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This will continue and update the discussion that was started by Frances B on another thread - hopefully a place for resources leading to healthy choices. As I mentioned in that other thread, my father has benefited from following the advice of two board certified cardiologists, found in their book "Reverse Heart Disease Now."

The thread will take in a number of povs, as the assumptions around high cholesterol leading to heart disease have been seriously questioned in the past five to ten years. Add to this the long study in the British Journal of Medicine showing no benefits from vitamins A,C, and E on mortality rates, and there is a bias against anti-oxidants in general among those who tend to lump all other anxtioxidant sources into this rather narrow range of vitamins.

A Scotish physician, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, who has a popular book out ("The Great Cholesterol Con") debunking the cholesterol story also views the French paradox with strong suspicion. The French paradox basically accounts for a lower incidence of heart disease among that population as due to their higher consumption of wine, and spices/herbs like garlic. And Dr. Kendrick's retort, in one of his essays, to those who complain the British study failed to utilize other antioxidants, such as herb-based sources, was rather sarcastic and ad hominem. But doctors are generally granted this position of entitlement that leaves them acting somewhat immune to sources of information outside their domains of speciality. So we're left to pick through what he describes for the layman while being aware he carries his own pet notions like the rest of us.

I'll start off by pointing to some research showing benefits of herb-based antioxidants in animal and human studies where either mortality rates are decreased, or the animal shows protection/increased resilience to certain contrived laboratory insults.



As always, utilize this information, as you might, with your physician consulted; however, I find very few MDs who've paid much attention to this research, except to give warnings. Perhaps a better approach would be to find a naturopathic trained physician to consult with who might augment the conversation you have with your general practitioner.

www.naturopathic.org

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As always, the best way is to go straight to the published research. These summaries are available via a google of Pubmed. Type in your keywords. This will pull up any published papers which include themes akin to your word search. Click on the authors names, and this will pull up the study abstract. You can read the results and conclusions, fairly well even if a layperson like myself.

What I've found so far among the studies of antioxidants to decrease risk of heart failure won't surprise some of you. Herbs like the Indian cardio tonic Arjuna, a tree bark traditionally used for prevention and treatment of heart disease, shows benefit in protecting heart patients from incidence of angina, or delaying the event, when compared with placebo; it shows similar benefits to a well known heart drug in this study.

Hawthorn extracts have a mixed review. Several studies show a trend toward decreased mortality, while another, a shorter study using a similar preparation of the herb, shows a trend toward increasing cardiac events, or death in the large population studied.

Garlic shows modest results in animal studies, and one Russian human clinical trial showed a decrease in mortality among those taking garlic over a ten year period.

Blueberries showed an increase in resilience in an animal study where mice are disposed to stroke.

(Don't you cringe at the plight of these poor animals!?)

Magnesium shows benefit in a human clincial trial, improving mild-moderate hypertension.

Here is another good place to look, where one can find some crtical thinking and attempts to fairly represent botanical research:

www.herbalgram.org

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The MyoVive supplement which was cited on the thread started by Frances B, which shows improved left ventricle function from the intake of carnitine, coQ10 and taurine supplementation, is similar to the basic protocol in "Reverse Heart Disease Now." The doctors authoring this book have found their best results with patients when the core regimine includes: L-Carnitine, highly absorbant CoQ10, Magnesium and D-Ribose. As I recall in reading this book a few years ago when my father first went on their program, it was the discovery of D-Ribose, a precursor to ATP production in cell mitochondria, that really started making a big difference in many patients.

Sadly, big Pharma has no apparent interest in the likes of D-Ribose. Of course, why should it, since a natural product won't yield the drug industry great dividends? In fact, such success outside its financial reach might spell disaster for drug sales.

There are several monogram-type citations found through Pubmed for D-Ribose, but only one prospective study, conducted in Germany in 2003. The study was placebo controlled, with a wash out period where the intervention, either D-Ribose or placebo, was ceased for some time, and then each group received the other therapy for the same amount of time they received whatever their initial therapy was. This way of conducting the study helps control for placebo effects, and may further demonstrate the strength of the effect in the experimental group. In this study of D-Ribose, all parameters measured showed improvement.

You'd think the philanthropists and Congress would jump all over this and take a few years to see if the initial findings hold promise for treating the main source of early death in the U.S!

Nothing else to be found in the research stacks for D-Ribose. Meanwhile a relatively few cardiologists dare to stray outside the apparently iatragenic (disease-causing) confines of their medical practices.

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And like we can find anywhere, since no one source is comprehensive, here is a brief critique of Dr. Sinatra, one of the authors of the book "Reverse Heart Disease Now." The columnist is a co-author of one of the better reviewed books on healthy fat intake. She criticizes Dr. Sinatra, not for his book "RHN," but for another book where he gives apparently misleading information about saturated fats. The French paradox may not be the only thing to keep in mind here, where fruits and vegetables are protective, but as well the changing tide in research regarding the importance of fats after a decade or so of being told to severely limit fat intake.

www.westonprice.org/bookreviewsoptimumplan.html

Oh well, yet another failed link . . . . . that book on fats is "Eat Fat Lose Fat," the lead author a Ph.D, and advocates, among other things, healthy saturated fats such as coconut oil. See the thread "Coconut Oil: a second look (a first for many!)", showing research on weight loss and improved body mass index.
 
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