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Molecular Healing: Beating Metabolic Syndrome; Nutrients for Heart Disease

Posted Aug 24 2008 9:51pm
A pill for every ill. Good advice for some problems but not for the growing metabolic syndrome epidemic. Yes, we can enjoy the fruits of the pharmacological jungle in the form of the statin drugs, but there is more we can do to help to overcome the gradual progression of this disease. For this we turn to nutrition.

It turns out that cholesterol is not the whole story when it comes to plaquing up the arteries. For years the medical establishment touted that we get our total cholesterol under control, first below 220, then 200. Now in some cases cardiologists are comparing cholesterol lowering to the limbo game; "how low can you go?"

What may be more important than total cholesterol are those little packages of fat that your liver makes to send it around your body. There are good packages (HDLs) and bad boys (LDLs). Also, those bad boy LDLs can be big or small and it's the small ones that can deposit on the inner walls of the arteries and build up. This is kind of the like the plumbing in an old house. We used to live in one and you couldn't flush the toilet when taking a shower without reducing the comforting warm embrace of the water to a cold trickle.

So how can we keep the pipes from blocking up short of hiring Roto Rooter (in cardiology language that spells angioplasty) or rebuiling the plumbing (bypass, saw the sternum, spread those ribs--ouch!). Well statins are a start but there is more we can do by taking some important nutritional substances. Hey I know this is more pills but nutrition is good, right?

There are a few and I will start with one superstar for the heart--Co enzyme Q10 or CoQ10. This is a biggie and can lower blood pressure as well as reduce the muscles aches and pains associated with statins. The recommended form is an oil-based pill and the dose is 100mg-300mg daily.

Fish-fish-fish. Yes, fish are full of those amazing omega 3 fatty acids. Now there are also omega 3 eggs, cooking oils and spreads for those who are not akin to eating those scaly creatures. You have to take a pretty good dose of a high-quality capsule--3000 to 4000 mg/day with at least 30% of the capsule containing EPA and DHA.

Get in the sun, or, take vitamin D. VItamin D is experiencing a kind of resurgance in popularity in the nutrition world these days as some newer studys tout its cancer fighting abilities. Vitamin D helps by reducing inflammation in the plaque. There is a marker of inflammation called C-reactive protein and vitamin D has been shown to lower this. The recommended dose depends on how much sunlight you get but can range from 1000-6000 units per day for those with coronary artery disease.

Lastly, there is a nutrient that helps to increase the chemical nitric oxide in the vascular system. Yes, that's what Viagra and the plethora of ED drugs do in a certain part of the male anatomy, but we guys need vasodilation in our arteries too. The recommended dose is kinda huge--3000-6000mg, twice (yes that's right) per day. Better to use a powder for this one. This one can make a big (no pun intended) difference.

There are a few more but these seem to be the main nutritional weapons that help in the fight against coronary artery disease.

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