A compound found in apples can protect the body against heart disease
05/30/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Eating apples could be a way to keep your heart protected. A study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that xyloglucan, a compound found in apples, can protect against heart injury and lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

In an earlier study, researchers at the Catholic University of Daegu in South Korea found that cell wall polysaccharides containing high amounts of arabinose and/or xylose, such as apple pectin, can protect against heart attack. For the current study, they hypothesized that xyloglucan may also exhibit myocardial protection. Xyloglucan is an apple cell wall polysaccharide that contains high amounts of xylose.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers supplemented rats with either xyloglucan or cotton cellulose for three days. Then, they had the rats undergo 30 minutes of ischemia followed by three hours of reperfusion or blood flow restoration.

The results showed that supplementation with xyloglucan significantly decreased the infarct size, while cotton cellulose supplementation had no effect. Infarct size is a determinant of heart failure and death. In addition, supplementation with xyloglucan also increased the expression of myoglobin and fatty acid-binding protein – both of which play a role in programmed cell death (apoptosis) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) generation. Xyloglucan supplementation also inhibited apoptosis by decreasing p38 and JNK phosphorylation, increasing the Bcl-2/Bax ratio, inhibiting the conversion of procaspase-3 to cleaved caspase-3, and decreasing the generation of DNA nicks. Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that xyloglucan in apple can protect against heart attack and lower the risk of coronary heart disease by inhibiting cell death and improving energy metabolism. (Related: Early warning signs of a heart attack you shouldn't ignore.)


Xyloglucan found to protect against gastrointestinal and nasal disorders

The epithelial barrier plays an important role in maintaining health. Disruption of the epithelial barrier function has recently been associated with various gastrointestinal, respiratory, and mucosal diseases. In a review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, xyloglucan was found to be a safe non-pharmacological alternative for managing different diseases, such as gastrointestinal and nasal disorders.

In the review, researchers at the University of Barcelona and the Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition in Spain discussed the potential of xyloglucan in treating diseases. They reported that xyloglucan has barrier protective properties. Laboratory and animal studies also showed that xyloglucan has a “mucin-like” molecular structure that exhibits mucoadhesive properties. This enables xyloglucan formulations to act as a barrier that reduces bacterial adherence and invasion. It also allows xyloglucan to preserve tight junctions and paracellular flux.

In clinical trials, xyloglucan proved effective at reducing the symptoms of gastroenteritis both in children and adults. In addition, it reduced nasal disorders and dry eye syndrome. It may also be beneficial in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and urinary tract infections (UTIs). From these findings, the researchers confirmed that xyloglucan has film-forming, barrier protective properties that make it a promising alternative medicine for various health problems like gastrointestinal and nasal disorders.

More ways to keep the heart healthy

No matter what your age is, it is never too late to take care of your heart. People of all ages can benefit from making healthy dietary and lifestyle changes.

When making healthy dietary changes, it is important to choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fatty fish, nuts, legumes, and seeds can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. When it comes to meat, choose the leanest cuts available.

Being physically active is also important in keeping the heart healthy. You can start with at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as brisk walking every week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as jogging or running. In addition, you can do strength training exercises for two or more days each week. Avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke, reducing stress, and having enough sleep can help prevent the development of heart problems.

Visit AlternativeMedicine.news to learn more about alternative medicines like xyloglucan.

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