptoms of heart disease, such as breathlessness, heart palpitations, increased sweating, call your doctor right away.  Ignoring even the smallest signs can be a matter of life or death.

Goal: See your doctor! Pay attention to bodily cues, and schedule a checkup, immediately.

6- Keep your emotions in check

Stress, anxiety, and depression are all taxing on your heart.  Succumbing to anger increases your chances for heart attack, as well.

Goal: Talk it out! When you feel nervous, sad, or stressed, confide in a friend or close family member.  If you’re uncomfortable asking others for help, schedule a meeting with a psychiatrist or social worker, instead.

Can Elevated Homocysteine (Low B12) cause Mental Illness?

7- Snuff out the cigarettes

At the very least, you should quit smoking in order to improve your heart health and your lungs.  Smoking is linked with asthma and chronic bronchitis.

Goal: Don’t give up! If you’ve tried to quit smoking in the past, then try again.  Research shows that the more times you attempt to quit smoking cigarette, the greater the chances of eventually reaching that smoke-free goal.  Ask your healthcare provider about quit-smoking programs, or try using a nicotine patch.

Smoking and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

8- Cut down on alcohol

If you drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day, then you need to cut it down.  Research shows that drinking too much alcohol is dangerous for the heart, as well as the liver.

Goal: Seek help! If the notion of keeping your alcohol drinking down to one or two beers each day sounds overwhelming, then you might require extra assistance from Alcoholics Anonymous.

B12 and Alcohol Consumption

9- Sleep soundly

If you snore, then you might be a candidate for heart failure or stroke, according to latest research on the heavy risks of snoring.  Obstructive sleep apnea is one of many factors that may lead to cardiovascular disease.

Goal: Wear your mask! So far, the best treatment for severe sleep apnea is wearing a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device (CPAP) while sleeping.

10- Take care of your choppers

Over time, your teeth develop a layer of plaque that contains bacteria.  Unless you brush and floss regularly, you can get gum disease, causing bacteria to seep into your blood supply and contributing to heart disease.

Goal: Floss it! Floss and brush morning and evening, and floss after meals.

What your Gums have to Say about your B12 Level

11- Set reasonable goals

Don’t fall victim to the “all or nothing” attitude.  You don’t have to become a health and fitness enthusiast, but nor should you throw up your hands in despair.  Accept that with every one success come numerous setbacks, and that lifestyle changes happen slowly, over a period of weeks, months, or even years.

Goal: Take baby steps! All successful weight-loss and fitness experts encourage you to set small, reachable short-term goals, in addition to the long-term goal of better health.  This allows you to feel a small measure of success, and gives you the motivation you need to stay on the wagon.  Congratulate yourself for losing 10% of your weight, losing a dress size, or every time you make a healthy food choice.

12- Respect your medications

Don’t think that just because you feel better, that you can stop taking your blood pressure medications.  Many heart patients make that common mistake.  If you are unhappy with a side effect of certain medications, then ask your doctor for an alternative.  Conversely, don’t rely on medications alone to keep you healthy. It is essential to follow a heart-healthy diet, in addition to exercising and reducing stress, for optimal cardiovascular health.

Goal: Get organized! Keep your meds somewhere where you won’t forget them.  If necessary, store a batch of precut tablets in a pill keeper.

Brain Drain Medications- Drugs that Drain the B12 out of you

Read more about vitamin B12 deficiency:

Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Are you at Risk?

Pernicious Anemia: Your 13 Most Frequently Asked Questions, Answered!

Why do my Arms and Legs often Fall Asleep? B12 and Paresthesia


5 Essential Heart Health Habits

17 Worst Habits for Your Heart

Homocysteine, Folic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease

‘Wake Up’ To Health Risks Of Heavy Snoring

6 Degrees of Vitamin B12- B12 Deficiency and Autoimmune Disease

Thursday, October 20th, 2011



Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with so many types of autoimmune disease; it’s almost like the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Guess what vitamin B12, IBS, cardiovascular disease, and many kinds ofchronic disease have in common…

B12 deficiency- why worry?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient, one of many B vitamins, that is crucial for optimum health. If you don’t get enough vitamin B12 from meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, from B12 shots, then you could suffer severe vitamin B12 deficiency, which includes symptoms such as short-term memory loss, tingling in hands and feet, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression.  People who are at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency are vegans, patients of gastric bypass surgery, diabetes sufferers, individuals on heartburn medicine, and anybody with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Vitamin B12 deficiency is also linked with many autoimmune diseases.

Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?

Here are 12 illnesses that are“6 degrees” away from vitamin B12 deficiency:

1) Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a digestive disease that includes illnesses such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of many IBD symptoms, such as chronic diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, heartburn, and constipation.  IBD can cause severe damage to the intestines, including the colon. People with inflammatory bowel disease have difficulty digesting vitamins and minerals from food, which is why they must take regular vitamin supplements. Because their illness occurs in the digestive system, many IBD patients take vitamin B12 shots in order to avoid B12 deficiency, as vitamin B12 pills are ineffective.

Crohn’s- 9 Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) Myths to Ignore

2) Celiac disease

Celiacs disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive system with the consumption of gluten.  Celiac disease symptoms include indigestion, diarrhea, malnourishment, and nausea.  Gluten intolerance symptoms occur whenever a celiac disease patient consumes a product containing gluten, a protein that occurs in wheat, rye, and barley.  Because of their difficulty digesting vitamins, celiac disease sufferers should supplement regularly with non-oral forms of vitamin B12.

Celiac Disease Tip: Gluten Free Diet plus Extra Vitamin B12

3) Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

Auto [fibromyalgia symptoms] [symptoms of fibromyalgia]

Fibromyalgia symptoms strike 1 in 50 Americans.  Many people don’t realize that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease.  Symptoms of fibromyalgia include chronic pain, fatigue, depression, insomnia, and “fibro fog” (disorientation).  Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia also exhibit signs of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Fibromyalgia FAQs- 6 Need-to-Know Fibro Facts

4) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is another autoimmune disease, similar to fibromyalgia, which is closely linked with vitamin B12 deficiency. Scientists have noted an extremely high correlation between all three conditions- fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and B12 deficiency.  Symptoms of CFS are extreme tiredness upon waking up in the morning, fatigue following minimal physical exertion, achy joints, and fibro fog.

40 Things NOT to say to a Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

5) Diabetes

Diabetics who take the drug metformin are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency, say scientists. Scientific studies linking low B12 levels with long-term usage of metformin indicate a 77% chance of developing peripheral neuropathy.

New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency

6) Psychiatric disorders

[clinical depression] [anxiety disorder]

Some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are often misdiagnosed as psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorder, manic depression, or paranoia.

Vitamin Deficiencies can drive you Crazy- Seriously! Part 1

7) Heartburn

Stomach acids are essential for digesting vitamin B12 naturally from food sources.  That is why people who take heartburn medication frequently, such as people with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or pregnant women, must take care to avoid B12 deficiency.

The 20 Do’s and Don’ts of the GERD Diet

8) Gastric bypass

Some weight loss surgery procedures involve removing the terminal ilium, a part of the digestive system that is responsible for absorbing vitamin B12. For that reason, patients of bariatric surgery are strongly advised to supplement with non-oral vitamin B12.

10 Mistakes Gastric Bypass Patients Often Make

9) Pernicious anemia

Sometimes, vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by pernicious anemia, a condition that distorts your red blood cells and inhibits absorption of vitamin B12. Causes of pernicious anemia include autoimmune disease and gastritis.

Signs and Symptoms of 6 Types of Anemia Blood Disease

10) Cardiovascular disease

Vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate all work together in lowering your body’s level of homocysteine; an amino acid that scientists believe may contribute to heart disease and stroke.

B Vitamins prevent Cardiovascular Disease- B6, B12 and Folate

11) Thyroid disease

Autoimmune thyroid disease, also called Hashimoto’s disease, is an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland.  There is an unusually high correlation between instances of autoimmune thyroid disease and pernicious anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. Because some of the symptoms of thyroid disease mimic pernicious anemia, many doctors overlook the possibility of vitamin B12 deficiency.

12) Dementia

Vitamin B12 helps to sustain cognitive health. In many studies, scientists have noticed that elderly individuals with low levels of B12 are more likely to suffer from early onset dementia than elderly individuals who maintain adequate levels of vitamin B12.

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain


American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.

Prevalence and evaluation of B12 deficiency in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease- PubMed NCBI

Peripheral neuropathy- Mayo Clinic

B Vitamins prevent Cardiovascular Disease- B6, B12 and Folate

Monday, October 17th, 2011



B vitamins support heart health, say cardiovascular disease experts, simply by regulating homocysteine, an amino acid that is linked with increased risk for heart attack and stroke.


So, by maintaining healthy levels of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin B6 and folate, you significantly reduce your risk of dying prematurely of stroke or congestive heart failure.

Homocysteine is not your friend

According to the American Heart Association

  • Elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid known to contribute to heart disease symptoms, is called “hyperhomocysteinemia.”
  • Having too much homocysteine in your blood increases your chances of developing “coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.”
  • Homocysteine damages the inner linings of your arteries and causes blood clots.
  • B vitamins, such as vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folate help your body break down homocysteine in your blood, keeping it at a healthy minimum.
  • People with high vitamin B12 levels have the lowest concentration of homocysteine levels.
  • People with a family history of heart disease should check their homocysteine levels routinely, in addition to including B vitamins in their diet, or at least supplementing with vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate.

B-Gone, Heart Disease

Get your B Vitamins ASAP

  • Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in beef, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, and brewer’s yeast.  However, if you lack intrinsic factor, or if you have had bariatric surgery, then your body is not able to digest vitamin B12 naturally from food.  Your only course of action in order to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency is to supplement with Vitamin B12.
  • Like B12, vitamin B6 sources also include protein foods, such as liver, fish, and other meats, in addition to fortified cereals.
  • Folate is a B vitamin that occurs in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fortified cereals.


Free Digital Photos

Related reading:

Vitamin B12 and Heart Disease

B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

Benefits and Sources of Vitamin B12, and How to Avoid Deficiency

Folic Acid and B12: Your Nerves Need Both to Thrive

Vegan Dieters at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease, After All


Homocysteine, Folic Acid and Cardiovascular Disease

B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin B12

High Homocysteine Levels Predict Heart Attacks: B12 will Lower Homocysteine

Heart failure- PubMed Health

Diet High in B Vitamins Lowers Heart Risks in Japanese Study

Free Digital Photos

Kick your Sugar Addiction in 4 Weeks without Cravings

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011



Try the Dr. Oz Sugar Detox Diet- Break your sugar habit in just four weeks.  Start feeling better…immediately.


Think you can’t live without refined sugar?  Guess again.  White sugar is hard to avoid, but with determination and a willingness to feel healthier, you can overcome the sugar habit for good. 

By following this simple four-week plan, as featured on the Dr. Oz Show, you can easily eliminate sugar from your diet.  In as little as one week, you can start feeling healthier than you ever imagined.

Say goodbye to your sweetie- he wasn’t good for your, anyways.


Let’s face it- sugar is addicting.  It tastes good.  It lifts your mood, temporarily, at least.  Before it drops you right back on your bottom, but hey- you’re the forgiving type.  No matter how many times refined sugar lets you down; you’re always ready to let sugary snacks and sodas back into your life, faithfully giving them your unconditional love.  You look the other way while sugar flash floods into your veins, setting your insulin reaction off kilter, before finally settling into your gut to fester and spread infection.


Breaking up is hard to do.

It won’t be easy, and sugar will probably try to put up a fight.  Practically since birth, you’ve preferred the taste of sugar on your tongue; your taste buds numb to all but the most intense heights of sweetness.  You scoff at cowboys and their molasses candy.  If they had refined sugar then, they would have agreed, right?  No. By the 1900s, the average American consumed about five pounds of sugar per year.  Compare that to today, when the average American consumes two to three pounds of sugar in just one week.  In truth, we have trained ourselves to want more and more sugar; much in the same way a drug addict requires more drugs in order to attain the same feeling of euphoria.

By the 1900s, the average American consumed about five pounds of sugar per year.  Compare that to today, when the average American consumes two to three pounds of sugar in just one week.


Unless you break the sugary chains now, you will suffer a lifetime of sugar-induced problems, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Weakened immunity
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol
  • Kidney damage
  • Tooth and gum decay
  • Migraines
  • Hypertension
  • Colon infection

Throw a Diabetes-Friendly Dinner Party in 4 Easy Steps


Week 1: Cut back

For the first week of the sugar detox diet, you are just going to focus on not adding table sugar to your coffee, cereal, or other foods, save for one teaspoon.  Don’t worry about added sugars in packaged foods; they’re in there, but you can deal with that later.  Right now, this week, picture yourself tiptoeing your way out of sugar’s reach, one baby step at a time.

Week 2:  Seek and destroy

Remember those hidden sugars?  Well, now’s your chance to give them the old heave-ho.  Scour your pantry for all products containing any form of sugar.  Even if you think a certain food doesn’t have sugar, check anyways.  Many low-fat “health food” manufacturers compensate by adding sugar to their recipe.

Check ingredient labels for terms like:

  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Maltose
  • Dextrose
  • Anything-ose


Week 3: Make new friends

Many healthy sweeteners hold up well in dessert recipes, and still more are good substitutes for sugar in your coffee or tea.  Visit your nearest health food store; they’re likely to have a cornucopia of natural sweeteners at your disposal.

Some healthy sugar substitutes to try:

  • Stevia, an herb that is available in powder and liquid form
  • Agave nectar, the byproduct of the agave cactus
  • Other sweeteners that are not promoted by Dr. Oz, but are nevertheless healthier than white sugar, are concentrated apple juice, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and honey, when used sparingly

Eight Great Juices that Heal and Protect your Body

Week 4: Add some spice

By now, you should have lost most of your sugar withdrawal.  Suddenly, your awakened taste buds appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits like apples, oranges, and grapes; fruit salads that you once took for granted now taste exotic and refreshing.  Experiment with different spices; many seasonings bring out the flavor in desserts.

Some sweetly satisfying flavor combinations to try:

  • Baked pears with nutmeg
  • Banana ice cream with cinnamon
  • Gingered carrot salad
  • French vanilla oatmeal
  • Natural applesauce with allspice


Read this:

12 Ways to Flavor your Drinking Water without Refined Sugar

The 20 Do’s and Don’ts of the GERD Diet

11 Easy Strategies for Eating Healthy on a Tight Food Budget

New Study: Diabetes Drug Metformin Causes Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Sugar Free In 28-Days | The Dr. Oz Show

Why and How To Break Your Sugar Addiction- Blisstree

Sugar Addicts Guide to Overcoming Sugar Addiction

Sugar’s effect on your health

Flickr, Pink Sherbet Photography, D. Sharon Pruitt

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