(Health Secrets) Doctors tell us heart disease cannot be cured but instead can only be managed, primarily with drugs such as statins. Likewise, they would have us believe that the best way to prevent cardiovascular problems is through the use of statins and daily aspirin, along with avoiding being overweight. In a sense, the doctors are right – heart disease cannot be healed by mainstream medicine. However, cardiovascular disease can be healed and prevented by nutrition, and what doctors know about the links between diet, weight and heart disease is mostly wrong.
Heart disease is largely caused by improper nutrition and deficiencies in important nutrients and other essential compounds needed for cardiovascular health. Chief among those items are magnesium, coenzymeQ10 (CoQ10), chromium, selenium, silica, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin B6. Instead of addressing these deficiencies, statin drugs actually make some of them worse, and they have effects that are actually detrimental to heart health.
The most common serious side effect of statin drugs is muscle pain and damage – and the heart is the most important and most active muscle in the body as well as one of the largest muscles. Statin drugs’ primary method of action is to interfere with the liver’s function of producing cholesterol. In the process they also interfere with the liver’s production of CoQ10 from selenium. CoQ10 is a primary heart protecting source of energy.
Although the body continues to require selenium throughout life, as people age, the ability to produce CoQ10 from selenium diminishes. This makes supplementing with CoQ10 essential for maintaining heart health throughout the lifetime.
The fact is that there are no benefits derived from statin drugs which cannot be achieved by using a quality superfoods powder. Both chromium and selenium were established as essential minerals for life over half a century ago by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Yet the use of statin drugs is almost universal in mainstream medicine, while the nutritional approach with those two essential mineral nutrients remains known by few and rarely used.
A second mainstream approach for heart problems is daily aspirin. But the effectiveness of daily aspirin is a dangerous marketing myth. Aspirin is actually threatens heart health. All of the early studies on aspirin and heart benefits used a buffered form of aspirin. The buffering agent used was the heart healthy mineral magnesium, and often the buffered aspirin studied contained more magnesium than actual aspirin. In the intervening years no heart benefits have been found in studies on aspirin alone. Nevertheless, the aspirin heart protection myth continues to this day.
The Essential Roles of Magnesium and Vitamins D, B6 and C for Heart Health
Magnesium helps prevent heart attacks, regulates blood pressure and helps ease heart arrhythmia, in addition to having a great many other vital health benefits. Thanks to today’s Standard American Diet (SAD) and mineral depleted soils, it is estimated that anywhere from 80 to 95 percent of us are deficient in magnesium, making the use of a magnesium supplement a good idea.
It was also noted over a half century ago that the mineral silicon found in grains played a vital role in heart health, since it was abundant in healthy hearts and deficient in diseased hearts and blood vessels. Silicon is responsible for both the strength and elasticity of cardiovascular tissue. It also is a semiconductor that is involved in nervous system message transmissions and is likely important for the heart’s electrical functions.
In the 1960s, the only known consequence of Vitamin D deficiency in adults was osteomalacia, a form of bone softening. Administration of 200 IU per day of Vitamin D was just enough to prevent osteomalacia. More recent Vitamin D research, however, has uncovered the fact that exposure to just 10-20 minutes of sunlight yielded the blood-level equivalent of 10,000 units of Vitamin D taken orally.
Abundant evidence now points to the numerous cardioprotective functions of Vitamin D. Restoring Vitamin D to normal levels has been found to help reduce inflammation, normalize blood pressure, and improve insulin sensitivity – all factors that reduce heart disease risk.
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to diminish contractile function of heart muscle cells, contribute to endothelial dysfunction, distort heart muscle structure, and increase smooth muscle growth, leading to atherosclerotic plaque formation. Low levels of serum Vitamin D have been linked with congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to keep up with the body’s demands for blood and oxygen. A recent analysis showed that individuals with low serum levels of Vitamin D had higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated triglycerides.
Almost fifty years ago Dr. Harry McCully, Harvard graduate, researcher and professor, found that the amino acid homocysteine was elevated in people who had heart disease as a result of a deficiency in Vitamin B6. It took decades before his findings received wide attention, and even now this key nutritional fact is widely ignored by mainstream medicine.
One doctor who did take note of McCully’s information was MD John Ellis, who began incorporating it into his medical practice and research more than 40 years ago. Ellis, who went on to literally write the book on Vitamin B6 (Vitamin B6, The Doctor’s Report), proved in clinical research that patients with heart problems who were put on a high dose Vitamin B6 had far fewer heart episodes and lived significantly longer.
Dr. Matthias Rath found that atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes are not diseases but rather are the direct result of long-term vitamin deficiency. Rath determined that heart disease is an early form of sailor’s scurvy, which is caused by weakening of the arterial walls due to a deficiency in Vitamin C.
Rath points out that, while the arteries, veins and capillaries in our body are in effect a pipeline that is 60,000 miles long, the pipeline fails in 90% of the cases in one specific spot that is but a mere billionth of that total: the coronary arteries. If high cholesterol were the problem, it would cause clogs everywhere, not just at one spot. Rath also asked why we get arteriosclerosis, but not venosclerosis since the cholesterol and the infection theory would inevitably lead to clogging of veins and capillaries too.
The solution to the puzzle of cardiovascular disease, Rath maintains, must therefore lie in the explanation of coronary artery plaques which form in the presence of weakened and damaged arteries. Just as it does in sailor’s scurvy, Vitamin C induces the natural repair of the blood vessel wall in cardiovascular disease, leading to a halt in progression and even to natural regression of vascular lesions. Famed researcher Dr. Linus Pauling recommended doses of Vitamin C up to 10,000 mg per day for optimal health.
The Overlooked Importance of Iodine
An often overlooked mineral that may be essential for heart health is iodine. As reported by Dr. William Davis, there is a fascinating study on rabbits buried deep in the medical literature of the early 20th century which provides some insights into the importance of iodine for heart health.
In 1933, Dr. Kenneth Turner of Harvard Medical School conducted a series of experiments in which he fed groups of rabbits a terrible diet of unhealthy fats that caused flagrant atherosclerosis in the aorta. All of the 21 rabbits in the control group developed extensive atherosclerosis, and their total cholesterol averaged 520 mg/dl.
However, in the group of 12 rabbits which were fed the horrible diet with the addition of potassium iodine, only 1 rabbit developed atherosclerosis and had total cholesterol averages of 183 mg/dl. Sadly, mainstream medicine has largely ignored the link between iodine and heart health, and there have been no human studies regarding the link almost 80 years after Dr. Turner’s rabbit studies.
The Misunderstood Link between Weight and Heart Disease
Mainstream medical science maintains that obesity is the cause of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and practically anything else that ails you. However, what has puzzled many researchers is why there are overweight people who somehow stay metabolically fit and have no high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol.
Researchers need look no further for the answer to that puzzle than the Framington Heart Studies, which have been ongoing for over 50 years. It is those studies that have brought widespread understanding of how a traditional Mediterranean diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and olive oil is able to prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The kicker is that traditional peoples on such a diet are also often quite overweight and make many Americans with heart disease and other problems look skinny by comparison. The obvious reason for the difference is that if you are overweight because you like to eat healthy foods, then obesity is not likely to result in disease because a healthy foods diet provides plenty of nutrients to support the extra weight. On the other hand, if you are overweight due to eating excessive unhealthy foods such as found in the typical American diet, the link between weight and cardiovascular health is obvious. The key is nutrient density, or in other words “you are what you eat.”
The Lack of Essential Heart Nutrition in our Foods
The lack of natural nutrition and the use of corporate sponsored supplementation found in foods today is likely a leading contributor to heart disease. Studies have shown that the type of Vitamin D fortification common in our foods actually results in hardening of the arteries and heart disease, whereas natural Vitamin D obtained from sunlight is vital to heart health. One example is milk. It is not the fat in milk that makes it unhealthy; it is the pasteurization and homogenization processes which destroy all of the genuine Vitamin D and B6. Then 4 times more counterfeit Vitamin D is added back in than what was originally there!
Another example is bleached white flour. A hundred years ago we consumed only a tiny amount of such flour. Today that single item makes up 20 percent of the average American diet. Bleaching flour removes over 90 percent of the silicon, selenium and chromium and more than 75 percent of Vitamin B6.
Most of the processed foods on our grocers’ shelves have had vital nutrients processed out and often harmful additives processed in to enhance shelf life, taste, color and texture. Often those processed foods are then “fortified” with fake vitamins made from ground up rocks, petroleum by-products and coal tar derivatives as a marketing gimmick.
The Need for Supplementation
Food alone may not be enough to prevent heart disease, much less reverse it. Thanks to over-farming and failure to replenish vital minerals in our soils, most of the vegetables and fruits that should be healthy for our hearts are far less nutritious than those eaten by our grandparents. It is estimated, for example, that the bowl of spinach our grandparents ate contained fully 8 times as much nutrition as the bowl we eat today.
The sad state of our food makes supplements an integral part of the nutrition picture. The best supplements are those derived from whole food sources.
Cayenne pepper has a wealth of cardiovascular benefits, including strengthening, stimulating and toning the heart, balancing circulation, and calming palpitations.
Garlic inhibits LDL cholesterol production and raises production of HDL cholesterol. Trials have demonstrated garlic’s promise in normalizing blood pressure, preventing blood platelet aggregation, and improving circulation.
Hawthorn, a favorite of famed Herbalist John Christopher, improves oxygen and blood supply, and is rich in flavonoids that protect small capillary vessels from free-radical damage. Hawthorn has been used effectively against angina, arrhythmia, arteriosclerosis, blood clots, and hypertension.
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