Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘aspirin’

Understanding Heart Arrhythmias and Treating Arrhythmias Naturally

Heart arrhythmias occur from what are known as ectopic pacemakers. These are heart cells that try to act as nodes that fire off electrical impulses to control heart contractions.

A very basic description of how things normally work is that the sinoatrial (SA) node fires off an electrical charge that leads to contraction of the atria. This is the first sound you hear in the heartbeat. Then the electrical charge travels to the atrioventricular (AV) node causing the ventricles to contract giving the second sound in the heartbeat. Thus we hear a lub, lub…….lub, lub…….. lub, lub in a normal heartbeat.

When there is a decrease of blood flow or oxygen to the heart muscle cardiac irritability develops and individual cells in the heart try acting as nodes themselves. So the SA and AV nodes still fire off, but additional cells trying to act as nodes also fire off throwing the heart rhythm off. So instead of lub, lub…….lub, lub…….. lub, lub you may get something like lub, lub, lub…….lub, lub, lub…….. lub, lub,lub…..

In severe cases there can be multiple cells in a portion of the heart all trying to act as nodes causing spasms of the heart muscle.  This condition is referred to as fibrillation.

Decreased blood flow is the most common reason for arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm) such as palpitations or fibrillation.  The decrease in blood flow can occur from excessive calcium contracting the blood vessels, arterial plaque, thrombus or embolus, excess epinephrine (adrenaline) release from high emotional stress or allergic reactions, elevated insulin levels in diabetes or severe drops in blood pressure.  The decreased blood flow to the heart decreases oxygen levels to the heart leading the heart to work harder to increase blood flow to itself.  This can exacerbate the condition though if the body does not find a way to increase blood flow such as through the release of prostaglandins or nitric oxide.

As a side note here it is often recommended people take aspirin to prevent a heart attack and even worse to take an aspirin during a heart attack.  Aspirin, or other NSAID therapies can actually contribute to arrhythmias and promote heart attacks:

https://medreview.wordpress.com/2006/12/31/aspirin-and-heart-attacks/

Damage (scar tissue) in the heart muscle is a less common reason for arrhythmias.

Natural methods of dealing with heart arrhythmias include:

*Magnesium- Magnesium works like a natural calcium channel blocker (CCB).  Calcium causes muscles, such as blood vessels, to contract.  Contraction of the blood vessels leads to an elevation of blood pressure and decreased blood flow, which dilates blood vessels increasing blood flow to the heart.  CCBs are used to lower blood pressure by preventing calcium from entering the muscles of blood vessels causing the blood vessels to relax.  Magnesium works because it is a calcium antagonist.  Magnesium forces calcium out of the blood vessels causing them to relax.

Magnesium also displaces calcium from calcified arterial plaque making it easier for the body to remove the plaque.  This further improves blood flow to the heart over time.

Acidified forms of magnesium are the best absorbed and most effective. These include magnesium malate and magnesium citrate.  I also prefer malate or citrate because the acids used to form these salts, malic acid and citric acid, like magnesium raise adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels.  ATP is the fuel for cells that not only allows them to function, but to function properly.  For example, many people take CoQ10 to promote proper heart function.  As with magnesium, malic acid and citric acid, CoQ10 elevates ATP levels to the heart muscle.

Magnesium oxide should be avoided.  Magnesium oxide in contact with water forms the caustic magnesium hydroxide.  Magnesium hydroxide is poorly absorbed and it neutralizes stomach acid leading to a whole host of problems.  The hydroxide though also burns the intestinal wall leading to an influx of water and increased peristalsis.  This is why magnesium hydroxide is sold as a laxative under names such as Milk of Magnesia.

*Cactus grandiflorus (night blooming cereus)-Cactus grandiflorus is a very weak cardiac glycoside source. Cardiac glycosides slow the heart rate, increase contractile force and dilate blood vessels. Therefore cardiac glycosides are used to improve heart function, especially in cases of congestive heart failure, and to lower blood pressure.

*Lily of the valley. This is a slightly stronger cardiac glycoside source.

*Coleus forskohlii (aka forskohlii).  Coleus forskohlii is also a weak source of cardiac glycosides.  Forskohlii also elevates levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which is an extremely important chemical messenger for the body.  Among its many effects, cAMP acts as an antihistamine, which reduces the release of blood vessel constricting epinephrine during exposure to allergens.

Combining nettle leaf with forskohlii will prolong the effects of the forskohlii.

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Vitamin C Interactions

Pharmaceutical drugs often react with foods and supplements, including vitamin C.  And as we have seen, excessive vitamin C intake can interact with some nutritional compounds.  Sometimes these interactions are beneficial such as increasing the absorption of minerals.  And sometimes it leads to problems such as iron overload or copper and B12 deficiencies.
Another problem that is often overlooked is the interference of laboratory tests by excessive intake of vitamin C.  For example, excessive vitamin C intake may lead to false high or low bilirubin levels depending on the assay test being used.  Lactate dehydrogenase, cholesterol and triglyceride levels will read erroneously low.  Aspartate aminotransferase levels may read erroneously high.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) reported on a case in which a woman with unexplained anemia was taking 2,000mg of vitamin C daily.  When tested for occult blood in the stool repeated tests showed negative results.  The woman discontinued taking the vitamin C for 4 days, and when retested stool samples tested positive for blood.  It was also found that taking 750mg of vitamin C daily can interfere with detecting blood in stool and urine.

Vitamin C interferes with several glucose tests, including tests diabetics use at home.  Urinary glucose test strips will test false positive with as little as 2,000mg of vitamin C daily.  Home test strips can show normal blood glucose readings even when glucose levels are elevated or with as little as 2g of vitamin C daily.  Laboratory glucose tests may show erroneously low glucose levels with excessive vitamin C intake.

To decrease the risk of false laboratory readings it is recommended that all supplements be stopped at least 48 hours before having any lab work done.

Below is a link from the NIH and a portion of the article that discusses the interactions of vitamin C with drugs and supplements, and interference with laboratory tests.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-vitaminc.html

Interactions with Drugs

Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Vitamin C may increase adverse effects associated with acetaminophen.

Antacids: Vitamin C may increase adverse effects associated with aluminum-containing antacids such as aluminum hydroxide (Maalox, Gaviscon).

Aspirin: Vitamin C may increase blood levels and adverse effects of aspirin, whereas aspirin may decrease blood levels of vitamin C.

Barbiturates: The effects of vitamin C may be decreased by barbiturates including phenobarbital (Luminal, Donnatal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), or secobarbital (Seconal).

Fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin): Vitamin C supplementation may decrease levels of the drug fluphenazine in the body.

HIV medications (protease inhibitors): Concomitant administration of high doses of vitamin C can reduce steady-state indinavir plasma concentrations.

Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa): There is limited case report evidence that high dose vitamin C may reduce side effects of levodopa therapy such as nausea or malcoordination.

Nicotine: Nicotine products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or nicotine patches may decrease the effects of vitamin C.

Oral contraceptives/estrogens: Oral estrogens may decrease the effects of vitamin C in the body. When taken together, vitamin C may increase blood levels of ethinyl estradiol.

Tetracyclines: The effects of vitamin C may be decreased by tetracycline antibiotics such as doxycycline (Vibramycin), minocycline (Minocin), or tetracycline (Sumycin).

Warfarin (Coumadin): Vitamin C in high doses appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of Warfarin by lowering prothrombin time (PT) as noted in case reports in the 1970s.  Complications have not been reported (such as increased blood clots).

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Iron: When taken together, vitamin C may increase the absorption of iron in the gastrointestinal tract, although this effect appears to be variable and may not be clinically significant.

Lutein: Vitamin C may increase absorption of lutein vitamin supplements.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin, cyanocobalamin): Large doses of vitamin C may interfere with the absorption and metabolism of vitamin B12.

Interactions with Laboratory Tests

Bilirubin: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in tests of blood bilirubin levels.

Carbamazepine levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood carbamazepine levels.

Creatinine: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood creatinine levels.

Glucose: Vitamin C supplements may interfere with the accuracy of blood glucose tests.

LDH (lactose dehydrogenase): Vitamin C may cause a false decrease in blood LDH levels.

Prothrombin time (PT): Vitamin C in high doses appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of warfarin by lowering prothrombin time (PT), as noted in case reports in the 1970s. Complications have not been reported (such as increased blood clots).

SGOT (glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase): Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood SGOT levels.

Stool occult blood (guaiac): Vitamin C supplements can cause false-negative stool occult blood tests, within 48-72 hours after vitamin C ingestion.

Theophylline levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false decreases in blood theophylline levels.

Uric acid levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood uric acid levels.

Urinary acetaminophen (Tylenol): Vitamin C supplements can cause false-negative urine acetaminophen tests.

Urinary glucose: Vitamin C supplements can cause false-positive urinary glucose results with the cupric sulfate reagent test and false-negative urinary glucose results with the glucose oxidase test, within 48-72 hours after vitamin C ingestion.

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