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February- Heart health. Statin drugs. Arterial plaque. What you really need to know.



I know. I know.

Talking about heart disease in February is not sexy or interesting. It's also a little cheesy to connect the themes but I feel like there are some very important things that need to be discussed that are not in the general medical understanding. I will probably get in trouble for talking about stuff like this but I am getting old and with age seems to come a greater sense of I just don't care, so here goes...


The following are my clinical observations and then I did the research to see if many of my observations were validated to some degree in the scientific literature.

It was no surprise to see that basically all of it was and how it's NOT talked about or even presented to the public. I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but is it possible that the things that are presented to the public are designed to promote the use of drugs and surgery? I hope that is not the case but there has to be a reason the simple solutions to heart disease are not in the mainstream.


Let's start with the most common myth- cholesterol.

Cholesterol has been demonized for about 50 years now, along with fat, which is essentially the same thing. Now when it comes to trans fats and hydrogenated fats (basically fats that are man made in a chemical factory somewhere) I am in complete agreement. NO trans fat. NO hydrogenated fats. That's how you should live your life. But saturated fats are good for you. There are tons of fats that are essential to your good health. Don't be fooled.


Everyone is so worried about cholesterol and it has been demonized to the point that people think the lower the number, the better.

"Cholesterol is necessary to make certain hormones. It’s involved in making vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Cholesterol also plays a role in making some of the substances required to digest food."

So cholesterol is NOT the dangerous thing you all have been told but rather an essential part of good health.

 

The "gold standard" of care for heart disease


The "gold standard" of heart disease is checking cholesterol levels and then trying to reduce cholesterol via statin drugs.

Can you believe that? The gold standard of care is a drug that BLOCKS the production of cholesterol!

That's insane.


In Europe, they prescribe statin drugs much less than in the US.

Why?

Their primary reason is because they feel that too many people are being prescribed statin drugs even though they are not at high risk of coronary artery disease. And statin drugs are only supposed to be prescribed to people with high risk of heart disease.


What are the criteria for determining high risk and statin prescription?


There are four general categories recommended to determine who is at high risk for a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke. We determine whether people:

  • Have clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), including those with a personal history of stroke, heart attack, or peripheral vascular disease, and also those who suffer from chest pain (angina)

  • Have extreme elevations in cholesterol (an LDL cholesterol of 190 mg/dL or higher)

  • Are age 40 to 75 and have diabetes

  • Are age 40 to 75 and have an estimated 10-year risk of an ASCVD event greater than 7.5 percent

Notice that total cholesterol is not a metric by itself....hmmmm. (The demonized cholesterol over 200mg/dL).


Now even though statins drugs are the "gold standard," are statin drugs the preferred treatment option for reducing heart disease?


NO.


"Our first step in preventing or treating high cholesterol is with diet and lifestyle changes. We know these changes can be difficult to make, but statin therapy is not an alternative to healthy eating and exercise." -Joseph A. Hill, M.D., Ph.D.Internal Medicine - Cardiology of UT Southwestern Medical Center.

What's the difference?


Preferred means that this is what all doctors and health care providers would "prefer" to use as the treatment of choice for handling heart disease and high cholesterol (LDL cholesterol). And "gold standard" refers to the drug therapy they end up using as the treatment protocol.

 

Now let's talk about what the causes are.


Why do we really develop cardiovascular disease?

What are some reasons why people get plaque in the arteries or coronary fragility?


SUGAR. yup. Sugar!

"Doctors have known for decades that chronic hyperglycemia increases the risk of atherosclerosis, which leads to heart attacks and strokes, and weakens immunity against infectious diseases."

"Increased sugar intake, therefore, leads to increased VLDL production, which in turn leads to increased production of LDL particles. LDL can become oxidized and stuck within the blood vessel walls, leading to a buildup of plaque and atherosclerosis."

It's nuts.

Sugar basically makes your blood vessels brittle and less elastic. That loss of elasticity will cause small "cracks" in the lining of the blood vessel, exposing collagen. Once that happens your body freaks out because it thinks you sprung a leak. That tissue is patched with a web-like bandage and then it is "spackled" over with a putty of our old friend CHOLESTEROL. Yes boys and girls, cholesterol is actually helping to make sure you don't bleed out. Basically.


Other contributing factors?


VITAMIN D deficiency.


Is there anything that is not improved in your life with adequate Vitamin D?


* SUPER TIP- remember that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin! That means you NEED fat in your diet in order to absorb and use vitamin D.

(hmmm...that puts a monkey wrench in the whole "fat is bad for you" nonsense ideology).


"Recently, vitamin D deficiency was identified as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in healthy people, as it predisposes to different vascular dysfunctions that can result in plaque development and fragility."



 

Let's talk about how to help improve heart health, function and reduce risk, NATURALLY.


Natural remedies to improve heart health and function:


Rutin


Rutin is technically known as a plant flavinoid...to put it simply it's a powerful antioxidant in plants. It's also known as vitamin P. Yes, P.


Rutin, or vitamin P, is widely distributed in vegetables, fruits, and medicinal herbs such as asparagus and buckwheat. Further, buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is considered to be one of the best dietary sources of rutin. Buckwheat leaf flour contains about 2700mg/kg (d.w.b.) rutin, and is thus a suitable material for enriching functional foods, giving it the potential for preventive nutrition.

"Rutin administration attenuates atherosclerosis burden and stabilizes plaque by improving metabolic disturbance and alleviating premature senescence of VSMCs. Inhibition of VSMCs premature senescence with rutin may be an effective therapy for diabetic atherosclerosis."

"The present study suggests that rutin inhibits coronary heart disease through ERK1/2 and Akt signaling pathways"

Supplement for rutin:

(Click on image for link to store)

Cyruta plus supports capillary integrity and function*

  • Supports circulatory cholesterol transport

  • Supports healthy cellular glucose handling to help maintain blood sugar levels already within normal range

  • Supports healthy peripheral circulation

  • Contains several independent factors that help to maintain the integrity of capillary walls*






Supplement for general heart muscle support:


Cardio-plus supports the cardiovascular system*

  • Supports the healthy functioning of the heart and other muscles

  • Supports healthy coronary blood flow

  • Provides ingredients with antioxidant activity

  • Contains bovine heart PMG™ extract

  • Supports energy metabolism*

  • Good source of antioxidant vitamin C

  • Contains a combination of key ingredients from Cataplex® G, Cataplex® E, Cardiotrophin PMG®, and Cataplex® C

  • Excellent source of riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6

  • Non-Dairy, Non-Soy




 

The heart is an electric pump


"In the simplest terms, the heart is a pump made up of muscle tissue. Like all muscle, the heart needs a source of energy and oxygen to function. The heart's pumping action is regulated by an electrical conduction system that coordinates the contraction of the various chambers of the heart."





A proper functioning heart requires a healthy nerve conduction system to ensure proper rhythm and strength of the heart contractions. When that nerve system isn't properly supported, it can lead to things like fast, slow heart beat, abnormal heart beats and even enlargement of the heart.




Ensuring healthy nerve health for your heart


Electrolytes

"Substances in the blood called electrolytes — such as potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium — help trigger and send electrical impulses in the heart. An imbalance in electrolytes — for example, if they are too low or too high — can interfere with heart signaling and lead to irregular heartbeats."


B-Vitamins

Particularly vitamin B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamin) contribute essentially to the maintenance of a healthy nervous system. Their importance is highlighted by many neurological diseases related to deficiencies in one or more of these vitamins, but they can improve certain neurological conditions even without a (proven) deficiency. Neurological dysfunction occurs frequently in patients with pernicious anemia. Clinically related to vitamin B12 deficiency...


Supplement for b-vitamin complex:



Cataplex B-Core contains naturally-occurring phytonutrients and B vitamins including thiamin and folate derived from the whole food matrix.

  • Contains ingredients that support healthy cellular processes*

  • Formulated with ingredients that have naturally occurring B vitamins

  • Long-term vitamin B support*








Supplement for minerals:




Min-Tran, a vegetarian nervous system support supplement, is a good source of magnesium, which supports the actions of neurotransmitters that help regulate mood.*

  • A good source of magnesium, which may play a role in the stress response pathway

  • A good source of magnesium, which is involved in sleep pathways that support brain homeostatic sleep processes*

  • Excellent source of iodine

  • Good source of calcium







Now you know the secrets.

Unfortunately the "bad guys" have been getting a bad rap. Fats are actually the good guys and play an important role in overall health, including heart heart.

And the actual bad guy is SUGAR!

I know. It's a bummer.

Sugar depletes B-vitamins. So does alcohol. And so does stress.


Something to think about...in 1950 a research study (Framingham) came out saying that fats were bad for you and caused heart disease. Almost 50 years later, it was discovered that the sugar industry funded that study and made sure that sugar was presented as a good thing for your health.

Isn't it interesting that the timeline of when heart disease became the NUMBER ONE cause of death in America corresponds exactly with that timeline????














references


https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm#:~:text=High%20total%20cholesterol%20in%20the%20United%20States&text=Nearly%2094%20million%20U.S.%20adults,levels%20above%20240%20mg%2FdL.&text=Nearly%207%25%20of%20U.S.%20children,19%20have%20high%20total%20cholesterol.


https://utswmed.org/medblog/statins-debate/


https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2021/03/excess-blood-sugar-promotes-clogging-arteries-study


https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sugar-play-role-clogged-arteries-8824.html


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0939475320303938#:~:text=Recently%2C%20vitamin%20D%20deficiency%20was,in%20plaque%20development%20and%20fragility.


https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29107826/#:~:text=Rutin%20administration%20attenuates%20atherosclerosis%20burden,alleviating%20premature%20senescence%20of%20VSMCs.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5729704/


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814605005376#:~:text=Buckwheat%20leaf%20flour%20contains%20about,the%20potential%20for%20preventive%20nutrition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930825/#:~:text=As%20vitamin%20B1%20is%20essential,to%20die%20or%20become%20damaged.&text=Thiamine%20deficiency%20affects%20both%20the,manifest%20clinically%20in%20multifaceted%20ways.


https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20350668#:~:text=Substances%20in%20the%20blood%20called,and%20lead%20to%20irregular%20heartbeats.


https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/656740


https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/bit-by-bit-americans-are-eating-healthier


https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/13/493739074/50-years-ago-sugar-industry-quietly-paid-scientists-to-point-blame-at-fat


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