Atherosclerosis begins with an inflammatory lesion of the blood vessel. Immune cells are attracted to the site of the lesion. They accumulate and form fibrous deposits of lipid-laden cells : atheromatous plaques. With time atheromatous plaques can obstruct the blood vessels; they can also detach and cause strokes or embolisms.
Atherosclerosis is favored by our modern lifestyle: stress, smoking, high fat diet. Obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are also significant risk factors. A chronic inflammatory state favors atherosclerosis. Inflammation contributes to activation of immune cells and plaque formation. It also increases the risk of plaque rupture and thrombosis.
It is usually considered that high levels of “bad cholesterol” (LDL) favor atherosclerosis. However, it is not the LDL itself which causes problems but rather its oxidized form (oxLDL). Oxidized LDL reacts with the blood vessels, causing inflammation; it accumulates in the cells which will form the core of atheromatous plaques. Oxidation of LDL can have several origins: a decrease in antioxidant capacity (especially due to aging), smoking... High levels of homocysteine (due to genetic predispositions or vitamin B deficiencies) are also linked to inflammation and increased oxidation of LDL.
Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 is a strain of lactic acid bacteria. It has the capacity to accumulate and regenerate glutathione, an essential cellular antioxidant. Clinical studies have shown that consumption of ME-3 leads to a reduction of inflammation and blood lipid oxidation (oxLDL).
The main cause of heart disease is the narrowing of the artery walls due to the build up of plaque. With time this plaque can block the blood vessels, it can also detach and cause a heart attack or stroke. Usually, high levels of LDL ‘bad Cholesterol’ are the main reason for this plaque forming, however it is not the LDL itself which causes the problem but rather it’s oxidized form (oxLDL). Stress, smoking, and poor diet have all been linked to increased inflammation and oxidation of LDL. Therefore, it is very important to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress to prevent plaque from forming in the artery walls.
Most people who have high LDL cholesterol are put onto statin medication, however there are people who can’t or don’t want to use statin medication because of the side effects. These side effects are numerous and may include muscle pain, muscle weakness, tiredness, kidney stress, liver stress, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and trouble breathing to name but a few.