Heart Disease and Stroke - Mechanisms/Disease Processes

Specifics relating to the development of heart disease and disease mechanisms

Blood pressure regulation and vegetarian diets.

Hypertension affects approximately 50 million individuals in the United States and approximately 1 billion worldwide. Although heredity plays a role in blood pressure variability, diet and lifestyle exert considerable influence in blood pressure regulation. This report reviews the evidence of the relationship between a vegetarian diet and blood pressure regulation and presents data as to the putative mechanisms of action.

Homocysteine, circulating vascular cell adhesion molecule and carotid atherosclerosis in postmenopausal vegetarian women and omnivores.

Since the adoption of vegetarian diets as a healthy lifestyle has become popular, the cardiovascular effects of long-term vegetarianism need to be explored. The present study aimed to compare the presence and severity of carotid atherosclerosis (CA), and the blood levels of Vitamin B12, homocysteine (Hcy) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) between 57 healthy postmenopausal vegetarians and 61 age-matched omnivores. Carotid atherosclerosis, as measured by ultrasound, was found to be of no significant difference between the two groups.

The vegetarian lifestyle and DNA methylation.

Vegetarians have a lower intake of vitamin B12 than omnivores do. Vitamin B12 deficiency (holotranscobalamin II <35 pmol/L or methylmalonic acid >271 nmol/L) was found in 58% of 71 vegetarians studied. Higher homocysteine levels (>12 micromol/L) found in 45% indicate disturbed remethylation of homocysteine to methionine. The methylation of DNA is strongly linked to homocysteine metabolism.

Effects of long-term vegetarian diets on cardiovascular autonomic functions in healthy postmenopausal women.

The incidence of cardiovascular disease is higher in postmenopausal women than in premenopausal women. We hypothesized that long-term vegetarian diets might modulate cardiovascular autonomic functions measured by frequency-domain techniques in healthy postmenopausal women. A total of 35 healthy vegetarians (mean age +/- SEM 55.0 +/- 1.3 years) who had been vegetarians for > or =2 years and 35 omnivores (55.1 +/- 1.4 years) participated in this study. These subjects were all postmenopausal without hormone replacement therapy.

Long-term low-calorie low-protein vegan diet and endurance exercise are associated with low cardiometabolic risk.

BACKGROUND: Western diets, which typically contain large amounts of energy-dense processed foods, together with a sedentary lifestyle are associated with increased cardiometabolic risk. We evaluated the long-term effects of consuming a low-calorie low-protein vegan diet or performing regular endurance exercise on cardiometabolic risk factors.

Overall glycemic index and glycemic load of vegan diets in relation to plasma lipoproteins and triacylglycerols.

BACKGROUND:To investigate the overall glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), and intake of dietary fiber, and to examine the associations between these factors and plasma lipoproteins and triacylglycerols in adult vegans in the German Vegan Study (GVS). METHODS:Cross-sectional study, Germany. Healthy men (n = 67) and women (n = 87), who fulfilled the study criteria (vegan diet for >or=1 year prior to study start; minimum age of 18 years; no pregnancy/childbirth during the last 12 months) and who participated in all study segments.

A comparison of some of the cardiovascular risk factors in vegetarian and omnivorous Turkish females.

BACKGROUND:Elevated serum total homocysteine (tHcy) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Homocysteine levels may be influenced by dietary habits. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of a vegetarian diet on some of the cardiovascular risk factors in Turkish females. METHOD:The study was conducted on 26 vegetarian and 26 omnivore females. Serum tHcy, folate, vitamin B(12) and lipids were determined and dietary data were assessed using a 4-day food intake record at two time points.

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