Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most prevalent diseases in our nation, especially among the mature population. Heart disease and stroke are responsible for about 43% of all U.S. deaths. According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, these two conditions are a result, typically, of hardening of the artery walls (atherosclerosis) . . .

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What Is Cardiovascular Disease?

When the arteries are blocked, blood flow does not get to the heart which results in damage to the heart (or what we typically call a heart attack). When the artery that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked, the result is stroke. Atherosclerosis is largely a result of diet and lifestyle, so a heart attack or stroke can be delayed or avoided by changing to a more healthy diet and lifestyle.

Risk Factors

Many activities factor into the risk of heart disease. The factors most people think of are smoking, diet high in fat and cholesterol, physical inactivity, diabetes, and so on. But other factors have been shown to be more significant than these more well-known factors. Such factors include:

  • homocysteine levels. For more details on homocysteine and its relationship to cardiovascular disease, read Homocysteine: The New Risk Factor for Heart Attack and Stroke.
  • levels of antioxidants in the body, the lack of which enables oxidative damage to occur. For information on how to prevent oxidative damage, see Antioxidants and Their Role in Preventing Oxidative Damage to Blood Vessels.
  • excessive blood platelet stickiness.

Nutrients

Ultimately, the most effective treatment for lowering homocysteine has been found to be a combination of vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin B6. The type of B12 used is very important. One form of B12 is called cyanocobalamin. Note that the prefix cyano- does refer to cyanide! Hydroxycobalamin or methylcobalamin are preferred forms to take.

Studies have shown that the amino-acid derivative SAM-e (s-adenosylmethionine) is low in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. So treatment of homocysteine levels should also include SAM-e*, vitamin C (Buffered C), vitamin E, and other antioxidants.

[* Note that Bevko’s SAM-e already includes B12 and folic acid in the formulation.]

Other nutrients the body uses to maintain vascular health include coenzyme Q-10, lipoic acid, and quercetin.

Diet

As mentioned earlier, diet and lifestyle are significant in preventing cardiovascular disease. There are a number of things we can do to improve our cardiovascular health, including:

  • increasing consumption of fiber-rich plant foods. A good way to do this is by following an alkaline diet, which is rich in plant foods. An alkaline diet is important because our bodies are supposed to be slightly alkaline, but the modern diet creates a state in which most people have an acidic environment. An acidic environment develops when we eat mostly acidic foods: too much animal protein, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. These foods can deplete the body of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which are important to health.
  • eliminating animal products (with the exception of cold-water fish) to reduce consumption of fat and cholesterol.
  • eliminating both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
  • achieving your ideal body weight.
  • drinking at least 8 glasses of water (pure water, not from the tap) every day.

Lifestyle

Aerobic exercise is very important for reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise can lower cholesterol, improve the blood supply to the heart and brain, reduce blood pressure, and help achieve your ideal body weight. If you have led a sedentary lifestyle, you should check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.