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 Dr. George Jacob
Heart Infocenter

Holistic-online.com

Alternative and Complementary Remedies for Arteriosclerosis And Atherosclerosis

Vitamin and Nutritional Supplements for Arteriosclerosis And Atherosclerosis

Caution: 

  • If you are pregnant, or intend to get pregnant, or if you have liver disease, consult your doctor before taking supplemental vitamin A. 

  • If you have high blood pressure, limit your intake of supplemental vitamin E to a total of 400 international units daily. 

  • If you are taking an anticoagulant (blood thinner), consult your physician before taking supplemental vitamin E.

Beta carotene

Beta carotene is the plant form of vitamin A. Our body converts beta carotene into vitamin A. Beta carotene is an antioxidant. It inhibits the conversion of LDL into its more dangerous, oxidized form and thereby protects against heart disease.

The Physicians Health Study found that consuming 50 mg of beta carotene every other day reduced the incidence of major coronary and vascular events. 

Dietary sources of beta carotene include yellow-orange fruits and vegetables (squash, papaya, cantaloupe) and leafy green vegetables (spinach, broccoli and collard greens).

Niacin

Niacin reduces the total cholesterol and the LDL ("bad") Cholesterol, while raising the HDL ("good") cholesterol.

In a 12-year study involving close to 4,000 men, those who received niacin supplements were found to be less likely to die of Coronary Heart Disease than those who were given placebos. And the higher his cholesterol at the beginning of the study, the more likely a man was to benefit.

In another study, patients with high LDL were given various doses of niacin. The total cholesterol went down between 13 percent and 18 percent, while improving the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. In a study with 55 patients niacin raised the HDL (good) cholesterol by as much as 31 percent.

Food sources of niacin include barley, salmon and sesame seeds.

Start with 25 to 50 mg of niacin, three times a day. Gradually increase the dosage to 2,000 to 5,000 mg per day.

Note: Some may experience flushing and tingling sensations when taking niacin. If this is a problem, take one aspirin a day or 500 mg of inositol two to three times a day to reduce or eliminate the flush. Check your liver periodically if you are niacin therapy.

Folic acid

Folic acid helps to control homocysteine, an amino acid that seems to play a major role in clogging the arteries.

In the Physicians Health Study, 271 men who had heart attacks were tested and found to have higher levels of homocysteine than did the healthy men. And when the University of Alabama compared 100 men who had had heart attacks to 100 who had not, the homocysteine was higher in those who had the heart trouble. In a clinical trial, 17 elderly patients suffering from arteriosclerosis were given between 5 and 7.5 mg of folic acid daily. As a result, the blood flow through their capillaries improved.

Dietary sources of folic acid include green, leafy vegetables, brown rice and carrots.

Recommended Dosage: 400 mcg daily.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 helps to prevent the unnecessary blood clots that can block arteries. B6 is also necessary to control the amino acid homocysteine, which appears to damage artery linings and encourage heart disease.

Animal studies have shown that diets deficient in Vitamin B6 can lead to hardened, narrowed arteries.

Vitamin B6 can be found in whole grains, lentils and sweet potatoes.

Recommended Dosage: 50 mg daily.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with elevated levels of the dangerous homocysteine. Elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid produced by the body, can damage the inner surface of arteries. This can be treated and/or prevented with vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Many cardiologists are now using B-vitamins to help prevent coronary artery disease.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to protect against CHD in several ways:

  • It plays a role in the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids.

  • If vitamin C is lacking, less cholesterol is converted. Instead, the cholesterol may build up in the arteries, blood and liver.

  • Vitamin C is needed for the normal metabolism of blood fats that might otherwise contribute to the "dams" blocking the arteries.

  • Vitamin C builds the collagen that helps to keep artery walls strong.

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to control the free radicals and other oxidants that can convert LDL into its more dangerous, artery-clogging form.

  • Vitamin C supplementation was found to lower the cholesterol in people with high cholesterol. Adding pectin, or other agents that bind cholesterol, increases the effect.

Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, strawberries and sweet red peppers.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps prevent heart disease in several ways:

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to prevent the oxidation-driven conversion of LDL to its more harmful, artery- blocking form.

Vitamin E may also "thin" the blood by making the platelets less likely to stick together to form blood clots that can lodge in an already-narrowed artery, thus triggering a heart attack.

Vitamin E may play a role in regulating the way that cells lining the arteries proliferate and repair themselves, and may protect them from the damaging oxidants. This helps to prevent the formation of blockages on the artery walls.

The amount of vitamin E in the blood may be inversely correlated with death from heart attacks. This means that a greater level of vitamin E in the blood may translate to a lower risk of death.

Vitamin E supplementation may increase the protective HDL. In a study of 60 patients with elevated cholesterol, 500 IU of vitamin E daily for 90 days increased the HDL and improved the total cholesterol by HDL ratio.

A large-scale trial conducted at Harvard Medical School involving over 87,000 female nurses has found that taking vitamin E daily can cut the risk of CHD by over 40 percent.

Dietary sources of Vitamin E include nuts, peas and green beans.

Caution: Use this supplement only under the supervision of a physician.

Recommended Dosage: Start with 100-200 IU daily and increase slowly, adding 100 IU each week until daily dosage is 800-1,000 IU. If you take an anticoagulant drug, do not exceed 400 IU daily. Use d-alpha-tocopherol form.

Calcium

Calcium is believed to help keep cholesterol under control and may prevent dangerous blood clots. Too much calcium may increase the risk of heart disease, especially if there is much too much calcium in relation to magnesium.

Good sources of calcium include milk, sardines (with bones) and cheese.

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of CHD, heart attacks and improper heartbeats (ventricular tachyarrhythmias).

Magnesium supplementation may reduce the total cholesterol, increase the beneficial HDL and prevent unnecessary "clumping" in the blood that can trigger a heart attack. It may also reduce the symptoms of angina or may prevent future attacks.

Magnesium can even help if a heart attack is in progress. In a study involving 2,300 people, some patients were given magnesium injections while they were having heart attacks. The injections cut the death rate by 25 percent.

Good dietary sources of magnesium include almonds, parsley and spinach.

Caution: An excess of magnesium can cause diarrhea. If you develop loose stools, reduce the dosage slightly until you arrive at the best dosage for your body.

Calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B-6 should be taken together for proper absorption and effectiveness. 

Recommended Dosage: 

1,500-2,000 mg calcium daily, in divided doses, after meals and at bedtime.

750-1,000 mg magnesium  daily, in divided doses, after meals and at bedtime.

Take with 50 mg vitamin B6.

Selenium

The amount of selenium in the blood and red blood cells may be related to the risk of CHD and heart attacks. The lower the level of selenium, the more the risk.

Selenium is an antioxidant that helps to prevent the conversion of LDL into its more artery-damaging, oxidized form. It may also help to "thin" the blood," minimizing the blood clots and the heart attack.

People who had heart attacks, when treated with selenium or selenium-rich yeast, had fewer second attacks than those who were given a placebo.

Good dietary sources of selenium include barley, shrimp and whole grains.

Recommended Dosage: 200 mcg daily. It you are pregnant, do not exceed 40 mcg daily.

Coenzyme Q10:  

Adequate levels of CoQ10 is necessary for a well functioning system. When the levels of CoQ10 drops below optimum levels, disease takes over or already had done so.

Heart muscle biopsies in patients with various cardiac diseases showed a CoQ10 deficiency in 50-75 percent of the cases. On the corollary, all the well functioning hearts had an adequate amount of CoQ10 in the tissue. When supplemental CoQ10 was introduced into the ailing hearts, they started getting signs of new life.

CoQ10 increases oxygenation of heart tissue.

Recommended Dosage: 50-100 mg 3 times daily.

See Also:

Related Topic:

Vitamin Therapy for Cardiovascular health

Vitamin therapy for Stress Management

Nutrition Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

Vitamin/Nutrition Therapy for Hypertension

Nutritional Supplements for Stroke

Vitamin/Nutritional Supplements for Heart Attack

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