Good Heart -
your heart ? By
the time you finish reading this article, a few dozen
people will die from a heart attack or a stroke. These two
conditions kill close to 2 million people every year - that's over
4,000 people every single day!
heart attack and stroke are caused by atherosclerosis or hardening
of the arteries, a relentless process that begins fairly early in
life and becomes a little worse with every passing day.
recent study of almost 3,000 people between the ages of 15 and 34
who have died as a result of car accidents showed that 100% of them
already had atherosclerosis of the aorta, the main artery of the
body, and 54% had pretty significant blockage of the heart
if these young people, in the prime of their life, had significant
hardening of the arteries, what do you think happens by the time a
person reaches the age of 50 or 60? It gets worse, of course. No
wonder this process continues to be the #1 killer of men and women
in the US and other industrialized countries.
current model of heart disease blames the obstruction of certain
specific arteries for all the effects of cardiovascular disease.
Accordingly, the treatment is directed towards
"unblocking" these arteries, either with an angioplasty or
a bypass surgery.
according to John C. LaRosa, MD, the chancellor (dean) of the Tulane
University Medical Center in New Orleans, this approach is faulty at
best, if not outright dangerous.
new model for the development of atherosclerosis is emerging. This
development process, called atherogenesis, is now thought to begin
with metabolic dysfunction of the endothelial cells that line the
Dysfunctional endothelium loses its ability to
maintain vascular smooth muscle relaxation and instead promotes
vasospasm, inflammation, platelet aggregation and diminished clot
dysfunction appears to occur diffusely in affected vessels.
Accordingly, local anatomical interventions, such as bypass surgery
or angioplasty, can be expected to have only limited success in the
treatment of patients with atherosclerotic disease. More definitive
treatments must be directed at the risk factors initiating or
other words, hardening of the arteries happens not just in one or
two key locations, but throughout the arterial network. The
dysfunction of endothelium (lining of the arteries) happens in all
the blood vessels.
Therefore, the current emphasis on surgical
correction completely misses the target. Tens of thousands of
angioplasties and bypass surgeries are performed yearly, but do they
reduce the death rate from heart disease? You don't have to be a
scientist to know the answer.
we clearly cannot rely on doctors to "save" us from heart
disease, we should actively engage in a preventive program of
cardiovascular protection by addressing the risk factors. These
factors include sedentary life style, being male, smoking, high
blood pressure, diabetes, high homocysteine level and elevated
cholesterol, especially the LDL or "bad" type.
heart and the vascular system is a truly amazing feat of
engineering. Consider the heart - an organ about the size of a fist
that works non-stop 24 hours a day for as long as you live. It beats
70-80 times a minute, about 4,500 times an hour and over 110,000
times a day!
heart pumps blood through a network of arteries that is estimated to
be between 40,000 to 60,000 miles long. With each heartbeat, the
organs of the body receive fresh blood loaded with oxygen and
cells of the body are so dependent on this uninterrupted supply that
they have no mechanisms for dealing with a sudden cessation of blood
flow. This is especially true about the cells with high level of
metabolism, such as those found in the brain and in the heart
itself. These cells can not survive for longer than 5-6 minutes
without a constant supply of oxygen. When brain cells die, it is
called a stroke. The same process in the heart is known as a heart
avoid this undesirable outcome, we must address two important
The health of the heart
The integrity of the blood vessels, especially the arteries.
Even more specifically, we have to:
provide energy for non-stop pumping action
maintain normal heart rhythm
repair muscular damage within the heart
control risk factor for hardening of the arteries
promote continuous blood flow
reduce the risk of blood clots
Protecting heart health
Q10, or CoQ10, is an astonishing nutrient. It is essential for
energy production in all body cells, especially in the heart. It
prevents oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Reduced
levels of CoQ10 promote atherosclerosis or
hardening of the arteries. CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant and
protects tissue damage from harmful free radicals.
clinical studies, CoQ10 was beneficial for high blood pressure,
cardiomyopathy, heart failure, angina and even cancer. It improves
the overall heart function, its "pumping action" and blood
flow to the heart muscle. Therefore, it is a "must"
for patients with high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries
or those who simply want to maintain normal heart function.
Our cells can produce small quantities of CoQ10, however the levels
invariably decrease with age, which makes supplementation an
absolute necessity. This is particularly true for patients who take
cholesterol lowering "statin" drugs (Zocor, Mevacor,
Lipitor, etc) which interfere with the synthesis of CoQ10 and can
lead to a complete depletion of this vital nutrient.
also known as Crataegus oxycantha, has a number of impressive
cardio-protective and healing properties. Its effects are so well
documented that the German equivalent of the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed it to be sold as
pharmaceutical! When German doctors prescribe Cardplant, Oxacant,
Crataegol and Esbericard, they are actually recommending Hawthorn
is a rich source of bioflavonoids and anthocyanidins. This amazing
herb dilates coronary (heart) arteries and improves blood flow to
the heart. It improves heart muscle strength, resulting in better
pumping action. It supports normal heart rhythm and prevents
arrhythmias. It has a mild diuretic effect. Hawthorn reduces the
production of certain prostaglandins that promote blood
clotting. It prevents the spasms of coronary arteries and has
actually been shown to decrease the size of atherosclerotic plaques
in some animal studies.
is an amino acid that improves energy production in all the cells of
the body and especially in the heart. It works by stimulating the
breakdown of fats. Supplementation of Carnitine
increases the strength of the heart muscle and improves its ability
to pump blood.
is an amino acid found in high concentration
in the muscle tissue, heart and brain. It supports normal heart
rhythm and has antiarrhythmic properties. It improves heart muscle
strength and its pumping action. Taurine also reduces
"stickiness" of platelets, preventing formation of blood
of Taurine improves the health of the heart, muscles and the
brain. It can also be beneficial in patients with high blood
pressure and congestive heart failure.
Protecting arterial health
elevated level of this amino acid has been identified as a major
risk factor for hardening of the arteries and heart attacks. Some
experts feel that it is even more significant than elevated
cholesterol levels. Numerous studies have shown that people with an
elevated homocysteine level increase their risk of heart attacks 3
to 13 times!
is a byproduct of the metabolism of another amino acid, methionine.
The enzymes that reduce homocysteine levels depend on certain B
vitamins for optimal function. These B vitamins are B6, B12 and
studies have demonstrated that decreased level of these nutrients is
associated with a rise in homocysteine. On the other hand, their
supplementation leads to a drop in homocysteine in almost all
patients. Taking additional B6, B12 and folic acid is a very simple,
effective, and inexpensive way to restore and maintain homocysteine
at safe levels and protect yourself from deadly complications.
elevated level of total cholesterol,
especially the LDL or "bad" cholesterol is a well known
risk factor for hardening of the arteries, heart attacks and
strokes. Oxidized LDL cholesterol promotes the formation of
dangerous free radicals that damage the lining of the arteries and
lead to creation of plaques and eventual blockage.
E, Coenzyme Q10 and Hawthorne can substantially reduce the oxidation
of LDL and prevent its damaging effect on the arteries.
nutrients work especially well with the Super Cholesterol
Formula(, which is indicated for those whose total cholesterol is
of blood clots
addition to reducing homocysteine levels, vitamin B6 inhibits
platelet aggregation and helps prevent blood clotting, which is a
major immediate cause of heart attacks and strokes. Taurine
and vitamin E also have positive effect on the "sticky"
platelets, making them less likely to form a clot. Hawthorn reduces
the activity of clot-stimulating prostaglandins.
of blood flow
is an amino acid with many cardiovascular
benefits. It stimulates the production of nitrous oxide (NO), also
known as endothelial derived relaxing factor or EDRF. Some experts
have likened the effect of arginine to "Teflon-coating" of
the arteries, protecting them from cholesterol deposits.
produces significant dilation of the arteries, improving the
flow of blood. It also helps restore normal function of the
endothelial cells, making them more likely to repel fat and
has been reported to have effects on immunity, fertility, wound
healing and production of growth hormone.
Cayenne pepper has long been regarded by
naturopathic doctors as a powerful heart and circulation tonic. It
inhibits platelet aggregation and improves blood flow, sometimes
with immediate results. Some herbalists recommend using it as the
first aid in cases of a suspected heart attack.
is a potent vasodilator, similar in its effects to some medications,
but without all the side effects. It has been reported to reverse
plaque formation on the arterial walls.
is also used for indigestion, gas, physical or mental exhaustion and
lowered vitality, particularly in the elderly.
is by far the most important mineral for cardiovascular health. It
has relaxes the arteries and prevents spasms. It may reduce angina,
cardiovascular spasms and cardiac arrhythmias. Epidemiological
studies have noted a correlation between low magnesium levels and
hospitals now use intravenous magnesium preparations for patients
suffering acute myocardial infarction or severe angina. Magnesium
also improves high-density to low-density lipoprotein ratios as
well as reduce platelet aggregation.
are naturally occurring substances found in most plants. They have
numerous effects in the body, from allergy relief to the stability
of the connective tissues. Bioflavonoids increase the strength of
the arterial wall, improving their ability to dilate (become wider)
and allowing increased blood flow. They also inhibit platelet
aggregation thus preventing the formation of blood clots.