Inflammation is a key component to many illnesses and diseases. The chemical cascade which produces inflammatory chemicals is called the Arachidonic Acid pathway. This pathway is so named because Arachidonic Acid is a key omega-6 fatty acid which goes through this pathway. When Arachidonic Acid undergoes peroxidation via free radical attack it creates F2-isoprostanes.
F2-Isoprostanes are a good marker to measure oxidative stress. Recall that oxidative stress is a key process in the development of CAD, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. 8-iso-PGF2a seems to be the best chemical to measure in regards to risk for CAD.
These F2-isoprostanes do cause constriction of blood vessels, bronchi, GI tract, lymphatics, and uterus. This constriction decreases blood, fluid, and airflow restrictions. Additionally, the F2-isoprostanes stimulate mitogenesis, cell (monocytes and PMNs) adhesion to the endothelial lining, and fuel endothelial cell necrosis. All of these functions serve to reduce endothelial function and that is a bad thing. They appear to be both sensitive and specific for oxidative stress which, as stated above, is associated with many diseases.
F2-isoprostanes can become elevated with higher levels of red meat intake as well as lower levels of fitness and exercise. This makes them a good marker of lifestyle associated with CAD. Higher levels of F2-isoprostanes have been associated with increased risk of CAD. Women, in one study, with high levels of 8-iso-PGF2a had an 80% increased risk of dying from CAD or stroke.
In the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, F2-isoprostanes were associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC). This finding was independent of other risk factors for CAD or CRP.
The bottom line is that higher levels of F2-isoprostanes appear to correlate well with cardiovascular disease risk and we want to reduce these risks as much as possible. So what can you do about it?
- Reduce cardiovascular disease risk by addressing all of the risk factors
- Good blood pressure control
- Lipid goals
- Increase cardiovascular conditioning
- Weight reduction & smoking cessation (as applicable)
- Platelet prophylaxis (low-dose aspirin) if no contraindications
- Omega-3 supplementation (>2 grams per day of EPA/DHA)