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Heart

Our heart and cardiovascular system is subject to the degenerative problems that beset health and longevity in the industrialised western countries and which have increased significantly throughout the 20th century. Heart failure is responsible for at least 40% of deaths. Those races renown for longevity do not suffer the same problems and retain robust cardiovascular health and energy. Pharmaceutical and medical intervention may limit health issues but they do not generally prevent degeneration nor restore full health. The heart, associated blood vessels and connective tissues require high levels of nutrients to prevent and offset challenges to their tissue’s integrity, to their immunity from disease or toxins and to premature ageing. Self-help may be appropriate but precaution is needed when under medical supervision for a identified problem or taking related medication.

Key points:

  • Prevent and reduce atherosclerosis by the right diet that limits levels of triglycerides and oxidation of cholesterol. Keep sugar (and starch) intake low especially in the presence of fatty acids.

  • Include in the diet and through supplementation, high levels of anti-oxidants and bioflavonoids to minimise damage to blood vessels and thereby retard ageing factors

  • Add nutrients to offset key shortages in our diet and reduce damage from environmental & lifestyle factors

  • If we encounter cardiovascular problems then consider nutritional programmes that can improve oxygenation, blood flow and reduce adverse metabolic effects.

  • Specific supplementary nutrients can enhance physical and bio-chemical properties and improve longevity

Heart and cardiovascular system problems are intertwined. A problem with blood flow through arteries can ultimately affect heart tissues and heart operation. Atherosclerosis relates to degeneration in the condition of the major blood vessels and potentially damaging blood clots that may arise. Diets and nutrients can have major effects on the emergence and development of this condition. Some information is provided below on natural remedies and nutrition for common conditions or heart related issues. The role of natural remedies in these conditions is (a) to help prevent these conditions developing or worsening and (b) to enhance and support conventional treatment with the supervision of your medical advisors. Any disease that adversely affects the heart and disrupts circulation can lead to heart failure; the single most common cause of which is coronary artery disease which limits blood flow to the heart muscle and can lead to a heart attack.

Usually the earliest signs of cardiovascular problems are hypertension, or arrhythmias, angina or even fatigue. Cholesterol assessments are not accurate indicators of heart or stroke risks. Homocysteine or Lipoprotein(a) blood evaluations are stronger indicators. There is good evidence to show that oxidized cholesterol and high triglycerides will cause more risks of atherosclerosis. Clearly diabetics, or those with other blood quality problems, are at greater risk to ageing, injury or hardening of blood vessels. Generally, to take measures that improve blood sugar control and improve the quality of blood lipids (essential fatty acids) can improve most aspects of cardiovascular risks. High blood sugars from food intake along with poor quality fats will increase blood triglycerides and thereby lead to more oxidized cholesterol and consequently more build-up of plaques in the blood vessels. As a human race we were evolved to store more body fat (for winter month’s energy) during the seasons when high levels of both sugar(fruits) and fats were available… but not the whole year round as is the case with refined, adulterated and high starch laden modern diets.

There is good evidence to indicate that selective diets can reduce these risks. Paleo diets, low calorie/low carbohydrate(low GL) diets, 5:2 diets and balance vegetarian diets can all improve health parameters- provided that sufficient protein and sufficient essential fatty acids are included. Those with digestion issues or food intolerance problems need to address those factors as well. A good proportion of raw food (preferably organic) with its higher enzyme and antioxidant content will be important for heart health.

 Processing of food by cooking, or other treatments, can  reduce food micronutrient status and increase some toxins. Supplementation is often vital to make-up for inadequate food chain quality and to offset environmental/lifestyle factors, as well as trying to repair conditions. Historically, diets containing transfats, high sugar levels, high sodium content, and inadequate levels and balance of essential fatty acids have been responsible for poor heart health. Local or geographic factors also contribute because of low mineral and vitamin D contents.

Magnesium, which is a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, is a mineral essential for normal cell metabolism and function. Low dietary levels of magnesium are associated with increased rates of hypertension, heart arrhythmias, ischemic heart disease, and sudden cardiac death. Low levels of magnesium have been found in the hearts and blood vessels of patients with angina, coronary artery disease, and also in patients who have died of ischemic heart disease related sudden death.

Co-enzyme Q10 is a vital nutrient for cellular energy and thereby muscular strength. As we age the levels of Co-enzyme Q10 naturally reduce and if these levels become too low from effects of illness, stress or medication (e.g. statins) then significant muscular weaknesses can arise. The heart functioning can be affected. Improved recovery after heart failure has been found using high levels of Co-enzyme Q10 and Selenium. The medication of statins can reduce both of these nutrients. Lower Selenium  levels will affect anti-oxidant and thereby immune condition.