Heart disease is becoming a more common health condition around the world with each passing year. It often leads to heart failure when the heart muscles weaken and lose their ability to supply blood to the rest of the body. This causes loss of breath or fatigue and other symptoms of heart failure.
Many causes lead to heart disease including diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. The flexibility in the heart muscles decreases with age as well. There are some medications available that increase the functioning of the heart. However, a healthy diet can also help sustain a healthy heart.
A healthy heart can live on various nutrient sources to function properly. However, in some health conditions, the heart muscles lose this ability and are not able to pump blood effectively. Researchers suggest that this phenomenon occurs due to the presence of transporter protein responsible for carrying pyruvate to the power house of the cell, mitochondria.
This transporter protein called MPC or mitochondrial pyruvate carrier transports this sugar. It consists of two subunits called MPC1 and MPC2. A team of researchers from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine recently found that these subunits diminish in a weak heart.
The scientists conducted a study in laboratory mice which shows that the animals without MPC2 suffered from heart failure. The heart of these mice became enlarged and lost the ability to pump blood over time. However, the researchers found that this damage is reversible if the mice take a particular diet over 3 weeks period.
The research was published recently in Nature Metabolism journal.
Kyle S. McCommis led this research and said that heart failure is preventable and reversible by taking a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat content. He also mentioned that fasting for 24 hours also helped improve the heart conditions of mice. All of these aspects included a ketogenic diet.
This diet became highly popular in recent years and many people claim that it helped them improve their health. A ketogenic diet helps reduce weight, it improves the health of the heart, and also help epilepsy patients.
This diet does not involve any carbohydrates so that the body relies on fats. In this way, the body gets trained to breakdown only the fats in the body and produce ketones. The muscles use ketones as an energy source instead of carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting also helps in a similar mechanism and provides the same benefits for health. However, some people find it difficult to commit to such a regimen.
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According to this new research, a ketogenic diet help the breakdown of fats in the muscles of the heart. This leads to the production of acetyl-CoA which is an alternate source to pyruvate. The mitochondria can use this energy source in the absence of pyruvate and prevent heart failure or heart disease.
Health experts are hopeful that this research can open doors to the development of new medications for heart disease. Such medicines can help breakdown the fats found in the heart muscles and prevent heart failure.