We present the following as a summation and supplement to all that you’ve read up to this point concerning heart healthy nutrition (assuming, of course, that you are reading our cardiovascular articles in the order we’ve presented them).
And one more thing. Two of our best affiliate programs are with Dr Alan Sears and his publications and supplements. Yes, they are expensive, but we always check them out and they contain the best ingredients. And he’s now promoting (2020) one of the best heart tonics we’ve seen around. You can find it here: Assure II Heart Tonic.
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Agaricus Blazei Muril mushrooms. When these were discovered, the people living in the surrounding communities had never heard of cancer or heart disease. This is just one good preventative and makes a great addition to any stir-fry. The problem is you cannot find the original mushroom on the market anymore. It was sold out of Brazil, but now they come from China, and China doesn’t have jungles for growing them properly, so a “related” mushroom, now called the ABM is sold instead. Thus we now recommend the Reishi — King of the Mushrooms.
Antioxidants are simply needed for good health and longevity. They keep the cholesterol in your blood stream from oxidizing. There are many antioxidants. Vitamin C in particular is needed, at least 1000 mg daily, possibly more depending on the pollution you’re surrounded by.
A Special Note on Antioxidants [from Health Alert, Oct 2000, 17:10]: Most vitamins are worthless. They cannot be absorbed by the body because they are simply chemicals and the body needs food. However we cannot get the antioxidants our body needs from our diet, according to a lot of the research we’ve dug through, mainly because modern society is so toxic. However, you should know that taking too much as bad for you too because the body does need a bit of oxidation. For example, oxidation fights nascent cancer cells. Oxidation fights bacterial infections. Our bodies need a bit of oxidation.
There are myths and there are myths. In the past, I’m sure we’ve even been responsible for promulgating a few of them, but we made retractions and moved on. What we want you to know is that the antioxidant/oxidation continuum is in battle to balance itself out. Homeostasis is what it’s all about. And sadly, we don’t really know all that much about what actually happens in the body when we take antioxidants because the studies have mostly been done in test tubes.
Two of the most powerful antioxidants known to us are chlorophyll and bile. We get chlorophyll from green vegetables (broccoli has chlorophyll and even more vitamin C than a glass of orange juice not to mention more calcium than the same amount of milk). Bile is created in the liver. However, after taking garbage vitamins for years (not to mention industrial strength toxins from our food, water and environment) our livers are clogged and stagnant. Performing a liver flush can give us back a healthy liver and then we get antioxidants for free. For information on a liver flush, click here: Cleaning House―The Correct Way To Detox.
Get your antioxidants from your fruits and vegetables and, if you supplement, research and find the best vitamins and minerals, or you can take our advice because we’ve been researching and testing and reading assays of products for over 20 years, and since this is our journey first, we stick by our recommendations because they’re worked for us.
Vitamin C is beneficial in the health and maintenance of collagen tissue of the vascular system. It also helps to decrease the formation of clots, decreasing your risk of stroke as well as heart attack. Additionally it binds with iron to reduce the amount of iron in your system. A thousand to three thousand milligrams is a minimum daily requirement for most individuals in today’s world (Dr Gordon uses 9,000mgs). Do not believe the fear mongers spreading rumors of diarrhea and kidney stones. At one time large doses of vitamin C were used as a cure for constipation (what a healthy remedy). If you have a cold or flu, especially the anything like the flu of early 2018 which was killing 4,000 Americans a week, you want to take a lot.
Normally we would tell you to increase your amount of Vitamin C daily by 500 or 1000 mgs. Nope, that’s not fast enough. When I caught the flu, I jumped to 100 grams, or 100,000 mgs daily and then increased that daily. The flu bug that went around in the first January/February of 2018 was not to be treated lightly. I’ve seen recommendations for 250 grams to 300 grams daily for the bird flu.
But for heart disease prevention, 1 to 3 grams (3,000 mgs) is about all you need.
Great sources of Vitamin C are collard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, snow peas, broccoli, citrus, tomatoes (green too, but not as much as the red), red and yellow bell pepper (4 times more than a peeled orange), kiwi fruit. Vitamin C is fragile and is lost in cooking.
A special note on Vitamin C is that in 1992, Linus Pauling, PhD and Mathias Rath, MD published “A Unified Theory of Human Cardiovascular Disease Leading the Way to the Abolition of This Disease as a Cause for Human Mortality” in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 7, No. 1. In this paper, they concluded that CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) is a pre-scurvy condition caused by a lack of Vitamin C which causes pitting in the arteries. At that time, both Pauling and Rath concluded that increasing our intake of Vitamin C would virtually wipe out CVD for all time: “Further clinical confirmation of this theory should lead to the abolition of CVD as a cause of human mortality for the present generation and future generations of mankind.” Little did they suspect that in just a few years, 1999 to be exact, the Wall Street Journal would publish the results of a 40 year study that concluded that 85% of all heart attacks were caused by inflammation.
One more thing to note about Linus Pauling and vitamin C is that, Pauling was a rock star of the scientific community, and like many geniuses, he got stuck on something and could not be swayed. And that was that the best vitamin C was the cheapest and the cheapest form is “ascorbic acid.” If you look up vitamin C in a dictionary, well, let me do it for you now.
From the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, we get the following definition of vitamin C: : a water-soluble vitamin C6H8O6 found in plants and especially in fruits and leafy vegetables or made synthetically and used in the prevention and treatment of scurvy and as an antioxidant for foods — called also ascorbic acid.
The word ascorbic means, literally, anti-scurvy. [Ref]
This is where it gets good, so pay attention: In my research, which has been far and wide from libraries overseas to historical societies that contain rare books to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, to rare lectures, and even medical journals (which we can no longer afford) I discovered a study that has stuck with me all those years, and helped me write this article: An Herb is More Than its Active Ingredient.
I cannot recall where I found it or even when I found it, but it has never left my head. And now I will present it for your judgement.
When scurvy and its relationship to vitamin C was finally studied, it was discovered that ascorbic acid alone did not cure the illness, while whole fruits, lemons, limes, and oranges did. Thus, if ascorbic acid is vitamin C (and conversely vitamin C is ascorbic acid) then it is ridiculously misnamed because it alone cannot reverse scurvy. Furthermore, this all simply supports the standing of most naturopaths and nutritionists of today that vitamin C, like vitamin E, is a complex. Vitamin E is not alpha tocopherol, but rather alpha, beta, delta, and gama tocopherol, and even mixed tocotrienols. Some would even claim that selenium is part of the “E complex” as it is often found in foods that contain tocopherols. Thus, we must conclude that vitamin C must be a mixture of ascorbic acid and bioflavonoids often found in fruits containing ascorbic acid.
And in my research I’ve found two very interesting vitamin C products that are worth checking out. One is Swanson’s Supreme C Complex, which has 500 mg of ascorbic acid and 500 mg of citrus bioflavonoids, and 50 mg of Rutin thrown in for good measure (strengthens capillaries; if you suffer from hemorrhoids, you might want to get some rutin). And the other is Swanson’s PureWay-C 1,000 mg w/Bioflavonoids, which is combined with fatty acid metabolites for quicker absorption. This last one is the one I take if I get hit by a cold or flu.
Vitamin B6 stops platelet aggregation and converts homocysteines (from overcooked meats) to cystathionine thus preventing damage to your arteries. Foods containing B6 are bananas, watermelon, salmon, chicken (white meat) pork (center loin chop), potato (baked with skin), brewer’s yeast, sunflower seeds, tuna, pacific halibut, brown rice, wheat germ, navy beans, green peas, spinach, and blackstrap molasses.
Folate has been used to neutralize homocysteines but there are problems with folate and folic acid and some people can’t use it, so in our article Chronic Inflammation, we posted a special note on Folate and how to handle homosysteines. Just click Chronic Inflammation.
Vitamin B12 along with folic acid is an important B vitamin that helps control the build-up of homocysteine in the arteries and blood and aids in red blood cell formation. You need 100mcg daily. Good sources of B vitamins include whole grains, yeast, meat, low-fat dairy products, lentils and leafy greens, beef liver, beef kidney, chicken liver, salmon steak, tuna, yogurt, beef, halibut, milk, Swiss cheese, eggs, and chicken.
If you are missing what’s known as “intrinsic factor” or have poor digestion, you might have to take B12 sublingually. Taking B12 sublingually is also the best way to get the most out of your B-12, and the best B-12 (in our humble opinion is the methylcobalamin form). NOW Foods Methyl B-12 is my favorite form. They sit on my desk and I just let them melt under my tongue.
Vitamin E is a truly valuable factor here. A European study released by the World Health Organization and published in the Jan 1991 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states emphatically that a low concentration of vitamin E in the blood is more of a risk factor for dying from heart disease than high cholesterol or hypertension (high blood pressure). Vitamin E is a very, very complex vitamin, yet the FDA in all its wisdom has labeled alpha tocopherol as the only active ingredient. There are many synthetic vitamins on the market that should be prescribed and used widely by synthetic people. We will show you our favorite forms of Vitamin E and yes, we take them daily.
At 800 IU/day, Vitamin E clearly prevented oxidation of cholesterol. [Med Tribune, Jan 20, 1994] For many menopausal women this is a very good dosage for hot flashes. This dosage also helps to thin the blood.
What many don’t seem to know is (this includes your physician who, statistically speaking, knows nothing about vitamins) that vitamins are complexes. Vitamin E is not just alpha tocopherol or just mixed tocopherols. The truth be known, we do not know everything that makes up the vitamin E complex, but we are beginning to see that it is mixed tocopherols, tocotrienols, and selenium. We’re learning more each day, so expect a few minerals to be discovered that are also part of the vitamin E complex. Getting your vitamins from your food will guarantee you get everything in vitamin E, but our requirements today can hardly be satisfied by foods alone and we must supplement. Which supplement do you get? We’ve let you in on some research so far on alpha tocopherol, but here’s something new: in 1999, Clinical Biochemistry reported the activities of tocotrienol were far superior to alpha-tocopherol.
Two more studies (reported in Nutr Cancer 33(1): 26-32, 1999 and Lipids 33(5): 461-9), 1998) show that tocotrienol induced cellular death (apoptosis) in breast cancer cells.
A 1996 study demonstrated a reduction by 77% in non-fatal myocardial infarctions among 1,035 patients taking 400 and 800 IUs of alpha tocopherol daily for a median of 510 days. However, in contrast with the tocopherols, which have no effect on cholesterol, tocotrienols have significant cholesterol-lowering effects. These effects have been demonstrated in chickens, guinea pigs, rats, pigs, Japanese quail and humans.
One study published in 1995 reported on the use of a gamma-tocotrienol and alpha-tocopherol enriched fraction in 50 patients with cerebrovascular disease over a period of 18 months. Carotid arteries were monitored by use of bilateral duplex ultrasonography. The authors reported apparent carotid atherosclerotic regression in seven, and progression in two, of the 25 tocotrienol patients—while none of the control group showed regression and ten of 25 showed progression. Published duplication of these findings has not yet occurred. [“Tocotrienols and the Modification of Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors” Randall E. Wilkinson, M.D.]
Our favorite forms can be purchased at Swanson’s. The first is Full Spectrum E with Tocotrienols. Another is Advanced Gamma E Complex, by NOW Foods. Both of these are on my vitamin shelf, and one day I’ll take one and the next day I’ll take the other.
Vitamin D’s best form is Vitamin D3, and there is so much research Vitamin D3 that it is now considered by most nutritionists and naturoapths to be a hormone. Hormones help processes and events in our bodies. We need Vitamin D3, and there’s a ton of research out there showing how it prevents and reverses cardiovascular disease that if you went looking on your own, you could not help but find it. Just Google “vitamin d” “dardiovascular disease” and you will get over 800,000 hits. And here is the best at the best price: Swanson’s Highest Potency Vitamin D-3 5000 IU.
Vitamin K comes in two forms, Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and Vitamin K2 (menaquinones), and the food sources for these are as dissimilar as Venus is to Jupiter. Additionally, menaquinoens come in a variety of forms: MK-4 (found in meats, highly processed meats like pepperoni) and MK-7, MK-8, MK-9 found in fermented foods and cheese.
The one fermented food that has the most MK-7 (the acknowledged best form) is a fermented dish of soybeans known as natto. It’s not on the menu anywhere that I know of, and it doesn’t look all that edible, but I would try it because I like to try new things.
I’ve found one study in which higher levels of menaquinoens showed lower levels of C-Reactive Protein (part of your inflammation index). As you should already know, inflammation and diabetes go together. See also, Chronic Inflammation.
In another study, people with high blood pressure turned out to also have low levels of vitamin K1 in their blood. K1 comes from dark green vegetables. Another study showed that people with the most calcium deposits in their arteries had the lowest serum levels of vitamin K1.
Researchers pointed out in these studies that K2 (MK7) has a much longer half-life than K1, thus sustaining vitamin K serum levels longer.
Ironically, many “heart patients” are prescribed coumadin, an anticoagulant drug, which interferes with the production of vitamin K:
The commonly used anticoagulant drug coumadin interferes with the metabolism and function of Vitamin K by inhibiting the enzymes needed to produce Vitamin K This drug can produce excessive bleeding and does produce progressive widespread calcification of arteries and the aorta. [Dr. James Howenstine, MD, June 5, 2007, NewsWithViews.com]
But most important is the role of vitamin K in keeping altherosclerotic calcium plaque off our arteries.
Again from Dr Howenstine’s newsletter:
A clinical study from Rotterdam, Holland revealed a correlation between long term adequate Vitamin K2 intake and a lower incidence of calcification of the wall of the aorta. Arteries with no plaques have a 20 to 50 fold increase in Vitamin K2 concentration when compared to arteries with arterial plaques. The high K2(menaquinone-7) content arteries were noted to be more flexible and elastic than arteries lacking K2.
And more proof: “High dietary Vitamin K2 is associated with decreased coronary calcification and therefore is important to prevent cardiovascular [problems]” [Beulens J.W. et al. Atherosclerosis 2009 April, PMID 18722618]
It seems that K1 keeps calcium out of the blood vessels and K2 inhibits calcification, but out of all the thousands of studies (over 15,000), if you want to clear calcium out of your arteries and improve blood flow, lowering your blood pressure, MK-7 is the one that does this.
Again, K1 is easy to get, but has a short half-life. We need our dark green veggies, but nobody (and I mean nobody) is going to go out and chow down on natto to get their K2/MK-7.
Thus, if you want MK-7 in your regimen, you’re going to have to supplement like I do, and of course, I like NOW Foods MK-7 Vitamin K-2..
Please Note: We wrote our book from which these pages are taken around the turn of the century. Today we have much more research on MK-7 today. One very good (and readable piece) is: Highlighting The Substantial Body Of Evidence Confirming The Importance Of Vitamin K2 As A Cardio-Support Nutrient, And How The Right K2 Makes All The Difference.
Bioflavonoids. Lancet [93;342:1007-1011] reported on a study in the Netherlands that watched the intake of flavonoids in men, aged 65 to 84, over a period of 5 years. The group with the highest intake of flavonoids (79 grams or more daily) had a 50% lower risk of dying from heart disease or heart attack than those with the lowest (19 grams) intake. Was their intake of flavonoids from fresh fruit? No, it was from four cups of black tea. Quercetin is the suspected flavonoid in this study. Quercetin reduces the oxi- dation of cholesterol. It can be taken as a supplement (50 to 150 mg/day), but should be taken with vitamin C (to boost its effect) and copper (with which it binds to cut the destruction of vitamin C). Quercetin is found in the pulp portion of grapefruit, onions, apples (skin), broccoli, shallots and summer squash, and green tea also.
Quercetin, Rutin, and Hesperidin are vital in their ability to increase the strength of the capillaries (blood vessels) and to regulate their permeability. They assist vitamin C in keeping collagen, the intercellular “cement,” in a healthy condition; are essential for the proper absorption and use of vitamin C, and prevent vitamin C from being destroyed in the body by oxidation.
People who drink tea reduce their risk of heart attack by 44%. Tea contains flavonoids and antioxidants that significantly slow the oxidation of cholesterol.
For many years we’ve personally been taking a vitamin C complex made by NOW Foods, which is a really good product and if you have the flu, you could put away three bottles of this daily (the Linus Pauling Institute has been recommending upwards of 250,000 mgs per day with this latest bug), but recently we’ve discovered a “peach” of a product called Swanson’s Supreme C Complex. This was a thrilling discovery because one capsule gives you 500 mg of ascorbic acid and 500 mg of a Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex and 50 mg of Rutin, which we just don’t get enough of and is an important constituent to strong, healthy capillaries. We just love our new discovery.
Hematrex® is specially formulated to promote normal venous circulatory health by increasing vein durability, wall strength and elasticity. This promotes normal blood flow and helps keep blood moving through sensitive areas where vein constriction and blood pooling can cause daily – even constant discomfort.
Editor’s note: We’ve both researched and tried this product. It’s amazing. You can research all the ingredients yourself, but they are mostly Oriental and Ayurveda herbs for circulation. It’s just an amazing product and when you purchase it you also help us out a bit.
Beet Juice supplies two very important nutrients for your cardiovascular system, potassium and the “miracle mineral,” nitric oxide. Here are all the things the nutrients from beet juice can do for your cardiovascular system: regulate blood pressure by dilating arteries, improve circulation reducing stress on the heart, reduce accumulation of acid plaque, reduce inflammation, and normalize the blood’s pH balance. You can read more about in here: Beet Juice ― Great Stuff or Latest Fad? and you can purchase it here (at one of the best prices on the web): Simply the Best.
Bromelain is a form of proteolytic enzyme obtained from the stems of the pineapple plant. Bromelain has been shown to be beneficial in breaking down arteriosclerotic plaques as well as decreasing vasoconstriction of the coronary arteries. Bromelain also decreases the risk of blood clots (reducing platelet aggregation) which cause heart attacks and strokes. It has also been shown to break down the formation of fibrin in the blood that could be a cause of varicose veins.
Butcher’s Broom is widely used in Europe today for disorders of the venous system, such as venous fragility and varicose veins.
From Web MD:
A Polish study tested an oral dose of 75 mg of the entire butcher’s broom plant extract showing improvement in diabetic retinopathy (Archimowicz-Cyrylowska et al., 1996). The same study showed the extract inactive for hypocholesteremic activity and active in lowering triglycerides. In a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial, the effectiveness and tolerability of a venotropic drug (RAES) were evaluated in 40 patients (30 female, 10 male), between the ages of 28 and 74 years, suffering from chronic phlebopathy (venous insufficiency) of the lower limbs. Each RAES capsule dose contained 16.5 mg butcher’s broom extract (presumably root) combined with 75 mg hesperidin and 50 mg ascorbic acid. There were two treatment periods of 2 months duration with an interim period of 15 days for wash-out. The daily dosage was 2 capsules, 3 times daily. The authors reported an overall trend toward improvement in the treatment group. Symptoms (e.g., edema, itching, paresthesias, leg heaviness, and cramps) and plethysmographic parameters improved immediately and significantly with the RAES treatment compared to placebo. (A plethysmograph is a device for finding variations in size due to vascular changes.) No side effects were reported (Cappelli et al., 1988).
From another source (Viable Herbal Solutions 888-206-5376 ) we get :
Contemporary Herbals refer to Butcher’s broom to support venous circulatory disorders (heavy legs) as well as hemorrhoidal ailments. Practitioners also recommend Butcher’s broom for supporting women experiencing menstrual problems and troubles associated with the use of estrogen and pregnancy related cramps.
Butcher’s broom is generally considered a safe herb when taken as a diuretic, though it may cause blood pressure to rise. Those under treatment for hypertension should use this herb under the supervision of a competent health care professional. Those currently taking anticoagulation medications should also check with their physician or health care provider before taking Butcher’s broom to avoid problems.
Butcher’s broom is also an anti-inflammatory, containing rutin that strengthens capillary walls, tightens veins, and pulls iron from your blood.
Carnitine and Taurine, two amino acids considered non-essential by most dietitians, are absolutely essential to a healthy heart and stroke recovery. Both are found in meats and eggs. Jarrow has a supplement with these and other brain nutrients called, Neuro Optimizer.
Cayenne Pepper. From the Master Herbalist, Dr John Christopher, often referred to as Dr Cayenne, we have received volumes of information on cayenne pepper. When Dr Christopher was just 35 years old, his doctor told him that he would not live eight more years. He had hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, and stomach ulcers. No insurance company would cover him. He began taking a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in hot water daily. Within two months, his ulcers were gone. At 45, he went in for a physical. They discovered his blood pressure was perfectly normal and one doctor described his venous structure as that of a teenage boy.
Christopher has many stories of the successful use of cayenne pepper. His clinical experience has shown it to reverse heart disease and heart arrhythmia, lower blood pressure, reverse hemorrhoids, heal ulcers, heal varicose veins, heal tonsillitis, reverse allergies, reverse tendonitis, heal sinusitis and congested sinuses, stop heart attacks (if administered immediately), heal extreme cases of frostbite (where doctors claimed that amputation was the only solution), and stop bleeding in gunshot wounds. He often told the story of one of his students who heard a gunshot, ran outside to find an eight-year-old boy, who had been playing with his father’s gun, shot clean through his abdomen and bleeding to death. The ambulance was 18 minutes away. She ran home, mixed a tablespoonful of cayenne in a glass of water and poured it down the boy’s throat. When the boy arrived at the hospital, he was the center of attention. There was no bleeding. Christopher claims that once you’ve administered cayenne pepper, the bleeding will stop before you can count to ten. He often uses a cayenne solution on open wounds. Yes it stings a bit, but actually cayenne is a counter-irritant. It brings the blood to the surface to remove toxins and start the healing.
He has rescued many a heart attack victim with hot cayenne tea. He states that hot cayenne tea works faster than tablets, capsules, or cold tea because it opens up the cell structure and accepts the cayenne faster. Just one cup of hot cayenne tea (a teaspoon of cayenne in a small cup of water) will stop a heart attack within two minutes. If cayenne pepper isn’t around, Christopher suggests using triple the amount of black pepper.
Cayenne is heart food. To prove this, a group of physicians put some live heart tissue into a sterile beaker and filled it with distilled water. They fed it nothing but cayenne pepper. They did clean the sediment off of it occasionally, but added nothing but distilled water and cayenne. The tissue, having no pituitary or pineal glands to control the rate of growth, had to be trimmed continually every few days. The tissue was kept alive for 15 years, and eventually had to be destroyed.
Just one teaspoon cayenne pepper contains Calcium 2.671mg, Iron 14mg, Magnesium 2.74 mg, Phosphorus 5.28mg, Potassium 36.25mg, Zinc .05 mg, Copper 0.007mg, Manganese .04mg, Selenium .158mcg, Vitamin C 1.376mg, Thiamin .006mg, Riboflavin 0.017mg, Niacin 0.157mg, Vitamin B6 0.037mg, Folate 1.908 mcg, Vitamin A 748.980 IU, and Vitamin E _ATE 0.086 mg. No wonder it is considered heart food.
Christopher writes: “One of the most important uses of cayenne is as a circulatory stimulant, an herb that feeds the necessary elements into the cell structure of arteries, veins, and capillaries. It helps to reduce and normalize the blood flow.
“Cayenne equalizes the blood pressure, influencing the heart immediately, and then extending its effects to the venous structure. It also works to cut the mucus in the venous system, and indeed, all the systems throughout the body.
“The healing power of the body is in the blood. Cayenne purifies the blood.”
From the World Research Foundation we learned that in the West Indies “Mandram” is used for a weak digestive system, weak circulatory system, and an overall immune system tonic. It consists of sliced, unskinned cucumbers, shallots, and chives. Cayenne pepper is mixed with lemon juice and stirred in. They also soak cayenne pods in water, and add it to the juice of sour oranges for a fever, or to break a cold. In Russia cayenne is steeped in Vodka and served as a tonic.
Dr Schulze sent us a list of maladies and his recipe for healing them using cayenne pepper.
For each of these, take one teaspoon 3 times daily. Schulze feels a tincture is even better, taking three droppers-full three times daily. Here is a simple formula for making a tincture: 80 proof vodka and the herbs. For every cup of herbs, add a cup and a quarter of the vodka. Shake daily. 2 weeks is usually enough time to make a good strong tincture, however Schulze lets his formulae soak for three full months.
Citrus pectin is a form of fiber that has been known to bind with the fats in the body. It has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as serum triglycerides. Studies have shown that this can lead to a reduction in coronary artery disease. And since it has no taste, you might as well add it to your smoothies.
CoQ10, also known as Ubiquinone, is present in every cell of the body and is responsible for cellular respiration. It has been shown to improve cardiac function, reduce episodes of angina, be beneficial in decreasing arrhythmias, improve cardiac strength and contraction, slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure and, most important, decrease the oxygen demand on the heart.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin-like substance present in every cell of the body and serves as a coenzyme for several of the key enzymatic steps in the production of energy within each cell. Normal blood and tissue levels of CoQ10 have been well established by numerous investigators around the world. Significantly decreased levels of CoQ10 have been noted in a wide variety of diseases in both animal and human studies.
The severity of heart failure correlates with the severity of CoQ10 deficiency [16. Mortensen S.A., Vadhanavikit S., Folkers K. (1984) Deficiency of coenzyme Q10 in myocardial failure. In: Drugs Exptl. Clin. Res. X(7) 497-502]
There have been at least nine placebo controlled studies on the treatment of heart disease with CoQ10: two in Japan, two in the United States, two in Italy, two in Germany, and one in Sweden. All nine of these studies have confirmed the effectiveness of CoQ10 as well as its remarkable safety. There have now been eight international symposia on the biomedical and clinical aspects of CoQ10 (from 1976 through 1993).
These eight symposia comprised over 300 papers presented by approximately 200 different physicians and scientists from 18 different countries. The majority of these scientific papers were Japanese (34%), with American (26%), Italian (20%) and the remaining 20% from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia, Austria, France, India, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, USSR, and Finland. The majority of the clinical studies concerned the treatment of heart disease and were remarkably consistent in their conclusions: treatment with CoQ10 significantly improved heart muscle function while producing no adverse effects or drug interactions. The antioxidant or free radical quenching properties of CoQ10 serve to greatly reduce oxidative damage to tissues as well as significantly inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (much more efficiently than vitamin E).
And the best CoQ10 is the fastest absorbed and most readily bioavailable. This is where Dr Alan Sears’ Accel excels. Just click the link and read about it. Sears carries the top of the line supplements. However, if you can’t afford his products, and sometimes neither can I, the form of CoQ10 that is absorbed into the bloodstream the fastest at a better price is called Ubiquinol.
Crataegus, commonly known as Hawthorne berry, contains flavonoids called proanthocyanidins. These flavonoids have been shown to be beneficial for the treatment of angina, hypertension, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. Taking extracts of crataegus have led to increased coronary blood flow, decreased blood pressure, decreased heart rate, increased peripheral blood flow and improved contractility (ability to contract) of the heart. There are many forms; some like the pills, others a liquid. If I ever found a form that I liked the taste of, I’d add it to one of our salad dressings. But you can check out these forms: Swanson.
Curcuma, (turmeric) commonly used as a cooking spice, contains a flavonoid called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to decrease cholesterol absorption and production and inhibit platelet aggregation, i.e., clotting. Studies have shown that it will reduce, and in some instances, reverse arteriosclerotic plaques.
The problem with supplementing with turmeric or even curcumin itself is absorption. Not all that goes into your stomach is absorbed. It’s been discovered that, when cooking, add oil and black pepper to any recipe with turmeric to increase absorption. Or you can look for formulas that have additives to help absorb the curcumin faster and better. A favorite of ours is Dr Alan Sears’ Curcumin Triple Burn, which adds a black pepper extract for better absorption, as well has three more anti-inflammatory herbs.
Ecklonia Cava Extract has been touted by some as the most potent antioxidant around, but for heart health, its virtues go way beyond that of most antioxidants. Here are a list of its benefits to our cardiovascular wellness: Reduced the oxidants peroxynitrite and DPPH thus stopping oxidation of LDL cholesterol; reduces vascular inflammation, prevents platelet aggregation (inhibits slightly clotting), inhibits beta-amyloid (plaque) deposits in the brain (Alzheimer’s), prevents blood sugar from spiking after a meal. The American distributor of ECE is Simply the Best.
Fava and Aduki beans are both very high in fiber, low in calories and are good sources of the mineral magnesium. More foods rich in magnesium: brown rice (1 cup/265mgs), dark green leafy vegetables (cooked spinach: 1 cup/157mgs), meat, milk (1 cup/33mgs), halibut, broiled (3oz/91mgs), nuts (almonds: ¼ cup/85mgs; pecans: ¼ cup/36mgs; peanuts: 1oz/53mgs; pistachios: 1oz/35mgs), wheat germ (1/4 cup/69mgs), oatmeal, cooked (1cup/56mgs), bananas med/33mgs, and legumes and whole grains.
Folic Acid (recommended dosage is 400mcg daily) has been shown to help decrease the formation of plaques as well as decrease the build-up of the amino acid homocysteine. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been shown to increase the risk of plaque build-up and heart attack. It also neutralizes xanthine oxidase found in homogenized milk. Folic acid is found in citrus, tomatoes, legumes, dried beans, liver, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, bananas, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. However, ironically, folic acid is best absorbed in supplement form. However, there’s a bit you need to know about folic acid/folate that we published here: Chronic Inflammation
Garlic helps to block the clotting mechanism of blood, is anti-atherosclerotic and lowers blood glucose and lipid levels. A German clinical trial found that people who take daily garlic supplements have more flexibility in their major blood vessels and a lower incidence of heart disease than those who don’t take garlic or use it in cooking. People who take garlic can slow atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by 20%.
This is the first study to look at garlic’s effect on the arteries. Previous research has shown that garlic can lower cholesterol and blood pressure; this could explain part of the result. It is believed that garlic may reduce the rate of blood clotting, which is a factor in the buildup of blockages on the inside of blood vessels.
To get all of garlic’s benefits, chop it or crush it and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before cooking; the beneficial phytochemicals in garlic have to be made by the enzymes that are released by chopping it up or crushing it.
If you like steak, you’ll love our Lebanese Garlic Sauce recipe. This is something that the Lebanese have been keeping to themselves for years. I kid you not. I’ve asked repeatedly for the recipe and got smiles. If they knew, they weren’t telling. But finally, I got one to open up and it’s so simple. The hardest part is peeling all the garlic. So, here it is: Martha Stewart Shows You How To Peel Garlic. P.S. You might want to put earplugs in.
Ginkgo is a tree that can live up to 1000 years or more. Besides containing a myriad of wonderful compounds with far reaching health benefits, ginkgo contains the bioflavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin, the terpene lactones, ginkgolides, lactone, and bilobalide. Ginkgo decreases blood viscosity (thus enhancing micro-circulation—something needed for the tiny veins and capillaries in your eyes), platelet aggregation, leukocyte (white blood cell) rigidity, and erythrocyte (red blood cell) flexibility. Additionally, ginkgo enhances the body’s utilization of glucose; higher blood glucose levels have been linked to stroke and heart disease and seem to increase with aging.
It has been shown that the active components of ginkgo last 2 times longer in the heart muscle versus skeletal muscle. It stabilizes membranes of cells and enhances the utilization of oxygen and glucose. It tones the smooth muscles of the blood vessels and at the same time allows a relaxation of the arteries and veins. This creates an increase in circulation to the heart and brain. It can also decrease the stickiness of the platelets which is a major cause of strokes and heart attacks. [Ogletree RL, Fischer RG. The Top 10 Scientifically Proven Natural Products. Natural Source Digest. Brandon, MS. 1997]
My favorite form is from NOW Foods: Double Strength Ginkgo Biloba.
Grape skin (Vitis viniferous). Red grapes in particular contain the flavonoid proanthocyanin. This is what gives a grape its red color. Grapes also contain a substance called resveratrol. Besides the protective nature of the proanthocyanins, resveratrol has been shown to decrease cholesterol as well as decrease and prevent arteriosclerotic plaques. This is why, in cultures where they drink red wine regularly they have less incidence of heart disease.
Grapes. Pycnogenols derived from grape seeds has been praised high and low over the past ten or so years. We here agree with the research, but not with the conclusion: Buy Pycnogenol. Let your food be your medicine, is the tag line here. We in Minnesota are blessed with a wild Concord grape called the Fox grape that grows everywhere (everywhere that we’ve left nature alone, that is). You can pick them in August, pop them in your mouth, and chew them up seeds and all. They are about a quarter or a third of the size of a Concord grape.
In September of 1999, the PRNewswire released information on a study out of the University of Wisconsin Medical School that showed remarkable results in drinking just purple grape juice. Dr John Folts, Ph.D. reported that “drinking purple grape juice reduced blood stickiness.” Grape juice also inhibits clotting and platelet aggregation. A bioflavonoid resveratrol has been singled out as the phytochemical “partially” responsible for the “French Paradox” (labeled so by Sixty Minutes, because the French diet is extremely high in saturated fats, yet their rate of heart disease is the lowest among developed countries). Wine may seem a wonderful elixir for heart disease, but pure purple grape juice has everything wine has, and doesn’t fry your liver. However, the best way to get everything your body needs from grapes, is to eat them whole, seeds and all. The phytochemicals in grapes are not damaged by cooking, just jellies and jams made from grapes (seed ground up as well) are a perfect way to get your pycnogenols, resveratrol, etc. So go out and pick yourself a bushel of grapes and start canning. Another way we’ve learned to use our homegrown grapes is to add a little pure water to the leftover skins and seeds and puree them in a blender, freeze the puree, and add that to your yogurt throughout the winter.
And be advised, these benefits come only from the darker colored grapes. The white or light colored grapes are just sugar.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis), has been found to have exceptional cellular protective properties due to the content of polyphenols and flavonoids. It has been shown that the bioflavonoid catechin lowers cholesterol and has antioxidant properties. It has also been found that catechin helps you to retain vitamin C. It is thought that green tea might help to prevent coronary artery disease and stroke by preventing platelet aggregation (abnormal clotting). I’ve never been a tea drinker, so I take Green Tea Extract in the morning.
Inositol, needed for insulin and calcium metabolism, is essential for hair growth, the production of lecithin, and the growth of cells in the bone marrow, eye membrane and intestines. It aids in the movement of fat from the liver to the body and also helps to lower your blood pressure. You can usually get what you need from your diet since inositol is found in eggs and meat, citrus fruit, high potassium fruit, whole grains, legumes, sprouts, and seeds and nuts.
Korean Ginseng (Panax quinquifolia) is one of the most popular herbs used around the world. It contains triterpenes known as ginsenosides, as well as sterols, vitamins and minerals. It has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol, and slow and calm the heart. The best price is found at Swanson’s.
L-Carnitine, an amino acid, increases the strength of the heart and helps to build heart muscle. Carnitine, along with R-Lipoic Acid fight insulin resistance by improving cellular function, making it more efficient. You can probably guess by its name that L-Carnitine is found in meats.
Lecithin and Genistein, two of the phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in soy, have been found to inhibit platelet aggregation. Additionally lecithin contains chemicals used in every cell in your body, is high in brain nutrients, and helps keep blood lipids under control protecting your arteries.
Magnesium dilates blood vessels, aids in the absorption of potassium into cells (to prevent heart arrhythmia—irregular heart beat), acts as an anticoagulant (blood thinner), and stops platelet aggregation that can lead to clotting. It has been shown to be beneficial in decreasing coronary artery disease, sudden cardiac death, ventricular tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, angina and hypertension as well as mitral valve prolapse.
There is a lot of debate over the best form of magnesium, but you’ll have all your bases covered if you take Swanson’s Triple Magnesium Complex.
Magnesium warning: excessive dosage (500 or more per day) can cause diarrhea, which will flush the bowel and cause the body to flush needed minerals and vitamins.
Mucopolysaccharides found in red seaweed protect against heart attacks. In a study Dr Garry Gordon related to us, heart attacks were induced in rats. Those that had eaten the red seaweed came right back; those that hadn’t died.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) is a well-known anti-atherosclerotic agent that helps to control blood lipid levels. Niacin is found in mackerel, swordfish, chicken, liver. Niacin is made in the body from l-tryptophan, so if you eat eggs, you’ll eventually get some from there. You can find Niacin at Swanson’s, but there’s something about B vitamins you should know, and something even more specific about Niacin you should know. First, when you take a “part” of a B vitamin, the body goes looking for the rest. It seems that B vitamins work best together, in orchestration with each other, thus most nutritionists recommend taking a B Complex, with the exception of B-12 of which we sometimes need a bit extra. I’ve been taking NOW Foods B-100 for a long time and recently tried Swanson’s B Complex with Vitamin C. Both are very good products.
Noni seems to, according to Dr Ralph Heinicke, reduce high blood pressure, reverse atherosclerosis and protect blood vessels. The main problem with Noni is most products are filled with sugar. The original fruit, were you to find it, would seem to be inedible because of the stink. So many nutritionists recommend taking it in pill form.
Omega-3 EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids – they are essential to proper health, not optional) decrease platelet aggregation, keep triglyceride levels low, normalize all lipid levels in the blood, and are essential to our diets. EFAs carry oxygen from the hemoglobin to each cell and induces Nitric Oxide. These essential oils are found in flax, purslane (a common weed that is perfect in salads), walnuts, halibut, salmon, shrimp, snapper, scallops, winter squash, and the green mussel from New Zealand. If you are supplementing, be sure to store these in the refrigerator. Swanson’s has some good ones, but my favorite form of flax is Omegasentials.
Pomegranate Juice helps clear gunky plaque from your arteries and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It also has other properties that make it a superfood, so check them out here: And Simply the Best created a special page and special price just for our readers: 14 oz for just $26.00, shipping is included. No one can beat this price for organic pomegranate juice, so go here: Pom Juice. And don’t forget that we’ve invented a few salad dressings using pomegranate juice powder, and even a adult beverage. In fact, one dressing that we are working on right not and we’re trying to improve it will be a Blueberry Pomegranate Beet and Mangosteen Vinaigrette. This could turn out to be the best dressing on this planet for your heart. Something you should eat daily. And our previous versions are already hits because we test them on kids. If kids will eat up a salad, you know you’ve created one heck of a salad dressing.
Potassium deficiency can lead to sudden heart failure. Good food sources are white potatoes, winter squash, dried apricots, low-fat yogurt, bananas, lima beans, oranges, prunes and baked sweet potatoes. But best of all, as me mentioned earlier, you have beet juice. And in the powdered form, you can add it to smoothies, salad dressings, and stir-fries.
Potassium Broth: Fill a large pot with 25% potato peelings, 25% carrot peelings and whole chopped beets (half-and-half), 25% chopped onions and garlic (more onions than garlic), 25% celery and dark greens. Add hot peppers to taste (or cayenne pepper) and, if you must add salt, use Celtic Sea Salt only. Add enough distilled/purified water to cover vegetables and simmer at a very low temperature for a minimum of 2 hours. Strain and drink only the broth. The veggies “could” be eaten, or composted (I feed them to my chickens). You should make enough for two days, refrigerating the leftover broth. Do not store for more than two days. Drink up!
Rhododendrom Caucasicum regularizes blood pressure, aids in fragile capillary support (highly P-Vitamin active); increases heart output. However, this one is just hard to find.
Rhodiola Rosea helps to lower blood pressure. Both the Rhodiola Rosea and Rhododendrom Caucasicum are considered longevity herbs, and can help you to lose weight.
Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma) is a natural analgesic that can help to normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels while helping to clear out arterial plaque, and thinning the blood by interfering with platelet aggregation. You probably don’t despise MLMs (multi-level marketing companies) as much as we do, but the only place to get the best reishi mushroom products is right here: Organo. And you can read about this mushroom here at this site: Reishi Mushrooms.
Resveratrol is the bioflavonoid “mostly” responsible for the French Paradox and comes from the dark skin of grapes. You can get resveratrol in capsules, though it is also found in grape juice. Studies show it helps to prevent atherosclerotic plaque, blood clots, and has even helped to reverse deposits on your arteries. Foods high in resveratrol are concord grapes (the wild form are even more potent), red raspberries, blueberries, and red grapes. Take resveratrol always with quercetin for better absorption. However, its recently been in the news Pterostilbene, another bioflavonoid usually found with resveratrol, works synergistically with resveratrol and longevity studies abound with these substances. We felt that this was important enough for us to write this article: Resveratrol, Pterostilbene, and Ellagic Acid.
I realize I’m repeating myself, but I used to be a teacher and we learn from repetition, so here goes: Recently we found the best form of vitamin C we’ve ever seen called Supreme C Complex. Take a look at the supplement facts there on the right. Vitamin C has been working in concert with bioflavonoids since the beginning of time. This is how you get more bang for your buck. Now if you have the flu, and you should know that recently (Dec 2017) the Linus Pauling Institute recommended upwards of 250,000 mgs per day if you are battling the flu, you will probably want to take most of that in an easier to take form, such as 1,000 mg per tablet. For example, this one: Buffered C-1000 Complex, because with that much vitamin C in your belly, you’re going to need it to be buffered. And you can still take some of the Supreme C Complex with it, but we’re talking a whole lot of tabs being consumed daily.
Salmon Oil (See also above Omega-3 EFAs) besides containing a very powerful antioxidant (astaxanthin), contains a strong anti-platelet aggregation agent called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The best way to get salmon oil is to eat salmon, but it cannot be farm raised.
Terminalia Arjuna is one powerful cardiovascular cure and, because it is an adaptogen, it also fights infections and cancer.
Unlike pharmaceuticals that are aimed at one job and one job alone (though the exceptions do exist), an adaptogenic herb normalizes body function irrespective of the condition. Its action is nonspecific despite a wide range of onslaughts to the body, i.e., stress, bacteria, etc.
But let’s get back to our subject, the heart.
Do not get yourself a bottle of this stuff and start treating yourself without physician supervision if you are already on heart medications. It is a powerful heart tonic and the combination could be too much. Alone, arjuna, as we will refer to it from here on, will not (according to animal studies) lower your blood pressure too low, but in combination with blood pressure meds, this could occur.
Additionally, arjuna has been shown to reduce angina, improve congestive heart failure, reduce and reverse atherosclerosis, and lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Arjuna does this all without side effects.
And by the way, it beat all the so-called cholesterol lowering drugs at their own game, while doing so much more.
In our search on the web we ran across an interesting article on arjuna by a journalist truly trying to cover all bases. The journalist kept quoting allopathic physicians, like Dr K.K. Talwar who stated “There is an absence of scientific evaluation of drugs like Terminalia arjuna…. They would have a bright future if their qualities were proved by tests and not just theoretically stated. That’s why they have not got worldwide recognition. Medical tests are required to check if such drugs have any side effects.” [www.the-south-asian.com June 2001]
Others in the article suggested that this heart tonic get a thorough FDA testing, requiring millions (and millions) of dollars and ten to fifteen years of testing.
This is the insanity of our times. Something with a three thousand year history suddenly has to be tested to see if it’s safe? We made calls and sent out emails to 19 ayurvedic physicians, of which 18 responded telling us that there’s not been one reported death in 3,000 years. So, have there been studies? Of course: limited but successful studies that show us exactly why Terminalia arjuna has been used for 3,000 years and is called a heart tonic.
Here are some of the studies we found:
In patients suffering from ischemic heart disease, treatment with Terminalia arjuna helped to alleviate anginal pain and normalize the heart rhythm [Dwivedi, S. et al (1 994) J. Assoc. Phys. India. 42:287-289].
In a double blind placebo controlled study on 12 patients with congestive heart failure, patients treated with Terminalia arjuna bark extract (500 mg capsule) showed improvement in symptoms. Based on the results of an additional long-term open study, the authors concluded that Terminalia arjuna is a safe and effective remedy for patients suffering from refractory congestive heart failure [Bharani, A. et al (1995). Int. J. Cardiol. 49:191-199].
Now here is the really good news alluded to earlier. Because arjuna is an adaptogen, it has been used historically for a good number of things: liver disorders, urinary tract infections, venereal diseases, bacterial and viral infections.
For those of you who have been paying attention to the news and to our reasons for 85% of all heart attacks, you will note that arjuna fights off the infections in the blood that can lead to heart disease, while helping to heal the heart and vascular system in a variety of ways.
Now this is something. For us here at the Directory, it’s like the icing on the cake. After all our research, all our reading and note taking, we come across this simple, inexpensive herb that does all this.
Oh yes, and we found some research from the University of India and from the National Institute of Bioscience and Human Technology in Japan that shows this humble herb to be effective in stopping cell mutation that leads to cancer, and just as effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer.
If heart disease runs in your family, this is the perfect preventative. We should be growing this tree all over the USA. But don’t hold your breath. At twelve bucks for a bottle of sixty capsules, no one’s going to get rich off of this hidden treasure.
The best form we’ve found is Himalaya Herbal Healthcare, consisting of 4 different forms of it. Like echinacea, most forms come from the root, but a blend of the flowers, root, stems, and leaves just turns out to be the best, or so say our hearbalist consultants: Terminalia Arjuna. However, Swanson’s does carry an extract, and we’ve been using it lately with great results (I get tested at the VA every six months). If you are taking it to lower your blood pressure, the dosage is 500 mg three times daily: Arjuna.
Trimethyglycine is a very special amino acid that protects cells and tissues from damage due to homocysteines and seems to strengthen cardiovascular function. If you are playing sports or working out, this will improve your stamina.
Tienchi Powder is a Chinese Herb. It dissolves blood clots. A good preventative and a perfect way to start the day is a teaspoon of the powder in a shot of apple cider vinegar. This is not to be used by pregnant women as it can cause a miscarriage. Here is a form we’ve used mixed with ginseng: Tienchi Ginseng 100 Caps.
Wheatgrass Juice is a superfood, for it is known to contain a whole slough of nutrients. As we have said before and will say again: any superfood is better than any vitamin or supplement. Wheatgrass juice will help to build healthy blood and improve your circulation. Here is something extra special for our readers. These are two articles written by two different physicians, one a naturopathic physician (who as studied nutrition) and the other is a surgeon (who has dabbled in nutrition). You get to choose which one you want to listen to about Wheatgrass Juice, or anything to do with nutrition: Dr Axe and Dr Gundry.
Willow bark (Salix alba), also known as nature’s aspirin, has been used to lower fevers and as an anti-inflammatory. Because of its aspirin-like properties, it has been shown to decrease the incidence of stroke and heart attack.
Zinc and Copper are essential to the health of your arteries and veins. The turkey industry nearly collapsed at one time because of an epidemic of aneurysms. The cure? They added copper to their diets.
Finally, for a complete list of anti-inflammatories, you will have to read our article on Chronic Inflammation.
How can I take all the damn supplements you recommend? I’ll be taking pills all say long!
When we discuss nutrients, we like to point out the food they are found in. You know what you’re eating, and you should know that nutrients from food are processed and used better than those from supplements because they come to you within a symphony of synergistic nutrition. So if you know what you’re getting, supplements are just that: they supplement the nutrition your getting by supplying what you’re not getting or not getting enough of.
Meet Hero, the Low Carb Bread Company
Congestive Heart Failure
Making Healthy Candies
The History of Vitamins
The Next Generation of Nitric Oxide
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any info on low blood platelets?
We had written about this years ago, but have not updated that article. So, for you, Randy, we are rewriting it right now. I’ll post a link for you ASAP, however, our quick response is: the nutrients needed for healthy blood platelets are folate/folic acid, vitamins A, C, K, B-12, iron and something hard to make in your kitchen, Wheat Grass Juice. Go to our Affiliate Page and find Swanson Health. They have a great selection of wheat grass products (and they support our work). Good luck, but check back. It’s a great question!
Here’s your link Randy: https://wellnessjourneys.org/2020/01/29/low-platelet-count/