Washington, Mar 3 (ANI): Healthy, long-term weight loss diets can significantly reverse carotid (main brain artery) atherosclerosis, a direct risk factor for strokes and heart attacks, a new study has found.
The two-year study led by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has been published in Circulation, the leading journal of the American Heart Association.
In the study researchers used novel technique imaging of three-dimensional ultrasound at the beginning and after two years, measuring changes in carotid artery vessel thickening of plaque to determine whether diet can reverse atherosclerosis, a process that naturally increases with age.
The research team compared three diets among moderately overweight, mostly male, participants. The findings, using ultrasound, showed that after two years, there was a five percent decrease in average carotid vessel-wall volume and a one percent decrease in carotid artery thickness.
Compared to participants who experienced an increased carotid wall volume, those with decreases showed significantly greater weight loss (11.7 pounds vs. 7 pounds); decreased systolic blood pressure (6.8 mmHg vs. 1.1 mmHg) and an increase in apolipoprotein A1 (Apo A1), a marker of "good cholesterol" ( HDL). These participants also had reduced homocysteine levels, an amino acid in the blood that is related to higher risk of stroke or heart attack.
This study was conducted in Israel by researchers led by Dr. Iris Shai, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, with the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona and Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva.
According to Dr. Shai, "Even if we experience some partial weight re-gain over time, long-term adherence to weight loss diets are effective for reversing carotid atherosclerosis as long as we stick to one of the current options of healthy diet strategy.
This effect is more pronounced among mildly obese persons who lose more than 5.5 kgs. [12.1 lbs.] of body weight and whose systolic blood pressure decreases by more than 7 mmHg." (ANI)