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Atherosclerosis

What Is It?

Atherosclerosis is a degenerative disease in which plaque made of fatty deposits accumulates on the inner walls of the arteries, hardens, thickens and begins to restrict blood flow. If the coronary arteries are blocked, it is commonly referred to as “heart disease”. If the effected artery is feeding the brain, it can cause a stroke. Atherosclerosis begins when cells on arterial walls become damaged and lesions are formed. Over time, these lesions collect cellular debris, cholesterol, and lipoproteins damaged by free radicals until that portion of the artery becomes blocked. By the time there are actual symptoms, the artery can be 90% blocked. The good news is atherosclerosis can, in most cases, be reversed or prevented through changes in lifestyle and diet.

Risk Factors

The major risk factors include high blood cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, being overweight, stress, and lack of aerobic exercise. These risk factors are compounded when there are more than one of the major risk factors present. Additional risk factors include: Too much saturated fat and refined food in the diet, vitamin B6 deficiency, caffeine and alcohol, excess salt, low antioxidant status, low levels of essential fatty acids, low levels of magnesium and potassium, elevated levels of homocysteine, increased fibrinogen formation, increased platelet aggregation and low thyroid function.

Dietary Considerations

  • Reduce your intake of saturated fats and hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) fats. You can do this by eliminating or reducing red meat, high fat dairy products, margarine, fried foods and fatty snack foods. Instead, eat fish and white meat poultry, low or non-fat dairy products, and fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Also, eliminate or reduce coffee consumption to one cup a day. Green tea makes a very healthful alternative. In addition, reduce or eliminate soft drinks (regular and diet). The phosphorus in soft drinks creates a negative balance of blood calcium.
  • Substitute whole grains and bread made from whole grain flour for refined bread and pastries.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar and salt in your diet and increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Lifestyle Modifications

  • Stop smoking.
  • Start an exercise program that you will stick with. It is always best to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare practitioner before starting an exercise program.
  • Integrate stress management into your life. Stress contributes to a build-up of plaque in the arteries. Meditation and/or yoga are very effective.
  • Lose weight if you need to.
  • Avoid over-eating

Supplementation

  • Vitalzym – a systemic enzyme product that includes serrapeptase. 3-5 three times daily between meals.
  • Supplemental fiber.
  • GLA is the precursor to a prostaglandin PGE1, one of the most potent inhibitors of platelet aggregation.
  • Carnitine – 1,000-3,000 mg daily to help raise HDL and lower LDL cholesterol levels.
  • A good high-potency multi-vitamin and mineral formula daily.
  • If homocysteine levels are high, add 50 mg extra of B6 and B12 and 400 mcg extra of folic acid
  • A good antioxidant supplement
  • 500 – 1,000 mg of Vitamin C three times a day.
  • 400 – 800 IU of Vitamin E daily. The World Health Organization considers inadequate vitamin E levels to be the single biggest risk factor for heart disease.
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil (omega-3 oils) once a day.
  • 1,200 mg of garlic (in capsules) a day.

Noteworthy

In some cases, dietary and lifestyle changes may not be sufficient alone to lower cholesterol levels. There are natural substances that can be used in place of drugs, all of which should be undertaken only under the advice of a licensed health practitioner.

  • One such natural substance is niacin. The best form of niacin is inositol hexanicotinate. Begin with 500 mg three times daily for 2 weeks, and then increase to 1,000 mg. Niacin has been shown in several studies to be more effective overall than drugs in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Policosanols and red yeast rice have been shown in studies to lower elevated cholesterol.
  • Another alternative therapy is EDTA chelation therapy. EDTA ( ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is an amino-like acid and when released slowly into the bloodstream, binds with minerals like calcium, copper, iron and lead and carries them to the kidneys for excretion, thus preventing further free radical damage to the arteries.
  • There has been some preliminary research done in Germany with an enzyme called serrapeptase that shows that the enzyme’s protein-dissolving action will gradually break down atherosclerotic plaques. More research needs to be done on this, but it is a hope for the future.

 

The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.

 
     
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