The Circulatory System
The best answer is False.
It is ironic that the disease that is responsible for the most American deaths is also one of the most preventable! We can greatly increase our chances of avoiding cardiovascular disease, and even reverse much of the damage already done, by making the right lifestyle choicesparticularly regarding exercise, stress management, smoking, weight management, blood pressure management, and dietincluding nutritional supplementation.
What Can We Do to Prevent or Reverse Heart Disease?
The American Heart Association recommends at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week. Aerobic exercise is exercise that makes your heart beat faster. Good examples are brisk walking, jogging, and bicycling. If you are over 40 and out of shape, or if you have a history of heart problems, start slowly with moderate walking, or ask your health care provider to recommend an exercise program especially for you.
Research has shown that people with "type A" personalities are more prone to heart problems, particularly the kind that can cause sudden death. "Type A" personalities are people who have a high need for accomplishment and who drive themselves relentlessly. If you feel that you fit into this category, you might consider learning relaxation techniques such as meditation, hatha yoga or Tai Chi. Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT) is also remarkably effective. Remember also that regular exercise has even greater benefits for you, since exercise helps reduce stress and promotes relaxation. Nutritional supplementation may also help. Low levels of magnesium have been associated with a decreased ability to handle stress. Also, during times of stress the body needs more of the B vitamins. Herbs such as valerian root, hops, kava kava, and passion flowers help promote relaxation and better sleep. I have known more than one individual who was able to naturally control his hypertension with the prudent use of herbs and nutrition, particularly with the use of a good stress vitamin/herbal combination such as Nutri-Calm.
Heart disease rates for smokers are 70 percent higher than for non- smokers. The only way to eliminate or reduce this risk factor is to never smoke, or to quit smoking if you do. The good news is that smokers who quit can reduce their risk of heart disease by about one-half. Eventually their risk will be about that of non-smokers. Recent research indicates that this effect begins within months or even days of quitting. So as long as you are still breathing, it is never too late to quit! The homeopathic product Distress Remedy may help you quit.
Another factor important in preventing cardiovascular disease is to maintain your ideal weight. Weight Management is covered in another lesson so I will not go into detail here.
The only way to know for sure whether you have high blood pressure is to have it checked, because many individuals have high blood pressure without knowing it. The American Heart Association recommends that, unless you have a known cardiovascular problem, it is sufficient to have your blood pressure checked every two to three years.
Blood Pressure Management
Everyone experiences periodic fluctuations to their blood pressure depending on activity level, stress, etc. But people with sustained uncontrolled high blood pressure run a much greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Ironically, some people only suffer from high blood pressure when they have it checked by a doctor or nurse. This is referred to as "white coat hypertension" and has resulted in many unnecessary prescriptions for dangerous blood pressure drugs. This is also why prudent doctors will not prescribe a drug for high blood pressure unless the patient has shown consistent high blood pressure over a period of time, or only after conservative measures such as stress management have failed. As a precaution against falling victim to "white coat hypertension," it is a good idea to check your own blood pressure under various conditions, including at home, especially if you are contemplating drug treatment.
Most people can manage their blood pressure adequately with lifestyle choices. People with a tendency toward high blood pressure would do well to eliminate caffeine from their diet. For a small percentage of people there is a correlation between excessive sodium intake and high blood pressure, but for most people this is not as important as was once thought. Many people can adequately manage their blood pressure by following the principles mentioned in this lesson: Quit smoking if you are a smoker. Get enough of the right kind of exercise. Learn stress management techniques if you are a Type A personality. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Eat the right kinds of foods. Avoid the wrong kinds of foods, (more on nutrition below.) And make sure that you get enough of the right nutrients in your diet through supplementation. The herbal combination Blood Pressurex may help you keep your blood pressure levels in the normal range.
The prescription drugs that are routinely prescribed for the most common heart problems, particularly those prescribed for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, are very dangerous, present a lot of insidious side effects, (often including the long-term result of making the heart disease worse), and in general should be avoided. The reason they are so popular is because the drug companies reap huge profits from the sale of these drugs and so they spend millions of dollars each year promoting them to both doctors and the general public. There are many natural and safer alternatives, but your doctor is not likely to tell you about them because natural treatments do not produce billions of dollars in profits like prescription drugs. It will therefore be up to you to decide if you want to be a part of the drug industry's agenda, whose primary purpose is to make huge profits and pay large dividends to their stock holders, or if you want to establish your own agenda, with your welfare as its top priority. A word of warning is in order however: Do not discontinue the use of any prescription drug without first consulting your doctor or pharmacist. If your doctor will not cooperate with you, get another doctor!
There is clear scientific evidence that Americans should be cutting back sugar and wheat products and eating more fiber. There is an indisputable correlation between a high sugar, low fiber dietthe typical American dietand heart disease. Is there any wonder why heart disease is the number one killer of Americans? Not only should we be cutting back on sugar and wheat, we should be eating more vegetables, fruits and beans. This will reduce our fat intake, increase our fiber intake, and provide us with many nutrientsincluding antioxidantsthat help protect us from cardiovascular disease.
While diet modification is a very helpful and necessary step, due to modern food processing procedures, most of us will still not get enough fiber for optimal health unless we supplement. That is why I recommend a daily fiber supplement such as psyllium hulls, Fat Grabbers, Nature's Three or LoClo.®
Dietary Supplementation for the Circulatory System
Dietary fiber is such an important part of health management that I have devoted an entire article to the subject. Fiber is also discussed in the lesson on the Intestinal System. I will therefore not go into further detail here. In the remainder of this section we will take a closer look at nutritional supplements that can play an important part in the battle against heart disease.
Antioxidant vitamins and minerals are essential for circulatory health. Medical studies have shown in particular that vitamins C and E and the trace mineral selenium help protect the blood vessels and heart muscle from the damaging effects of atherosclerosis. Even in advanced cases of heart disease and arterial plaquing, the benefits of these antioxidants have in some cases proven to be more effective than heart medications. Research suggests that 1,000 mg of vitamin C, and 800 IU of vitamin E daily are necessary to have a significantly positive effect on the arteries and the heart.
As you probably know, Vitamin E, has repeatedly been in the news about heart disease. Many medical studies, including an important paper published in the June 1995 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), have demonstrated the importance of this antioxidant vitamin in the prevention of heart disease. In the JAMA study, men with a previous history of coronary heart bypass surgery who were given more than 100 IU of vitamin E a day had significantly less coronary artery progression than those who did not receive vitamin E. Another recent study of 130,000 nurses showed that intakes of greater than 100 IU per day reduced heart attacks by 46% in women and 26% in men. The reason for the lower figure in men was probably due the low dose used in this study.
Vitamin E has been shown to be vitally important in the prevention of many other health problems in both men and women, including prostate cancer in men. I recommend that everyone supplement their diets with this important antioxidant vitamin. My recommendation for vitamin E is 400 IU a day (800 IU for those who have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease.) Avoid dl-alpha tocopherol or synthetic Vitamin E. It is important to use d-alpha tocopherol, or natural source vitamin E, which is the most biologically active form. Also, remember that natural vitamin E is a complex, like vitamin B, and works much better if taken with the other natural tocopherols. For that reason I recommend Vitamin E Complete, which includes the entire vitamin E complex along with the important trace mineral selenium. Vitamin E and selecium are synergistic, meaning that the Vitamin E will be of more benefit when it is taken with selenium. Selenium has also been proven to be essential for cardiovascular health. (More on selenium in the next section below.)
(Note: Recently a new medical study was reported prominently in the news media which attempted to discredit the virtues of vitamin E, even going so far as to claim that supplementation with the vitamin could be dangerous to your health. A closer look at this study revealed that it was seriously flawed and should be ignored. I believe that the drug interests were behind this new study in the first place and that it was nothing more than an attempt to discredit a beneficial, and popular, natural remedy, all because it was seen as a threat to lucrative heart drug profits. Over the years I have seen this happen numerous times with many natural drug-free treatments. There are many more studies that prove the effectiveness and safety of vitamin E so don't be dissuaded by this new "finding." The media is always too eager to be a part of the drug industry's agenda because it creates the sensation they need to increase their ratings and sell more advertising (much of which is to the drug companies.) This should always be kept in mind when reading or hearing any media report, particularly when it involves bad news about a very popular natural remedy; because it is when a natural remedy becomes very popular and widely used that it is perceived as a threat to the drug industry's profits. The drug industry is a very powerful and well-funded special interest and your health is not their top priority.)
It is now well established that the trace mineral selenium is essential for optimal health. It has been shown to help protect against coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease. The problem is that our soils, in many parts of the country, have been depleted of many important trace minerals making it impossible for us to get optimal amounts without supplementation. Choose chelated selenium because it is absorbed much better than the non-chelated form. The correct type and amount of selenium is included in Vitamin E Complete mentioned above.
In addition to its promise in the prevention of heart disease, selenium has proven to have an inhibitory effect on all of the hypothesized aging mechanisms. Animals who have had their diets supplemented with selenium live 50% longer. Selenium has also been proven to help prevent arthritis, emphysema, and cancer. It is no coincidence that the states in the U.S. with the highest incidence of breast cancer are also the states with the lowest levels of selenium in the soil.
In addition to selenium, there are at least six other minerals that are essential in the battle against heart disease: calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, chromium and copper. Magnesium, in particular, is a key mineral for the heart. It helps reduce heart attack, irregular heart beats and heart spasms. Calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc have all been shown to help control high blood pressure. And copper is important for the structural integrity of the walls of the blood vessels. Deficiencies of copper have been linked to weaknesses in the vascular walls leading to aneurysm and stroke.
Coenzyme Q10 (or Co Q10) is a "vitamin-like" enzyme and a strong antioxidant which is necessary for the cells to produce energy. It is present in very small amounts in some foods, such as seafoods, and is produced by all cells of the body. Studies have shown that most heart patients are deficient in coQ-10 and that supplementation can sometimes dramatically relieve heart disease symptoms. CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to help normalize blood pressure and to strengthen and protect the heart against cardiovascular disorders and heart disease. It has been found to calm arrhythmia and improve congestive heart failure and angina. CoQ-10 also acts as a powerful antioxidant by protecting the body against free radicals and it improves the effectiveness of the immune system. Results have been noted particularly in patients with congestive heart failure. A daily dose of from 50 to 150 mg of Coenzyme Q10 has been suggested for maintenance and to aid heart failure, however, up to 300 milligrams a day may be needed when heart failure is severe.
There are many herbs that are known to help the heart, improve circulation, and prevent heart disease. A few of ones that I consider the most important are listed below:
Herbs for Cardiovascular Health
Garlic is a powerful herb that has been used by herbalists for centuries for a wide variety of health problems. Recently scientists have confirmed many of the claims made by herbalists. Garlic has been shown to be effective in helping normalize high blood pressure. It has also proven useful as a "blood thinner," since it inhibits blood clotting. Garlic has also been shown to help lower cholesterol levels for those who have high serum cholesterol.
Hawthorn Berries is widely used by herbalists around the world for cardiac problems, particularly to strengthen a weakened heart. Scientists have discovered that hawthorn also dilates blood vessels allowing blood to flow more freely and thereby lowers the blood pressure. It also acts directly on the heart muscle to help heal damaged heart tissue.
Ginkgo Biloba is the most popular herbal food in Germany and France, outselling other herbal products by 20 percent. Ginkgo contains flavonoid glycosides like quercetin. Quercetin is the "magic" ingredient in red wine that helps protect the French from heart disease. It helps prevent heart attack by preventing cholesterol oxidation.
Before leaving the subject of heart disease, I would like to talk briefly about the "aspirin a day" recommendation that is being promoted by the aspirin industry through mass media advertising and the medical profession. It is true that aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack. However, aspirin is a drug with dangerous side effects, especially when taken over a long period of time. These side effects include (but are not limited to) potentially severe and even fatal gastrointestinal bleeding. Two thousand Americans die each year due to gastrointestinal bleeding caused by regular aspirin use. Some studies have also found that aspirin, as well as other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), may actually speed joint destructionbad news for the millions who are taking NSAIDS for arthritis. The reason it is being highly promoted is because aspirin manufacturers have watched their sales drop sharply with the introduction of aspirin substitutes. They have therefore, and quite successfully, devised a scheme to increase their sales.
An Aspirin a Day?
Before running out to buy a king-sized bottle of aspirin, remember that natural supplements like garlic and vitamin E with selenium work betterand without the negative side effects! The side effects of garlic include such benefits as fewer colds and flu due to improved functioning of your immune system. The side effects of vitamin E with selenium include increased protection against cancer! In my opinion, the nutritional approach is by far A BETTER WAYunless of course you have stock in the aspirin industry.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
The heart operates continually. If it were to stop completely it would mean sudden death. The blood carries vital, life-giving oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body, supplying the raw materials for energy that powers every thought and action. The blood also carries many harmful by-products of metabolism to the kidneys and lungs to be eliminated.
The other branch of the body's circulation system is the lymphatic system, often called the secondary transport system. Cell debris and excess fluids that collect between the cells are picked up by the lymphatic system and mixed with plasma forming lymph. The valuable contents of lymph are purified in the lymph nodes and then recycled by being added back to the blood. The lymphatic system is also vitally important to the success of the immune system.
In this lesson we explored the anatomy and physiology of the circulatory system in health and disease. We also considered some of the factors scientists consider important in the prevention of heart disease, including nutritional supplementation. I have mentioned a few of what I consider to be the most important nutritional supplements for the circulatory system. This list is by no means complete. Other vitamins, minerals and herbs have also shown promise. Some of these are listed in section marked Circulatory System Products below.
If you have four or more of the following indications, you may want to consider nutritional aid to the circulatory system:
The key product for the circulatory system is Mega-Chel.
- Avoid trans fats and polyunsaturated oils.
- Eat butter rather than margarine
- Use Coconut oil and olive oil
- Eggs are good for you!
- Limit sugar intake (but avoid artificial sweeteners)
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and garlic.
- Eat according to these dietary guidelines
- Engage in aerobic exercise, especially walking.
- Don't smoke.
- Manage your weight.
- Learn to handle stress. If stress is a problem, try to reduce the stressors in your life, consider learning relaxation techniques, and/or take the nutritional stress supplement Nutri-Calm.
- Take a daily fiber supplement such as Fat Grabbers, Psyllium Hulls, LoClo, Nature's Three, Everybody's Fiber, or Psyllium Hulls Combination.
- Periodically Cleanse the Colon with CleanStart. If you eat meat and/or dairy products, I recommend a colon cleanse four times a year (using the season changes as reminders.) If you eat no meat or dairy products then cleanse the colon twice a year (in the Spring and again in the Fall.)
Click here for the Circulatory System Product Flow Chart
Circulatory System Products
These product links and those throughout the lesson are for U.S. orders only. For international ordering click here.
Cardio Assurance is a blend of heart-benefiting ingredients designed to protect your heart. This product combines hawthorn berries extract, red clover extract, ginkgo, capsicum, folic acid, Vitamins B6 and B12 and choline bitartrate. These ingredients support heart function and strength, and help maintain cholesterol levels within the normal range. Cardio Assurance supports heart function and offers potent antioxidant effects. Isoflavonoids in Cardio Assurance may help maintain artery elasticity, support blood flow for cardiovascular health and help keep homocysteine levels in the normal range.
Blood Pressurex is a blend of essential and natural ingredients that can help your body maintain blood pressure levels within the normal range. The main ingredients of this formula are the powerful herbs Coleus forskohlii, olive leaf extract, hawthorn extract and golden rod; the amino acid arginine; and the potent antioxidants vitamin E and grape seed extract. These combine to help inhibit cell damage (potent antioxidant properties), support and maintain blood vessels, encourage optimal blood flow, promote blood flow in the peripheral arteries and help to maintain normal blood viscosity. Blood Pressurex targets many underlying functions to provide maximum support and efficient control. (The product description on NSP's website is overly conservative. This product does help lower blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.)
Mega-Chel is a key product for the circulatory system. It contains a large array of nutrients to support the entire circulatory system - arteries, veins, capillaries and the tissues and organs they service. For example, the combination contains vitamins C and B6, demonstrated to promote normal platelet adhesion and aggregation. It provides a powerhouse of nutritional support for the circulatory system; contains generous amounts of 11 essential vitamins and 10 needed minerals; promotes healthy circulation through maintaining circulatory passageways; and neutralizes free radicals. Use for maintenance or (at a higher dosage) for oral chelation to clear the arteries of plaque.
Pro-G-Yam 500 Progesterone Cream is a fragrance-free body cream just for post-menopausal women containing wild yam and progesterone. It features wild yam root extract, an excellent source of diosgenin and a precursor to progesterone. Each ounce also contains 500 mg real progesterone in a unique herbal base designed for maximum skin absorption and efficacy; wild yam, chamomile, ginkgo, horsetail and yucca. Progesterone has been shown to ease the symptoms of menopause and reduce a woman's risk for heart disease during her post-menopausal years.
Word Review List:
Below is a list of some of the vocabulary words mentioned in this lesson. If you are unsure of the meaning of a word, click on the word for its definition. Use your web browser's back button to return here:
- Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT)
Survival Doc Says (What's this?)
End of Lesson 8
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