Inflammation and Heart Disease
What does an abscessed tooth or a splinter in a finger have to do with your risk of suffering a heart attack? Much more than you might think!

Not long ago, most doctors thought of heart attacks as primarily a plumbing problem. Over the years, fatty deposits would slowly build up on the insides of major coronary arteries until they grew so big that they cut off the supply of blood to a vital part of the heart. A complex molecule called LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, provided the raw material for these deposits. Clearly anyone with high LDL levels was at greater risk of developing heart disease.

There's just one problem with that explanation: sometimes it's dead wrong. Indeed, half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. Not only that, as imaging techniques improved, doctors found, much to their surprise, that the most dangerous plaques weren't necessarily all that large. Something that hadn't yet been identified was causing those deposits to burst, triggering massive clots that cut off the coronary blood supply, and for many years researchers have suspected that inflammation could be the cause.

Inflammation destabilizes cholesterol deposits in the cornary arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes. It chews up nerve cells in the brain of Alzheimer's victims. It may even foster the proliferation of abnormal cells and facilitates their transformation into cancer. In other words, chronic inflammation may be the engine that drives many of the most feared illnesses. Reducing inflammation appears to be just as important in fighting heart disease as lowering cholesterol levels, according to new research just published in The New England Journal Of Medicine. For the first time, we have hard clinical evidence, that lowering inflammation lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke and cardiovascular disease, states Dr. Ridker, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Medical research is currently focusing on the amazing potential of a naturally occurring compound found in certain plants called saponins.

These saponins work as the plant's natural immune system, a natural antibiotic that protects the plant against harmful microbes and fungus.

In humans, these same saponins act as a non-systemic bile acid sequestrant with the ability to lower cholesterol, strengthen the immune system and fith off pathogens that cause chronic arthritic pain and low grade inflammation. Saponis can also inhibit some types of cancer cells.