Nutrients to Support a Healthy Heart
Since heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the U.S., those of us oriented toward prevention can adjust our lives to improve heart function.
People tend to fear and dread cancer, perhaps because it is more likely to have associated pain. But heart disease is the greater killer. If we do what is needed to maintain a healthy heart, it will also help keep us in good general heath.
While doing some nutritional research I came across an article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2001;37;1765-1774 titled "Chronic Heart Failure & Micronutrients".
Here was an establishment medical journal discussing the critical impact of nutrients on the functioning of the heart! The literature on this subject is out there. But unless one has an interest & seeks the information, it is often overlooked. Of course, much more has been discovered since this article of 2001.
Heart failure is often the ultimate way one dies from heart disease. It affects 10% of those 80 yrs or older. It is the leading cause of death in all industrial countries.
Heart failure is usually preceded by any of the following: coronary artery disease, heart attack, hypertension, cardiomyopathy ( a disorder of the heart muscle). Other more obscure less recognized precedents are nutritional deficiencies, hidden infections, drug side effects, inflammatory disorders of the heart, heavy metal toxicity, abnormal heart rhythms, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, faulty heart valves, congenital heart disease, diabetes, severe anemia, emphysema, to name some but not all causes.
Heart failure is the failure of the heart to pump blood effectively through the body because the heart muscle is not working as it should be. This results in a back up of fluid in the lungs and throughout the body with resultant edema. The most common symptoms are severe fatigue, shortness of breath, and generalized edema. It is associated with general body and muscle wasting including osteoporosis. Hippocrates fittingly described this, "The flesh is consumed & becomes water...the abdomen fills with water, the feet & legs swell; the shoulders, clavicle, chest & thigh melt away." There is a clear shift toward overall breakdown of the body. But all this is the end result of a process you would hope would never get started. Most heart disease is preventable.
The article I have been citing concluded there was "sufficient evidence to support large-scale trials of dietary micronutrient supplementation in HF."
I believe this supplementation would need to include all the possibly implicated nutrients. I do not understand why they do research on single isolated nutrients to prove or disprove benefit when they all work together synergistically, with the function of any 1 nutrient being potentially hampered by a deficiency of another nutrient.
Let's say they only researched HF patients by giving them selenium. Benefits could be limited if the patients also had a B, calcium or other significant deficiency. You can get false results when researching nutrients singularly like they research drugs. When a nutrient is singularly researched & is beneficial, then I consider it super effective.
The authors of this article summarized, "Deficiency of many micronutrients and vitamins is associated with the development of heart failure or may contribute to cardiovascular disease." ..."Studies of supplementation of some individual micronutrients have shown improved exercise tolerance and reduced symptoms." in those with heart failure.
This article was talking about patients with extreme illness & perhaps intervening with nutrients at that point. I say why not feed your heart & body what is needed for optimal functioning in the first place rather than waiting for it to fall apart?
One of the many reasons I pursued a career of Alternative Medicine was to learn enough to modify my own genetic predisposition to heart disease with grandparents & parents dying abruptly of same. I have personally used supplements since 1972 & am happy to report a perfect heart & health with zero coronary calcification.
The whole point of all this is that you don't have to be part of these dreary statistics. You can use "supplemental insurance."
This information represents no claim to cure already existent heart disease or heart failure with nutrients, though the heart failure directly caused by nutrient deficiencies would likely improve when that nutrient is given in adequate amounts. Do not stop medications and consult with your Dr about taking heart supportive supplements if you already have heart disease.
However, I am urging you to eat healthfully, supplement judiciously, exercise daily, sleep adequately, and to be nourished spiritually. All of this will increase your likelihood of quality of life and a longer, healthier life.