Chronically increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system: Our diet-related “evolutionary” inheritance
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It is well established that an increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease (CVD), like essential hypertension, atherosclerosis and age related arterial wall thickening, heart failure, and ventricular arrhythmias. It is also well established that SNS activity is influenced by food ingestion, and that diet composition plays an important role: Among dietary substrates, carbohydrate (starch and sugars) ingestion significantly increases SNS activity, while protein or fat ingestion has no significant sympathoexcitory effect. The aim of this paper is to investigate the possibility that significant dietary changes during human evolution, i. e. the introduction of starch and sugars into human nutrition, have brought about a deleterious effect: an abnormal, chronically increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
Literature search using MEDLINE to identify publications on the relationship of SNS activity and cardiovascular disease on the one hand and dietary substrates on the other hand.
The introduction of starchy food and sugars has brought about a new metabolic problem: a diet-related chronically increased SNS activity, with adverse effect on human health.
Key wordsSNS carbohydrate diet activation cardiovascular evolution
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