Just for the Health of It

Natural Health Care and the Heart

Nutrition is a vital part of good heart health. While much focus is placed on dietary fats, antioxidants, vitamins and nutraceuticals can help to improve cardiovascular health. Antioxidants are cardioprotective. Atherosclerotic plaques are formed long before the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease is made. Antioxidant vitamins protect against plaque formation, according to a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (August, 2002). Antioxidants can also help protect against high blood pressure.

In the American Heart Association Journal, Circulation (November, 2002), the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is discussed. Omega-3 fatty acids make the blood less likely to form clots that cause heart attack as well as protect against irregular heartbeats that can cause sudden cardiac death.

In the journal, Cardiovascular Reviews and Reports, (volume 4, number 8, 8/18/03 Role of Nutriceutical Agents in Cardiovascular Diseases: An Update — Part I), a number of natural health strategies are discussed. Nitric oxide helps to relax and to protect the lining of the arteries. The amino acid, arginine helps with the production of nitric oxide. The article makes note of a few small studies that show the benefit of L-arginine supplementation, which improves coronary blood flow, decreases inflammatory chemicals, and improves angina symptoms. It has even shown to be beneficial to patients suffering from congestive heart failure.

Taurine, another essential amino acid, is also mentioned in  the article. Taurine is present in the myocardium, and deficiency has been associated with cardiomyopathy. Cases of cardiomyopathy have responded to taurine supplementation, according to the article (Cardiovascular Reviews and Reports, (volume 4, number 8, 8/18/03 Role of Nutriceutical Agents in Cardiovascular Diseases: An Update — Part I). Once again, small clinical studies seem to support the value of taurine.

The article also cited studies supporting the use of Co Q-10. One five-year study, involving 126 patients showed improvement in congestive heart failure patients-without any adverse effects. Another study showed that Co Q-10 supplementation improved blood pressure, reduced left ventricular hypertrophy and improved exercise capacity in heart patients. One group of authors proposed that Co Q-10 supplementation could help increase the amount of time heart transplant patients could wait for a donor heart.

Vitamin K has anticoagulant activity (Thromb Haemost, 2005;205(93):799-800). Vitamin K2 carboxylates matrix GLA protein, which is the most powerful and abundant inhibitor of arterial calcification (quoting Dr. Mark Houston’s presentation on the subject).
The benefits Co Q10 and resveratrol can be seen elsewhere in this newsletter. VasculoSirtTM contains CoQ10, Vitamin K2, resveratrol, acetyl L- carnitine, R-alpha lipoic acid and B complex vitamins and is designed to improve blood flow.

Nutritional support and other aspects of natural health care can be of great value-even when traditional medical treatment must be utilized. Natural health care treats the patient-not the disease. It is always a valuable approach, no matter what the disease process.

Dr. Paul Varnas, DC, DACBN is a practicing Chiropractor and Natural Health provider in the Chicago, Illioois area. Dr. Varnas is also a published author, entreprenuer and public speaker promoting the benefits of natural healthcare and whole body welness throughout the country. His Whole Health America organization provides a variety of information and value added services to natural care practitioners everywhere.

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