Dealing with inflammation in the arteries
Imagine you’re cooking some scrambled eggs for breakfast. You reach for your trusty old pan, add a small square of butter, and cook your eggs. When you attempt to remove the eggs from the pan, you end up with just a smattering of eggs on your plate while most of the eggs remain stuck in the pan. This is because the pan doesn’t have a strong teflon coating and hasn’t been properly cared for throughout its long life.
Determined to try again the next morning, you buy an expensive pan with a nice teflon coating. This time, you’re able to remove the eggs from the pan seamlessly–and you don’t have to spend as much time scrubbing the pan when you finish. The strong teflon layer protects the pan from the wear and tear of cooking.
This pan with its teflon coating (or lack thereof) is kind of like your arteries. You can either have the strong teflon version or the weaker, cheaper version. According to new research from the DNA Company, only 25% of people have super strong arteries that can withstand high stress.
I personally discovered through my own DNA testing that I carry the optimum genetic profile as it relates to the lining of my arteries. Of course I also learned about other DNA variants that are suboptimal so with this knowledge I can prioritize my lifestyle choices to compensate for the suboptimal genes to prevent issues and I also understand where I can be more flexible with these choices.
The remaining 75% of people have average or suboptimal arteries that can easily become inflamed.
Why does this matter? If you have weaker arteries, you’re at a much higher risk of heart disease. You need to be careful to avoid stressors in your environment that cause inflammation, just like you would be more mindful when taking care of a cheaper pan.
The foundation of cardiovascular health
For the most part, cardiovascular health comes down to inflammation. This inflammation can come from your nutrition, lifestyle, and environment. If your body is well-designed to cope with inflammation, your cardiovascular health becomes less of an issue. If you’re genetically incapable of handling inflammation, your cardiovascular health will suffer (unless you take certain precautions).
Your arteries are the foundation of your cardiovascular health. After all, most heart problems don’t begin with the heart itself. Rather, they initially occur in the arteries surrounding the heart.
The inner lining of your arteries is called the endothelial lining. You can either have a strong version or a weak version. These versions correspond to the teflon metaphor we talked about earlier. With the weak version, your blood vessels are more prone to inflammation from toxins that come through your bloodstream.
This is why some people can smoke and eat unhealthy food and still live to be 90, while others with these same bad habits start having cardiovascular issues in their 40s. The difference is the strength of the endothelial lining.
Sometimes, your body responds to inflammation in the arteries by deploying cholesterol,(read my article all about exercise and cardiovascular health) which is meant to mitigate the damage caused by toxins in the bloodstream. Eventually, this can lead to high cholesterol, which can result in a heightened risk of heart disease.
How your genes affect your arteries
There are a number of different ways your genetics have an impact on your arteries and cardiovascular health. The main genetic marker that determines the strength of your endothelial lining is the 9P21 marker. This gene locus shows how resistant your blood vessels are to inflammation.
The important thing to look for in your 9P21 marker is how many G alleles you have. An allele is a gene variant. The more G alleles you have, the weaker your endothelial lining is–and the more likely your blood vessels are to become inflamed. If your arteries become inflamed enough, your blood flow to vital organs becomes reduced, which could ultimately result in a heart attack or stroke.
Fortunately, there are some other genes that can mitigate the negative effects of a suboptimal 9P21 marker. These are the 1P21 marker and the PCSK9 gene. Having at least one G allele in your 1P21 marker and at least one T allele in your PCSK9 gene can significantly decrease your risk of heart disease.
Another factor that relates to cardiovascular disease is your body’s ability to constrict and dilate your blood vessels to accommodate increased blood flow. This is determined by your NOS3 gene. Having the suboptimal version of this gene means your blood vessels don’t dilate properly, which can lead to high blood pressure and increased stress on your kidneys and heart.
Understanding if you are prone to high blood pressure due to the flexibility in your arteries means you will be able to understand the best way to exercise to avoid the increase in blood pressure. Not all exercise is the same and some types will affect blood pressure if your arteries are less flexible.
The group of genes that corresponds to your methylation cycle includes the MTHFR, MTRR, MTR, and SHMT1 genes. The methylation cycle allows your cells to respond to the presence of inflammation. A more efficient methylation cycle, as determined by the above genes, can expel toxins from the body quickly. If you have a poor methylation cycle combined with a suboptimal 9P21 marker, you’re at a much higher risk of inflamed arteries.
The good news is that there are many things you can do through nutrition and supplements to compensate for poor methylation.
How to lower your risk of heart disease
So what can you do if you have bad arteries? There are several steps you can take to lower your inflammation and reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are some things you can try:
- Eat plenty of vitamin B-rich foods such as sustainable fish, organic eggs, organic spinach, beer yeast, and nutritional yeast
- Buy an air filter for your home and office to protect yourself against toxins
- Avoid fried and sugary foods
- Get regular blood tests done including your cholesterol profile, homocysteine, hemoglobin A1C, vitamin D, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- Drink green tea twice a day between meals
- Add foods with anthocyanins to your diet such as acai, plums, blackberries, cherries, figs, raspberries, red cabbage, red potatoes, and eggplants
- Take supplements including vitamin D and omega-3 fish oil
Are you wondering whether you’re genetically predisposed to weak arteries? The best way to find out is by decoding your genes through DNA testing. This is especially helpful if heart disease runs in your family.
By understanding your DNA you will have a better idea as to what the potential issues are that have contributed to this family history. Best of all you will be able to make appropriate personalized lifestyle choices helping to reduce your risk. You’ll discover whether you suffer from the inability to deal with inflammation as well as 37 other custom reports surrounding sleep, diet, nutrition, hormones, fitness, cardiovascular health, immunity, and behavior.
Each custom report includes your genetic tendencies as well as practical steps you can take to optimize your health and wellness. You are a unique individual, and you deserve health strategies that reflect your unique genome. Learn more about the relevance of DNA to cardiovascular disease along with other health issues by watching the webinar I did with the CEO of the DNA company whose testing I am not offering to my clients.