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Heart Nutrition

Cardiovascular disease kills more than a million people annually in the United States. If we count in cases of angina pectoris, non-fatal myocardial infarction, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, arrhythmias, valvular disease, and the numerous "cardio"-conditions, over 50 million Americans suffer from heart disease. It's possible that current state-of-the-art medical science could use a bit of help from current nutritional science, to help prevent this terrible scourge.

Many nutrients can contribute to good heart function and can help protect it from damage. We list some here, with a brief description of how. 

Cardi-Rite, made by Carlson Labs contains vitamin C and E, along with the amino acids lysine and proline, and extra magnesium.  These nutrients appear to prevent the build-up of lipoprotein(a), a powerful repair molecule which when overproduced - primarily due to chronic ascorbic acid deficiency - becomes the first sticky building-block of arterial plaques. Lipoprotein(a) is a much better predictor of heart disease than serum cholesterol.

L-Carnitine, by facilitating the transportation of fat in and out of the cells, can reduce fat and triglyceride levels in the blood. It also increases oxygen uptake and allows better adaptation to stress.

Co-enzyme-Q10, or Co-Q10, helps the body to utilize oxygen. Produced in every cell of the body, it is especially important for the heart. Much research has gone into this nutrient, especially in Japan, which of course also manufactures it for the world-wide market. Researchers estimate that about 30% of the adult population of Japan take Co-Q10 on a regular basis. Especially as we age, this nutrient can make a big difference in our energy levels.
The energy from Co-Q10 is not at all stimulatory. As oxygen utilization is increased, people simply find they can climb those four flights of stairs without getting winded, or they can keep going after a long day without a hitch; things of this nature. Co-Q10 is also being researched for its possible role in helping to heal cancer, chronic fatigue, and other illnesses, and has been shown to prevent recurrence of heart attack, because of its oxygenating effect on the heart.

Vitamin C, vitamin E, proline and lysine are four important nutrients that help prevent damage to the cardiovascular system and the occurrence of heart disease.

DMG (n,n-Dimethylglycine) is the active nutrient behind what was called B-15, calcium pangamate, or pangamic acid. It is an intermediary metabolite that is useful in the production of neurotransmitters, hormones, DNA, choline, and methionine. It enhances the immune response system, and helps normalize blood glucose levels and reduce high blood pressure levels. It enhances oxygen utilization, reduces lactic acid formation, and aids detoxification- improving liver, pancreas, and adrenal function. In 1960 Russia reported DMG benefited people suffering from diabetes, alcoholism, mental disorders, and cardiovascular ailments. Also, DMG enhanced athletic performance, as demonstrated by the Olympics. I have found it to have excellent results for increasing my endurance when exercising, sharpening my vision, stopping allergy reactions, and even stopping headaches in the early stages.

Essential Fatty Acids can help prevent arteriosclerosis. These include borage, black current, and evening primrose oils (sources of GLA), flax seed oil, and fish oil (source of DHA and EPA).

Garlic lowers blood pressure, thins the blood, and helps circulation, all of which benefit the heart. In addition it detoxifies the body, protects against and fights infection, and promotes digestion.

Hawthorne berries are gathered from the small tree Crataegus laevigata of the family Rosaceae. Also known as Mayblossom and Whitehorn, Hawthorne was known to Dioscorides in the first century A.D., but was not widely used until recent times. The edible berries are often made into marmalade, and herbal preparations made from the flowers, fruits, and leaves are very prominent in contemporary European medicine. Currently about three dozen different preparations containing extracts of Hawthorne are marketed in Germany.

Hawthorne is described in most modern herbals as a valuable treatment for various heart ailments and circulatory disorders, as well acting as a mild astringent to be used for treating sore throats. Hawthorne is most often used to protect against the beginning stages of heart disease, for mild heart muscle weakness, for pressure and tightness of the chest, and for mild arrhythmia. It is also used as a tonic for an aging heart.

Standardized extracts improve myocardial and coronary circulation, raising the myocardial tolerance for oxygen deficiency. Hawthorne is also used for hypertension, nervous disorders and insomnia. It may potentiate the action of digitalis, and does potentiate cardiotonic glycosides. Hawthorne should not be used as a substitute for medical care when an "organic cause" for one of the conditions listed is present, so cause should be diagnosed prior to use.

Modern researchers have revealed some interesting properties of hawthorne and confirmed that hawthorne contains compounds which support the heart and circulatory system. Hawthorne works to dilate the blood vessels, especially the coronary vessels, reducing peripheral resistance and thus lowering blood pressure and reducing the tendency to angina attacks. Though hawthorne's action is not immediate, but develops very slowly, apparently it has a direct effect on the heart itself, especially in cases of heart damage. Its toxicity is low as well, becoming evident only in large doses. It's therefore a relatively harmless heart tonic which apparently yields good results in many conditions where this kind of therapy is required.

Hawthorne contains leucoanthocyanins, flavonoids, hyperoside, vitexin 2-rhamnoside, glycosylflavones, amines, catechols, phenolcarboxylic acids, triterpene acids, sterols, inositol, PABA, saponins and purines. The main activity of hawthorne is derived from the potent mixture of pigment bioflavonoids, as well as oligomeric procyanidins (dehydrocatechins) that seem to be particularly active. Some of the flavonoid glycosides are thought to work in a similar way to digitoxin, having a vasodilating effect that could be helpful in the treatment of angina. They also produce marked sedative effects which indicate an action on the central nervous system.

Calcium, magnesium, potassium are all important for the proper functioning of the cardiac muscle and for electrolyte balance.

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