Presence of fat improves heart’s ability to pump

May 5th, 2011 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 5 (IANS) Stripping diets of fat may impair the heart’s ability to pump optimally, especially among patients suffering from cardiac failure.

Results from studies conducted by assistant professor of physiology and biophysics Margaret Chandler, Case Western Reserve University and others, show that a high-fat diet improved the heart’s ability to pump.

“Does that mean I can go out and eat my Big Mac after I have a heart attack,” Chandler asked. “No, but treatments that act to provide sufficient energy to the heart and allow the heart to utilise or to maintain its normal metabolic profile may actually be advantageous.”

The research suggests that for a damaged heart, a balanced diet that includes mono and polyunsaturated fats, and which replaces simple sugars (sucrose and fructose) with complex carbohydrates, may be beneficial, reports the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

In a healthy person, the heart uses both fats and carbohydrates to obtain the energy it needs to continue pumping blood round the clock. Ideally, fats are utilised because they yield more energy, according to a Case Reserve statement.

However, if a person develops heart failure (or suffers from ischemia - a lack of blood supply), the heart seems to prefer using glucose for fuel, because glucose requires less oxygen to produce energy.

While heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the US, more people are surviving heart attacks than ever before. Unfortunately, medications and procedures have yet to “cure” heart failure, or halt the deterioration of heart function.

Researchers previously thought a high-fat diet fed to animal models that have suffered a heart attack, would overload their tissues with fat, which in turn would have a toxic effect on their hearts.

Surprisingly, the heart’s pump function improved on the high-fat diet. Through further testing, they found that animal models suffering from heart failure and receiving a low fat diet were able to produce insulin and take up glucose from the blood, just as healthy hearts.

“We want to provide an environment for the heart which allows it to be as effective and efficient a pump as possible, regardless of the damage it has undergone,” said Chandler.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |