Natural Interventions And Key Nutrients To Fight Heart Disease

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have natural, safe and effective treatments to reverse heart disease instead of the mainstream synthetic prescription drugs? Well, I have some good news: Such treatments are available, and you can begin using them much sooner in the disease process and even prevent heart disease, too. There’s no reason to wait until the disease manifests with something as serious as a heart attack, which is how more than 60 percent of men with atherosclerosis discover they have it.

Where To Begin

I find it fascinating to know that atherosclerosis is a postprandial phenomenon (occurs after you eat). According to the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry [1] and Experimental and Molecular Medicine, [2] inflammatory foods induce oxidative stress, autoimmune blood vessel dysfunction, endotoxemia (toxic effects to the arterial endothelium, or inner blood vessel inner lining) and inflammation. Also, high blood pressure primarily results from the same underlying processes from inflammatory foods.

When you encounter these foods on your plate, you have to think twice about how to offset the inflammation that will take place if you eat them. Of course, you should consider how to replace them with better food choices that are not inflammatory.

The inflammatory foods include items like refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup; trans fats and hydrogenated oils. In addition, white flour, white rice and processed foods high in chemical preservatives, dyes or additives with long, confusing chemical names difficult to pronounce are included in this category. Of course, the non-inflammatory opposites of these foods are the whole foods closest to their natural state such as fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, seeds, nuts, legumes and healthy herbs. For example, if you must eat a sugary dessert, then plan to also eat a raw fruit or vegetable with it to offset the inflammation.

I will only briefly mention the obvious heart-healthy benefits of regular exercise, stress reduction, keeping relationships in a feel-good state (that can be a challenge for anyone), and being careful to speak positively and in gratitude about all of your life experiences.

Why do I mention speaking positively? The more you speak and think and feel about what you enjoy, the more of what you enjoy will continue to stream into your life. There is a direct relationship between neurotransmitters, hormones and stress in your body with cardiovascular disease risk. Remember: You always have the freedom to choose something each moment in life. Enjoy this gift.

Prescription Drugs For Heart Disease Deplete Needed Nutrients

Research by Brazilian scientists [3] confirms that certain prescription drugs have adverse effects on important nutrients. They report that diuretics decrease potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, chloride, zinc, iodide, Coenzyme Q10, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, thiamine and selenium. Moreover, diuretics (used to control blood pressure) increase homocysteine and glucose.

You also may have to pay special attention to these anti-hypertension medications: beta blockers decrease COQ 10 levels; ACE-inhibitors decrease zinc; and angiotensin receptor blockers decrease zinc.

Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs do more than just lower CoQ10. They also lower your selenium, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D, carnitine and free T3 (thyroid hormone) levels.

Key Nutrients To Reduce Cardiovascular Disease

Of all the nutrient supplements that have been used to heal or prevent heart disease, only a relative few have been studied with scientific scrutiny and reported in the scientific literature. I’d like to share with you the ones that are known to lower heart disease, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology [4] and other peer-reviewed journals:

Omega 3 fatty acids [5] (e.g., krill or fish oil) 5 grams daily: Best overall anti-inflammatory natural therapy available; reduces heart attack, atherosclerosis and blood pressure. When used with statin drugs (for cholesterol lowering), omega 3 fatty acids lower heart attack and heart disease risk another 18 percent.

Taurine [6] 3 grams twice daily: The highest concentration (thus, need) for this amino acid is in your heart, retina, skeletal muscle, brain and white blood cells. Taurine reduces the effects of adrenaline (fight or flight hormone that causes vasoconstriction); decreases blood pressure; is a natural diuretic; and reduces aldosterone and plasma renin activity (these control blood pressure through changing salt/water excretion by the kidneys).

D-Ribose [7] 5 grams three times daily: Provides energy (ATP) to heart and vessel muscle cells. It has clinical uses for coronary artery disease, unstable angina, skeletal muscle diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and post-polio syndromes. It improves exercise endurance and performance. Be aware that it can trigger hypoglycemia, gout and diarrhea.

CoEnzyme Q10 [8] 300 mg twice a day: Improves angina and coronary artery disease. Most important to improve heart pumping ability in patients with congestive heart failure.

Magnesium [9] malate or glycinate 500 to 1,000 mg twice a day: Magnesium acts like a natural calcium channel blocker to reduce coronary artery spasm and improve artery tone and reactivity. It also reduces abnormal heart rhythms, platelet clumping, blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin resistance, adrenaline surges and sudden cardiac death.

Carnitine tartrate [10] 3 grams twice a day: Reduces death from heart attack, decreases rate of angina (cardiac chest pain), lowers blood pressure, improves inflammation of arterial inner wall (aka endothelial dysfunction), improves insulin sensitivity, increases adiponectin levels (thus lowering insulin resistance), improves blood lipids (cholesterol) and lowers inflammation.

R-Lipoic Acid [11] 300-600 mg twice a day: Reduces blood pressure and repairs heart muscle. A 2007 study of 36 patients with coronary artery disease showed that lipoic acid with acetyl-L-carnitine lowered blood pressure and improved arterial endothelial function. [12] R-lipoic acid also improves insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics who are overweight (after only 4 weeks of supplementation). [13]

Aged garlic [14] 1,200 mg daily: In combination with statin drugs reduces atherosclerotic plaque.

Vitamin K2 (MK 7) [15] 150 micrograms daily: Vitamin K helps reduce coronary atherosclerosis, increases arterial elasticity, decreases intima media thickness and death rate.

Vitamin D3 [16]: Take enough to get your level to 60-80ng/ml on blood testing (test for 25-hydroxy vitamin D level). This can be from 5,000 IU twice weekly up to 10,000 IU daily. Vitamin D3 suppresses blood pressure and improves blood vessel elasticity, suppresses inflammatory cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor alpha) and reduces atherosclerosis development inside arterial wall (aka endothelial dysfunction).

Trace minerals: Zinc 50 mg daily and selenium 200 micrograms daily provide for enzyme function for tissue repair and prevent the damaging effects of oxidation. A diet high in fruits and vegetables can provide these amounts of trace minerals with additional benefits.

To your long-term health and feeling good for life,

Michael Cutler, M.D.

Easy Health Options

[1] J of Nutritional Biochemistry 2011;22:807

[2] Exp Mol Med 2010;42:245

[3] Arq Bras Cardiol (Brazilian Archives of Cardiology) 2002;79:454

[4] Soukoulis V, Dihu JB, et al. Micronutrient deficiencies an unmet need in heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol 2009 Oct 27;54(18):1660-73.

[5] Am Heart J 2011;161:338. Atherosclerosis Thromb Vasc Biol 2011;31:1696.

[6] Exp Clin Cardiol 2008;13;57. Atherosclerosis 2010;28:19.

[7] Progress Cardiovasc Nurs. 2009;24:59. Recent Pat Cardiovasc Drug Discov 2010;5:138. Therapeutic in CVD 2011;5:185. European Heart J. 2003;5:615.

[8] Clin Cardiology 2011;34:211. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008;52:1435.  J Am Coll Cardiol 2009;54:1660. Atherosclerosis 2011;216:395.

[9] Am J Clin Nutr 2011;93:253 and 463

[10]> Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 2010;21: 580. Postgrad Med 1996;72:45. Exptl Clin Res 1991;43:300. Vasc Med 1997;2:77.

[11] J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 2009;54:391.  Chin Med J 2009;122:2580.  Food Chem Toxicol 2009;47:2124.

[12] McMackin CJ, Widlansky ME, et al. Effect of combined treatment with alpha-Lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine on vascular function and blood pressure in patients with coronary artery disease. J Clin Hypertens 2007 Apr;9(4):249-55.

[13] Kamenova P. Improvement of insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus after oral administration of alpha-lipoic acid. Hormones (Athens). 2006 Oct-Dec;5(4):251-8.

[14] Life Sci 2009;85:211

[15] Current Opinion in Lipidology 2008;19:39

[16] Am J Cardiol 2010;106:963


Dr. Michael Cutler

By Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder of the original Easy Health Options™ newsletter — an advisory on natural healing therapies and nutrients. His current practice is San Diego Integrative Medicine, near San Diego, California.