Matters of the Heart by Dr. Cathleen London


By Dr. Cathleen London, M.D.

Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month both fall in the month of February, shining the spotlight on our most vital organ, the heart. In the world of medicine, February also reminds us of a troubling fact—that heart disease remains the number one killer of both men and women worldwide.

As a public health issue, prevention of heart disease is a priority. Primary prevention is the ideal way, and the most cost effective for a population, including cessation of smoking, prevention of obesity, and control of diabetes.

Sustained aerobic exercise is the number one intervention to help prevent and reverse heart disease; however, numerous observational studies have shown a link between diet and cardiovascular risk as well. In all likelihood it is the combination—nature is far smarter than we are and combinations of fatty acids, antioxidants, and amino acids have a synergy that we have been unable to replicate in the lab, no matter how hard we try.

Take the Mediterranean diet, for example. It’s full of fresh fish, olive oil, vegetables, and tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes, in particular, are rich in a number of carotenoids as well as tocopherols. Together they have a synergistic antioxidative effect not found in manufactured lycopene. Cardi-O-Mato™ is a natural tomato extract containing important phytonutrients including the carotenoids lycopene and beta-carotene, as well as tocopherols and phytosterols. In studies, this patented formulation has been shown to have positive effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, and circulation.

LDL cholesterol is bad when it is oxidized as it becomes sticky and then adheres to arterial walls contributing to the formation of atherosclerosis. After a high fat meal, there is a proinflammatory response with increased glucose levels as well as an increase of oxidized LDL lasting 6-8 hours. Several studies have shown that tomato paste and the Cardi-O-Mato formula help protect against LDL oxidation, effectively preventing this inflammatory cycle and lowering lipoprotein oxidation.

Another study showed natural tomato extract has the ability to modulate HDL’s activity towards an anti-atherogenic phenotype, thus two models of artersclerotic protection. Smaller studies have been replicated in larger epidemiological studies observing an inverse in the relationship between consumption of tomato products and development of cardiovascular disease.

Cardio-O-Mato is an important addition to diet and exercise in the prevention and reversal of cardiovascular disease. As always, supplements do not replace diet and exercise. However, as their name suggests, they supplement an overall healthy lifestyle.

Dr. London is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University and Assistant Attending Physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.