Heart attacks were practically unknown in the nineteenth century. Prior to 1925, there was almost no knowledge of the illness that today we call myocardial infarction. By the early 1940's, heart attacks were the leading cause of death among American men, and by 1984, they had become the leading cause of death for American women.
|Myocardial infarction (MI): death of heart muscle, commonly caused by a massive blood clot leading to obstruction of a coronary artery and consequent death of a portion of the muscle of the heart. In common language, a heart attack.
|Cholesterol in Perspective:
“For nearly four decades I was a staunch advocate of the anti-cholesterol crusade. I talked the merits of margarine at schools and libraries. I lectured at men's clubs about the evils of eggs. Despite my diet of whole milk, rich butter and daily eggs as a farm boy, I raised my family on skim milk, and almost complete absence of eggs and margarine. So great was my brainwashing during my 23 years of duty as a family doctor that I counseled thousands of my often-bewildered patients about the heretofore unknown evils of eggs, milk and butter.
“Often times I could see skepticism in their eyes but I was the doctor, parroting what the pharmaceutical industry, AMA and AHA told me. How could I be wrong? I wrote thousands of prescriptions for whatever cholesterol buster was in vogue at the time. I regarded the first statin as a boon to mankind. I now am humbled at my colossal ignorance, never suspecting that all this time I had been led astray by my naivety, my unfailing allegiance and faith in "those in charge". It never occurred to me to challenge.
“Now we find that cholesterol seemingly has little to nothing to do with cardiovascular disease. It is the most important biochemical in our bodies. Inflammation it now appears is the true cause of cardiovascular disease, according to many researchers.”
- Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
|Erectile Dysfunction, ED, is an early sign of heart disease. The small capillaries in the penis are asked to do a big job. If the capillaries suffer from reduced blood flow, say hello to ED.
IT'S NOT NICE TO FOOL MOTHER NATURE
We began to "manufacture" food. One of the first unnatural ventures was the creation of margarine, patented in 1873. After Word War ll, the food processing industry was off and running and its advertising messages were relentless.
Experts writing for the Weston A. Price Foundation explain it:
"Representatives of [refined sweeteners, white flour and vegetable oils] have worked behind the scenes to erect the huge edifice of the "lipid hypothesis" – the untenable theory that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease and cancer. All one has to do is look at the statistics to know that it isn't true. Butter consumption at the turn of the century was eighteen pounds per person per year, and the use of vegetable oils almost nonexistent, yet cancer and heart disease were rare. Today vegetable oil consumption has soared – and cancer and heart disease are endemic.
Margarine represented the introduction of trans-fats, vegetable oils that are partially hydrogenated to be semi-hard, like Crisco, at room temperature. As our consumption of trans-fats rose, so did the number of heart attacks. Trans-fats interfere with the normal function of the cells, and stiffen the walls of the red blood cells, which roughs up the arteries.
Butter on the other hand, contains nutrients which protect against plaque and heart disease:
"What the research really shows is that both refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils cause imbalances in the blood and at the cellular level that lead to an increased tendency to form blood clots, leading to myocardial infarction. The "artery clogging" fats are not animal fats but vegetable oils."
We also were persuaded to stop using un-hydrogenated coconut oil which has antiviral and antimicrobial characteristics. Yet, populations that consume virgin coconut oil have low rates of heart disease. When virgin coconut oil was fed to patients recovering from heart attacks, the patients had greater improvement compared to untreated patients.
- Vitamin A – needed for the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands, both of which play a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system. Butter is the best and most easily absorbed source of vitamin A.
- Anti-oxidants – protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens arteries. Vitamins A and E found in butter both play a strong anti-oxidant role. Butter is also a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant."
Harvard scientists took the first worldwide look at the effects of eating meat, They reviewed 1,600 studies involving over 1.2 million people around the world, and concluded in 2010 that, "The consumption of processed meats, rather than red meats, was associated with increased incidence of coronary heart disease." [5A] Things like bacon, sausage, pepperoni, hot dogs, and lunch meat contain chemicals, preservatives, and additives. Often they are smoked, cured, or salted. This was a landmark study that clarified that "clean" meats are indeed healthy; it is manufactured, processed meat that is the problem. When you eat processed meat with additives, you get four times the sodium and twice as many nitrates. Salt drives up your blood pressure. Nitrates cause plaque to build up in your arteries. [5B]
Starting in the 1980s, sun screen makers and dermatologists persuaded us to hide from the natural rays of the sun. Big mistake. Vitamin D deficiency is now rampant. It turns out that one of the many benefits of the "sunshine vitamin" is a healthy heart. Studies have linked vitamin D to the regulation of blood pressure, glucose control, and inflammation, all of which are important risk factors related to heart disease.
A 2009 study by researchers at the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City suggests that inadequate levels of vitamin D may significantly increase a person's risk of stroke, heart disease, and death, even among people who've never had heart disease. "We concluded that among patients 50 years of age or older, even a moderate deficiency of vitamin D levels was associated with developing coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and death," says Heidi May, PhD, MS, an epidemiologist with the Intermountain Medical Center research team and one of the study authors. "This is important because vitamin D deficiency is easily treated."
The realization that chronic inflammation plays a big role in heart disease and other chronic diseases gained traction when the Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery that stress did not, in and of itself, cause stomach ulcers. Rather ulcers were caused by inflammation triggered by the bacterium H. pylori.
"It's hard now to think of a medical specialty that doesn't concern itself in part with the study of inflammation," said Carl Nathan, chairman of the department of microbiology and immunology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. "It can go anywhere – lung, heart, blood vessels, brain, wherever."
Inflammation is the body's response to the presence of noxious substances – trans fats, heavy metals, high blood sugar levels, cigarette smoke, toxic chemicals, stress, bacterial infections. Inflammatory stimulants release proteins – cytokines – that trigger an inflammatory cascade. The cytokines make the arterial wall sticky, which attracts immune system cells called monocytes. The monocytes squeeze into the artery wall. Once inside, they can form what is called "vulnerable plaque" with a thin covering. Vulnerable plaques may not even show up on tests because their thin shape does not narrow the artery appreciably.
"I think the first thing we have is an epidemic of unhealthy lifestyle," said Peter Libby, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "And the way in which the lifestyle is wreaking its havoc is through inflammation."
Infection and Immune System Challenges
Research indicates that infection has an inflammatory role in atherosclerosis. Fingers of blame point to the infectious bacteria Chlamydia pneumoniae; it may travel from the lungs to the heart via immune system cells. The herpes simplex virus has also been proposed as an inflammatory infectious agent in atherosclerosis.
Studies of arteries taken from people who died of coronary heart disease reveal evidence of some form of infection. People with high levels of inflammatory cells are more likely to develop heart disease.
The Northern Manhattan Study, reported in early 2010, showed that the extent of people's exposure to infectious diseases may contribute to their development of carotid plaque. Previous research showed that the burden of infectious disease is related to stroke risk. The current findings suggest that atherosclerosis may be the mechanism underlying this link.
Dental root canals are often a focus of chronic infection, which can affect the entire system, just as water dripping every day from a leaky pipe eventually fills the bucket. Weston Price, a former Director of Research for the American Dental Association, observed that the removal of root canal teeth from patients with kidney or heart disease would typically lead to an improvement. When he inserted a removed root canal tooth under the skin of a rabbit, the rabbit would die within two days. When he implanted normal teeth there was no adverse health effect, the rabbit survived.[10a]
Homocysteine levels are more valuable than cholesterol levels in providing an accurate assessment of cardiovascular health. Elevated homocysteine is considered an independent risk factor for heart disease. Levels must be kept low to help prevent plaque buildup on blood vessel walls. High levels may make blood clot more easily than it should.
Homocysteine is an amino acid used in the body's detoxification cycle, involving methylation and sulfation, the body's way of getting rid of toxins. Supplementation of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid, together with betaine, are an excellent way to decrease homocysteine levels and decrease the risk of developing heart disease.
Forget cholesterol. Cholesterol screening fails to identify 50 percent of the people who have heart attacks in the United States each year, because their total cholesterol is either normal or only moderately elevated. The better measurement is for cardiovascular disease is C-reactive protein (CRP). This marker is produced by the liver as a response to injury or infection and is a sign of inflammation in the body. Research correlates high levels of CRP with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Elevated levels of CRP could mean that some part of the cardiovascular system is inflamed, which can lead to stroke or heart attack.
In the 1990s, Dr. Paul Ridker, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, became convinced that some sort of inflammatory reaction was responsible for "bursting plaques," and he began studying CPR levels. By 1997, Ridker and his colleagues had shown that healthy middle-aged men with the highest CRP levels were three times as likely to suffer a heart attack in the next six years as were those with the lowest CRP levels.
CRP can enhance destruction of arterial lining cells, activate adhesion molecules and blood clotting factors, and interfere with substances that increase circulation to the heart.
Insulin and Leptin Resistance
Research has linked insulin resistance and more recently leptin resistance to cardiovascular disease much more strongly than cholesterol, and they are in fact at least partially responsible for cholesterol abnormalities. [13a] Insulin and leptin resistance result in "small dense" LDL particles and a greater number of particles.
This is much more important than the total cholesterol number. Because of particle size shift to small and dense, the total LDL cholesterol could still be low even though the number of particles and the density of the particles is greater. Small, dense LDL particles can squeeze between the cells lining the inside of the arteries, the "gap junction" of the endothelium, where they can get stuck and potentially oxidize, turn rancid, and potentially turn rancid (i.e. oxidize), and cause inflammation of the lining of the arteries and plaque formation.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, makes the heart work extra hard and hardens artery walls, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The top number of a blood pressure reading, the systolic pressure, represents the force of blood in the arteries as the heart beats. The bottom number, diastolic pressure, is the force of blood in the arteries as the heart relaxes between beats. A blood pressure level of 140 over 90 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) or higher is considered high.
Poor eating habits and physical inactivity both contribute to high blood pressure. Refined table salt increases average levels of blood pressure, and this effect is greater in some people than in others. An increased body burden of heavy metals has also been shown to cause high blood pressure.
Fibrin is a protein produced by the body in response to infectious illnesses. Fibrin gets plastered up against the blood vessel walls and restricts the movement of oxygen into the tissues. The tissues become oxygen-starved, and start producing lactic acid. If unchecked, over-production of lactic acid leads to death of the myocardial cells.
Also, bacteria, viruses – bugs – hide very well in fibrin coatings, adding to your load of low-grade, chronic infections.
NO – Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide may do more good than any prescription drug to prevent a heart attack. Nitric oxide is essential for healthy circulation. It helps dilate blood vessels, prevent blood clots, and regulate blood pressure. It also inhibits the accumulation of dangerous arterial plaque. It is an antioxidant that inhibits the passage of monocytes, a type of immune cell, into the artery wall. This reduces the underlying inflammation that promotes plaque.
Healthy coronary arteries are clean, smooth, and slick. The artery walls are flexible and can expand to let more blood through when the heart needs to work harder, thanks to nitric oxide. The disease process in arteries begins with an injury to the linings and walls of the arteries. Unfortunately, beginning in early adulthood, nitric oxide levels gradually decline, most often due to damage to the endothelial cells caused by such factors as an inflammatory diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
A 14-year study of 1,871 men found those with the highest levels of mercury in their hair had a 60 percent increased risk of an acute coronary event and a nearly 70 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death compared with men with lower mercury levels. Men with the highest levels of mercury in their hair, which is a standard method of measuring mercury in the body, consumed more than two times the amount of fish as those with the lowest levels.
The study also found that high mercury concentrations in the body reduced the heart-protective effects of the fatty acids in fish oils. Researchers hypothesized that mercury promotes free radicals in the body, which can harm cell membranes and tissues, and at the same time reduce the body's ability to protect against the formation of the free radicals, increasing the vulnerability to heart attack and death.
An average-sized amalgam filling contains 750,000 micrograms of mercury and releases around 10 micrograms a day. See www.iaomt.org/videos/
Herbert Needleman, the scientist who did more than any other to document the toxicity of lead to developing brains, wrote, "Sensitivity to mercury toxicity may have a genetic basis." Variations in a gene called coproporphyrinogen oxidase (CPOX4) "altered the impact of mercury on cognitive and mood scores."
Approximately 1 out 4 people in the U.S. has the sensitive-to-mercury gene.
Besides fish and coal-fired power plants, a common exposure is "silver" fillings. More than half of an amalgam filling is made up of mercury, a metal more poisonous than lead. It is now accepted that fillings constantly emit mercury vapor, which then and it makes its way into the bloodstream and organs.
Study after study has shown that mercury negatively affects the heart. Here's a sampling of the findings:
Chinese Medicine tells us another reason why mercury fillings in the molars trigger heart attacks. Every tooth has a separate acupuncture meridian running though major organs in the body. The heart meridian runs right through the wisdom teeth sites.
- Mercury causes hypertension by contracting smooth muscle in arterial walls.[18,19],
- Mercury affected the ability of heart muscle to contract, accumulating in both heart muscle and valves. Damage was evident from ECG changes and through histological studies.
- Various mercury compounds in low concentrations accelerated blood clotting.
- Subjects with amalgam fillings had significantly higher blood pressure, lower heart rate and lower hemoglobin counts. They also had a greater incidence of chest pains, tachycardia, anemia and fatigue, and became tired easily and awoke feeling tired.
Patients with periodontal disease are perhaps two times as likely to suffer a fatal heart attack and nearly three times as likely to suffer a stroke as those without gum and bone disease.
A metallic filling of any sort, including gold, usually exhibits some form of battery-like action, generating microvoltages in each filled tooth that can interfere with the body's natural electronic field. Conventional acupuncture theory recognizes that teeth are significant points along recognized acupuncture meridians and that any foreign voltages generated on these meridians can disturb the body's natural state of health.
The Chinese call the heart the Emperor organ. All emotions are perceived by the heart. Emotions may not be expressed, but they are all perceived by the heart. If we grow up in a family where heart disease is an issue, it may be that on a subconscious level we learned that any emotional imbalance may express itself as heart disease. Energetic medicine can address those blockages.
The allopathic medical world relies on drugs and surgery. Study after study says the surgical procedures are not working well. A study published January 15, 2009 in New England Journal of Medicine found that people with clogged heart arteries are being overtreated with stents. Fewer deaths, heart attacks, and repeat procedures occurred when doctors implanted fewer of these tiny artery props, and when doctors used the blood-flow test to decide when they were truly needed.
An angioplasty procedure pushes a balloon into a blood vessel to flatten the blockage, leaving a stent to prop the artery open. A stent is a foreign object in the body; it incites an immune/inflammatory response. This may cause scar tissue to grow rapidly over the stent. Also, there is a strong tendency for clots to form at the site where the stent damages the arterial wall.
American heart surgeons install about a million stents annually. Stents are less commonly used in Europe.
Stents and by-pass surgeries don't address the causes of heart disease. Statins are anti-inflammatory, and that is a help. But they also come with side effects because they suppress the body's normal production of cholesterol which is not good – cholesterol is a powerhouse anti-oxidant.
Blood tends to get more viscous (sticky, thick) thanks to inflammatory diet, inflammatory heavy metals like mercury, chronic infections, lack of nutrients (especially B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin D, and omega-3s), and lack of exercise. Thick blood roughs up the arterial walls.
As a result of disease in the small vessels, heart cells suffer from inadequate oxygen and nutrient supply. Lactic acid begins to collect in the tissues. Because the heart, unlike your leg muscles, cannot rest, the acidosis can lead to actual death of the myocardial cells. If it's just a couple of cells, we may not feel it. If it's a whole section of the heart, it hurts a lot and we call it a heart attack.
Chelation is the Solution
Chelation has long been a successful, non-invasive treatment for heart disease. A common misperception is that it works like Drano to "rotor rooter" the arteries, get rid of the calcified plaques. Wrong. Plaque reversal is not the primary mechanism of action with chelation therapy.
It is established that 70% to 85% of sudden heart attack and stroke deaths are due to the rupture of vulnerable, non-calcified arterial plaque and subsequent clot formation - what Dr. Ridker calls popcorn kernel-like ruptures.[24,24a,25], Researchers are realizing that many people who have heart attacks do not have arteries severely narrowed by plaque. Scientists at the Texas Heart Institute have discovered that vulnerable plaque has a low pH (is more acidic) and that such acidic plaques are more likely to rupture.[25a]
For chelating agents, we use EthyleneDiamineTetraAcetic acid (EDTA), a synthetic amino acid. We often combine it with vitamin C and possibly other supplementation, and it is typically given in a series of IVs delivered once a week for perhaps 30 weeks. EDTA removes mercury later in the sequence of heavy metals than DMPS, dimercapto propane sulfonate. DMPS is used preferentially for elevated body burden of mercury, because it binds more tightly to mercury. DMSA, dimercapto succinic acid, is an oral sulfur-containing chelating agent which also has a high binding coefficient for mercury.
Chelation came to the forefront in the 1950s because it successfully treated cases of lead poisoning among those who worked in factories making batteries, and among U.S. sailors who painted ships with lead-based paints. EDTA grabs onto metals and escorts them out of the body. It was noticed that people with heart disease also improved with chelation. It is estimated that over one million patients have received intravenous chelation therapy.
Chelation works because:
Because chelation is not approved by the American Heart Association, insurance companies do not cover it. Many practitioners feel the AHA is protecting the economic interests of the pharmaceutical industry. In 2003, the National Institutes of Health launched the first large scale study of chelation for patients with coronary artery disease. Hundreds of medical clinics across the country are participating in this five year, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. We are not. This study was long resisted by the holistic community because many view double-blind studies as unethical; they require withholding treatments from participants who receive just a placebo.
- It removes heavy metals which trigger chronic inflammation.
- The removal of toxic metals restores the ability of the cells which line arteries to produce nitric oxide, keeping arteries dilated and fending off free radicals. Lead interferes with all zinc mediated enzymes which include nitric oxide syntheses so lower lead leads to improved conversion of dietary arginine to nitric oxide.
- Blood flow is increased.
- Viscosity is lowered, meaning thick blood becomes thinner.
- It is anti-viral so it reduces chronic infections – this is one of the reasons chelation is also a vital part of the treatment of autistic children.
- It increases production of nitric oxide which dilates arteries.
- Vitamin D is often part of the supplementation, and vitamin D is an anti-calcifying agent.
The study has completed enrollment of patients. Participants will continue to be followed through 2011, and the results will be analyzed in 2012.[26a]
In the 1950s, the Shute brothers documented the use of Vitamin E to prevent and treat heart disease. Data also indicated that intravenous magnesium could reduce deaths from heart attacks. It makes sense – the closer we stay to the natural elements designed by nature, the healthier we are. Magnesium helps the blood vessels to relax, providing better circulation to heart cells.
At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we combine chelation with nutritional supplementation. Depending upon the cardiac patient, here are a few examples of what we may use:
We also talk to you about getting mercury fillings and root canals removed by a biological dentist – toxicity in the mouth represents an on-going source of trouble. We can detoxify the body and the colon with colonics. And we introduce you to FirstLine Therapy to talk about exercise and the anti-inflammatory diet. Because after all, nutritional deficiencies and sedentary lifestyle is where this whole subject began.
- D-ribose, a naturally occurring sugar that feeds the heart muscle. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) exists in all our cells; it is the primary energy source for many metabolic processes. Your body needs ribose to make ATP.
- CoQ10 is also absolutely essential to the ATP production process. It supplies the cellular energy necessary for the heart to pump well and reduces LDL oxidation.
- Vitamin K2 because it regulates mineralization of bone and prevents calcification of blood vessels. Arteries without atherosclerosis (plaque) have a 20-50 fold increase in Vitamin K2 concentration than arteries with plaque in the same human body. Arteries with vitamin K2 were found to be more flexible and elastic than other arteries.
- Proteolytic enzymes to attack the fibrin that forms from inflammation. Fibrin is like the rebar holding plaque together. Fibrin is also a great place for infectious bacteria to hide. Enzymes break down the protein coating on the surface of the bug so the immune system can see it and get rid of it.
- Fish oils and "baby aspirin" to decrease the viscosity (thickness) of the blood and lessen the stickiness of platelets thus reducing the odds of having a blood clot in the coronary arteries.
- Magnesium is greatly beneficial to the heart. It reduces platelet adhesion, is a vasodilator, and is a potent antiarrhythmic agent.
- Garlic and ginkgo and vitamin E each play a role in making a healthier heart.