From our book Bypassing Bypass, published in 2002
Five years after being diagnosed with CHF, only 50% of patients are still alive. Medications often administered for CHF such as diuretics (because the heart, in this condition, can hold a lot of excess water) can have a debilitating effect on the heart since they wash away the water-soluble B vitamins that your weakened heart really needs. Potassium is also washed away by diuretics and potassium deficiency can lead to sudden heart failure as seen in cases of anorexia nervosa.
After seven years of research, we’ve concluded that Dr West’s take on CHF stands head and shoulders above anything else we’ve uncovered. He is the person who coined the term “beriberi of the heart” and was quoted wherever we went in our research. Thus, we present a paper by Dr West in its entirety. (Yes, he gave us permission to reprint.)
Most people first hear the terrifying term “congestive heart failure” when they are hospitalized for heart problems. The term is a misnomer, and it would be better named “heart muscle weakness” or “beriberi of the heart”.
This increasingly common problem in America is almost always a symptom only. And despite the pronouncement of congestive heart failure (CHF), your heart is usually not failing or quitting, and your condition is not terminal — if you take action to correct it!
Though recently it has been noted that the death rate from heart disease and cancer in the U.S. are dropping, the number of cases of congestive heart failure has doubled during the same time that all other heart disease rates have been decreasing.
According to the American Heart Association, CHF is a condition whereby your heart ‘becomes weakened’ and can no longer pump out all the blood that flows into it. CHF is the most common cause of hospitalization for people over age 65. It will kill more than 50,000 people this year, and it will cost the health care system more than $50 billion per year.
But just why does the heart become ‘weakened?’ In most cases, CHF is only a symptom. The cause of the problem in most cases is what Dr Bruce West calls American beriberi or beriberi of the heart. Once that is understood, treatment can be instituted, and a terrifying ‘disease’ can lose its mystery and can be handled systematically with common sense and proper nutrition. For these reasons, if you have a heart problem, or if heart problems run in your family, the following article could be the most important article you will read in any publication this year.
However, we want you to note that Dr Bruce West is a chiropractor who has studied nutrition. The products he recommends are products he sells from a company that only sold their products through health professionals, but today you can get on Amazon.
Those of you who were born in the rice belts of America may remember beriberi. It is a disease caused by a lack of certain B vitamins. It results in nerve conductivity problems, weakness, and muscle paralysis. And CHF is a problem of poor nerve conductivity to the heart, an almost paralyzing weakness of the heart muscle, and the resultant failure of the heart muscle to be able to pump out blood. Are you getting the picture?
Although never recognized by the FDA, vitamin B4 (in combination with vitamin B1) is one of the main nutrients needed for proper heart muscle action. This nutrient is routinely missing from American diets. The so-called fortifying of foods with synthetic B1 simply does not make up for deficient B4 stores in the average diet. [Editor’s note: Vitamin B4 is the name given to what was later identified as a mixture of the amino acids arginine, glycine, and cysteine.]
Vitamin B4 cannot be synthesized. And even if someday it is manufactured in the lab, the synthetic version would probably not get the job done when it comes to CHF. You see, in reality, all the B vitamins — including B4 and B1 — are linked together by what are known as phytochemicals. This is another name for plant chemicals. It is these chemicals found in live plant materials that activate vitamins and minerals.
This is the reason why the most exciting studies being done today involve plant extracts and concentrates. This also explains why such great results in cancer prevention are achieved with foods, yet cannot be duplicated by isolated nutrients like beta carotene or synthetic vitamin E. These isolates do not contain the entire plant nutrient complex, including phytochemicals needed to activate the vitamins and minerals.
The heart is just like other muscles. When it is weakened, it becomes enlarged, congested, flaccid, and often prolapsed (dropped from its original position in the chest). It is not unusual to require a stethoscope placement three to five inches below the normal area when listening to a weakened heart.
In addition, a weakened heart simply cannot contract forcibly enough. Imagine if you had a weakened forearm and hand. Or imagine someone cutting off the nerve impulses to your fist. Now try to squeeze a tight fist. It becomes impossible. And in the end, you can only contract your hand weakly. The same thing happens with the muscle of your heart. Only in this case, due to a weak contraction, the blood entering the heart cannot be pumped out completely.
When this occurs, congestion takes place in the body. Your body is robbed of blood, nutrition, and oxygen. You become weak, tired, exhausted, and mentally spaced out. Your heart will often try to compensate by beating faster (trying to get the blood out with faster but weaker beats). When this happens, the condition becomes complicated by the tachycardia (racing heart).
Since nutritional deficiencies causing heart problems are rarely considered in the field of medicine, you are placed on powerful drugs that attempt to keep your heart beating and try to keep the congestion from becoming overwhelming. When your heart starts to race, more drugs are used to control your heartbeat. Meanwhile, you are getting weaker and weaker as your heart starves for the correct nutrition.
In fact, what you need to do is immediately ingest a nutrient-rich food that contains vitamins B4, B1, and plenty of phytochemicals. Unfortunately, eating a barrel of organic raw wheat germ is usually not feasible. So, in order to literally save your life, you’ll need to use a B vitamin complex supplement made from food and plant source material and processed in a way that preserves the phytochemicals (“sparks of life”).
Well, if I could have every CHF sufferer chew up six to nine Cataplex B tablets and 12 to 15 Cardio Plus tablets daily for 90 days, I could empty lots of cardiac wards, cut the $50 billion dollar CHF bill by two-thirds, and save untold numbers of lives and years of suffering. It’s not unusual for a CHF sufferer in the throes of tachycardia to have the heart calm right down to normal beats within 15 minutes of chewing up six to nine Cataplex B tablets. And upon getting plenty of the right nutrients into the system and to the heart muscle, it is not unusual for previously bedridden heart patients to simply get up out of bed, leave the hospital, and get back to life.
If your heart cannot pump blood out of the ventricles into your circulatory system with adequate speed or strength, you will be “brain-starved”. What happens when you lack sufficient circulation and oxygen to your brain? You can go through years of chronic fatigue, live life “in a fog,” be incapable of concentrating or thinking properly, and generally live life as if your head is in a shroud. When vitamin B4 and other nutrients fuel the heart to beat properly, and circulation is once again strong, the fog lifts, your energy can return, and your life can once again have meaning.
Even if you are under the care of a cardiologist and taking lots of drugs, start the program anyway. Both you and your doctor will be amazed. Again, the scourge of congestive heart failure is most often simply an epidemic of American heart beriberi. Unlike the cases of beriberi in Asia where there simply wasn’t sufficient food distributed, American beriberi exists despite too much food.
The reason for this phenomenon is that most of the food being consumed is processed, nutritionally-dead food. This sets the stage for dramatic deficiencies of nutrients like vitamin B4, without which your heart will fail. And the fact that vitamin B4 acts in concert with vitamin B1 and other nutrients via phytochemicals explains why synthetic nutrient fortification of foods will not prevent congestive heart failure.
If you suffer from CHF, you need a clinical dose of the right nutrients now. This may be from six to 12 Cataplex B, 12 to 15 Cardio-Plus, and three to six Organic Minerals daily. In some cases, you’ll need to chew these supplements as they are made from food, and your body uses food from the mouth down. For most people, the very first week of chewing up some of this nutrition will provide relief. You’ll begin to feel much, much better. And why not? Your heart is now pumping previously congested blood out of your heart and through your arteries once again. This is a major medical miracle!
Two other major contributing factors involved in beriberi of the heart (congestive heart failure) are thyroid and adrenal function. Both these glands produce hormones that have a major effect on your heart. If you suffer from chronically low thyroid or adrenal failure, you’ll need protomorphogen support [upplements made from the glands, organs, or tissues of healthy animals] for these glands to maintain proper heart function
As I stated earlier, when it comes to CHF, you cannot expect that synthetic nutrients will get the job done. To repeat, vitamin B4 has not been synthesized. And B1 (thiamin) cannot do the job alone. In fact, any combination of synthetic B vitamins without the phytochemicals will simply not suffice. And I have thousands of heart graphs to prove this. In the case of CHF, only nutrients that are carefully vacuum-dehydrated from food will be effective. And to my knowledge, there is no other truly natural B vitamin complex in the world that matches the quality of Cataplex B.
So, with a condition as serious as this, be sure to use only the best. All the products I’ve discussed in this article are produced by Standard Process Labs. Once you start strengthening your heart, and after your heart’s stroke, beat, and strength are normalized, you can reduce your daily dosage of nutritional supplements.
However, in the beginning, remember that a solid clinical dose is required, as discussed in this article. When you compare this therapy with high-tech cardiology and powerful heart drugs that do nothing to strengthen your heart, you realize that this nutritional course is nothing short of a miracle. Go ahead! Amaze yourself and your cardiologist!
Dr West publishes Health Alert. For subscription information, write to Health Alert, 100 Wilson Rd #110, Monterey CA 93940 or call 800-231-8063. For information about products or procedures in Dr West’s articles, you may also call that number.
Dr Rath’s recommendations begin, of course, with his basic recommendations we’ve already listed, but for CHF he goes on to recommend that you also increase the following:
Vitamin C, which assists the B vitamins and has been shown in independent studies in Germany to inhibit CHF [medinews.com staff writers: 14/11/2001; www.medinews.com]; vitamin E to protect the cell membranes; a good B vitamin complex (Dr West recommends Standard Process Labs—one of the best sources, next to food, that is); carnitine supplies energy to the mitochondria or “power plants” of the millions of cells in your heart; taurine, which, like carnitine is lacking in people who suffer heart failure. And see the Please Note right below under CoQ10 for PQQ.
Coenzyme Q10 is also recommended by Rath. Dr West, on the other hand, points to a double blind study that shows CoQ10 to be worthless in CHF. If you do enough research you’re bound to find contradictory studies. Since we found two studies (double blind) with results opposite of Dr West’s, to be fair to everyone, we’ll just have to go along with Dr Rath on this one and increase our CoQ10 and supply the heart’s high bio-energy demands. One study that found significantly low levels of CoQ10 in patients with CHF is: Folkers K., Vadhanavikit S., Mortensen S.A. (1985) Biochemical rationale and myocardial tissue data on the effective therapy of cardiomyopathy with coenzyme Q10. In: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., U.S.A., vol. 82(3), pp 901-904. Another study also linked the severity of the heart failure to the severity of CoQ10 deficiency [Mortensen S.A., Vadhanavikit S., Folkers K. (1984) Deficiency of coenzyme Q10 in myocardial failure. In: Drugs Exptl. Clin. Res. X(7) 497-502].
Please Note: this is very important as you age. CoQ10 (we now use Ubiquinol) works in our bodies at the cellular level. As we age, the mitochondria begin to weaken and start to die. The good news is that there is a nutrient that wakes them up and gives them new life and it is called PQQ and you can read about it here: Is this the NEW Vitamin — The Energy Pill?
Another large clinical study involving 1715 patients concluded that a short period of treatment (4 weeks) with 50 mg per day Coenzyme Q10 improves shortness of breath, palpitations, cyanosis, edema, heart rate and blood pressure in patients with stabilized heart failure. The study’s author concluded that a daily dosage of 50-100 mg increases contractile activity rapidly.
Patients with heart failure generally respond to Coenzyme Q10, as their tissues and blood have deficient levels of Coenzyme Q10 resulting from inadequate cellular biosynthesis.
More information on CoQ10 was found at Medline (online): Several clinical trials have recently shown that when patients with heart failure are treated with Coenzyme Q10 for months to years, serious complications such as pulmonary edema and ventricular arrhythmia are reduced in frequency. The number of hospitalizations is reduced and survival is increased.
If you are on heart medicine or blood pressure medicine you should know that quite a few of these block the uptake of CoQ10, so you will want to find these in a gummy or lozenge form. This way you can absorb them via the blood vessels under your tongue. Here’s what I use: CoQ10 Gummies
Another supplement we uncovered (that will help you to avoid or reverse CHF) is the ancient Chinese herb Jiaogulan (pronounced JOW-goo-lawn). Researchers found that, on the average, people who used jiaogulan and died of natural causes had lived to the ripe old age of 100.
Besides being a very powerful antioxidant (and by now you should know the role of antioxidants in prevention/reversal of cardiovascular disease), anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar), we learned that jiaogulan regulates blood pressure. If too high, it lowers it; if too low, it raises it. It is an herb in the category of adaptogens, herbs that allow the body to adapt to stressors, whether physical or mental. Jiaogulan, like supplements that fight arterial damage, helps to lower the body’s need for cholesterol, and can lower cholesterol (LDL) levels significantly. (Michael Blumert, Dr Jialiu Liu, Jiaogulan: China’s “Immortality” Herb, Torchlight Publishing, Inc, 1999, p. 43)
In the Journal of Pharmacology (5:321-322, 1990) we discovered that jiaogulan (the gypenoside seems to be the active compounds) increases the heart’s efficiency. Jiaogulan increased the heart’s output in 250 people, without raising the heart rate or blood pressure.
Michael Blumert, the author mentioned above, recommends one pill three times a day for prevention, and three pills three times a day for treatment of CHF. Jiaogulan can be purchased from a number of places. That link above is to one of our affiliate programs. You support them and they support us.
My nutritionist explained to me how calcium (listed in Dr Rath’s basic program) can be useful in congestive heart failure as it increases the contractility [the shrinking or tightening] of heart muscle. Calcium salts are used intravenously to treat heart attacks associated with high magnesium and potassium levels and low calcium levels.
You can get your amino acids through a great number of superfoods. Here are some at one of our affiliate programs: Superfoods. And though your body manufactures carnitine and CoQ10 when you exercise, you’ll need to supplement.
The cactus grandiflorus stem contains glycosides that resemble digitalis. These glycosides increase the heart’s pumping power without increasing its oxygen needs. This is not a cure, but will aid your heart while you are rebuilding it through proper nutrition.
Always keep in mind that the cause of CHF is nutritional, though your doctor might tell you that it is “idiopathic,” meaning he hasn’t a clue. That’s true. Most physicians have no clue when it comes to nutritional deficiencies, mainly because nutrition has not been taught in medical school (though this is changing).
Be wary of any over-the-counter or prescription drugs that can lead to CHF. Anything that increases your heartbeat or your blood pressure can be a contributing cause of CHF. Blood pressure meds also lead to CHF by draining you of your B vitamins. You must read, The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Cardiovascular Medications.
The January 2001 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine came out and admitted that only nutritional programs can reverse heart disease and reverse damage done to the heart.
Iron Overload, a common genetic disorder affecting 1.5 million Americans is responsible for thousands of deaths due to Congestive Heart Failure. However, this disorder goes undiagnosed because patients do not ask to be tested. It should show up in a simple blood test. The red flag for an iron storage condition is 150, though some people with this condition have shot up over 1,500. The main problem with this disorder is, since the blood cannot hold this much iron, the body begins storing it in various organs, which results in damage to that organ.
Symptoms of this disorder are chronic headaches and fatigue. Heart arrhythmia comes next if left untreated and finally Congestive Heart Failure.
The only way to know is to get tested!
People with this condition must watch their diets, avoiding red meats as much as possible. Avoid shellfish as they contain bacteria that are normally harmless to most people but can be deadly to people with this condition. Drinking tea with a meal is highly recommended as tea inhibits iron absorption. Avoid taking vitamin C with meals, as it assists iron in moving directly to various organs. But be sure to increase your vitamin C as it bonds with the excess iron.
And finally, the best possible treatment for this disorder is to become a blood donor. Donating frequently while having your iron levels monitored is the best cure to this problem.
Men who donate blood have a 30% reduced risk of heart disease compared to those who do not. The difference is attributed to reduced levels of iron following blood donation. SOURCE: David Meyers, M.D., University of Kansas, in the journal Heart Research and the World Cancer Research Fund.
For more information, go to the Cleveland Clinic.
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