‘Remarkable’ results – Scientists have discovered that a nutritional supplement can heal a broken heart
Osaka University researchers find that regular intake of tricaprine in your diet leads to reduced coronary plaque and improved symptoms in patients with triglyceride-deposit cardiomyosculopathy.
In childhood, our parents recommended us to take vitamins for growth and strength. Now, Japanese researchers have discovered that a certain supplement can even mend a broken heart.
In a study that was recently published in European Cardiac Journalresearchers from Osaka University found that a nutritional supplement can significantly improve symptoms of heart disease in a subset of patients.
Coronary heart disease (CHD), which involves the narrowing or even closing of the heart’s arteries and often leads to a heart attack, is the leading cause of death worldwide. Despite the existence of treatments such as cholesterol-lowering drugs and drug-eluting stents – new stent technology for local drug delivery – death from the disease is still common and some patients appear to be resistant to treatment.
“Nearly 15 years ago, we identified a new type of CHD called triglyceride-deposit cardiomyosculopathy (TGCV), in which the coronary arteries are blocked by triglyceride deposits that result from defective intracellular breakdown of triglycerides in vascular smooth muscle cells,” says the study’s lead author. Can-ity Hirano. “This mechanism distinguishes TGCV from classical cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis and accounts for patients resistant to standard CAD treatments.”
The researchers developed diagnostic criteria for TGCV and showed that the condition is particularly common in patients with diabetes and those undergoing hemodialysis. However, despite being able to diagnose this condition, effective treatment for these patients has remained elusive.
“We now report a significant regression of diffuse coronary atherosclerosis in two patients with TGCV,” states Ken-ichi Hirano. “Both suffered from refractory chest pain and diabetes prior to diagnosis of TGCV, and subsequent dietary tricaprin resulted in symptomatic relief.”
Tricaprine is a commercially available dietary supplement that promotes the breakdown of lipids by heart muscle cells. In addition to relieving problematic and painful symptoms in these patients, tricaprine also significantly regressed the accumulation of triglycerides in the blood vessels of the heart.
“Although regression of atherosclerosis after lowering serum lipid levels is well described, this is the first report of regression due to enhanced cellular triglyceride lipolysis, and thus is a conceptually novel treatment for coronary atherosclerosis,” says Ken-ichi Hirano.
Given that not all patients respond to current CHD treatments, the results of this study pave the way for a multifaceted approach to CHD treatment. The dramatic results achieved with the introduction of an affordable dietary supplement hold promise for patients who would otherwise continue to suffer from the debilitating effects of this disease.
Reference: “Remarkable Regression of Diffuse Coronary Atherosclerosis in Patients with Triglyceride Deposit Cardiomyosculopathy” by Kenichi Hirano, Masahiro Higashi, and Kenichi Nakajima December 30, 2022 European Cardiac Journal.
The study was funded by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan and Nihon Medi-physics Co., Ltd.
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