Half of your patients are going to die of heart attacks and strokes; half your family members are going to die of heart attacks or strokes; you, if you can reduce yourself to a statistic for a moment, stand a 50 percent chance of dying of a heart attack or a stroke. Despite the “progress” of medical science over the last two decades, 50 percent of all Americans still die of cardiovascular disease. The good news for us is that there are ways to correct the causes of cardiovascular disease nutritionally. Here is a quick summary of nine of the most powerful nutritional weapons to protect you and your patients against heart disease.
Carnosine has been shown to increase the strength of heart contractility and improve circulation.
In humans, carnosine levels decline with age. Muscle carnosine concentration decreases 63 percent from age 10 to age 70.
Research has shown that betaine, when combined with just very small amounts of vitamin B6 and folic acid, will lower elevated homocysteine levels, a major factor in heart disease.
Carnitine has significant beneficial effects on myocardial energy production. Found to strengthen the heart muscle, it is one of the most effective ways to lower elevated triglycerides and protect myocardial infarct patients against cardiac necrosis. It improves fat metabolism in the heart (as well as other organs) and decreases lipid peroxides in the heart. In addition, it improves heart muscle exercise tolerance, decreases angina pain, is a vasodilator of coronary blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, decreases the elevated LDH levels in myocardial infarct patients, decreases left ventricle enlargement, decreases the incidence of arrhythmias, including the occurrence of ventricular fibrillation in the early stages of ischemia, decreases peripheral vascular disease, decreases congestive heart failure and has a dramatic impact on decreasing triglycerides. It also decreases elevated cholesterol as well, but has a far greater effect on triglycerides. Carnitine also increases high density lipoproteins.
Co-Q10 is a powerful anti-oxidant that participates in several of the anti-oxidant systems. The benefits of Co-Enzyme Q-10 have been found to
• Prevent myocardial failure;
• Energize and protect the heart, while protecting against atherosclerosis;
• Improve cardiac response to exercise;
• Lower high blood pressure;
• Reduce angina;
• Prevent arrythmias;
• Quench free radicals.
Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols)
The mixed tocopherols represent the complete vitamin E family—alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols. Unfortunately, most people think of vitamin E primarily as alpha tocopherol, or as one of the alpha tocopherol esters. As it turns out, what most people consider to be vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) is not really such a great antioxidant. Its antioxidant activity is positively dwarfed by the antioxidant activity of gamma tocopherol, particularly, and the other tocopherols as well. The point is that, when you want an antioxidant that will put up a good fight with oxidative stressors, you don’t fool around with the form of vitamin E they put in vitamin pills (alpha tocopherol).
What you want are the mixed tocopherols. This is not to say that alpha tocopherol is bad. Quite the contrary. One form of alpha tocopherol, the ester alpha tocopheryl succinate, is more effective in its role as an anti-thrombic agent than any of the other tocopherols, and is more effective in boosting immune function.
Glucosamine is MORE than a supplement for arthritis. The truth is, there have been dozens of scientific studies showing the benefits of glucosamine supplementation on cardiovascular health. First, consider glucosamine. The nutrition establishment would have you think of this substance as nothing more than a raw material that forms a critical structural component of cartilage and other connective tissue.
The late Emanuel Revici’s research revealed that glucosamine does not just strengthen connective tissue in a structural sense, but it strengthens by protecting connective tissues against inflammation and maintains the structural integrity of arterial basement membranes.
Far more important than its role in the connective tissue of joints is the power of chondroitin sulfate to maintain the functional integrity of the cardiovascular system. CS helps maintain arterial elasticity. Remember, arteries are largely connective tissue. CS retards the arteriosclerotic and aging processes within the arterial wall. CS also possesses lipid-clearing activity. It lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, and it normalizes the ratio between HDL, LDL, and VLDL. Most importantly, CS clears lipids, not just in the serum, but from within the cells as well.
The most striking statistic regarding CS supplementation shows that, in cardiovascular disease patients treated with CS, the likelihood of having a myocardial infarct, suffering coronary insufficiency or myocardial ischemia, or developing congestive heart failure is only 1/6th that reported for control patients who receive no CS supplementation.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is a SUPER POWER antioxidant. Lipoic acid particularly decreases elevated systolic blood pressure, decreases excess cellular calcium, and decreases elevated serum glucose and elevated serum insulin. Lipoic acid also decreases adverse renal vascular changes associated with hypertension. Lipoic acid effectively decreases LDL cholesterol. Lipoic acid has been shown, in clinical studies, to decrease elevated triglycerides by as much as 45 percent. If there is one thing you can do for your patients to protect them from the grips of heart disease, tell them about the nine most powerful supplements listed above. You just may save a life (or two).
Ronald Grisanti, DC, DABCO, MS, is a board-certified chiropractic orthopedist with a master’s degree in nutritional science. He has created an innovative Web-based program in developing a nutritional, functional medicine-based practice called Chiropractic Mentors.