Monthly Archives: August 2016

More Information About Natural Atherosclerosis Solutions

Atherosclerosis, or clogging of the arteries, is a systemic problem. In other words, it isn’t isolated to just one area of the body. Unfortunately, the problem may not be discovered until some debilitating event like angina or a heart attack occurs.

The blockage of a major artery will usually get everyone’s attention, whereas smaller blockages throughout the 60,000 miles of capillaries might not be noticed as quickly. These blockages begin to form in small vessels of our microvascular system as we age. To a degree, our bodies can compensate for this. Through the process of angiogenesis, new blood vessels can form to replace those with blockages. Other blood vessels can dilate to help compensate for those that are blocked. Unfortunately, both of these compensation mechanisms decrease with age. Angiogenesis, for all practical purposes, shuts down after puberty, and, with age, blood vessels become stiffer and less elastic.

However, there are natural substances that you can take to help combat these arterial blockages, and in some cases, even clear them altogether. The following are a few of these solutions I’ve written about over the years.

Natto and Nattokinase

For years, Japanese citizens have enjoyed less prostate and breast cancer, less heart disease, and greater longevity than their Western counterparts. These benefits can, in part, be attributed to their high fish and seafood consumption. They also have one of the highest consumption rates for soybean products. Closer examination of research data indicates that consumption of natto, a soybean-based food, may contribute to their high degree of good health. Natto is a fermented product made by adding spores of the beneficial bacteria Bacillus natto to boiled soybeans. It has been referred to as “vegetable cheese” because many people report that it tastes like cheese. The average per capita annual consumption of natto in Japan is roughly 4.5 pounds. Natto has been used in Japan for at least 1,000 years to treat heart and vascular diseases, beriberi, and fatigue.

The enzyme nattokinase can be used to clear arterial blockages. It is truly a remarkable supplement, one I highly recommend taking daily if you’re over age 40. (I personally do.) Nattokinase is one of the few compounds that can effectively remove fibrous tissue and other clotting components anywhere in the body. I call it the “poor man’s clot buster.”

This is notable because the real solution to clearing arteries is to remove the fibrin deposit or clot, rather than just thinning the blood through use of anticoagulant drugs—or even natural “blood thinners”—which treat only the surface of the problem. Until the discovery of nattokinase, patients had to rely on blockage-clearing drugs like urokinase, streptokinase, and Activase. While these drugs have attained a degree of success, they all come with their own set of problems.

For one, they are extremely expensive—so expensive, in fact, that not all clinics and hospitals stock the drugs. If they do, they use them only when someone arrives at a hospital within minutes after a stroke or heart attack, because they have to be injected quickly following one of these incidents. This is because the drugs’ fibrinolytic activity (ability to dissolve clots and fibrous tissue) lasts for about 4 to 20 minutes.

However, natto and nattokinase offer a natural solution to remove fibrin deposits. Japanese researchers have shown that 100 grams of natto exhibits the same fibrinolytic activity as a therapeutic dose of urokinase. Even more remarkable is the fact that while an injection of urokinase is effective for only 4 to 20 minutes, nattokinase (the enzyme in natto) maintains its activity for four to eight hours.

But take note of these precautions for taking nattokinase or eating natto:

– If you take the prescription drug warfarin to prevent blood clots (it’s also used as rat poison!), do not eat natto or take nattokinase. Natto has a high vitamin K content, which may impede the effectiveness of warfarin. (It is not uncommon for doctors to tell their patients who are on warfarin to avoid other vitamin K–rich foods such as cabbage and the green algae chlorella.) Nattokinase supplements have had the vitamin K removed, but to be on the safe side I’d still suggest not combining warfarin and nattokinase.
– Natto or nattokinase can be used any time during the day, but, if you’re at risk from stroke or heart attack, it has been suggested that it be eaten or taken with the evening meal. Since most heart attacks and strokes occur within a few hours of rising, this should provide a greater degree of protection. (This is also the primary reason for recommending that two capsules of the enzyme nattokinase be taken at bedtime.)

Nattokinase is one of the most significant tools for improving chronic circulation problems I have uncovered in the last several years. If you suffer from any of the problems discussed in this report, it’s something you should consider. And, if your risk of stroke or heart attack is high, I recommend keeping a bottle of nattokinase on hand. It can provide you with some of the best clot-busting activity at a fraction of the cost of drugs. Following a heart attack or stroke, time is of the essence. The sooner you put nattokinase to work, the better the ultimate outcome will be.

L-arginine

Over ten years ago I reported on some research performed by Dr. Anoop Chauhan. I thought it was some of the most important and useful work I’d seen in decades, but apparently I was one of the only ones who thought so. Dr. Chauhan confirmed that the ability of our microvascular system to dilate decreases with age. More importantly, however, he demonstrated that we could reverse this impairment with the amino acid L-arginine.

Dr. Chauhan found that by increasing blood levels of L-arginine, which is converted to nitric acid, even older blood vessels will relax and dilate, dramatically increasing blood flow through them. Just a small increase in diameter translates into a huge improvement in blood flow. For example, if you double the radius of a vessel, your blood flow is four times as great.

Pharmaceutical research scientists are constantly looking for compounds that can safely trigger arteries to increase in diameter. L-arginine fits the bill, but there’s obviously not been interest in promoting it because it’s inexpensive, readily available, and nonpatentable.

If you want to improve elasticity in your microvascular vessels, L-arginine is the miracle substance that can do it. A dose of about 6 grams (3 grams taken twice daily) has been shown to double blood plasma levels in just a few weeks.

Lecithin

Lecithin just happens to be one of a handful of natural products that can lower the levels of LDL cholesterol and, at the same time, increase HDL cholesterol. Lecithin use has been proven in dozens of studies to lower cholesterol levels by decreasing cholesterol absorption in the gut and, more significantly, by actually pulling harmful forms of cholesterol out of the bloodstream.

More recently, there has been a focus on trying to help prevent atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) and heart disease by lowering blood plasma levels of homocysteine. This can usually be accomplished by increasing the intake of vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid. However, the choline provided by lecithin has the same effect. Choline is metabolized into betaine, which in turn lowers homocysteine levels. (Betaine is another so-called “new” supplement recently being touted as the answer to circulation problems.)

In the not-so-distant past, lecithin was the foundation of all treatment programs dealing with circulation problems. Not only could it help prevent such problems, it was often instrumental in reversing some of the most severe existing cardiovascular problems. But for reasons unknown to me, lecithin seems to have fallen out of favor with the pharmaceutical and health food industries. Sadly, I suspect that its lack of popularity has to do with the fact that it is one of the least expensive supplements you can get these days.

Grapefruit Pectin

About 15 years ago, I first reported on some research being conducted by Dr. James Cerda of the University of Florida. Dr. Cerda’s research involved the dietary use of grapefruit pectin to lower cholesterol levels and possibly retard or stop the formation of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries).

In his initial animal work he determined grapefruit pectin, when fed concurrently with a high fat diet, could decrease the amount of plaque formation in the aorta and the small blood vessels supplying the heart. In following studies, Dr. Cerda’s research data demonstrated that adding pectin to the diet can actually reverse pre-existing atherosclerosis!

Test animals (swine) were fed a diet high in cholesterol known to create atherosclerosis. They remained on the diet for a 360 day period in which their blood cholesterol levels remained at 6 to 12 times the normal level. At that point half the animals were fed a diet in which three percent of grapefruit pectin was substituted for cellulose while the other animals stayed on the original diet. This continued for another 270 days at which time the animals were sacrificed.

Surprisingly, the pectin didn’t substantially lower the animals’ cholesterol levels. However, an average of only 5.3 percent of the aorta surface area of those on the pectin diet was covered by atherosclerosis compared to 13.6 percent in the non-pectin group. The average coronary artery narrowing was 45 percent without pectin and only 24 percent with pectin.

The addition of pectin to the diet actually reversed the atherosclerosis in both the aorta and the small coronary arteries which supply the heart. This occurred by some other mechanism other than reducing blood cholesterol levels! This is a study of enormous importance. We can only hope it receives all the attention it deserves. We have a natural, safe, and inexpensive by-product of the citrus industry that can prevent and even reverse our most deadly killer, coronary heart disease.

Adjusted for humans, the daily dosages to achieve similar results as above would be approximately 15 grams of pectin a day. Dr. Cerda’s product, called ProFibe, contains 25 percent pectin and 75 percent guar gum, and he recommends 15 grams of ProFibe per day. Look for it online.

Know More About Healthy Cholesterol Level

aa4Learn why it’s better to focus on reducing risk factors than to focus on a number

Determining what a normal blood cholesterol level is may seem easy, but it’s not as simple as you would think. There are several different types of cholesterol to consider, and experts keep changing what they consider the ideal levels to be.

A prime example was when our National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2004 suggested that anyone with LDL cholesterol of more than 100 mg/dL needed to be treated, replacing the previous recommendation of 130 mg/dL. The American Heart Association quickly agreed, and millions of otherwise healthy individuals in this country were instantly “at risk”—and candidates for cholesterol-lowering prescription medication.

The Truth About Cholesterol Guidelines

Cholesterol ratios can be helpful (e.g., the amount of HDL cholesterol as compared to the amount of total cholesterol) in determining risk, but the truth is that no one knows the best cholesterol levels for optimal health. This is one of the reasons why it’s far more helpful to focus on the known causes of heart disease than on hitting a specific cholesterol number.

If your cholesterol level is in the 300s or higher, you should certainly address it. The more total cholesterol you have, the more there is to become oxidized and collect in your arteries. Levels at or around 200 or so shouldn’t cause you concern, though. A healthy diet and adequate physical activity will keep your blood lipid levels in the normal range.

A Special Note to Women About Cholesterol Testing

You probably don’t know about this, but it may significantly affect the outcome of your next cholesterol test.

Researchers have found that a woman’s cholesterol level can vary as much as 20 percent depending on what phase of her menstrual cycle she is in. In a study of healthy, regularly menstruating women ages 18–44, HDL cholesterol levels increased and total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides dropped when estrogen levels were rising. The effect peaked and then went the other way at ovulation.

Test results for one-fifth of the women in the study exceeded the “desirable” cholesterol levels at least once. It makes you wonder just how many women are taking cholesterol medication based on misleading results.

Health Benefits of Niacin

This B vitamin can work wonders to relieve arthritic pain and stiffness, and much more

Niacin (or nicotinic acid as it’s referred to in medical circles) was the third B vitamin to be discovered (hence the name B3). It wasn’t until about 1943, though, that a couple of doctors reported that niacin worked wonders in relieving the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Unfortunately, their research was never well publicized, since that was around the time that drug companies were promoting their own miracle “cure” for arthritis—cortisone.

Niacin has a unique characteristic. If you haven’t experienced it personally, you’ve probably heard about the “flush” niacin can cause. As little as 50 mg of niacin can cause a flush in some people. While not dangerous, it can be uncomfortable, or even alarming, if you aren’t prepared for it. (Personally, I somewhat enjoy the sensation.)

Niacin causes the blood vessels to dilate or open up near the skin, which results in a hot, tingling sensation accompanied by a red flushing of the skin. Generally, by starting with low amounts of niacin (50 to 100 mg a day) and gradually increasing the dosage, a person can quickly build up a tolerance and avoid the flush. Taking niacin immediately following a meal will also lessen the flushing sensation. (Niacinamide, the alkaline form of niacin, doesn’t cause flushing and it works just as well for most things.)

Since niacin isn’t something that drug companies can patent, it’s of little interest to them. But whatever you do, don’t overlook niacin’s potential just because it’s been around so long, or because it sounds like too simple of a solution.

Keep in mind that all of the B vitamins actually work in conjunction with each other—which means you can expect better results if you take niacin or niacinamide along with a good multivitamin that contains a broad balance of B vitamins.

Arthritis

Several researchers have reported excellent results in arthritic patients using niacinamide. While niacin opens up the blood vessels near the surface and causes a flushing sensation, niacinamide only opens up the deep blood vessels like those surrounding the joints.

In cases of moderate arthritis, outstanding results have been produced by taking 1,000 to 1,500 mg a day. In more severe cases, as much as 3,000 mg to 4,000 mg have been recommended. In all instances, here and in the recommendations listed below, the dosage should be divided into five or six doses spread throughout the day rather than all at once. It should also be taken with the knowledge and supervision of your nutritionally oriented doctor.

Cholesterol and Triglycerides

One of the most effective and least expensive ways to lower blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) is to take 1,000 to 3,000 mg of niacin a day.

Patients using 1,000 mg the first day, 2,000 mg the second day, and 3,000 mg each day thereafter have seen as much as a 25 percent reduction in cholesterol levels, and a 50 percent reduction in triglycerides. (Blood lipid reduction is one case where niacinamide is not as effective as niacin.)

Reversing Heart Disease

Heart patients on niacin treatment had less illness and lower death rates after five years when contrasted to those not using niacin. An even more astounding study revealed that niacin treatment actually reversed signs of heart disease in patients who had genetically related cholesterol problems.

Niacin lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. It reduces the blood fats called “very low density lipoproteins,” which have been linked to heart disease and cancer. It improves the blood sugar problems that can lead to damage of the arterial walls. It dilates blood vessels, which improves the circulation to areas starved of oxygen and nutrients. The list of benefits goes on and on—and if that wasn’t enough, the stuff is dirt cheap.

If you’ve got heart or circulation problems, you can save yourself a lot of money, and maybe even your life, by discussing the enormous benefits of niacin with your doctor.

Senility and Memory Loss

Dr. Abram Hoffer, famous for his use of niacin in the treatment of schizophrenia and depression, has reported 1,000 mg of niacin taken 3 times a day can improve memory, and correct some senility problems.

In one of his studies involving 10 people suffering from senility, five totally recovered, two had significant improvement, and three had no noticeable improvement.

Insomnia

Niacinamide activates benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, which affects sleep. Dosages of 50 mg to 1,000 mg of niacinamide taken at bedtime have helped many people sleep better. (Niacin can also be used since your body can easily convert it to niacinamide.)

Sensitivity to the Sun

Being deficient in niacin can make a person very sensitive to sunlight. Even minimal exposure can often lead to severe itching and blistering. As little as 200 mg of niacin daily can help the problem.

Motion Sickness

I use a combination of niacin (200 to 300 mg) and papaya tablets to avoid motion sickness. Taking the niacin along with two or three papaya tablets about 15 minutes before flying in small airplanes or riding in automobiles can work wonders.

Miscellaneous

The uses of niacin seem to go on forever. I’ve used it successfully in the treatment of acne. It can help reduce blood pressure; improve circulation to the legs and feet in diabetics and the elderly; and even help stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

It has been especially useful for increasing the blood supply to the ear in cases of deafness, vertigo, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Many people can take it at the first sign of a migraine headache, and stop it cold.

It has been reported that taking niacin 15 to 20 minutes before engaging in sex had the added benefit of increasing mucus production in the vaginal area and can eliminate the need for the lubricants that can become necessary as we get older.

In each of these conditions, as little as 100 to 200 mg a day will often do the trick.

Cautions

It’s wise to keep a few points in mind when it comes to the use of straight niacin.

– Niacin may irritate the stomach lining if taken on an empty stomach, so always take it after a meal.
– If you have problems with gout, be aware that niacin competes with the excretion of uric acid. Thus, large dosages could precipitate a gout attack.
– The time-released form of niacin has been shown to be responsible for severe liver damage. In general, avoid using the time-released forms of vitamins altogether. I haven’t found any that work well.

As we discover new supplements, we often fail to take full advantage of the ones that have been around a while. It continues to surprise me how little niacin is being used, especially when it comes to circulation problems and heart disease. If a prescription drug could do one tenth of what niacin does, the media would be endlessly singing its praises.

Let’s Learn About Nutrients for Overall Heart Health

Learn which nutrients can help keep your cardiovascular system functioning at its best

These nutrients are recommended to improve your cardiovascular health and promote healthy cholesterol levels. All dosages are daily unless specified otherwise.

– Alfalfa leaf powder — 100 mg. Helps support healthy fat metabolism and normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
– Cayenne — 50 mg. Contains the compound capsaicin, which helps maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
– CoQ10 — 60–200 mg. CoQ10 facilitates the production of cellular energy and serves as a powerful antioxidant.
– Folic acid — 400–800 mcg. Folic acid helps maintain normal homocysteine levels. Homocysteine accelerates the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and can damage arteries.
– Garlic — 600 mg. Supports the heart’s healthy fat metabolism and helps maintain proper cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
– Green tea — 50–100 mg. Contains several active bioflavonoids, which promote capillary and small vessel strength.
– Hawthorn standard red extract — 160 mg. Promotes healthy endothelial lining of the heart cavities and blood vessels, and the smoothness of artery walls.
– L-arginine — 3 grams twice daily. Helps maintain healthy blood flow.
– L-carnitine — 100–150 mg. Promotes efficient heart function.
– Lecithin — 1–2 tablespoons granular lecithin. Lecithin helps cholesterol stay dissolved in the blood and able to be excreted from the body.
– L-taurine — 200–400 mg. Supports proper heart function by normalizing potassium flow in and out of the heart muscle and aiding in free-radical elimination.
Magnesium (oxide, aspartate, ascorbate) — 500–800 mg. Magnesium supports the heart’s ability to expand, contract, and pump blood efficiently. It increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and inhibits platelet clotting. Finally, magnesium is critical to getting potassium into cells.
– – Niacin (vitamin B3) — 50 mg. Niacin has been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels while raising HDL levels.
– Quercetin — 50–100 mg. This bioflavonoid helps stop oxidization of LDL cholesterol and reduce the stickiness of platelets in the bloodstream.
– Selenium — 200 mcg. Selenium acts as a potent antioxidant and has been shown to directly prevent atherosclerosis.
– Siberian ginseng — 180–300 mg. Can increase the conversion of L-arginine to nitric oxide. This improves blood flow to the muscles in times of low oxygen. Nitric oxide is a potent antioxidant that combats free- radical injury to the heart muscle.
– Tocotrienols — 10–20 mg. Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and overall arterial health.
– Vitamin B6 — 110–120 mg. Helps to keep homocysteine levels in check, promotes healthy adrenal function, and maintains proper potassium balance. Potassium helps support normal heart rhythms and regulate blood pressure levels.
– Vitamin B12 — 100–200 mcg. Vitamin B12 works along with folic acid and vitamin B6 to convert homocysteine into a harmless compound that the body can eliminate through the urinary tract.
– Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid, buffered ascorbates) — 2,000–2,500 mg. Vitamin C helps promote proper HDL cholesterol levels and the production of collagen and glycosaminoglycans, which provide structural strength to arterial walls.
– Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol, mixed tocopherols) — 400–600 IU. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. It also helps prevent blood platelets from clumping together. It is most effective when taken with selenium.