HEART DISEASE


(Arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, CHF)

Heart disease is largely caused by diet, lifestyle, and nutrient imbalances. Certain viruses and inflammation can also damage the heart. Fortunately, heart disease is often reversible, even if you have already had surgery and are on medications. Heart disease is serious. It is best to work with an holistic physician who can help you discover the cause of the problem and make specific recommendations for correction. Never stop taking heart medication without the guidance of a physician!

DIET AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Follow the Ten Rules of Good Health
  • Practice stress reduction techniques and anger management. People with “hot tempers” are at higher risk for cardiac events.
  • Do NOT SMOKE! Smoking is one of the most damaging habits to the heart and cardiovascular system.
  • Maintain a normal body weight.
  • Exercise regularly. Be sure to consult your doctor if you are over 30, highly deconditioned, or have already-established heart disease. He/she can tell you how much exercise is safe for you to begin with.

PRIMARY SUPPORT

  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. This daily “multiple” contains high potency antioxidants. Optimal (not minimal) doses of antioxidants (ACES), magnesium, B complex vitamins, and bioflavonoids are particularly important for the heart. Take additional B complex vitamins if your multiple does not contain optimal doses. B vitamins, (especially B6, B12, and folic acid) lower homocysteine levels, an independent risk for heart disease that many researchers feel is more important than cholesterol levels.
  • Max EPA (fish oil): 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals to prevent or reverse inflammation. Take higher doses as directed if your hs-CRP tests are elevated. Flax oil is also beneficial but requires a biochemical conversion in the body, which is deficient in many people, so fish oil is more certain.
  • CoQ10: 50-300mg per day. This powerful antioxidant, produced by the body, diminishes with age. It is especially valuable for all types of heart disease. CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING DRUGS deplete CoQ10. (Amounts will depend on the severity of the disease. Lower doses may be used for health maintenance; higher doses in cases of arrhythmia, angina, and atherosclerosis).
  • Magnesium: 2 taps, 3 times per day with meals (Target dose: 500-1500mg per day. Maxi Multi contains 500mg).
  • Grape Seed Extract: 1 cap, 3 times per day with meals. (Target dose: 150-300mg daily). Proanthocyanidins in grape seed extract act as a potent antioxidants and ACE inhibitors. They also help prevent platelet aggregation (blood cells sticking together) and protect blood vessels from damage.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

For High Blood Pressure

For Atherosclerosis

For Arrhythmia

  • Low dose aspirin (81mg): 1 tab per day.
  • L-carnitine: 500-1,000mg, 3 times per day with meals.

For Congestive Heart Failure

CoQ10 and it’s use in CHF (Congestive Heart Failure):

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19966871
“… Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is essential for electron transport within the mitochondria and hence for ATP generation and cellular energy production. We recently demonstrated that plasma levels of CoQ10 are an independent predictor of survival in a cohort of 236 patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) followed for a median of 2.69 years. This is consistent with previous studies which have shown myocardial CoQ10 depletion in CHF, and correlated with the severity of the underlying disorder. Several intervention studies have been undertaken with CoQ10 in CHF, including randomized controlled trials with mostly positive outcomes in relation to improvement in plasma levels of CoQ10. A meta-analysis showed that CoQ10 resulted in an improvement in ejection fraction of 3.7% (95%CI 1.59-5.77) and the mean increase in cardiac output was 0.28 L/minute (95%CI 0.03-0.53). In a subgroup analysis, studies with patients not taking ACE inhibitors found a 6.7% increase in ejection fraction. The ongoing Q-SYMBIO trial will address whether CoQ10 supplementation improves survival in CHF patients. CoQ10 depletion may also be a contributory factor for why statin intervention has not improved outcomes in CHF. There is an emerging evidence base in support of CoQ10 as an adjunctive therapy in CHF.”

http://faculty.washington.edu/ely/coenzq10.html
“…The majority of the clinical studies concerned the treatment of heart disease and were remarkably consistent in their conclusions: that treatment with CoQ10 significantly improved heart muscle function while producing no adverse effects or drug interactions. …”

Dr. Myatt’s Conclusion:
CoQ10 is beneficial for nearly every type of Heart Disease (angina, arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction (1-18)

Maxi Marine O3 (Fish Oil) and it’s use in CHF (Congestive Heart Failure):

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8733172
“…Fish oil may decrease cardiac afterload by an antivasopressor action and by reducing blood viscosity, may reduce arrhythmic risk despite supporting the heart’s beta-adrenergic responsiveness, may decrease fibrotic cardiac remodeling by impeding the action of angiotensin II and, in patients with coronary disease, may reduce the risk of atherothrombotic ischemic complications. Since the measures recommended here are nutritional and carry little if any toxic risk, there is no reason why their joint application should not be studied as a comprehensive nutritional therapy for congestive heart failure. …”

References

1.) Adarsh K, Kaur H, Mohan V. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in isolated diastolic heart failure in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Biofactors. 2008;32(1-4):145-9.
2.) Berman M, Erman A, Ben-Gal T, Dvir D, Georghiou GP, Stamler A, Vered Y, Vidne BA, Aravot D. Coenzyme Q10 in patients with end-stage heart failure awaiting cardiac transplantation: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Clin Cardiol. 2004 May;27(5):295-9.
3.) Hodgson JM, Watts GF, Playford DA, Burke V, Croft KD. Coenzyme Q10 improves blood pressure and glycaemic control: a controlled trial in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;56(11):1137-42.
4.) Kumar A, Kaur H, Devi P, Mohan V. Role of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in Cardiac disease, Hypertension and Meniere- like syndrome. Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Jul 25. [Epub ahead of print]
5.) Langsjoen PH, Folkers K, Lyson K, Muratsu K, Lyson T, Langsjoen P. Pronounced increase of survival of patients with cardiomyopathy when treated with coenzyme Q10 and conventional therapy. Int J Tissue React. 1990;12(3):163-8.
6.) Langsjoen PH, Folkers K, Lyson K, Muratsu K, Lyson T, Langsjoen P. Effective and safe therapy with coenzyme Q10 for cardiomyopathy. Klin Wochenschr. 1988 Jul 1;66(13):583-90.
7.) Langsjoen P, Langsjoen A, Willis R, and Folkers K. The Aging Heart: Reversal of Diastolic Dysfunction Through the Use of Oral CoQ10 in the Elderly. Anti-Aging Medical Therapeutics. Klatz RM and Goldman R (eds.). Health Quest Publications. 1997;113-120.
8.) Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen A, Willis R, Folkers K. Treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with coenzyme Q10. Mol Aspects Med. 1997;18(S):s145-s151.
9.) Langsjoen PH, Vadhanavikit S, Folkers K. Response of patients in classes III and IV of cardiomyopathy to therapy in a blind and crossover trial with coenzyme Q10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1985 Jun;82(12):4240-4.
10.) Mabuchi H, Higashikata T, Kawashiri M, Katsuda S, Mizuno M, Nohara A, Inazu A, Koizumi J, Kobayashi J. Reduction of serum ubiquinol-10 and ubiquinone-10 levels by atorvastatin in hypercholesterolemic patients. Journal of Atheroscler Thromb. 2005;12(2):111-9.
11.) Molyneux SL, Florkowski CM, George PM, Pilbrow AP, Frampton CM, Lever M, Richards AM. Coenzyme Q10: an independent predictor of mortality in chronic heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Oct 28;52(18):1435-41.
12.) Mortensen SA. Overview on coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive therapy in chronic heart failure. Rationale, design and end-points of “Q-symbio”–a multinational trial. Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):79-89.
13.) Mortensen S.A., Vadhanavikit S., Muratsu K., Folkers K. (1990) Coenzyme Q10: Clinical benefits with biochemical correlates suggesting a scientific breakthrough in the management of chronic heart failure. In: Int. J. Tissue React., Vol. 12 (3), pp 155-162.
14.) Rosenfeldt F, Hilton D, Pepe S, Krum H. Systematic review of effect of coenzyme Q10 in physical exercise, hypertension, and heart failure. Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):91-100.
15.) Silver MA, Langsjoen PH, Szabo S, Patil H, Zelinger A. Effect of atorvastatin on left ventricular diastolic function and ability of coenzyme Q10 to reverse that dysfunction. Am J Cardiol. 2004 Nov 15;94(10):1306-10.
16.) Singh RB; Wander GS et al Randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther, 12(4):347-53 1998 Sep.
17.) Singh RB; Wander GS et al Cardiovasc Drugs Ther, 12(4):347-53 1998 Sep.
18.) Weant KA, Smith KM. The role of coenzyme Q10 in heart failure. Ann Pharmacother. 2005;39(9):1522-6.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE


Natural Support For This Common Problem

Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less. Blood pressures higher than 140/90 are elevated; higher than 200/115 are dangerous and should be treated immediately. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is often without symptoms.

Causes of high blood pressure include atherosclerosis, high dietary sodium to potassium intake, nutrient deficiencies (especially calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C), overweight, smoking, and underlying disease processes. Greater than 90% of high blood pressure is considered “essential,” meaning that it is not caused by another disease. Such blood pressure elevations are largely related to diet and lifestyle. The disease is virtually unknown in undeveloped countries where unprocessed foods are eaten and people maintain a high level of physical activity.

DIET AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Do NOT use caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol.
  • Maintain a normal weight.
  • Include high potassium foods (fruits and vegetables) lavishly in the diet. Do not salt foods. (Or use potassium chloride as an alternative salt).
  • Practice stress reduction techniques. Long-term stress, or extreme reactions to stress, can elevate blood pressure.
  • Avoid caffeine-containing medications. Check with your doctor if you are on prescription medications. Some can elevate blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly.

PRIMARY SUPPORT

  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal (not minimal) doses of antioxidants (ACES), magnesium, B complex vitamins, and bioflavonoids are particularly important for the heart. Take additional B complex vitamins if your multiple does not contain optimal doses. B vitamins, (especially B6, B12, and folic acid) lower homocysteine levels, an independent risk for heart disease that many researchers feel is more important than cholesterol levels.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids:
    Flax seed meal, 2 teaspoons per day with food
    OR
    Flax seed capsules
    : 2-4 caps, 3 times per day (target dose range: 6-12 caps per day)
    OR
    Flax seed oil
    : 1 tablespoon per day
    OR
    Max EPA
    (Omega-3 rich fish oil): 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals (target dose: 3-6 caps per day).
  • CoQ10: 50-300mg per day. This powerful antioxidant, produced by the body, diminishes with age. It is especially valuable for all types of heart disease. CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING DRUGS deplete CoQ10.
  • Magnesium: 2 tabs, 3 times per day with meals. (Target dose: 500-1500mg per day. Maxi Multi contains 500mg).
  • Forskolin (Coleus forskohlii): 1cap, 1 times per day (target dose: 5-10mg standardized forskolin per day).

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

  • Hawthorn Plus+ (100mg standardized to 1.8% vitexin): 1-2 caps, 2-3 times per day with meals.
  • Garlitrin 4000: 1 tab, once per day with a meal. Other garlic supplements, 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals (target dose: 10,000mcg allicin per day).

TESTS

  • A hair analysis should be performed to rule out lead toxicity as a cause of high blood pressure.

DR. MYATT’S COMMENT

High blood pressure is certainly not something to be ignored, but there is evidence to suggest that we may be over-treating with drugs in this country. Most cases of high blood pressure can be successfully managed without drugs. (Drugs are sometimes necessary in cases of severely elevated blood pressure).

If your self-care measures fail to bring improvement within three months, consult an holistic physician who can guide you. Never discontinue blood pressure medications without the advice of a physician. Certain medications can cause rebound high blood pressure.

 

 

HYPOGLYCEMIA (LOW BLOOD SUGAR)


Natural Support For This Dietary Imbalance

Hypoglycemia results when there is an abnormally low level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. This condition is often caused by an excess secretion of insulin from the pancreas. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can mimic many other conditions. Any or all of the following can be experienced during a hypoglycemic episode: weakness, heart palpitations, anxiety, dizziness, headache, depression, weakness in the legs, tightness in the chest, numbness and/or tingling of body parts, insomnia, confusion, craving for sweets or starches, and nervous habits. Poor adrenal function and abnormal carbohydrate metabolism often occur with hypoglycemia.

Although heredity can play a role, the most common cause of hypoglycemia is dietary imbalance. Nutritional deficiencies compound the problem. A diet that is high in refined carbohydrates will aggravate or even cause hypoglycemia. Paradoxically, these foods will give temporary relief of symptoms during a low blood sugar “episode” and are therefore often eaten by hypoglycemics.

If ignored, the condition may predispose to development of Type II (adult-onset) diabetes. Because of their high sugar intake, many hypoglycemics also develop candidiasis.

DIET AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Eat only unrefined (complex) carbohydrates. Avoid all processed grains and sugars (except fresh fruit) The Super Fast Diet is EXCELLENT for hypoglycemics.
  • Always eat breakfast and include protein with this meal. (Eggs, tofu, Super Pro ‘96, whey powder, etc.)
  • Do not use coffee, tobacco, alcohol, or sugar.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise stabilizes blood sugar levels.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques: meditation, prayer, biofeedback, deep breathing. Stress releases excess adrenalin which lowers blood sugar levels.

PRIMARY SUPPORT

  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal (not minimal) doses of antioxidants (ACES), magnesium, B complex vitamins, and chromium are particularly important for correcting hypoglycemia.
  • Ultra-Chrome (chromium 4-oxopyridine, 2,6 dicarboxylate): 200-500mg daily in addition to multiple vitamin/mineral dose. (This form of chromium is 3 times more potent than chromium picolinate!)
  • Fiber: Maxi Fiber: 1 teaspoon, 3 times per day 10 minutes before meals, OR Fiber Formula: 4-6 caps, 3 times per day before or during meals.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

  • Multi-B-Complex: 1 cap, 2 times per day with meals IF you are not taking the Optimal Doses of B vitamins contained in Maxi Multi.
    • Support any organ system that scored “high” on the Self-Health Questionnaire, pages 6-8 in your Holistic Health Handbook.

 

 

HEART HEALTH


Taking Good Health to Heart

By Dr. Dana Myatt

Figuratively speaking, February is “heart month.” For all the talk about hearts that occurs at this time of year, how many people really stop to think about the life-giving work our hearts perform? More importantly, how many people take measures to ensure the health of this indispensable organ? Perhaps when deciding what gift to give your valentine, you will take a moment to think about what kind measure you can take to protect your heart.

The heart is an indispensable organ that moves blood through thousands of miles of blood vessels every minute. Without a functioning heart, the body can live little more than five minutes. The heart is a muscle, and, like skeletal muscle, grows stronger when more is demanded of it. Also like skeletal muscles, the heart requires sufficient protein intake to rebuild and regenerate itself. The heart also requires adequate blood flow to bring nutrients and oxygen to itself. When atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing) of the arteries occurs, the heart muscle may not receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients to fully perform these functions.

Atherosclerosis and its complications (coronary heart disease and stroke) account for 20% of all US deaths each year. Overall, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. But, “take heart”! There are many simple measures you can take to avoid being part of this statistic.

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Eat a nutritious diet that is high in nutrients and fiber. Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of minerals and phytonutrients (“Plant nutrients”) that protect the heart. They also contain meaningful amounts of fiber.
  • Get regular aerobic exercise (with your doctor’s clearance if you are overweight, over 30 or deconditioned). Exercise improves circulation and heart muscle pumping ability. it also helps the body use excess calories and cholesterol for energy.
  • Maintain a normal body weight. Each excess pound of fat is supplies by miles of blood vessels. This increased demand puts more workload on the heart.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking accelerates the development of atherosclerosis. It can also cause blood vessels to spasm, mimicking a heart attack.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques and anger management. people with ‘hot tempers” are at higher risk for cardiac events. (Presumably because adrenaline stimulates heart function – a useful pathway if you need to run away from a tiger but over stimulating to the heart if you are sitting in traffic!).

Nutritional Support

  • Take a high quality multiple vitamin/mineral supplement. (Hint: the nutrient levels your body needs will NOT fit into a “one per day” tablet or capsule. Expect to be taking 6 to 9 caps per day to achieve optimal doses of nutrients). B complex vitamins (All, but especially B6, B12, folic acid), magnesium, potassium, antioxidants (vitamin C, E, and selenium) and bioflavonoids are particularly important to the heart.

Additional Support

  • CoQ10: 50-400mg per day. This nutrient improves oxygenation at the cellular level. take the smaller doses for primary prevention. If you already have a heart problem, use higher doses.
  • Aspirin: one “baby aspirin” (low dose, 81mg) per day if recommended by your doctor. This small dose of aspirin is sufficient to keep blood flowing normally (prevents “blood sludge”) but is low enough to avoid the stomach irritation that a full adult dose can cause.

For Atherosclerosis:

For High Blood Pressure:

For Arrhythmia:

For Congestive Heart Failure:

Heart disease can be serious. Fortunately, the heart is very responsive to good care and many heart ailments are reversible. If you have a heart problem, it is best to work with an holistic (integrative) physician who can help you discover the cause of any existing heart problems and make specific recommendations. Never stop taking heart medication without the guidance of a physician. Bottom line: Be kind to your heart and it will keep you “ticking.”

 

Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Better Cholesterol Management with Vitamins and Herbs

Your Cholesterol Questions Answered

What can be done if you’ve been told that you have “high cholesterol?” I’ve been getting questions “in spades” this week, so it’s time for a cholesterol management update! Like Lennie who wrote “I would like to know what supplements you recommend to lower LDL besides diet.  I do not want to take satins. Thanks for your news letter I do read it. Blessings, Lennie.”

Perhaps your conventional doctor found your cholesterol levels to be “high”
(and there are differing opinions on what “too high” really is, because cholesterol is only ONE of a number of heart risk factors). He or she has probably advised you to start taking a “statin” drug. You will likely be sent off with a prescription for the statin-de-jour along with a recommendation to “eat less cholesterol and cut down on fats.” If you do a little research, you will discover that statin drugs have some worrisome side-effects, including elevated liver enzymes (indicating liver distress) and rhabdomyelosis (muscle damage; NOTE: the heart is a muscle). You might also see that there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of natural remedies, all claiming to be “the best” for safely lowering cholesterol levels. We (Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark) chuckle when we get questions from Wellness Club members asking if we have heard about the latest and greatest pill or potion or “cure” – we’ve heard ’em all and then some!

While statin drugs are being marketed as the next best drug since antibiotics, the
dangers and expense of these drugs are rarely mentioned. All the while, well-proven
natural remedies exist to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol levels,
triglycerides and various other heart risk factors. Along with proven natural remedies
come another half-dozen substances that are seen to be helpful but are not as well researched.

And of course, as with all other natural remedies, there are an entire array of
poorly-researched, unproven remedies that rely on anecdotal “patient success stories” in their glowingly inflated sales pitches. Beware – these “also rans” aren’t known to perform like proven remedies and may leave you sorely disappointed with the results.

The Big Three Remedies for High Cholesterol

1.) Niacin  The most well-studied natural agent for cholesterol improvement is niacin, a B complex vitamin. Niacin’s effect on cholesterol has been known since the 1950’s when it was found to be a highly effective cholesterol lowering agent. Studies have shown that niacin not only lowers LDL cholesterol, but also Lp(a), triglyceride, and fibrinogen (a blood protein that causes clot formation) levels, while it simultaneously raises beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. The Coronary Drug Project, an intensive and extensive evaluation of cholesterol-lowering drugs demonstrated that niacin was the only cholesterol-lowering agent that actually reduced overall mortality. Its effects were also found to be long lived, protecting patients in the study years after they had stopped taking it. Here is how niacin compares to cholesterol-lowering drugs:

Drug Class LDL HDL TG BAR’s
(Bile Acid Resins) (decreased) 15-30% (increased) 3-5% +/- Niacin (decreased) 5-25% (increased) 15-35% (decreased) 20-50% Statins (decreased) 18-60% (increased) 5-15% (decreased) 7-30% Fibric Acids (decreased) 5-20% (increased) 10-20% (decreased) 20-50% Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors (decreased) 20% +/- (decreased) 8%

Note that although statins can have a bigger impact on LDL cholesterol levels, niacin is more effective at lowering tryglycerides and raising HDL (the good cholesterol). Also be aware that cholesterol levels can be too low. Cholesterol levels under 140 are associated with an increased risk of strokes.

Like any substance, high-dose niacin is not without cautions. It’s side effects are well known, the most common being a “niacin flush” – an uncomfortable flushing or hot feeling experienced by some people after taking standard niacin. Niacin can be toxic to the liver when taken in a “time release” form that was developed to avoid the problem of the “niacin flush” that made some patients reluctant to use it. Niacin can alter blood sugar control and so should be used under medical supervision in people with diabetes. It is also important to monitor both cholesterol levels and liver enzyme levels every three months or so while using niacin, as with a statin drug. Dr. Myatt recommends a form of niacin called inositol hexaniacinate, a No-Flush Niacin that is very well tolerated.

If niacin is so great, why don’t the drug companies sell it, and why doesn’t my doctor tell me to take it, you ask? Well, though the studies strongly supports the use of niacin, it has also been victim of a lot of misinformation – your doctor may be ill-informed about it’s benefits, while he or she has certainly been told all about the “benefits” of statins. Niacin is a widely available “generic” substance, meaning it cannot be patented, and the drug companies do not stand to make from it the massive profits that the other cholesterol-lowering drugs have generated for them.
As a result, one rarely sees niacin advertised in the way that the expensive statin drugs are. Still, niacin should be considered as the first choice in a cholesterol-lowering treatment.

NOTE: If your doctor DOES prescribe niacin, it will most likely be the pharmaceutical “timed release” version. Studies show that timed release niacin is toxic to the liver and DOES NOT have better benefit than NON timed-release formulas. DO NOT TAKE timed-release niacin for high cholesterol!

2.) Red Rice Yeastis next in importance. This substance is actually the result of a fungus that grows on white rice, turning it a red color. It has been known for centuries, and used as a colorant in oriental cuisine, and to make a form of red sake (rice wine).  The active component in Red Rice Yeast is a compound called mevinolin, which is identical to the prescription drug, lovastatin. The drug companies created lovastatin in the laboratory in 1987 also using a fungus, Aspergillus terreus. The active ingredient in Red Rice Yeast was discovered and isolated a decade earlier. Red Rice Yeast has been proven to be just as effective as the modern statin drugs at lowering LDL cholesterol. Taken in high doses, it can have some of the same risks as the modern statin drugs – namely a risk of liver damage and also of rhabdomyolysis, a condition that includes muscle deterioration.

Anyone taking this or any statin drug should have a baseline liver enzyme check and have their liver enzymes checked at three months into treatment. But risks are small (about 2%). The good news is that it is thought that there is a synergistic effect obtained from other related compounds in Red Rice Yeast which allows much smaller doses to be effective. A typical dose of a statin drug would be in the range of 20-80mg/day while a typical dose of Red Rice Yeast would be about 2.5-10mg/day. Neither Red Rice Yeast nor statin drugs should be taken with grapefruit juice, as this can cause a dangerous buildup of the statin compounds in the body.

Due to drug company pressure on the FDA, many Red Rice Yeast products have been taken off the market because they contain— guess what?— the active ingredient for lowering cholesterol! The FDA said that this made them a drug. Statin drugs are now a 10+ billion dollar a year business for the drug companies (statins are the biggest selling drug of all time), and I believe the they do not want any competition from a natural remedy, especially one that works successfully, has far less negative side effects, and can be taken for about 1/4 the monthly cost of the drug versions. Although the FDA has waffled back and forth about Red Rice Yeast, it is still currently available and should be added to your cholesterol-lowering program if niacin alone fails to help within 8 weeks OR if your total cholesterol is above 240 or your hs-CRP is elevated.

3.) CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant produced in the human body. It is vitally involved in energy production. CoQ10 functions as an “energizer” to mitochondria, the body’s energy producing units. Muscles, and the heart in particular, have high requirements for CoQ10. Although CoQ10 is produced by the body, age, nutrient deficiencies, disease and some medications can lower the body’s CoQ10 levels. Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) are known to deplete CoQ10. (The original patent-holders of statins wanted to add CoQ10 to the drug because of this known depletion; the FDA denied their request).  Everyone taking a statin drug should also be taking CoQ10. In fact, because CoQ10 is necessary for normal heart function, I strongly recommend it’s use for any type of heart disease, including coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and as part of a cholesterol-lowering program.

Other Proven Cholesterol-Lowering Agents

Garlic  is another well-known cholesterol-lowering agent is with a wide spectrum of additional beneficial effects including blood pressure regulation, effective antibiotic scope and potent immune stimulant. Here however we are interested in garlic’s proven ability to lower LDL cholesterol when taken in appropriate doses of preparations that contains the the ingredient allicin. Allicin is the product of the substance alliin and the enzyme alliinase, and is fragile, dissipating quickly and easily during processing. A minimum therapeutic intake of allicin is considered to be about 4000 mcg. That is the equivalent to about one to four cloves of whole fresh garlic (depending on the size of the clove.) It is true that simply eating garlic (and it’s cousin onion) can have an excellent effect for lowering LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood fibrinogen levels. Please remember that this effect is lost when garlic or onion is cooked, as cooking quickly destroys the active ingredient allicin.

Anyone looking to buy garlic supplements should be aware of the German Commission E, a panel of experts which sets standards for dosage requirements to allow for therapeutic claims. Check the label to make sure the supplement you are considering meets their standards for strength and purity.

Vitamin C has a well-studied positive effect on lowering total cholesterol and triglyceride levels while raising beneficial HDL levels. Vitamin C supplementation is valuable for many other reasons – it is an powerful antioxidant, and an immune enhancer. If you are considering using higher doses of vitamin C, use buffered vitamin C to avoid stomach upset. Also remember that Dr. Myatt’s Maxi-Multicontains 1,200 mg of this important vitamin when taken in the recommended daily dose.

Fiber has a time-honored place in any cholesterol-lowering regimen. High intakes of soluble fiber have been shown to lower both overall and LDL cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, such high intakes of fiber can cause gastrointestinal upset in many people, and this causes them to not take effective doses. Psyllium and oat bran are two of the most-studied, and are easily available to add to the diet. You should NOT take psyllium at the same time you take the prescription drugs carbamazepine, lithium, digitalis or nitrofurantoin because psyllium will decrease their absorption and effectiveness. Another form of fiber that is demonstrating great promise as a cholesterol-lowering aid is chitosan which is a substance made from the shells of shellfish. Chitosan has the effect of binding fat and cholesterol in the digestive tract. It is so effective at this that it will absorb as much as seven to eight times it’s own weight in fat and bile which are then passed through the bowel and excreted. Because of it’s fat-binding ability, chitosan is valuable as a weight loss aid as well as a cholesterol-normalizing agent. There are just a couple of caveats regarding chitosan: first, like any other fiber, chitosan can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients and trace minerals. These should be taken at times other than when chitosan when  is taken. Secondly, because chitosan is derived from the exoskeletons (shells) of shellfish, people with seafood allergies should use caution.

The above list is the top half-dozen, proven, tested, effective cholesterol-lowering supplements and agents. They are not the only things in our armamentarium (that’s a medical word for “bag of tricks”!) though. Some of the “lesser lights” are not as well proven, or not as specifically effective at lowering cholesterol, but they may still be very valuable as a part of a coordinated cholesterol-lowering and health improving plan.

More Cholesterol-Lowering Substances

Artichoke has been studied since the 1930’s and found to have excellent effects on both atherosclerotic plaque and cholesterol and LDL levels. It is also highly protective, and may even be regenerative to the liver. It also possesses antioxidant properties. It is a valuable addition to a person’s daily supplementation. Dr. Myatt makes this available in combination with Milk Thistle which is a potent liver protector with regenerative properties and a powerful antioxidant and Turmeric which is a marvelous anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, liver-protective (on a par with milk thistle), anti-tumorgenic herb that also helps maintain normal blood viscosity. My Milk Thistle Plus+ Formula combines all three of these herbs for a powerful liver-enhancing effect.

Turmeric has been shown in a number of studies to have cholesterol-lowering effects of it’s own.  This, in addition to it’s other benefits as described above make it a “must do” in any daily supplementation program. Turmeric also inhibits platelet aggregation (med-speak for blood clotting) and serves as a natural cox-2 inhibitor like the prescription drug Vioxx.

Gugulipid is an ancient remedy that is being “rediscovered” by the western medical establishment. Gugulipid is made from the resin of the commiphora mukul tree of north central India and has been used for thousands of years to alleviate problems associated with obesity, acne, viral infections, and other ailments. It has also been shown in some limited but significant studies to reduce cholesterol and LDL levels and increase HDL levels within three to four weeks. It is certainly worth considering adding this to a cholesterol-lowering regimen.

Green Tea has also been the subject of some promising and even exciting research. Green tea serves as a potent antioxidant, preventing the oxidation of LDL in the arteries. The cholesterol-lowering effects of Green tea have been shown in numerous animal and human studies. Green tea catechins act to limit the rise in blood cholesterol according to a 1996 Japanese study. Further, Green tea has been shown to elevate HDL, and serves as a natural ACE inhibitor, lowering blood pressure. These benefits can be obtained by drinking up to 10 cups of Green tea daily, or taking one to two capsules of Green tea extract daily.

Fish Oil has been shown to reduce high levels of triglycerides by an average of 35%. It does not appear to reduce cholesterol to that extent, but it does offer benefits when as part of an integrated therapy program. Scientific studies have demonstrated that alpha-linolenic acid (from flax or perilla oil) reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis, stroke, and second heart attacks. One study showed a 70% reduction in second heart attacks in those consuming this type of fatty acid.

Vitamin E protects us from more than 80 diseases and illnesses, including protecting us from the inhibiting the effects of oxidation of LDL and the development of atherosclerotic disease. Studies have also shown it to be effective as some hypocholesterolemic (cholesterol-lowering) drugs. Anyone considering adding vitamin E to their regimen should also add Selenium which works with vitamin E to prevent LDL oxidation. Both of these nutrients are found in Dr. Myatt’s Maxi-Multi.

Policosanol refers to a group of eight solid alcohols derived from sugar cane wax. Octacosanol is the major constituent of policosanol and proponents of this substance claim that Octacosanol is remarkably safe and effective at reducing cholesterol levels, and at reducing platelet aggregation. Current supplies are from Cuba and, in my opinion, too expensive. As the price comes down and the research some up, this may prove to be a worthy cholesterol-lowering agent. (The research would have to be VAST to surpass niacin, however).

Finally, Soy has been shown to confer numerous benefits through it’s isoflavones – genistein, daidzein, and glycitein. According to a study completed in 1997, “Potential mechanisms by which soy isoflavones might prevent atherosclerosis include a beneficial effect on plasma lipid concentrations, antioxidant effects, antiproliferative and antimigratory effects on smooth muscle cells, effects on thrombus formation, and maintenance of normal vascular reactivity.” Bottom line: if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease and elevated cholesterol levels, it is worth adding soy to your diet.

Unproven Cholesterol “Cures”

We’ve talked about the proven first line remedies and the second line “helpfuls,” now let’s talk about some substances that have been touted without proof to back them up.

Coral Calcium – promoted as the cure for every thing from cancer to high cholesterol to bad breath to spiritual weakness. Many of it’s top promoters are facing criminal prosecution. Avoid it. Not only does coral calcium often contain high lead levels, it is destructive to the coral reefs where it is derived. Calcium alone is not a proven cholesterol-lowering remedy; neither is coral calcium. If you need additional calcium/magnesium/bone nutrients, consider taking Cal-Mag Amino.

Various teas have been touted as total cholesterol cures, no doubt riding on the coattails of accepted Green Tea studies. Don’t believe them – Green Tea is an important part of a cholesterol-control program, but teas are not the whole answer!

Cinnamon capsules have recently been promoted as a cholesterol-reducing agent. We are not aware of any solid studies to support this. Cinnamon does seem to have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels of type II diabetics though. The capsules seem a bit expensive, when you can simply add this spice to your food and beverages – try it in tea!

Vinegar, and most especially apple cider vinegar, have also enjoyed some popularity as folk remedies for high cholesterol. Again, there is no scientific evidence of beneficial effect – though “anecdotal evidence” of the “my best friend’s great aunt’s late husband used it every day ’till he died” variety is plentiful…

Beyond Supplements and Drugs: Live a “Good Cholesterol Lifestyle”

No cholesterol-lowering program would be complete without a discussion of diet. Instead of dire warnings and restrictive regimes that drastically limit fat intake, Dr. Myatt puts her patients on The Super Fast Diet for cholesterol control. Her patients find this to be a rich, balanced, satisfying diet, and they are pleasantly surprised to find that not only do their cholesterol levels normalize in short order, but so does their weight. This nutrient-rich diet has people feeling better, looking better, and performing better, and their lab results are the proof of it’s effectiveness.

Your Personal Cholesterol-Lowering Protocol

For more information and dosage recommendations for natural cholesterol lowering remedies, please visit The Wellness Club website here: High Cholesterol Protocol

High cholesterol is a correctable dietary problem, not a statin drug deficiency! You can improve your cardiovascular risk far better by correcting underlying problems than by taking a liver-function-blocking drug. Why settle for a Band-Aid when a CURE is available?!

Yours In Health,

Dr. Dana Myatt

HealthBeat News


Taking Good Health to Heart

The heart is an indispensable organ that moves blood through thousands of miles of blood vessels every minute. Without a functioning heart, the body can live little more than five minutes. The heart is a muscle, and, like skeletal muscle, grows stronger when more is demanded of it. Also like skeletal muscles, the heart requires sufficient protein intake to rebuild and regenerate itself. The heart also requires adequate blood flow to bring nutrients and oxygen to itself. When atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing) of the arteries occurs, the heart muscle may not receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients to fully perform these functions.

Atherosclerosis and its complications (coronary heart disease and stroke) account for 20% of all US deaths each year. Overall, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. But, “take heart”! There are many simple measures you can take to avoid being part of this statistic.

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Eat a nutritious diet that is high in nutrients and fiber. Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of minerals and phytonutrients (“Plant nutrients”) that protect the heart. They also contain meaningful amounts of fiber.
  • Get regular aerobic exercise (with your doctor’s clearance if you are overweight, over 30 or deconditioned). Exercise improves circulation and heart muscle pumping ability. it also helps the body use excess calories and cholesterol for energy.
  • Maintain a normal body weight. Each excess pound of fat is supplied by miles of blood vessels. This increased demand puts more workload on the heart.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking accelerates the development of atherosclerosis. It can also cause blood vessels to spasm, mimicking a heart attack.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques and anger management. people with ‘hot tempers” are at higher risk for cardiac events. (Presumably because adrenaline stimulates heart function – a useful pathway if you need to run away from a tiger but over stimulating to the heart if you are sitting in traffic!).
  • Take a high quality multiple vitamin/mineral supplement. (Hint: the nutrient levels your body needs will NOT fit into a “one per day” tablet or capsule. Expect to be taking 6 to 9 caps per day to achieve optimal doses of nutrients). B complex vitamins (All, but especially B6, B12, folic acid), magnesium, potassium, antioxidants (vitamin C, E, and selenium) and bioflavonoids are particularly important to the heart.

Primary Support

  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. This daily “multiple” contains high potency antioxidants. Optimal (not minimal) doses of antioxidants (ACES), magnesium, B complex vitamins, and bioflavonoids are particularly important for the heart. Take additional B complex vitamins if your multiple does not contain optimal doses. B vitamins, (especially B6, B12, and folic acid) lower homocysteine levels, an independent risk for heart disease that many researchers feel is more important than cholesterol levels.
  • Max EPA (fish oil): 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals to prevent or reverse inflammation. Take higher doses as directed if your hs-CRP tests are elevated. Flax oil is also beneficial but requires a biochemical conversion in the body, which is deficient in many people, so fish oil is more certain.
  • CoQ10: 50-300mg per day. This powerful antioxidant, produced by the body, diminishes with age. It is especially valuable for all types of heart disease. CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING DRUGS deplete CoQ10. (Amounts will depend on the severity of the disease. Lower doses may be used for health maintenance; higher doses in cases of arrhythmia, angina, and atherosclerosis).
  • Magnesium: 2 taps, 3 times per day with meals (Target dose: 500-1500mg per day. Maxi Multi contains 500mg).
  • Grape Seed Extract: 1 cap, 3 times per day with meals. (Target dose: 150-300mg daily). Proanthocyanidins in grape seed extract act as a potent antioxidants and ACE inhibitors. They also help prevent platelet aggregation (blood cells sticking together) and protect blood vessels from damage.

Additional Support

For Atherosclerosis:

For High Blood Pressure:

For Arrhythmia:

For Heart Failure (CHF):

Heart disease can be serious. Fortunately, the heart is very responsive to good care and many heart ailments are reversible. If you have a heart problem, it is best to work with an holistic (integrative) physician who can help you discover the cause of any existing heart problems and make specific recommendations. Never stop taking heart medication without the guidance of a physician. Bottom line: Be kind to your heart and it will keep you “ticking.”

 

HealthBeat News

Heart Health Breakthroughs

From the medical journals this month, a lot of important new about heart health. Topics include 4 Major Risk Factors for Heart Disease that can be modified; How and Why eating fish lowers heart rate (and which kind is best to eat); How hormone balancing, including DHEA, fights heart disease; Study shows that diet change works as well as drugs for lowering cholesterol.

Big Fat Lies! A deficiency of Omega-3 Fatty Acid OR an imbalance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio is associated with heart irregularities, breast cancer, difficulty losing weight and more.

Sex hormone balance. New studies continue to show the danger of conventional hormone therapy (though this has been known for over a decade), but other studies show benefit of natural hormone replacement therapy. Find out what the difference is and how to go about improving your hormone levels.

Risks and Benefits of Soy Soy and soy-related foods have health benefits including cholesterol-lower and anti-cancer effects BUT there are definite cautions as well. Learn more about this up-and-coming food source.

Body/Mind: The Shaman’s Lesson of Worth What I learned from a Native American Medicine Man may prove of value to you as well.

Member News and Notes

Upcoming topics: What else would you like to see in future editions? Keep those requests and letters coming.

Heart Health Breakthroughs

From the medical journals in the past month come these heart-healthy findings:

    1. The Top 4 major heart disease risks can be modified, and isn’t this great news since heart disease is the major cause of death in our country! Nine out of ten people who suffer a heart attack were found to have at least one of these modifiable risks, including cigarette smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. It was previously believed that these 4 factors accounted for about 50% of fatal heart attacks, but two studies published this week now estimate the number to be between 87-100%. (Journal of the American Medical Association, August 18, 2003)
    2. Eating fatty fish helps keep heart rate low, which in turn decreases the risk of sudden cardiac death. The exact mechanism is not yet known, but I predict it will be discovered to be due to the “essential” nature of the correct Omega-6:Omega-3 fatty acid ratio. (See “Big Fat Lies”, below). (Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, August 12, 2003)
    3. Diet works as well as drugs for lowering cholesterol levels. The test diets included fiber and soy protein, and worked as well at lowering cholesterol as the major “statin” drugs. There are several advantages to the dietary approach, namely lower cost and most importantly, no nasty side effects. (Statin drugs can damage the liver, hence the need for regular blood tests to monitor liver function). (Journal of the American Medical Association, July 23/30, 2003)
    4. DHEA May Fight Heart Disease. A study of middle-aged men taking DHEA found that insulin sensitivity and endothelial function both improved. (Endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels, the area where plaque accumulates). Since both of these factors are known to contribute to atherosclerosis, it is believed that DHEA will be shown to be beneficial to the heart. (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, July 23, 2003). Dr. Myatt’s Note: Please read the article on “Sex Hormone Balance,” below, and DO NOT attempt to take hormone supplementation without guidance. This study is promising but preliminary, and it is possible to drive estrogen and other sex hormones too high with excessive DHEA intake.
    5. Type “A” Behavior Triggers Heart Disease. Those who have “Type A” behaviors—- impatient, competitive, uptight, holding grudges— are heart attacks waiting to happen, and happen much sooner than they would in a person with similar physical risk factors but non-type A personalities. (Psychosomatic Medicine, July, 2003). The bottom line? Practice relaxation techniques, physical activity to burn off excess “hyper” energy, forgiveness— whatever it takes to ease you into a less stressful personality and behavior mode.

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Big Fat Lies!

Unlike carbohydrates, fats are an essential macronutrient and also the most misunderstood. The term “fat” actually refers to an entire family of fatty acids, each with very different biological functions. Only two fatty acids are essential, but the way in which all interact with each other plays an important role in how Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are utilized. Deficiencies, excesses or relative deficiencies of EFA’s are now known to have serious health consequences. Because imbalanced dietary fats are strongly associated with many diseases, any diet aiming for optimal health must correct fat intake. A number of books address the importance of EFA’s, also called “Omegas,” but most contain elements of spurious science.

The New Keto Diet dives deeper into the description and prescription for optimizing fat intake than any diet ever before, shattering some widely held but incorrect beliefs about certain fats and setting the record straight on others. Let’s look at some of the Big Fat Lies about fat that no other diet book has correctly explained, including:

TRANS fats are the real villains among dietary fats, interfering with absorption of the Essential Fatty Acids, damaging cell membranes, elevating cholesterol level and altering the way normal cell membranes function. Trans fats are prevalent in the American diet, including many weight loss and “health” diets, but their intake should be drastically minimized for health reasons. In fact, the FDA recently passed a law requiring the amounts of trans fats to be listed separately on food nutrition labels.

Saturated fats, the kind we get from eating steak, butter, cheese and eggs, are NOT unhealthy as they have been portrayed. In fact, they are so important that the human body produces them internally. Dietary saturated fat intake is not only safe but also necessary. Because “sat fats” do not compete with the EFA’s for absorption, do not turn “trans” or rancid, and maintain their chemical composition when heated, they are preferable for frying and high-heat cooking. The old belief that “saturated fats are unhealthy” was actually started many years ago based on some unscientific “science,” the edible oil industry in this country (who magnified the unsavory science in ads to discredit coconut oil and improve sales of domestic oils such as corn and cottonseed), and one wealthy businessman who mistakenly blamed his heart disease on saturated fats and paid for a huge, negative marketing campaign. Saturated fats are not villains, and some sat fats, such as coconut oil, have significant health benefits. (Coconut oil is antimicrobial, antiviral, is excellent for cooking for the reasons listed above, and can be used easily and directly as a calorie source, hence, it “burns” faster and “hotter” than many other types of calories).

Further, the belief that monounsaturated oils (such as olive oil) are healthful and desirable is another Big Fat Lie. In truth, they are the white bread of the fatty acid family. Although better than Trans fats, “monos” serve no purpose in the body, are not essential, compete with the Essential Fatty Acids for utilization, and can turn into Trans fats with cooking.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids are an Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) that needs to be balanced with it’s EFA partner, Omega-3, for optimal health. The American diet contains far too much of this essential fat and most people should not be taking supplements of O-6 oils.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids, the other EFA, must partner with O-6 in a 4:1 to 10:1 ratio. Unfortunately, this EFA is exceptionally low in virtually every diet, from the Standard American Diet to Atkin’s to Pritiken, and especially the USDA food pyramid. No one has told us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth regarding optimal fat intake until now. On a truly healthful diet (primarily The New Keto Diet), you can have your steak (its “Omega Ratio” makes it far healthier than chicken), lavish butter on your broccoli and bathe your artichoke in mayonnaise, but that dainty olive oil vinaigrette that most would advise should be replaced by a healthier flax oil dressing.

Heart Disease

One of the best ways to help prevent and treat heart disease is to eat a diet low in trans fats and replace foods rich in trans and omega-6 fats with those that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA found in fish oil help reduce risk factors for heart disease including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. There is also strong evidence that these substances can help prevent and treat atherosclerosis by inhibiting the development of plaque and blood clots, each of which tends to clog arteries. Studies of heart attack survivors have found that daily omega-3 fatty acid supplements dramatically reduce the risk of death, subsequent heart attacks, and stroke. Similarly, people who eat an ALA-rich diet are less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack.

Stroke

Strong evidence from population-based studies suggests that omega-3 fatty acid intake (primarily from fish), helps protect against stroke caused by plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries that lead to the brain. In fact, eating at least two servings of fish per week can reduce the risk of stroke by as much as 50%. However, people who eat more than three grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day (equivalent to 3 servings of fish per day) may be at an increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke, a potentially fatal type of stroke in which an artery in the brain leaks or ruptures. Keep in mind that 80% of strokes are due to blood clots, and only 20% are hemorrhagic. Further, it is weak blood vessels, not thin blood, that cause this rarer type of stroke. (Grape seed extract, available in supplement form, helps strengthen blood vessels among its other benefits).

Weight Loss

People who have trouble losing weight when dieting, including those who are resistant to weight loss on a ketogenic (Atkins’) diet, are likely to have a deficiency of Omega-3 fatty Acids OR an imbalanced ratio of O-6 to O-3. Improving this ratio of Essential Fatty Acid intake in the diet, without additional restriction on carbohydrates or calories, is often the key to unlocking this “metabolic resistance.”

Arthritis

Most clinical studies investigating the use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements for inflammatory joint conditions have focused almost entirely on rheumatoid arthritis. Several articles reviewing the research in this area conclude that omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduce tenderness in joints, decrease morning stiffness, and allow for a reduction in the amount of medication needed for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, laboratory studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids (and low in omega-6 fatty acids) may benefit people with other inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis. In fact, several test tube studies of cartilage-containing cells have found that omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation and reduce the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage. In some participants, symptoms worsened before they improved.

Depression

People who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids or do not maintain a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in their diet may be at an increased risk for depression. The omega-3 fatty acids are important components of nerve cell membranes. They help nerve cells communicate with each other, which is an essential step in maintaining good mental health.

Levels of omega-3 fatty acids were found to be measurably low and the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids were particularly high in a study of patients hospitalized for depression. In a study of people with depression, those who ate a healthy diet consisting of fatty fish two to three times per week for 5 years experienced a significant reduction in feelings of depression and hostility.

Macular Degeneration

A questionnaire administered to more than 3,000 people over the age of 49 found that those who consumed more fish in their diet were less likely to have macular degeneration (a serious age-related eye condition that can progress to blindness) than those who consumed less fish. Similarly, a study comparing 350 people with macular degeneration to 500 without found that those with a healthy dietary balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and higher intake of fish in their diets were less likely to have this particular eye disorder. Another larger study confirms that EPA and DHA from fish, four or more times per week, may reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration.

Colon Cancer

Consuming significant amounts of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids appears to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. For example, Eskimos, who tend to follow a high fat diet but eat significant amounts of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, have a low rate of colorectal cancer. Animal studies and laboratory studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids prevent worsening of colon cancer while omega-6 fatty acids promote the growth of colon tumors. Daily consumption of EPA and DHA also appeared to slow or even reverse the progression of colon cancer in people with early stages of the disease.

Breast Cancer

Women who regularly consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids appear to be less likely to develop breast cancer. In addition, the risk of dying from breast cancer may be significantly less for those who eat large quantities of omega-3 from fish and brown kelp seaweed (common in Japan). This is particularly true among women who substitute fish for meat. The balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids appears to play an important role in the development and growth of breast cancer. The tissue levels of women with breast cancer are found to contain much lower levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than breast tissue from healthy controls.

Some researchers hypothesize that omega-3 fatty acids in combination with other nutrients (namely, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, and coenzyme Q10) may prove to be of particular value for preventing and treating breast cancer.

Prostate Cancer

Laboratory and animal studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids (specifically, DHA and EPA) may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. Similarly, population based studies of groups of men suggest that a low-fat diet with the addition of omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil help prevent the development of prostate cancer. Like breast cancer, the balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids appears to be particularly important for reducing the risk of this condition.

Other

Preliminary evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may also prove beneficial in protecting against infections, ulcers, migraine headaches, preterm labor, asthma, emphysema, psoriasis, glaucoma, Lyme disease, lupus, and panic attacks.

Dietary Sources

Fish oils and plant oils are the primary dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and herring. ALA is found in flaxseeds & flaxseed oil. FISH and FLAX are the best sources. Other oils that contain significant amounts of Omega-3 are not recommended because they are also high in Omega-6. these include: canola (rapeseed) oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, purslane, walnuts, and walnut oil.

Available Forms

In addition to the dietary sources described, EPA and DHA can be taken in the form of fish oil Capsules. Flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and fish oil should be kept refrigerated. Whole flaxseeds should be ground within 1 week of use to ensure maximum potency.

Be sure to buy omega-3 fatty acid supplements made by established companies who certify that their products are free of heavy metals such as mercury.

How to Take It

Flaxseed

1 TBS. ground flax seed per day AND 1 TBS. flax oil per day OR 2 TBS. flax oil per day. (This corresponds to about 12 flax oil Capsules.

Flaxseed: 1 TBS two to three times per day or 2 to 4 tsp one time per day. Grind before eating and take with lots of water.

EPA and DHA

The adequate daily intake of EPA and DHA for adults should be at least 220 mg of each per day. Two to three servings of fatty fish per week (roughly 1,250 mg EPA and DHA per day) are generally recommended to treat certain health conditions.

Fish oil supplements

3,000 to 4,000 mg standardized fish oils per day. (This amount corresponds to roughly 2 to 3 servings of fatty fish per week.)

Typically, a 1,000 mg fish oil Capsule has 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA

ALA. Do NOT use cod liver oil on a regular basis, as it’s high vitamin A & D levels can become toxic. A physician should monitor high intakes of these fat-soluble vitamins. Regular EPA-containing fish oils do not contain vitamin A & D.

Possible Interactions

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use omega-3 fatty acid supplements without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Blood-thinning Medications

Omega-3 fatty acids may increase the blood-thinning effects of aspirin or warfarin. While the combination of aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids may actually be helpful under certain circumstances (such as heart disease), they should only be taken together under the guidance and supervision of a knowledgeable nutritionally-oriented physician.

Cyclosporine

Taking omega-3 fatty acids during cyclosporine therapy may reduce toxic side effects (such as high blood pressure and kidney damage) associated with this medication in transplant patients.

Etretinate and Topical Steroids

The addition of omega-3 fatty acids (specifically EPA) to a drug regimen of etretinate and topical corticosteroids may improve symptoms of psoriasis.

Cholesterol-lowering Medications

Following certain nutritional guidelines, including increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and reducing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, may allow a group of cholesterol lowering medications known as “statins” (such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin) to work more effectively.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

In an animal study, treatment with omega-3 fatty acids reduced the risk of ulcers from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). More research is needed to evaluate whether omega-3 fatty acids would have the same effects in people.

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Sex Hormone Balance

The so-called “sex hormones,” including estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, DHT, appear to play an important role in keeping us health, preventing many known age-related changes. When they are in healthful balance, they also appear to help prevent hormone-related cancers, heart disease, age-related memory changes, osteoporosis and a host of other ills. This is the reason that women, particularly, have been prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause.

Although it was well-known when I first started practicing medicine 14 years ago, only this year have we “officially” acknowledged that conventional hormone replacement therapy can be dangerous. In fact, such HRT can actually INCREASE the risk of heart disease and breast cancer. Fortunately for men, we have not tended to use HRT at middle age.

In contradistinction, natural Hormone Replacement Therapy (n-HRT) appears to have numerous positive benefits for both women AND men. A decline in these sex hormones is highly associated with undesirable metabolic changes of aging, and altering the levels toward a more “youthful” profile can be seen to reverse or slow the aging process. (See the “Heart Healthy” note on DHEA, above).

In women, youthful hormone balance is associated with lower heart disease risk, protection from osteoporosis, breast cancer, depression and age-related memory changes, to name a few.

In men, youthful hormone balance is associated with increased virility and protection from heart disease, prostate cancer, depression and osteoporosis (yes, men get it to), to name a few.

The key difference between HRT and n-HRT is that n-HRT attempts to duplicate a normal hormone profile of a youthful body. Conventional HRT makes absolutely NO attempt to imitate nature, usually giving high doses of the most potent form of estrogen, which is the likely reason for its dismal failure.

Anyone past the age of 40, both men and women, may benefit from n-HRT. Because the “hormone milieu” is a complicated mix in each individual, the only safe and sane way to take hormones is to have a baseline hormone profile performed, and replacement therapy prescribed by an holistic physician. Because of the broad array of physical functions affected by sex hormone balance, this simple measure of evaluation and n-HRT is worth considering for anyone who wants to delay the aging process and enjoy better health past middle age.

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Soy: Risks and Benefits

Like most things in nature, the humble soy bean (Glycine max) can be healthful in moderation, harmful in excess. Because soy and soy products (tofu, miso, soy flour) are currently gaining a lot of media attention and popularity, it is important to understand the risks and benefits of this food and supplement.

Soy contains substances called protease inhibitors. In small to moderate amounts, these substances help prevent cancer and are also useful in controlling cancer. Soy has estrogenic effects, though much weaker than the human estrogen equivalent. For this reason, soy can increase the estrogen effect in someone who is deficient, or decrease the estrogen effect in one who has an excess. (Because it competes for the same receptors as the stronger mammalian estrogens, giving then less available places to bind). Soy may also improve cholesterol levels when eaten with some regularity. Believe me, you’ll be reading and hearing a lot more about this food in the months ahead, but please exercise moderation. Much of what you hear is “hype,” some is valuable medical advice.

Soy is a “goitrogen,” capable of inhibiting thyroid function when consumed in large amounts. In fact, I have seen some particularly sensitive people experience thyroid suppression when eating soy even in modest doses.

Further, soy is a type of protein that many people do not digest and tolerate well. It is especially likely to aggravate irritable bowel symptoms, causing gas and diarrhea, in those who are sensitive to it.

SO, who should eat soy? It appears to be a healthy and even helpful food for many people, 3 to 4 servings per week is my recommendation. If you experience bowel discomfort from eating soy, then this food is not for you. If you elect to eat larger amounts per week than this, consider having your thyroid function tested when you first add more soy to your diet, then again in 3 months to see if it has adversely affected your thyroid hormones levels.

For those who wish to obtain the benefits of soy (such as women desiring alternative to convention hormone replacement, or those with hormone-related cancers under their holistic physician’s guidance), soy supplements can be taken. These contain the isolated active ingredients of soy, primarily genistein and diadzein, without the gut-disturbing proteins that bother many.

I consider soy a useful protein source with positive health benefits when consumed in moderation. Just don’t fall for the plethora of media and soy-growers of America “over-hype” and fall prey to excess. “All things in moderation, including moderation”!

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The Shaman’s Lesson of Worth

I was a starry-eyed first year resident when I met the old man, a Shaman (medicine man and spiritual advisor) to his Native tribe in the four corner’s area of New Mexico. It had long been my goal to study with such a healer and learn the “secrets” of the Shaman’s ways. Now here I was, face-to-face with just such a One.

A young man came to see the Shaman about a health problem. From his appearance and description, I guessed him to be no more than twenty. He complained bitterly about the “strange sights” he saw on occasion. By Western standards, schizophrenia was a likely diagnosis. The young man clearly needed help. The Shaman told him that help was available, but that a week-long ceremony would be necessary. Then the Shaman told him the cost. The young man shook his head dejectedly and left. I questioned the Shaman.

What was the fee for the ceremony, and why had the young man gone away without treatment? I wanted to know. The Shaman explained that his fees were approximately equivalent to $6000 in Western money, but that people paid in other means of exchange like goats, sheep, baskets and food items. The man left because he did not have the required fee. Sensing that I was upset by this, the Shaman explained that the young man would return for treatment after he raised the necessary funds.

“But why don’t you help him now and let him pay later?” I wanted to know. “Aren’t there some people that are too poor to afford your services? Do you ever give your services away for free?”

“Never,” he assured me. Then the old man sat me down and carefully explained his reasoning.

“Health is a valuable commodity,” he began, looking to see if I agreed. I nodded. “Like other valuable commodities, the people who want it dearly enough will work to get it. As they work, they increase their appreciation of its value. When I give a man a healing service without a fee, he associates ‘free’ with ‘not valuable.’ The potency of any treatment is not only in the treatment, but also in a person’s belief in its value. When someone pays dearly for a ceremony, they show that they appreciate the value of my treatment. More importantly, they show themselves how much they value their health. A man who values his health will work hard to win it back, and he is more likely to recover.” He paused to let me take his words in.

“But what if someone really can’t afford your treatment?” I persisted.

“People can always afford my ceremonies if they value their health. A poor man will recruit his family to help him raise the necessary funds. If he has no family, he will petition the community to help him raise the necessary funds. By doing this, he will not only value the ceremony he receives, but he will feel the support and good wishes of the community for his recovery. Anyone who truly wants to get well can always find a way to afford the healing ceremony.” With that, the old man stood to indicate that we were through for the day.

In years since, the Shaman’s words have returned to haunt me. How many times have I heard people complain about the cost of supplements, or of my services, while they drive Mercedes, eat out twice a week, own a vacation home in the mountains and subscribe to cable T.V.? I believe that the old Shaman was right. The people who value their health will work to get it. They will pay to get it. And they will value it dearly when it returns.

HealthBeat News

The Truth About Cholesterol, Part II

In the last issue of HealthBeat we talked about cholesterol, discussing what it is and what blood levels are most healthful. If you missed that issue, you can review it here: The Truth about Cholesterol, Part I

Here is a quick review before we proceed to Part II:

  • Cholesterol is essential to human life – it makes up about 80% of our body’s cell walls, and we can’t live without it.
  • Cholesterol in it’s various forms – Low Density Lipoproteins, High Density Lipoproteins, Very Low Density Lipoproteins and Triglycerides, each exert various and different effects.
  • Science currently “thinks” that LDL is the most dangerous cholesterol and that HDL is protective.
  • Medical opinions about cholesterol and it’s effects change regularly.
  • LDL and TG’s appear to be independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • TG’s become elevated primarily by excess carbohydrates in the diet, not by high fat or cholesterol. 
  • HDL levels can be increased by exercise, niacin, and maintaining youthful sex hormone levels.
  • Decreased dietary cholesterol often does NOT lower total cholesterol levels; the liver simply manufactures more when it senses less intake from diet.

So, what can be done if you have been told that you have “high cholesterol?”

First, if a conventional doctor has found your cholesterol levels to be “high” (and there is differing opinion on what ” too high” really is!), he or she has probably advised you to start taking a “statin” drug. You will likely be sent off with a prescription for the statin-de-jour along with a recommendation to “eat less cholesterol and cut down on the fats!” If you do a little research on your own, you will discover that these statin drugs have some very worrisome side-effects and that there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of other “natural” remedies – all claiming to be “the best” for safely lowering cholesterol levels. Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark chuckle when they get  questions from Wellness Club members asking if they have heard about the latest and greatest pill or potion or “cure” – they’ve heard ’em all and then some!

While statin drugs are being marketed as the next best drug since antibiotics, the dangers and expense of these drugs are rarely mentioned. All the while, very well-proven natural remedies exist to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, total cholesterol levels, triglycerides and various other heart risk factors. Along with these well-proven natural remedies come another half-dozen that are seen to be helpful but are not as well researched. And of course, as with all other natural remedies, there are an entire array of poorly-researched, unproven remedies that rely on anecdotal “patient success stories” in their glowingly inflated sales pitches. Beware – these “also rans” aren’t known to perform like proven remedies and may leave you sorely disappointed with the results.

So, let’s take a look at the remedies for high cholesterol that have been well-researched and proven:

1.) Niacin  The most well-studies natural agent for cholesterol improvement is niacin, a B complex vitamin. Niacin’s effect on cholesterol has been known since the 1950’s when it was found to be a highly effective cholesterol lowering agent. Studies have shown that niacin not only lowers LDL cholesterol, but also Lp(a), triglyceride, and fibrinogen (a blood protein that causes clot formation) levels, while it simultaneously raises beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. The Coronary Drug Project, an intensive and extensive evaluation of cholesterol-lowering drugs demonstrated that niacin was the only cholesterol-lowering agent that actually reduced overall mortality. Its effects were also found to be long lived, protecting patients in the study years after they had stopped taking it.

Like any substance, niacin is not entirely without cautions. It’s side effects are well known, the most common being a “niacin flush” – an uncomfortable flushing or hot feeling experienced by some people after taking standard niacin. Niacin can also be toxic to the liver when taken in a “time release” form that was developed to avoid the problem of the “niacin flush” that made some patients reluctant to use it. Niacin can alter blood sugar control and so should be used under medical supervision in people with diabetes. It is also important to monitor both cholesterol levels and liver enzyme levels every three months or so while using niacin, as with a statin drug. Dr. Myatt recommends a form of niacin called inositol hexaniacinate, a No-Flush Niacin that is very well tolerated.

If niacin is so great, why don’t the drug companies sell it, and why doesn’t my doctor tell me to take it you ask? Well, though the studies strongly supports the use of niacin, it has also been victim of a lot of misinformation – your doctor may be ill-informed about it’s benefits, while he or she has certainly been told all about the “benefits” of statins. Niacin is a widely available “generic” substance, meaning it cannot be patented, and the drug companies do not stand to make from it the massive profits that the other cholesterol-lowering drugs have generated for them. As a result, one rarely sees niacin advertised in the way that the expensive statin drugs are. Still, niacin should be considered as the first choice in a cholesterol-lowering treatment.

2.) Red Rice Yeastis next in importance. This substance is actually the result of a fungus that grows on white rice, turning it a red color. It has been known for centuries, and used as a colorant in oriental cuisine, and to make a form of red sake (rice wine).  The active component in Red Rice Yeast is a compound called mevinolin, which is identical to the prescription drug, lovastatin. The drug companies created lovastatin in the laboratory in 1987 also using a fungus, Aspergillus terreus. The active ingredient in Red Rice Yeast was discovered and isolated a decade earlier. Red Rice Yeast has been proven to be just as effective as the modern statin drugs at lowering LDL cholesterol. Taken in high doses, it can have some of the same risks as the modern statin drugs – namely a risk of liver damage and also of rhabdomyolysis, a condition that includes muscle deterioration. Anyone taking this or any statin drug should have a baseline liver enzyme check and have their liver enzymes checked periodically thereafter. Both risks are small (about 2%) but present. The good news is that it is thought that there is a synergistic effect obtained from other related compounds in Red Rice Yeast which allows much smaller doses to be effective. A typical dose of statin drug would be in the range of 20-80mg/day while a typical dose of Red Rice Yeast would be about 2.5-10mg/day. Neither Red Rice Yeast or statin drugs should be taken with grapefruit juice, as this can cause a dangerous buildup of the statin compounds in the body.

Due to drug company pressure on the FDA, many Red Rice Yeast products have been taken off the market because they contained— guess what?— the active ingredient for lowering cholesterol! The FDA said that this made them a drug. Statin drugs are now a 10+ billion dollar a year business for the drug companies (statins are the biggest selling drug of all time), and Dr. Myatt believes they do not want any competition from a natural remedy, especially one that works successfully, has far less negative side effects, and can be taken for about 1/4 the monthly cost of the drug versions.

3.) Garlic  is another well-known cholesterol-lowering agent is with a wide spectrum of additional beneficial effects including blood pressure regulation, effective antibiotic scope and potent immune stimulant. Here however we are interested in garlic’s proven ability to lower LDL cholesterol when taken in appropriate doses of preparations that contains the the ingredient allicin. Allicin is the product of the substance alliin and the enzyme alliinase, and is fragile, dissipating quickly and easily during processing. A minimum therapeutic intake of allicin is considered to be about 4000 mcg. That is the equivalent to about one to four cloves of whole fresh garlic (depending on the size of the clove.) It is true that simply eating garlic (and it’s cousin onion) can have an excellent effect for lowering LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood fibrinogen levels. Please remember that this effect is lost when garlic or onion is cooked, as cooking quickly destroys the active ingredient allicin.

Anyone looking to buy garlic supplements should be aware of the German Commission E, a panel of experts which sets standards for dosage requirements to allow for therapeutic claims. Check the label to make sure the supplement you are considering meets their standards for strength and purity.

4.) Policosanol is a “new kid on the block” in terms of cholesterol control, but it looks promising. “Policosanol” refers to a group of eight solid alcohols derived from sugar cane wax. Octacosanol is the major constituent of policosanol and proponents of this substance claim that Octacosanol is remarkably safe and effective at reducing cholesterol levels, and at reducing platelet aggregation. Dr. Myatt and her team are actively researching this substance, and if it proves to be everything that it claims to be, look for it to be made available through the Wellness Club just as soon as “The Dragon Lady” – oops, I mean Dr. Myatt – (“The Dragon Lady” is what our supplement suppliers call her because of her exacting quality standards) – pins down the very highest quality product. For now, it appears that policosanol is more expensive than it should be because the main source of supply is the sugar cane fields of Cuba. The leaves and rinds of citrus fruits also contain octacosanol, as does wheat germ oil – these may prove to be an alternate source for this promising substance. If you are interested in giving Policosanol a try give us a call here at the Wellness Club and we’ll give you the latest updates on it’s availability and price.
 

Other Cholesterol-Lowering Agents

5.) Vitamin C C has a well-studied positive effect on lowering total cholesterol and triglyceride levels while raising beneficial HDL levels. Vitamin C supplementation is valuable for many other reasons – it is an powerful antioxidant, and an immune enhancer. If you are considering using higher doses of vitamin C, use buffered vitamin C to avoid stomach upset. Also remember that Dr. Myatt’s Maxi-Multicontains 1,200 mg of this important vitamin when taken in the recommended daily dose.

6. Fiber has a time-honored place in any cholesterol-lowering regimen. High intakes of soluble fiber have been shown to lower both overall and LDL cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, such high intakes of fiber can cause gastrointestinal upset in many people, and this causes them to not take effective doses. Psyllium and oat bran are two of the most-studied, and are easily available to add to the diet. You should NOT take psyllium at the same time you take the prescription drugs carbamazepine, lithium, digitalis or nitrofurantoin because psyllium will decrease their absorption and effectiveness. Another form of fiber that is demonstrating great promise as a cholesterol-lowering aid is chitosan which is a substance made from the shells of shellfish. Chitosan has the effect of binding fat and cholesterol in the digestive tract. It is so effective at this that it will absorb as much as seven to eight times it’s own weight in fat and bile which are then passed through the bowel and excreted. Because of it’s fat-binding ability, chitosan is valuable as a weight loss aid as well as a cholesterol-normalizing agent. There are just a couple of caveats regarding chitosan: first, like any other fiber, chitosan can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients and trace minerals. These should be taken at times other than when the chitosan is taken. Secondly, because chitosan is derived from the exoskeletons (shells) of shellfish, people with seafood allergies should use caution.
 

That is the top half-dozen, proven, tested, effective cholesterol-lowering supplements and agents. They are not the only things in our armamentarium (that’s a medical word for “bag of tricks”!) though. Some of the “lesser lights” are not as well proven, or not as specifically effective at lowering cholesterol, but they may still be very valuable as a part of a coordinated cholesterol-lowering and health improving plan. Some of those include:

Artichoke has been studied since the 1930’s and found to have excellent effects on both atherosclerotic plaque and cholesterol and LDL levels. It is also highly protective, and may even be regenerative to the liver. It also possesses antioxidant properties. It is a valuable addition to a person’s daily supplementation. Dr. Myatt makes this available in combination with Milk Thistle which is a potent liver protector with regenerative properties and a powerful antioxidant and Turmeric which is a marvelous anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, liver-protective (on a par with milk thistle), anti-tumorgenic herb that also helps maintain normal blood viscosity.

Turmeric has been shown in a number of studies to have cholesterol-lowering effects of it’s own.  This, in addition to it’s other benefits as described above make it a “must do” in any daily supplementation program. Turmeric also inhibits platelet aggregation (med-speak for blood clotting) and serves as a natural cox-2 inhibitor like the prescription drug Vioxx.

Gugulipid is an ancient remedy that is being “rediscovered” by the western medical establishment. Gugulipid is made from the resin of the commiphora mukul tree of north central India and has been used for thousands of years to alleviate problems associated with obesity, acne, viral infections, and other ailments. It has also been shown in some limited but significant studies to reduce cholesterol and LDL levels and increase HDL levels within three to four weeks. It is certainly worth considering adding this to a cholesterol-lowering regimen.

Green Tea has also been the subject of some promising and even exciting research. Green tea serves as a potent antioxidant, preventing the oxidation of LDL in the arteries. The cholesterol-lowering effects of Green tea have been shown in numerous animal and human studies. Green tea catechins act to limit the rise in blood cholesterol according to a 1996 Japanese study. Further, Green tea has been shown to elevate HDL, and serves as a natural ACE inhibitor, lowering blood pressure. These benefits can be obtained by drinking up to 10 cups of Green tea daily, or taking one to two capsules of Green tea extract daily.

Fish Oil has been shown to reduce high levels of triglycerides by an average of 35%. It does not appear to reduce cholesterol to that extent, but it does offer benefits when as part of an integrated therapy program. Scientific studies have demonstrated that alpha-linolenic acid (from flax or perilla oil) reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis, stroke, and second heart attacks. One study showed a 70% reduction in second heart attacks in those consuming this type of fatty acid.

Vitamin E protects us from more than 80 diseases and illnesses, including protecting us from the inhibiting the effects of oxidation of LDL and the development of atherosclerotic disease. Studies have also shown it to be effective as some hypocholesterolemic (cholesterol-lowering) drugs. Anyone considering adding vitamin E to their regimen should also add Selenium which works with vitamin E to prevent LDL oxidation. Both of these nutrients are found in Dr. Myatt’s Maxi-Multi.

Finally, Soy has been shown to confer numerous benefits through it’s isoflavones – genistein, daidzein, and glycitein. According to a study completed in 1997, “Potential mechanisms by which soy isoflavones might prevent atherosclerosis include a beneficial effect on plasma lipid concentrations, antioxidant effects, antiproliferative and antimigratory effects on smooth muscle cells, effects on thrombus formation, and maintenance of normal vascular reactivity.” Bottom line: if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease and elevated cholesterol levels, it is worth adding soy to your diet.

So, we’ve talked about the proven first line remedies and the second line “helpfuls,” now let’s talk about some substances that have been touted without proof to back them up.

Coral Calcium – promoted as the cure for every thing from cancer to high cholesterol to bad breath to spiritual weakness. Many of it’s top promoters are facing criminal prosecution. Avoid it. Not only does coral calcium often contain high lead levels, it is destructive to the coral reefs where it is derived. Calcium alone is not a proven cholesterol-lowering remedy; neither is coral calcium. If you need calcium supplements, consider something pure and proven such as Calmag Amino+Vit D & Boron.  This isn’t expected do much for your cholesterol levels, but it will help your bones. Also remember that Maxi Multi contains a full day’s dose of these bone-protecting nutrients when taken at the recommended daily dose.

Various teas have been touted as total cholesterol cures, no doubt riding on the coattails of accepted Green Tea studies. Don’t believe them – Green Tea is an important part of a cholesterol-control program, but teas are not the whole answer!

Cinnamon capsules have recently been promoted as a cholesterol-reducing agent. We are not aware of any solid studies to support this. Cinnamon does seem to have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels of type II diabetics though. The capsules seem a bit expensive, when you can simply add this spice to your food and beverages – try it in tea!

Vinegar, and most especially apple cider vinegar, have also enjoyed some popularity as folk remedies for high cholesterol. Again, there is no scientific evidence of beneficial effect – though “anecdotal evidence” of the “my best friend’s great aunt’s late husband used it every day ’till he died” variety is plentiful…
 

Beyond Supplements of Drugs: Live a “Good Cholesterol Lifestyle”

No cholesterol-lowering program would be complete without a discussion of diet. Instead of dire warnings and restrictive regimes that drastically limit fat intake, Dr. Myatt puts her patients on The Super Fast Diet for cholesterol control. Her patients find this to be a rich, balanced, satisfying diet, and they are pleasantly surprised to find that not only do their cholesterol levels normalize in short order, but so does their weight. This nutrient-rich diet has people feeling better, looking better, and performing better, and their lab results are the proof of it’s effectiveness.

Here’s to Your good Health and Happy Cholesterol Levels! And remember, cholesterol is your friend 🙂

Until Next Time, Be Well!

 Jamie Jameson-White

Jamie Jameson-White
Editor, HealthBeat Newsletter

HealthBeat News

The Truth About Cholesterol, Part I

Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark field a lot of questions from Wellness Club Members, many concerning cholesterol. They have asked me to devote this newsletter to answering some of those questions.

Cholesterol seems to be a subject on everybody’s lips recently, with medical scientists recommending even lower standards for cholesterol, and the pharmaceutical companies promoting an ever-increasing number of powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs. But what is this cholesterol that everyone talks about, why do we have it, do we need it, and what can we do about it?

You might be excused if you think because of all the “bad press” about the evils of cholesterol that it is a nasty, deadly foreign substance that should be avoided at all costs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s get clear on one thing: cholesterol is essential to life. We cannot live without it. It makes up approximately 80% of our body’s cell walls! This vital substance is synthesized by the liver and is used by the body as a building block for such essential things as steroid hormones and bile acids in addition to cell membranes. Cholesterol is a precursor to Vitamin D in the skin, and without cholesterol we could not absorb the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K from the food we eat. Cholesterol also gives the skin it’s ability to shed water and is essential to the growth and maintenance of the nervous system. So we really do need cholesterol – it is not the bad thing that some would have us believe it is. Having said that, it is important to know that there are several kinds of cholesterol.

First is the “bad” cholesterol that we have all heard about, LDL or Low Density Lipoprotein. LDL carries most of the cholesterol in the blood, and this is the form of cholesterol that is now thought to be the main source of blockage and damage in the arteries. (I say “thought” because we keep changing our opinion on this. Not too many years ago, modern medicine “knew” that total cholesterol was the bugaboo). The higher the LDL level,  the greater your risk for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), or so we think.  VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) performs the same tasks as LDL in terms of transporting fats (triglycerides and cholesterol) from the liver to the body’s cells and so may be dangerous when elevated.

Next is the “good” cholesterol, HDL (High Density Lipoprotein). It might be described as the “anti-cholesterol” because its job is to collect cholesterol in the blood and transport it back to the liver where it ends up being eliminated from the body. HDL seems to keep LDL from building up on the walls of the arteries, so HDL / LDL ratios are considered by many to be a better indicator of “cholesterol health” and CHD risk than overall cholesterol levels. Exercise and niacin are two potent agents for keeping HDL levels high.

Finally, there are Triglycerides (TG’s), which aren’t exactly cholesterol – they are a form of sugar carried by a fat— a fat/sugar molecule—-that circulates in the bloodstream. High levels of triglycerides are an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. TG levels primarily become elevated by high intakes of dietary carbohydrates.

Humans manufacture cholesterol in the liver – remember, it is an important substance for normal body functioning. Conventional medical wisdom would have us believe that we should limit our dietary intake of cholesterol for this reason. That may be partially true, in that if the body is not producing enough HDL or “good” cholesterol to prevent the buildup of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol with it’s atherosclerotic effects or if the LDL receptors in the liver are not functioning properly then it might be wise to limit intake of cholesterols. In particular, dietary trans fats have been found to be extremely harmful, creating a whole cascade of damaging effects throughout the body.

There are a number of mechanisms that the body uses to control cholesterol production and therefore blood levels of cholesterol. The most important of these is in the liver where a chemical receptor senses LDL, and when it has detected “enough,” tells the liver to stop manufacturing more. Damage to this important feedback control mechanism can occur through normal aging which reduces the number and efficiency of the LDL receptors, and several disease states – most importantly diabetes, and also low thyroid function. This feedback mechanism (when functioning properly) means that eating foods high in cholesterol is not risky – the intake of dietary cholesterol simply tells the liver to stop making so much of it’s own! In many people, eating TOO LITTLE cholesterol causes the liver to manufacture MORE!

Summary:

1.) Cholesterol in it’s various forms— LDL,HDL, VLDL and TG’s, exerts various effects. We currently “think” that LDL is the most dangerous cholesterol and that HDL is protective. Keep in mind that medical opinions about cholesterol and it’s effects change regularly.

2.) LDL and TG’s appear to be independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

3.) TG’s become elevated by primarily by excess carbohydrates in the diet, not by high fat or cholesterol in the diet.

4.) HDL levels can be increased by exercise, niacin, and maintaining youthful sex hormone levels.

5.) Decreased dietary cholesterol often does NOT lower total cholesterol levels; the liver simply manufactures more when it senses less intake from diet.

In Part II, Next Issue:  Natural Cholesterol Cures, featuring a review of both drugs and natural substances that can be used to lower cholesterol.

Until Next Time, Be Well!

Jamie Jameson-White

Editor, HealthBeat Newsletter

 

Dr. Dana Myatt’s Wellness Club

Prescription Fish Oil Now Available!

This just in from the “how dumb does it get?” files…

Enormous amounts of research into the benefits of fish oil have shown that it lowers triglyceride levels, relieves many cases of depression and helps prevent an astonishing number of ailments including osteoporosis, stroke, heart attach, cardiac arrhythmia and some types of cancer. That’s why I’ve been encouraging everyone to add fish oil to their daily health program.

Now, a drug company did another study which showed exactly what we already knew about fish oil—- that it lowers triglyceride levels. They sought and gained FDA approval to offer fish oil as a prescription, at a cost of aprox. 797% more per milligram than Wellness Club brand or other high quality health food store brands. So, instead of a month’s supply at $19.95, you can now enjoy a bottle of 180 caps for $236.89!

As I’ve been warning readers, when the drug companies figure out that a natural substance works, they want a piece of the action. The trouble is, their profit margins will make simple, life-saving natural substances unreachable for most people because of cost.

Meanwhile, There’s even More Reason to Take Fish Oil...

Fish oil could potentially save more lives than cardiac defibrillators, researchers estimate in a new report. In fact, the studies show that the Omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil prevent more sudden cardiac deaths due to fibrillation than AED machines. Of course, the makers of these high-tech, high-cost gadgets aren’t going to want you to take fish oil, unless perhaps it’s the $236.89 per bottle prescription brand they can cash in on! What next? Soon we’ll need an Rx. to buy vegetables and fruit at the grocery store because they contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients!

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More Dangers of Antidepressant Drugs Found

I’ve always been adamant about my treatments for depression, anxiety and other “mood disorders”: go for the fix, not the band aid. No one has ever suffered a case of depression because of a Prozac deficiency!

Now, researchers have found that many antidepressants are even more dangerous than we knew. Paxil, for example, increases violent behavior and suicidal tendencies in users, especially teenagers. EXCUSE ME? Why in the world would we put a child on a dangerous “head med,” one that makes the likelihood of depression-related suicide over twice as high as the un-medicated?

Of course, the FDA is helpful, as always <I say with tongue in cheek>. The have recommended “stronger warning labels” on Paxil. I’m sure most patients especially teens read these labels—Not.

Now here’s a vision – millions of Americans, from children to seniors, all popping what are touted as “happy pills” – at least that is what the Big Pharma Companies and their FDA lapdogs want us to believe. All is not well in this chemical paradise though: Not only do these supposed “happy pills” cause an increased potential for suicide in those taking them (especially in teenagers according to the latest research), they are also linked to violent behavior in what the study calls “hostility events.” What a great idea! Take stressed, depressed, suicidal Americans, driving around in multi-ton Urban Assault vehicles, riding the ragged edge of road rage at the best of times, just waiting to have a “hostility event.” It boggles the mind even more that the FDA has no intention of removing these chemical time-bombs from the marketplace. That would make too much good sense.

Natural Alternatives Treat Depression Without Risks

Paxil, Prozac and other SSRI’s fool the body into temporarily recycling the neurotransmitter serotonin. Of course, not everyone who is depressed has a serotonin deficiency. In fact, epinephrine (adrenaline), noradrenalin, dopamine, acetylcholine are all brain chemicals that can be altered in depression. And even though laboratory tests exist to evaluate neurotransmitters, they are rarely performed by conventional doctors who simply dish out SSRI’s without knowing if this is even going to be a good “band aid.”

The safer and more sensible way to treat depression is to evaluate the neurotransmitters, then use precursors (raw material) nutrients that so the body can naturally make more of its own serotonin, adrenaline, noradrenalin or whatever neurotransmitter is deficient. Instead of simply throwing an SSRI drug at anything that looks like depression, a simple, accurate neuro-transmitter test followed by corrective nutritional therapy is a cure, not a deadly stop-gap.

How many acts of violence will it take before these drugs are removed from the marketplace? Of course, now you can pay 20 times as much for prescription fish oil, which is helpful in many cases of depression, thanks to its approval as a drug. Rest assured that the FDA has Big Pharmacy’s best interests—- not yours— at heart.

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FDA Defends Deadly Vioxx, More Proof of Their Allegiance

Vioxx has been found in several major studies to be the most dangerous COX-2 inhibitor drug, increasing the risk of irregular heart rhythms AND kidney disease according to Researchers at The Department of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. A second study at the University of Newcastle in Australia looked at 500,000 healthy people who used Vioxx and found that as drug dosage increased, so did the rate of heart attacks.

Eric Ding, who co-authored the Harvard study, felt strongly that “The risks of these drugs should have been made known to the public much earlier.”

Dr. David J. Graham, associate director for science in the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, blew the whistle on both Vioxx maker Merck and the FDA itself, stating “It is clear that Vioxx increases the risk of heart attack, and that increase in risk begins with the first tablet a patient takes.”

In spite of the known dangers and mounting evidence against Vioxx, the FDA offered a “spin control” press release stating that “the FDA does not believe the available data rise to the level required to support an official FDA regulatory decision regarding comparative safety and efficacy of the available COX2-selective and non-selective NSAIDs.”

Don’t you sleep better knowing that the FDA is “protecting” us from affordable, safe, proven remedies like fish oil while ensuring that dangerous drugs such as Paxil and Vioxx remain on the market? I know I do.

In Health,
Dr. Myatt