Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘heart’

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:

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.


Why Statins and Low Cholesterol Cause Heart Attacks and Strokes

No studies have ever proven that high cholesterol causes heart disease since this simply is not true.  Inflammation, not high cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis.  Yet the pharmaceutical companies keep pushing the cholesterol myth to promote drug sales while ignoring the fact that they are endangering lives.

Statins are the most commonly prescribed form of medicine for the treatment of “high” cholesterol.  The drug companies have failed though to inform the public about the dangers of not only these drugs, but also of the dangers of low cholesterol, which among other things can cause heart attack and stroke.

I find it rather ironic that the drug companies are pushing statins claiming they help prevent heart disease when these drugs are well known to increase the risk of heart failure, heart attacks and strokes!  There are several reasons for this.

Other than liver damage, the best known side effect of statins is a condition known as rhabdomyolosis.  This is a condition in which muscle tissue deteriorates.  The deterioration occurs from declining levels of CoQ10 in the tissues, which is required for the proper function of cells and their energy production through the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  What people often do not stop and think about is that the heart is also a muscle and is prone to the same damaging effects from the use of statins.  If taking statins I highly recommend taking at least 200mg of CoQ10 daily to help reduce the risk of statin induced heart failure.

The increased risk of heart attack and stroke actually occur for a totally different reason.  If you read my blog articles on the dangers of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) you will see that the risk of heart attack and stroke are related.  Several NSAIDs, such as Vioxx and Celebrex have been either pulled off the market or have required stronger warning labels warning of the increased risk of heart attack and stroke from these drugs.  Even though the drug companies tried to make it sound like a new discovery, the risk had been known prior to the drugs ever reaching the market.  The problem stems from the way these drugs work.  NSAIDs interfere with inflammatory prostaglandins.  Inflammatory prostaglandins are hormones that dilate blood vessels.  For example during injuries these hormones open up blood vessels to increase oxygen and nutrient levels to the area to promote healing.  By inhibiting these hormones NSAIDs decrease blood flow to the organs including the heart and brain.  If the blood supply is sufficiently reduced to the heart and brain, heart attack or stroke can occur.

So what does all this have to do with statins and cholesterol levels?  Prostaglandins, as with other hormones, are formed from cholesterol.  Therefore, reduced cholesterol levels lead to decreased prostaglandin formation, which in turn decreases blood flow to the organs.  This explains why studies have consistently shown increased mortality with decreased cholesterol levels.

The Cholesterol Myth

One of the largest frauds perpetuated on the American public has been the false claim that high cholesterol causes heart disease.  Even though this has been known for decades to be false the myth keeps getting promoted by the drug companies to increase drug sales of drugs, such as statins.  The whole idea of high cholesterol causing heart disease started with a faulty, outdated rabbit study from the 1920s.  No solid evidence of high cholesterol causing heart disease in humans has ever been shown.  In fact, evidence is to the contrary.  Several studies have confirmed that as cholesterol levels go down that the mortality rate goes up primarily from increased heart attacks and strokes.  It has been known for a while that around 50% of people who die from heart vascular disease have normal to low cholesterol levels.

What I really find interesting is how doctors who should be reasonably intelligent don’t seem to be questioning how people can have low cholesterol and clogged arteries or high cholesterol and clean arteries.  In fact I just heard a commercial for Lipitor where Dr. Jarvic is claiming that high cholesterol can lead to heart attack and stroke.  I would love to ask him in person to explain this mechanism since there is absolutely no science whatsoever to back up his claim!

Cholesterol levels are actually totally irrelevant to the risk of atherosclerosis.  It is inflammation, not high cholesterol that leads to atherosclerosis.  Cholesterol is actually a healing agent for the body.  Where there is an injury in the body cholesterol will increase in that area to aid in the healing by acting as both a patchwork and as a precursor for other substances such as hormones that play a role in healing.  Various things can cause trauma and inflammation to the arteries and are well known for increasing the risk of heart disease.  These include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and even bypass operations.  Damage to the arterial lining leads to inflammation.  In response, cholesterol floods the area and lays down as a “patchwork” over the injured area.  The problem is that if the source of inflammation is not removed then the cholesterol will keep depositing in an attempt to heal the injured area narrowing the artery.

Medicinal Properties of Chaparral Part 2

Chaparral is best known for its ability to treat cancer effectively.  The antitumor effects of chaparral have been verified in studies conducted by the universities of both Nevada and Utah.  One of the things that makes chaparral unique in its ability to treat cancer is the fact that it “attacks” the cancer through multiple mechanisms.  Since the majority of cancers have a microbial origin the first mechanism is through the destruction of viruses, bacteria and fungi.  Chronic inflammation has also been linked to the formation of cancers meaning that chaparral’s anti-inflammatory properties can inhibit some cancers.  Chaparral can inhibit cancers triggered, or aggravated, by free radicals and toxins due to its antioxidant and cleansing properties.  Chaparral’s liver cleansing properties makes it helpful for hormonal induced cancers since the liver is responsible for the breakdown of excess hormones.  And finally, chaparral inhibits mitochondrial enzymes, which in turn inhibits the cellular division of cancer cells.  In short, this means chaparral can inhibit cancer growth.

Chaparral’s ability to kill microbes makes it useful for a number of diseases linked to microbial infections.  These include cancers (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), heart disease (chlamydia bacteria), hepatitis (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), rheumatoid (chlamydia bacteria) and other forms of infectious arthritis, multiple sclerosis (human herpes virus type 6), ulcerative colitis (mycoavium complex bacterium), Crohn’s disease (mycoavium complex bacterium), type 1 diabetes (viral), pneumonia (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), bronchitis (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), etc.  One of the most interesting areas of study for the use of chaparral is in the treatment of herpes infections where studies are looking very promising.

Chaparral is very resinous and so is not easy to prepare as a tea.  Resins and water do not mix and the resin will separate out and stick to the pan wall when trying to make the tea.  Therefore, I recommend not using this herb as a tea.  I personally prefer the powder mixed with other herbs.  By combining the powder with other powdered herbs the other powdered herbs will help prevent the resins in the chaparral from clumping the powder in to a big “gumball” when it comes in to contact with water.  This helps maintain a larger surface area thereby increasing the absorption and effectiveness of the herb.  In addition, the addition of other herbs can increase the effectiveness of each herb . For instance, chaparral combined with red clover blossom increases the antitumor activity of both herbs.  Combining chaparral with pau d’ arco (lapacho, taheebo, ipe roxo) increases the antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activities of both herbs.

Again, the FDA tried to claim that chaparral was linked to 13 cases of hepatitis though medical reviews subsequently found no evidence that the chaparral was linked to the cases.  In fact, it was shown that many of the patients were found to have pre-existing liver failure or were taking pharmaceutical drugs well known for causing liver damage.  On the other hand, fresh chaparral does contain unstable alkaloids that may damage the liver if ingested for a length of time.  Therefore, chaparral should be dried and aged several months before use to destroy these alkaloids.

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