Doctors tell us that cardiovascular disease cannot be cured, but instead can only be managed, primarily with drugs such as statins. Likewise they would also 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 – cardiovascular disease cannot be cured by mainstream medicine. However, cardiovascular disease can be cured and prevented by whole food nutrition, and what doctors know about the links between diet, weight and heart disease is mostly wrong.
The Mistaken Approach of Mainstream Medicine
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, silicon, vitamin D3, and vitamin B6. Instead of addressing these deficiencies, statin drugs actually make some of them worse and have actions, which 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 function of producing cholesterol. In the process they also interfere with the liver’s production of CoQ10 from selenium. CoQ10 is a primary heart protector. Thus drugs that are supposedly for the heart prevent a vital heart protector and cause damage to muscles, such as the heart itself. Not surprisingly, liver damage is another serious statin drug side effect.
The fact is that there are no benefits derived from statin drugs which cannot be achieved from whole food chromium and selenium, neither of which have the many side effects associated with statin drugs. Both chromium and selenium were established as essential minerals for life over half a century ago by the NIH. Yet the use of statin drugs is almost universal in mainstream medicine while the nutritional approach of whole food nutrition with those two essential mineral nutrients remains little known and rarely used.
A second mainstream approach for heart problems is daily aspirin, a dangerous mainstream marketing myth. Aspirin is actually dangerous for the heart. 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 high blood pressure and helps ease heart arrhythmia, in addition to having a great many other vital health benefits. Thanks to today’s SAD diet and mineral depleted soils, it is estimated that anywhere from 80 to 95 percent of us are deficient in magnesium.
It was also noted over a half century ago that the mineral silicon played a vital role in heart health since it was abundant in healthy hearts and deficient in diseased hearts and heart 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. Why would the naturally intended source of vitamin D yield levels far beyond that specified by the RDA?
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.21 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 wrote the book on Vitamin B6 (Vitamin B6, The Doctor’s Report), proved in clinical research that patients with heart problems on 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 a pipeline that is 60,000 miles long, the pipeline fails in 90% of the cases at 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.
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, so does vitamin C induce 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.
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 where 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 183 mg/dl.
However, in a group of 12 rabbits which were fed the horrible diet and potassium iodine, only 1 rabbit developed atherosclerosis and had total cholesterol averages of only 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.
Another group of 30 rabbits were given desiccated thyroid and iodine. This group showed atherosclerosis in only two rabbits and had average total cholesterol levels of 178 mg/dl. Thyroid hormones control heart rate and it is probably important to note that thyroid hormones are produced in part from iodine.
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 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 are 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 it 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 SAD diet, the link between weight and cardiovascular health is obvious. The key is nutrient density, or i
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