Nutritional Supplementation Antioxidants Antioxidant vitamins and minerals are essential for circulatory health. Medical studies have shown in particula, r tha, , t, vitamins C and E and the trace mineral selenium help protect the blood vessels and heart muscle from the damaging effects of atherosclerosis. Even in advanced cases of heart disease and arterial plaquing, the benefits of these antioxidants have in some cases proven to be more effective than heart medications. Research suggests that 1,000 mg of vitamin C, and 800 IU of vitamin E daily are necessary to have a significantly positive effect on the arteries and the heart. As you probably know, Vitamin E, has repeatedly been in the news about heart disease. Many medical studies, including an important paper published in the June 1995 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), have demonstrated the importance of this antioxidant vitamin in the prevention of heart disease. In the JAMA study, men with a previous history of coronary heart bypass surgery who were given more than 100 IU of vitamin E a day had significantly less coronary artery progression than those who did not receive vitamin E. Another recent study of 130,000 nurses showed that intakes of greater than 100 IU per day reduced heart attacks by 46% in women and 26% in men. The reason for the lower figure in men was probably due the low dose used in this study. Vitamin E has been shown to be vitally important in the prevention of many other health problems in both men and women, including prostate cancer in men. I recommend that everyone supplement their diets with this important antioxidant vitamin. My recommendation for vitamin E is 400 IU a day (800 IU for those who have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease.) Avoid dl-alpha tocopherol or synthetic Vitamin E. It is important to use d-alpha tocopherol, or natural source vitamin E, which is the most biologically active form. Also, remember that natural vitamin E is a complex, like vitamin B, and works much better if taken with the other natural tocopherols. For that reason I recommend Vitamin E Complete, which includes the entire vitamin E complex along with the important trace mineral selenium. Vitamin E and selecium are synergistic, meaning that the Vitamin E will be of more benefit when it is taken with selenium. Selenium has also been proven to be essential for cardiovascular health. (More on selenium in the next section below.) (Note: Recently a new medical study was reported prominently in the news media which attempted to discredit the virtues of vitamin E, even going so far as to claim that supplementation with the vitamin could be dangerous to your health. A closer look at this study revealed that it was seriously flawed and should be ignored. I believe that the drug interests were behind this new study in the first place and that it was nothing more than an attempt to discredit a beneficial, and popular, natural remedy, all because it was seen as a threat to lucretive heart drug profits. Over the years I have seen this happen numerous times with many natural drug-free treatments. There are many more studies that prove the effectiveness and safety of vitamin E so don't be dissuaded by this new "finding." The media is always too eager to be a part of the drug industry's agenda because it creates the sensation they need to increase their ratings and sell more advertising (much of which is to the drug companies.) This should always be kept in mind when reading or hearing any media report, particularly when it involves bad news about a very popular natural remedy; because it is when a natural remedy becomes very popular and widely used that it is perceived as a threat to the drug industry's profits. The drug industry is a very powerful and well-funded special interest and your health is not their top priority.) Selenium It is now well established that the trace mineral selenium is essential for optimal health. It has been shown to help protect against coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease. The problem is that our soils, in many parts of the country, have been depleted of many important trace minerals making it impossible for us to get optimal amounts without supplementation. Choose chelated selenium because it is absorbed much better than the non-chelated form. The correct type and amount of selenium is included in Vitamin E Complete mentioned above. In addition to its promise in the prevention of heart disease, selenium has proven to have an inhibitory effect on all of the hypothesized aging mechanisms. Animals who have had their diets supplemented with selenium live 50% longer. Selenium has also been proven to help prevent arthritis, emphysema, and cancer. It is no coincidence that the states in the U.S. with the highest incidence of breast cancer are also the states with the lowest levels of selenium in the soil. Other Minerals In addition to selenium, there are at least six other minerals that are essential in the battle against heart disease: calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, chromium and copper. Magnesium, in particular, is a key mineral for the heart. It helps reduce heart attack, irregular heart beats and heart spasms. Calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc have all been shown to help control high blood pressure. And copper is important for the structural integrity of the walls of the blood vessels. Deficiencies of copper have been linked to weaknesses in the vascular walls leading to aneurysm and stroke. Coenzyme Q-10 Coenzyme Q10(or Co Q10) is a "vitamin-like" enzyme and a strong antioxidant which is necessary for the cells to produce energy. It is present in very small amounts in some foods, such as seafoods, and is produced by all cells of the body. Studies have shown that most heart patients are deficient in coQ-10 and that supplementation can sometimes dramatically relieve heart disease symptoms. CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to help normalize blood pressure and to strengthen and protect the heart against cardiovascular disorders and heart disease. It has been found to calm arrhythmia and improve congestive heart failure and angina. CoQ-10 also acts as a powerful antioxidant by protecting the body against free radicals and it improves the effectiveness of the immune system. Results have been noted particularly in patients with congestive heart failure. A daily dose of from 50 to 150 mg of Coenzyme Q10 has been suggested for maintenance and to aid heart failure, however, up to 300 milligrams a day may be needed when heart failure is severe. (A stronger Co Q10 supplementwill be needed for heart failure.) Herbs for Cardiovascular Health There are many herbs that are known to help the heart, improve circulation, and prevent heart disease. A few of ones that I consider the most important are listed below: Garlic Garlic is a powerful herb that has been used by herbalists for centuries for a wide variety of health problems. Recently scientists have confirmed many of the claims made by herbalists. Garlic has been shown to be effective in helping normalize high blood pressure. It has also proven useful as a "blood thinner," since it inhibits blood clotting. Garlic has also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels for those who have high serum cholesterol. Hawthorn Hawthorn Berries is widely used by herbalists around the world for cardiac problems, particularly to strengthen a weakened heart. Scientists have discovered that hawthorn also dilates blood vessels allowing blood to flow more freely and thereby lowers the blood pressure. It also acts directly on the heart muscle to help heal damaged heart tissue. Ginkgo Biloba Ginkgo Biloba is the most popular herbal food in Germany and France, outselling other herbal products by 20 percent. Ginkgo contains flavonoid glycosides like quercetin. Quercetin is the "magic" ingredient in red wine that helps protect the French from heart disease. It helps prevent heart attack by preventing cholesterol oxidation. An Aspirin a Day? Before leaving the subject of heart disease, I would like to talk briefly about the "aspirin a day" recommendation that is being promoted by the aspirin industry through mass media advertising and the medical profession. It is true that aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack. However, aspirin is a drug with dangerous side effects, especially when taken over a long period of time. These side effects include (but are not limited to) potentially severe and even fatal gastrointestinal bleeding. Two thousand Americans die each year due to gastrointestinal bleeding caused by regular aspirin use. Some studies have also found that aspirin, as well as other non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), may actually speed joint destruction—bad news for the millions who are taking NSAIDS for arthritis. The reason it is being highly promoted is because aspirin manufacturers have watched their sales drop sharply with the introduction of aspirin substitutes. They have therefore, and quite successfully, devised a scheme to increase their sales. Before running out to buy a king-sized bottle of aspirin, remember that natural supplements like garlic and vitamin E with selenium work better—and without the negative side effects! The side effects of garlic include such benefits as fewer colds and flu due to improved functioning of your immune system. The side effects of vitamin E with selenium include increased protection against cancer! In my opinion, the nutritional approach is by far A BETTER WAY—unless of course you have stock in the aspirin industry.
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