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Moderate exercise and simple dietary supplements significantly reduce risk of atherosclerosis

Moderate exercise in conjunction with common dietary supplements significantly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis because, combined, they boost the body's production of nitric oxide, which protects against a variety of cardio-vascular disorders, a new UCLA study led by 1998 Nobel Laureate in medicine Louis J. Ignarro shows.

The study, "Long Term Beneficial Effects of Physical Training and Metabolic Treatment on Atherosclerosis in Hypercholesterolemic Mice," will be published the week of May 24 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (www.pnas.org). It found that moderate exercise reduced the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, in mice that are genetically prone to heart disease, because exercise alone has been shown to increase nitric oxide in the body. Adding the amino acid L-arginine and the anti-oxidants Vitamins C and E to the mix, however, significantly magnified the effect, said Ignarro, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

And what's good for mice is good for humans, said Ignarro, who shared the Nobel Prize for his discoveries in the role that nitric oxide (NO) plays in the cardiovascular system.

"It wasn't just exercise, it was exercise combined with two common dietary supplements," he said. "This is the first study that shows that if you exercise in addition to taking dietary supplements you have a markedly enhanced production of nitric oxide--in science, we like to call it a synergistic effect."

The researchers studied six groups of eight-week-old LDL receptor-deficient male mice with high cholesterol over 18 weeks. The mice were randomly divided into three dietary groups: one fed a high cholesterol diet alone, another fed a high cholesterol diet along with the antioxidant vitamins C and E, and a third fed a high cholesterol diet and given both the antioxidants and L-arginine. Some of the mice were al
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Contact: Enrique Rivero
310-794-2273
University of California - Los Angeles
24-May-2004


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