Cardiovascular disease will kill nearly 2.5 million people in the United States this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Over time, inflammation, collagen deposition and scar tissue formation can cause blood vessels to stiffen, a process called vascular fibrosis. Though researchers have known that the hormone aldosterone (Aldo) plays a role in this process, the precise mechanisms have been poorly understood.
Now, an international study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association is providing new insights into cardiovascular disease. Particularly significant, the study illuminates how Aldo and the protein galectin-3 jointly contribute to vascular remodeling and congestive heart failure by fueling the processes of inflammation, fibrosis and collagen deposition.
The findings indicate that galectin-3 is required for inflammatory and fibrotic responses to Aldo, suggesting a key role for galectin-3 in vascular fibrosis. Equally important, the study proves that modified citrus pectin (MCP), a preparation derived from the pith of citrus peels, prevents these effects by binding to galectin-3 and controlling Aldo induced elevated galectin-3 levels.
MCP is a form of citrus pectin modified to a specific molecular weight and structure for enhanced absorption and bioactivity. Regular pectin goes through the gastrointestinal tract unabsorbed, whereas MCP is readily absorbed and has been demonstrated in published research to perform multiple beneficial functions. MCP's small molecular weight and unique structure allow it to bind and block excess galectin-3 throughout the body. Elevated serum galectin-3 has been linked to high mortality rates in heart failure and metastatic cancer. MCP slows cancer progression and metastasis, blocks inflammation, helps prevent fibrosis, and offers other critical benefits related to the inhibition of galectin-3. It also supports immunity and safely chelates heavy metals.
Aldo and Galectin-3
The researchers in this study sought to understand exactly how Aldo and galectin-3 work together to affect vascular remodeling. In small quantities, Aldo and galectin-3 perform necessary biological functions. Aldo regulates blood pressure and electrolyte balance; galectin-3 facilitates cell-to-cell communication and cell growth. However, high levels of Aldo are linked to arterial stiffness and heart failure. Similarly, high levels of galectin-3 play a direct role in chronic inflammation, fibrosis and subsequent tissue remodeling in the kidneys, liver, heart and other organs; as well as cancer formation and metastasis.
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration approved a serum galectin-3 test to assess the risk and progression of congestive heart failure and heart disease. This test is widely available and covered by most health insurances for cardiovascular screening. Practitioners also use this test to assess the risk and progression of cancer and other galectin-3 related diseases.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a recognized expert in the field of galectin-3 and the use of modified citrus pectin states, "The results of this study have enormous implications for the prevention and treatment of heart disease and fibrosis related conditions. Because it functions as an active, culprit biomarker, galectin-3 serves as a therapeutic target in multiple life-threatening conditions. According to the scientific literature, this is achievable with the oral application of MCP, a galectin-3 inhibitor without side effects. This approach offers a new solution to numerous chronic conditions related to inflammation, fibrosis and metastatic cancer for which there are limited conventional treatments."