The Real Causes of Heart Attacks by William Wong N.D., Ph.D., Member World Sports Medicine Hall of Fame
For the last 30 years people have thought the cause of heart disease was, cholesterol. That was the boggy man orthodox medicine waved in front of Americans noses as the do all end all of heart disease. Control your cholesterol and you’ll avoid heart disease. So for the last 30 years Americans have dramatically lowering their fat intake: who eats steady diets of deep fried foods anymore, who still cooks with lard, even Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their cooking technique and name to reflect the nations wanting to reduce their fat intake. And, by and large the targets that were set by medicine were met. In 1966 after Harvard’s famous Framingham cholesterol study, the public was told that a cholesterol count of 300 was good. That was easily accomplished mostly via diet alone, but the rate of heart disease and heart attack did not go down!
Then in the 80′s the number was dropped to 244, that was the gold standard for a while. That figure was harder to get to, both diet and exercise were needed by most to accomplish the task but again by and large the target was met. Again there was no drop in heart disease or in the death from heart attack figures. Instead of wondering whether they were chasing the wrong boggy man, as physicians the world over were telling US doctors, American heart health authorities stuck to their guns about cholesterol being the near do all end all of heart disease. There was even a Niteline show with Ted Koppel in the early 90′s where cardiologists from around the world were gathered and asked why American’s had so much heart disease! The foreign docs pounded the American experts for their dependence on cholesterol as their most important marker of heart health.
Around this same time drug companies had developed a slew of cholesterol lowering drugs called Statins. This gave even more incentive to stick to their guns about cholesterol, and the authorities lowered the target figure once again to under 200. Now most people needed drugs to get close to that figure. (Could there have been any relation between the invention of the drugs and the lowering of the cholesterol target to one that most folks couldn’t meet with out the drugs? No, couldn’t be that would be a conspiracy theory)! By the way these cholesterol drugs have been found to cause lower extremity nerve damage, decrease memory, increase chances of breast cancer, cause liver damage and death. (1,2). A press release about one of these drugs in December of 2003 stated that the drugs was in itself causing heart attacks!
All this silliness about cholesterol continued until the late 90′s when a good number of very young, extremely fit 30 to 40 somethings dropped dead of heart attacks. Autopsy’s found they had not a whit of athero sclerotic (cholesterol) plaque anywhere in their arteries! So what killed them?
Well, what these victims did have were very, very high levels of inflammation in their blood vessels. It was then that the work of a researcher who had been fired from Harvard for saying cholesterol was not the primary cause of heart attacks, was rediscovered and realized by medical world to be true. This researcher had said that vascular inflammation could close the blood vessels as tightly as athero sclerotic plaque could and bring on a heart attack. He asserted that measuring a marker for inflammation called C Reactive Protein was a better indicator of heart health then measuring cholesterol! (Later in the decade he sued Harvard for wrongfully firing him and won).
So, first and foremost we have the primary cause of heart attack, vascular inflammation. What is this and how does it set in? Vascular inflammation is a result of stress, some thing we have in abundance and something those high intensity 30 and 40 somethings who keeled over had multiplied in their lives. Those heart attack victims had been under stress since school making good grades, jumping into careers, starting and managing families, exercising or over exercising regularly (many were marathoners and tri athletes); in other words most of every second of every day was filled with activity and the rush of getting from one task to another.
In causing vascular inflammation another effect kicks in. Inflammation is a form of trauma that creates fibrosis. Yes, our old nemesis returns! When the intima, (inside wall of a blood vessel), swells they are irritated and stretched. The body reacts to this insult by weaving fibrin into the walls to strengthen what it sees as a weak point. This fibrin causes the blood vessels to lose their expandability and elasticity. This is the primary stage of hardening of the arteries. It’s only in the later stages of hardening that spider webs of fibrin grow on weak points inside the lumin (hole) in the artery and on that matrix cholesterol plaque accrues and plugs up the works making matters worse. During this entire process if the stress remains the inflammation remains and the cycle continues.
So it’s the inflammation that kicks off the process of hardening of the arteries and athero sclerotic plaque. The combination of the swelling and plaque closing the lumin of an artery can cause trouble. But remember it has been found that the inflammation alone may be severe enough to close off the blood vessel creating a heart attack!
Mineral deficiencies can make matters worse still by creating irregularities in the heart beat. Calcium is the electrolyte responsible for muscular contraction, magnesium is the mineral electrolyte responsible for muscular relaxation. Muscles in magnesium deficit spasm. Remember calcium = contract magnesium = relax. When the body lacks magnesium then calcium gets into the magnesium channels producing a contract – contract signal instead of the contract – relax signal and there you have arrhythmias.
So what’s a true all encompassing plan to increase heart health? Any scheme to better the health of the heart and blood vessels needs to start at the source, stress and it’s resultant inflammation. I’m supposing that most folks out there have their lives so regimented that lowering the stress levels likely is not possible so we’ll work from the next stage.
To lower vascular and any other inflammation, lower C Reactive Protein levels, eat away at fibrin and reduce arterial plaque.
To lower C Reactive Protein marker: Vitamin B 12, 1000 mcg daily. Folic Acid, 400 to 800 mcg daily. Use the sublingual, (under the tongue liquids as absorption is much better).
To increase tissue oxygenation in the heart: :: Co Q 10 :: (oil based, not dry), 300 to 500 mg daily. Vit. E (mixed tocopherols) 400 to 800 IU’s daily.
To regulate heart beat: Magnesium 1000 to 2000 mg daily. Gaia Solid Hawthorne Extract 1/4 teaspoon in warm water 3 to 4 times a day.
To lower cholesterol, improve HDL to LDL ratio: Lecithin Granules, 1 tablespoon daily. (Don’t use the capsules as it take 12 to 19 capsules to equal one tablespoon of the nutty tasting granules).
Optional for cholesterol: Cod Liver Oil, 1 tablespoon daily. Olive Oil 2 tablespoons daily.
Aerobic exercise: 8 to 24 minuets of work at target heart rate no more than 3 times per week. For the rational behind this see my article titled: “How To Keep From Having A Heart Attack; Do Less Aerobic Exercise”
For Marfans Syndrome patients add: MSM 1000 mg daily Rutin 1000 mg daily.
It goes with out saying that if you can lower your stress levels by doing less, compressing less into your day and worrying less, that should be done. But for most folks these crazy days that’s much easier said than done. So, it behooves us to do the things that can be done so as not to become a statistic.
2Mortimer, J.E., Axelrod, R., Zimbru, K. Sentara Norfork General Hospital, Norfolk VA.: Effect of Statins on breast cancer incidence. Proc An Soc Clin Oncol, 22, page 93, 2003.