Heal Your HeartHelke Ferrie February 1, 2012
THE ROLE OF STRESS, MALNUTRITION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS
In the May 28, 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Duke University researchers published findings showing that “moderate to strong feelings of sadness, tension, and frustration can more than double the risk of having a heart attack within the next hour.”
The opposite was found to be true of people who felt content. In the January 2001 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, it was reported that having a bad marriage can bring on chronic high blood pressure and heart attacks just as surely as smoking, and that resolving such tensions (by switching to a supportive, loving partner or successful counseling) could heal the heart. In 2005, the U.S. National Academy of Science research showed that happy people had lower concentrations of the blood chemical fibrinogen whose presence signals inflammation, a precipitator of heart attack, stroke and cancer.
These findings have made stress reduction techniques, nutrition, counselling, meditation, prayer, and psychotherapy central components of cardiovascular therapies. In this area of medicine, the heart brought about something of a truce between standard medicine (focused on surgery and drugs) and alternative medicine (which proved that the soul, food, and human relationships, are important in the causation as well as the cure of cardiovascular disease).
The high blood pressure hoax – In 2006, Dr. Sherry Rogers, MD, published a book entitled The High Blood Pressure Hoax. In it, she wrote: “For every ailment, even one as simple as high blood pressure, there are multiple causes and multiple cures,” and none of those include synthetic drugs which, at best, temporarily control symptoms. High blood pressure is caused by damaged blood vessels whose millions of cells become unable to repair themselves when external toxins and the starvation caused by nutrient-poor foods overwhelm them, “since blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrition to every organ of the body, any damage to your vessels eventually leads to damage of any organ.”
The connection between malnutrition and heart disease is increasingly becoming mainstream medicine; Toronto cardiologist, Dr. David Alter, showed that postal code areas with the highest number of fast food restaurants have the highest rate of fatal and non-fatal heart attacks (Canadian Journal of Public Health, May 12, 2005).
It follows that consuming real food which contains the essentials for life (fatty acids, minerals, vitamins), while stopping the body’s exposure to environmental toxins (from cosmetics, cleaning products, detergents, pesticides, etc.) will enable cells to resume repair of the damaged blood vessels and return blood pressure to normal.
In cases of high blood pressure, potassium and magnesium are of central importance. The Standard American Diet (SAD) causes potassium deficiency through carbonated drinks along with insufficient fresh vegetables and fruit. And SAD is so deficient in magnesium, according to US government agricultural research, that most North Americans only get 40% of the daily amount required for basic health. One study showed that 56% of hospitalized stroke patients were severely malnourished (Medical Post, Sept. 26, 2000), and Harvard Medical School published research showing that a high potassium diet (i.e. vegetables and fruit) lowers the risk of stroke (Focus, Oct. 2, 1998).
The High Blood Pressure Hoax gets particularly frightening when Dr. Rogers discusses the drugs used to control hypertension, such as the Beta Blockers, the ACE Inhibitors, as well as those drugs that cause high blood pressure as a side effect such as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like Vioxx and Celebrex): these all deplete potassium, magnesium and important heart nutrients like co-enzyme Q10. The most serious side effect of this symptom control-approach is cancer. All these drugs cause a general inflammatory response in the body which sets the stage for cancer.
The discussion of vitamins C and E in Rogers’ book is excellent. Both are not only anti-inflammatory, but actually prevent as well as treat all forms of heart disease effectively. (As an aside, erectile dysfunction is an early symptom of heart disease, not a Viagra deficiency. Your love life is controlled by the heart – one way or the other!)
Dr. Rogers systematically presents the many causes of heart disease including plasticizers and heavy metals stored in our tissues, contaminated food, over-the-counter drugs, gum disease, and more. She then presents all the preventive and therapeutic measures, chief amongst which is, of course, food. It turns out, for example, that the observation found in the writings of Hippocrates (2,500 BCE) that fresh celery is good for the heart, is true: within minutes of consumption it actually improves blood flow everywhere! The Romans believed that celery was an aphrodisiac and served it at weddings. This would certainly have worked for older bridegrooms burdened with a life-long diet of too much fat and alcohol and too little fresh fruit and veggies; they would have received a welcome shot of blood supply where it counts.
The above is excerpted from a longer article written by Helke Ferrie in 2006, entitled “Affairs of the Heart – The Real Truth About Our Epidemic of Cardiovascular Disease: What’s Causing It, and Why We’re Not Getting Better.” To read the full length article, go to: http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/affairs-of-the-heart/ To order the book, go to: http://www.prestigepublishing.com
VITAMIN C AND LYSINE HEAL ANGINA AND ATHEROSCLEROSIS
By Elie Klein, B.Sc., ND
Long-term use of cholesterol medications can cause certain health risks which outweigh their benefit. Cholesterol lowering medications (statin drugs) interfere with the body’s production of a very important molecule called Co-enzyme Q10. This nutrient is necessary for energy production in the body and is particularly abundant in muscles. Since the heart is your most important muscle, lower levels of Co-enzyme Q10 are associated with increased weakness of the heart and therefore higher incidence of congestive heart failure, which can be fatal.
Dietary Causes of Heart Disease – The good news is that if you know what causes plaque to build up in the arteries (and no, it is not animal fat), and you know how to prevent it or reverse it, you’d be more likely to avoid a heart attack or a stroke altogether. According to a recent systemic review – a study that looks at all the relevant research on any given topic – the main dietary causes of heart disease are not salt, or fat. The main culprits are sugars (including refined carbohydrates) and trans fats.
Plaque happens because of injury to the artery wall. The injury is caused by glycation – sugar sticking to the protein fibers that make up the artery. The resulting effect is also known as AGE products, or Advanced Glycation End products. The artery is also injured by oxidation; sugar is responsible for this too, as are trans fats. Both these processes contribute to inflammation, which is also responsible for continued laying down of plaque.
In 1994, two-time Nobel prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling, and his colleague Dr. Mathias Rath, registered a patent for a medicinal formulation consisting in part of vitamins and amino acids for “the treatment of occlusive heart disease.” This means the prevention and removal of arterial plaque. It is a genius yet very simple approach which is based on the body’s own way of healing itself. Whenever the body is injured it instinctively strives to heal itself.
The types of foods that injure the arteries, in essence, damage the stuff the arteries are made of. This is, for the most part, long protein fibres in the form of collagen and elastin. The body goes ahead and lays down new collagen and elastin to replace the damaged old sticky and hard stuff. If damage happens faster than repair, or if the body doesn’t have enough of the raw material needed for repair, atherosclerosis continues to set in. To make new collagen the body needs to join two different amino acids called lysine and proline. The joining is done by vitamin C. You need two lysine units to come together to form elastin.
Pauling and Rath explained that by supplementing with a sufficient dose of these ingredients you can bring about the necessary repair. Plaque can’t stick to the newly formed (repaired) structural proteins in the arteries. So plaque gradually comes off the artery walls. In their formulation, Pauling and Rath also included antioxidants, vitamin E and beta carotenes, which support the repair process and keep inflammation down.
Some of Dr. Pauling’s colleagues, from the American National Academy of Science, who had angina (chest pain due to advanced plaque in coronary arteries) asked him for help. Within a few weeks of starting on 3 to 6 grams daily of vitamin C and lysine, they had experienced complete alleviation of angina pain. As a result, he published a few case studies outlining their response to his therapy.
Although Pauling and Rath’s formula was never commercialized, there are currently two versions on the Canadian market which fairly closely match the ingredients in the original formula. These are TLC by Advanced Orthomolecular Research, and Cardioflex by Innotech Nutrition. These modern formulas also contain magnesium, which has been shown repeatedly to be vital for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and for maintaining a normal heart beat (used in cases of arrythmia).
As well, Omega 3 fatty acids play a role in reducing inflammation, normalizing triglycerides, and are important for healthy blood pressure. Incidentally, magnesium and vitamin C play a role in normalizing cholesterol levels.
In my private practice, I have had many clients respond very well to this approach. People who had chest pain or leg pain due to extensive blockages experienced alleviation of pain within two to four weeks when they ingested at least 6 grams of vitamin C and lysine. Blood pressure often improved (the arteries regained elasticity), as well as cholesterol levels (although cholesterol doesn’t concern me much and has to be considered as a part of a bigger picture). Other benefits include improved blood sugar levels, energy levels, and stabilized heart beat.
Most people can easily purchase many of these nutrients individually in order to create a regimen of heart healthy nutritional medicine for prevention of heart disease.
One note of caution is for people who have a tendency for elevated iron levels. High doses of vitamin C (with this therapy 3000mg – 6000mg or more daily), can increase the absorption of iron. So consult a health professional.
Elie Klein has a private practice at Klein Naturopathic Care, Tel. 416-222-1300, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The above is excerpted from a longer article entitled “Healing Heart Disease” written in 2010. To access the complete article, go to: http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/healing-heart-disease/
AYURVEDIC HERBS FOR HEART HEALTH
Dr. Grace Ormstein, MD, is an advocate of clinically-proven herbal supplements that can jump start heart health, such as Himalaya’s HeartCare®. In published human clinical trials, HeartCare® has been shown to support healthy heart and vascular function, maintain normal lipid metabolism, and support normal cholesterol levels. It also encourages healthy platelet function. Key ingredients in the HeartCare formula include top Ayurvedic herbs:
• Arjuna – there’s a great deal of public interest in Terminalia Arjuna since its heart-health benefits were endorsed by Dr. Peter D’Adamo in The Complete Blood Type Encylopedia. D’Adamo lists Arjuna as a “Daily Herb” for blood type A, and as a key part of his “cardiovascular protocol” for type O. Arjuna bark has been used by Ayurvedic doctors for centuries to treat angina pectoris, hypercholesterolemia, cardiac artery disease, and hypertension. As well, its antioxidant properties support normal cholesterol levels in the body;
• Indian Catnip – traditionally used as a cardiotonic to support heart function. The main constituent of the plant is a triterpenoid shown to have blood-purifying properties;
• Ashwagandha – In The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook, author Alan K. Tillotson, AHG, states that ashwagandha root is commonly called “the ginseng of India.” It is bitter in taste, warming in action, and a strong tonic. It calms and strengthens the nervous system, reduces stress, strengthens immunity and vitality, increases sexual energy, and improves cognition and memory. Tillotson states: “Investigators have demonstrated that ashwagandha root is a true adaptogen, showing its effectiveness against a wide variety of biological, physical, and chemical stressors.”;
• Guggul – Guggul gum has been popular in the West ever since researchers discovered its significant cholesterol-lowering properties in human trials. (A. Tillotson) And according to Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra: “Guggulu is anti-Kapha or anti-mucus, and as such reduces fat. It is considered by Ayurvedic physicians as the most potent remedy against Ama (an accumulation of cholesterol, thickened mucus, and other materials associated with aging). Ama causes circulatory problems including arteriosclerosis, arthritis, rheumatism, heart problems, high blood pressure, obesity, enlargement of the prostate, and other diseases of old age.”
For more information call: 1-877-833-7325. Available at the following stores: Nature’s Emporium (Newmarket) http://www.naturesemporium.ca; Nature’s Source (5 locations in Ontario) http://www.natures-source.com; General Nutrition Centre (3 locations in Toronto) http://www.gnc.com; Noah’s Natural (4 locations in Toronto) http://www.noahsnaturalfoods.ca; Ambrosia Natural Foods (Thornhill; Newmarket) http://www.ambrosianaturalfoods.com; Big Carrot (one store in Toronto) http://www.thebigcarrot.ca