Strokes are incredibly scary things…
They strike out of nowhere and can leave you paralyzed, blind or — in the worst-case scenario — dead.
This is a fact I know all too well since my mother had a stroke that blinded her in one eye when she was only 47 years old.
Since the day it happened, there have been few medical conditions that have frightened me more.
Now, our nation is facing a condition that’s horribly frightening in its own right — COVID-19. We don’t know how many people will succumb to the deadly virus, we don’t know if we or someone we love might be next and we don’t even know if we are lucky enough to recover from it that we will then have immunity.
And now we’re learning that in addition to the damage it can do to our lungs, the virus could actually cause massive blood clots that lead to strokes even more dangerous than the one my mother suffered.
Large vessel strokes in middle-age
In fact, CNN reports that doctors have seen a rash of strokes in the large blood vessels of the brains of young and middle-age patients who test positive for COVID-19.
That’s right, people who would previously not have been considered to be at risk for stroke because of their age are developing clots that are shutting off blood and oxygen supply to their brains at an unprecedented rate.
And this isn’t the first time doctors are seeing clotting problems due to coronavirus…
Dr. Jeffrey Laurence, a hematologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, says, “Blood clotting problems appear to be widespread in severe COVID.”
According to Dr. Behnood Bikdeli, a cardiovascular medicine fellow at Columbia University Irving Medical Center who helped coordinate the international coalition of physicians looking into the clotting issue, there are three major reasons why COVID-19 patients might have an especially high risk of clotting:
- The vast majority of patients who become severely ill with coronavirus have underlying medical problems that, with coronavirus or not, cause a higher tendency to clot than healthy patients.
- Another way coronavirus can kill patients is through a “cytokine storm,” where the body’s own immune response turns on itself. Patients who experience this — whether it’s due to coronavirus, influenza or any other reason — are at a higher risk for clotting.
- Perhaps the most disturbing reason is that there could be something about the novel coronavirus itself that’s causing clots.
Even in the best of times, all of this makes healthy blood flow paramount, right?
The best way to a healthy heart and normal blood flow is maintaining a healthy weight through a diet of fresh, unpackaged foods including lots of fruits and vegetables, getting some exercise every day and avoiding high risk-activities like smoking.
But what if, like me, you have a higher cardiovascular risk factor? Then you might want to consider adding a few specific nutrients to your healthy living plan…
Starting with nattokinase
Discovered in 1980 by Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi, nattokinase comes from a traditional Japanese dish called natto. Natto is a fermented soybean mixture with a cheesy consistency and a strong odor. Its health benefits date back thousands of years, and it’s a staple of Japanese culture.
Little did Dr. Sumi know that his lunch would turn into an incredible discovery for circulatory health. While doing research for the Japan Ministry of Education on natural agents to support healthy blood clotting, Dr. Sumi looked down at his natto lunch and thought “what the heck…”
He dropped a piece of natto into a petri dish containing a blood clot. To his amazement… it worked! After further research, it was determined that an enzyme in natto works to thin fibrin, the mesh-like composition of materials the body produces to clot blood so we don’t bleed to death.
By about age 40, people don’t produce enough of the agent needed to combat an excess of fibrin, which is called plasmin. Turns out the enzyme in natto was almost identical to plasmin. Because it supports healthy blood clotting, natto has the ability to keep blood flowing smoothly naturally!
Numerous published studies confirm Dr. Sumi’s discovery. And since he discovered it, he got to name it… thus nattokinase came to be.
The vital importance of K2
You should also consider an artery-supporting nutrient called Vitamin K2… not to be confused with the Vitamin K found in green, leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 is a key nutrient that helps support healthy calcium utilization.
Put simply, vitamin K2 helps reroute calcium — which would otherwise end up blocking arteries and thickening blood — to the bones, where it can be of actual benefit.
There are many subtypes of Vitamin K2, so it’s important when choosing K2 for artery support and heart health that you look for subtype MK-7. It’s Vitamin K2 as MK-7 you need for healthy blood vessels.
The super-nutrient: CoQ10
CoQ10 is the critical spark that creates life and energy in every cell in your body — especially your heart cells. And unfortunately, many people are deficient because many common medications used to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and control depression deplete the body of CoQ10.
To understand CoQ10’s important role in the body we need to watch young children at play.
All that energy to run and play is fueled by CoQ10. But CoQ10 begins dropping around age 20 and keeps dropping thereafter. By the time you reach your 40s, 50s and 60s, your levels have dropped significantly.
Decreased energy is a good indicator that your level of CoQ10 is low. And low levels of CoQ10 leave you open to all the types of health problems we’ve discussed today… and more.
- Doctors try to untangle why they’re seeing ‘unprecedented’ blood clotting among Covid-19 patients — CNN Health
- Covid-19 causes sudden strokes in young adults, doctors say — CNN Health
- Why Is COVID-19 Coronavirus Causing Strokes In Young And Middle-Aged People? — Forbes
- IRIA NeurovascularIschemic Stroke Secondary to Large Vessel Occlusion: Where are We Today? — Radiology Imaging Associates
- Coronavirus Cases — Worldometer
- Stroke and blood clots — World Heart Federation
- Smoking and the risk of stroke — Stroke Association
- Sleep Deprivation and Obesity — Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health