Complement conventional treatments and get your heart healthy using herbs, diet and positive lifestyle changes.
For many years,natural health experts have argued against the routine use of statins.Though heart disease is major concern,we belive lifestyle changes (exercising more,increasing fiber,stopping smoking and relaxation techniques) make the biggest difference in how people help themselves prevent heart disease.Could the insights of natural medicine be penetrating conventional care? In April 2016,the FDA took the unusual step of withdrawing approvals it had previously given for two major groups of “combo” drugs: statins plus niacin,and statins plus fenofibric acid.The reason given was a lack of scientific evidence of cardiovascular benefit.
Making Cholesterol the “Measure” for Heart Risk is Controversial.
While mainstream medicine keeps prescribing statins,science seems to support an honest re-evaluation of whether these statins do us much good.We certanly know of the side effects: fatigue,muslce pain and a lengthening list of problems that grows with the amount of time people are on statins.Herbalists and other healers have long questioned the narrow focus on stripping blood fats out of the bloodstream without asking why the body is making excess cholesterol and triglycerides,We make these blood fats and chemicals in response to stress.Without ignoring the signal that high cholesterol is sending,natural health providers and integrative medicine physicians look deeper to address the root cause of the body’s distress signal.Yes,family history matters,but it may not be a good enough reason to prescribe statins.Numerous trials confirm that lifestyle changes(exercise, what we eat,how we handle stress) are better for overall recluctkat of cardiovascular disease.Good science, asopposed togoad marketing of drugs or herbs, can help change the conversation.
People who still take a statin might like to know that recent studiessuggest they especially need vitamin D, and that even taking it asa supplement may not raise their blood levelsof vitamin D as much as they might expect.
Speaking with your care provider, who can order tests to measure your levels, is the best bet when statins are taken. It can be confusing since some doctors still insist on prescribing statins, while a growing stack of statin trials showsthey provide very little to no benefit, especially in folks whodo not have heart disease hut want to prevent serious health problems.Some experts suggest that perhaps statins ought to be reserved for use only after somebody hashad a heart attack.
Controversy has long existed regarding any benefit of statinsin women and the elderly.In 2012, a meta-analysis from Rutgers University looked at outcomes of people (40,000+ were women) taking statins compared to those on placebo (dummy pills) or getting the usual care. For both women and men whose risk of heart disease was relatively small, taking statins for ten years did little good and may have caused some harm. Some studies suggest those taking statins get regular medical check-ups, take better care of their health and follow lifestyle guidelines, already mentioned, for a healthy heart.
It has been consistenly confirmed that a diet rich in whole foods,especially plant fiber we get from regularly eating more fruits and vegetables,works as primary prevention.Perhaps the best researched heart-healthy vegetables in the past few decades have been immune-boosting brassicas like broccoli.Natural fiber acts not only as a multipurpose sponge to mop up excess fats,but as one way our bodies naturally raduce inflammation.Reducing inflammation is the new focus of cardiovascular helath practices-not just our cholesterol ratios.
CAROTENOIDS carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and yams (also help stabilize blood sugar), mango, broccoli, spinach, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables.However you decide to go, aim for 5 to 7 servings of vegetables and fruit.
VITAMIN E olive oil, almonds, asparagus, wheat germ, soy beans (edamame), avocado,corn One big aim is to keep our blood fats from going rancid.Vitamin E does this by slowing the rate at which the ‘‘bad‘‘ fats, low density lipoprotein (LDL), are ‘‘oxidized‘‘ (spoiled). While normally we may think of oxygen as a good thing, exposing butter, for instance, to air, heat and light makes rancid butter.Inside our bloodstreams, oxidized blood fats create inflammation, leading to sticky blood, clumps, blockages and risk of health problems. Vitamin E also reduces thickening of our blood vessel linings.The way tiny blood platelets clump together is also lowered by vitamin E. Plus, it reduces inflammation,especially cyclooxygenase and phospholipase A2.Finally, vitamin E also appears to improve nitric oxide bioactivity, maybe by reducing the protein kinase C (harmful in excess). The dose varies according to different preparation s, the average being up to 600!Us daily, though pollution and other stressors increase our need for vitamin E. In heart patients, staying under 200!Us daily is better than ”loading up.‘‘
VITAMIN C potatoes, citrus fruit, papaya, mango, cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi (Studies have suggested that 1000 mg of vitamin C per day reduces elevated C–reactive protein comparable to the anti–inflammatory effect observed with statins.)
SELENIUM,ZINC AND COOPER
Found in pumpkin seeds,wheat germ,nuts,seafood,whole grains,legumes.
MAGNESIUM Found in:vegetables,legumes,whole grains,Recommended supplement dose: 400 mg daily
POLYPHENOLS Found in: green and black tea (up to 4 or 5 cups per day),fruits,chocolate,coffee (limit to 1 cup daily)
OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS(INCREASE)
Found in : Cold-water fish- salmon,sardines,mickerel,herring;nuts and seeds-walnuts,flaxseed,pecans,pumpkin seeds; dark green leafy vegetables and beans;Omega-3 supplements- Make sure there is a high content of EPA and DHA,and be aware of mercury contamination.A reputable product should have third party analysis of heavy metal contamination avaiable to the public.
Dose:4 to 5 grams per day.
OMEGA-6 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (DECREASE)
Reduce omega-6 fats( found in: safflower oil,sunflower oil,margarine,chips) Eliminate trans-fats and saturated fats.Reduce carbohydrates,especially white flour and white sugar.Reduce commercial red mea; determine your best protein sources