(Health Secrets Newsletter) Irregular heartbeats, technically known as cardiac arrhythmias, put more than 850,000 people in the hospital every year in the U.S. That number is expected to increase as the population ages. Many others are treated on an outpatient basis for frightening erratic heartbeats that can feel like the heart is doing flutters and flip-flops. Drugs are often prescribed but don’t always work, and patients are started down a path that can end up with heart surgery. The good news is that recent research has identified two natural, easily obtained substances that can restore heartbeats to normal.
The theory that if you give your body what it needs it will heal itself is often the basis for research studies into natural substances. With this theory in mind, researchers at George Eby Research Institute in Texas searched for nutrient deficiencies that cause irregular heartbeats such as premature contractions, atrial fibrillation, and sinus pauses. They found a wealth of literature supporting the amino acids taurine and arginine as common nutrients deficient in people with irregular heartbeats.
The researchers studied case histories of people with very frequent irregular heartbeats and found that 10 to 20 grams of taurine per day reduced premature atrial contractions by 50% and prevented all premature ventricular contractions, but did not prevent pauses in heartbeats. They found that the addition of 4 to 6 grams of arginine immediately terminated essentially all remaining pauses and premature atrial contractions.
These findings mean that the combination of taurine and arginine was able to stop all commonly caused irregular heartbeats. Taurine prevented irregular heartbeats by regulating potassium, calcium and sodium levels in the blood and tissues of the heart, regulating excitability of the myocardium, and protecting against free radical damage. The scientists noted that irregular heartbeats may respond to taurine because it dampens activity of the sympathetic nervous system and dampens epinephrine release. Arginine’s effectiveness at stopping irregular heartbeats may result from its role as a nitric oxide precursor and from its ability to restore sinus rhythm spontaneously.
According to Dr. George Eby, the lead researcher and founder of the Institute, the body’s production of both taurine and arginine may decline as people age, with the result that cardiac rhythms are upset. Taurine and arginine, which are considered conditional essential nutrients in younger people, then become completely essential and require supplementation to prevent morbidity and mortality.
Dr. Eby was a natural to make these discoveries. He believes that most chronic diseases are the result of certain nutritional deficiencies, especially zinc and magnesium. In older people deficiencies of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, taurine and arginine are also added as prime factors in the establishment of a disease state.
According to Dr. Eby, disease needs to be addressed by nutrition rather than drugs. He believes that natural alternatives should be the mainstream of medicine, with drugs used only as last ditch alternatives. He thinks the power of marketing has greatly overshadowed biomedical science, and people now opt for expensive drug treatments rather than nearly free natural treatments.
Taurine regulates the minerals in the heart
The body’s supply of taurine is concentrated primarily in the heart muscle, white blood cells, skeletal muscles, and nervous system. Taurine is a building block of all the other amino acids as well as a key factor in the production of bile. Adequate levels of bile are needed for the proper digestion of fats, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and the regulation of cholesterol. Any dysfunction in these areas suggests taurine deficiency.
Taurine is vital for the proper utilization of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and is instrumental in preventing potassium loss from the heart. Taurine deficiency is often paired with zinc deficiency, and may be used with zinc as treatment for breast cancer. Diabetes increases the body’s requirement for taurine, and supplementation with taurine and another amino acid, cystine, may decrease the need for insulin.
Taurine is protective of the brain, and is often used to treat anxiety, epilepsy, and seizures. Children’s brains have four times the amount of taurine found in the brains of adults, making it an ideal treatment for children with hyperactivity. It may also benefit children with Down syndrome and muscular dystrophy.
Taurine is found in eggs, fish, meat and milk, but not in vegetable proteins. It can be synthesized from cysteine in the liver and from the amino acid methionine elsewhere in the body. Synthesis requires adequate levels of vitamin B6.
Arginine regulates heart metabolism and keeps people looking great
Arginine is important for muscle metabolism, healthy circulation and maintaining proper nitrogen balance. It is also a powerful cancer fighter retarding the growth of tumors by enhancing immune function. It increases the size and activity of the thymus gland, the maker of the T cells that are the foot soldiers of the immune system.
Arginine is one of nature’s beauty treatments. It is found in high concentrations in the skin and connective tissues where it slows the thinning and wrinkling of skin so typical of aging. It is a component of the collagen that provides the underlying matrix for skin, keeping it firm and preventing sagging.
Arginine aids weight loss by facilitating an increase in muscle mass and a reduction of body fat. It is also involved in the production of enzymes and hormones. Arginine supplementation can increase the level of HGH, the hormone that promotes vigor and good health, and slows the aging process. It helps build new bone and tendon cells, and can be helpful for those with arthritis and connective tissue disorders.
Insulin production, glucose tolerance, and liver lipid metabolism are impaired in a body that is deficient in arginine. Foods that provide good amounts of this amino acid include carob, chocolate, coconut, dairy products, gelatin, meat, oats, peanuts, walnuts, wheat, and wheat germ. Chocolate craving may be a sign that arginine levels are low.
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