Heart disease claims around 160,000 lives in the UK each year. While prevention will always be better than treatment, new research suggests statins might not be the only effective medicine for a certain type of heart disease. In fact, a readily available supplement could also come to the rescue.
While many experts agree that supplements aren’t necessary unless you’re deficient, a new study makes a strong case for a popular product.
Research, published in the European Heart Journal, found that this product was capable of “dramatically” reversing signs of heart disease in certain patients.
The commercially available supplement, called tricaprin, has been found to relieve painful symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD).
CAD can trigger problems like chest pain that feels like pressure or tightness, fatigue and shortness of breath.
Furthermore, the dietary product was able to instigate a “remarkable regression” of the build-up of a type of fat that can be found in the blood and stored in fat cells, called triglyceride, in the heart’s blood vessels.
Commonly found in fatty foods and oils, triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease if you leave them to accumulate.
Despite the existence of treatments for coronary artery disease, death from this condition is still common, with some patients appearing to be resistant to the medication.
Lead author of the study Ken-ichi Hirano said: “Almost 15 years ago, we identified a new type of CAD called triglyceride deposit cardiomyovasculopathy (TGCV), in which the coronary arteries are occluded by triglyceride deposits generated by the defective intracellular breakdown of triglycerides in vascular smooth muscle cells.
“This mechanism makes TGCV distinct from classic cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis, and accounts for patients who are resistant to standard remedies for CAD.
“Now we report a remarkable regression of diffuse coronary atherosclerosis in two patients with TGCV.
“Both had suffered from refractory chest pain and diabetes until diagnosis with TGCV, and subsequent dietary intake of tricaprin led to symptom relief.”
The commercially available food supplement didn’t only relieve these patients’ troublesome and painful symptoms but tricaprin also resulted in remarkable regression of the triglyceride build-up in the blood vessels of the heart.
In one case study, a 65-year-old man had chest pains that cropped up mainly at night. He started therapy with tricaprin-rich products and his symptoms began to improve, according to the study.
Previously, his chest pains had been unsuccessfully treated with a number of drugs, until a diagnosis of TGCV was made by the team.
Six years after starting tricaprin regimen, he was declared free from his angina condition.
In a second case study, a 60-year-old man with a three-year history of type 2 diabetes, was referred to the team’s institute for a detailed examination.
He suffered from unstable angina, where he received stent implantation and drug-coated balloon angioplasty.
Three months following tricaprin treatment, the volume of lipids found in his coronary vessels was reduced and his narrowed vessels had widened.
As not all patients respond to current treatments for CAD, these findings pave the way toward establishing a multi-faceted approach to new treatments.
The dramatic results achieved by the readily available dietary supplement hold promise for patients who would otherwise continue to suffer the debilitating effects of this disease, the researchers added.
One caveat to the research study is that the sample size is extremely small; this means the results can not be applied to the population at large.