Heart Disease, Inflammation, Calcium
I put together this information in 2006. It contains much scientific facts and all of it should be read slowly and re-read if necessary. It gives the most detailed information of how heart disease comes to be an how to prevent it as well as how to avoid osteoporosis and dental plaque. The most important factor in making coronary artery disease plaque is “inflammation”… Inflammation is caused by some foods like sugar… In 2006, there was a book published by Monica Reinagel which contained the amount of inflammation caused by many common foods… as well as those which were anti-inflammatory. This numbers came from the Federal Government statistics. It is a book worth buying.
Examples: Any number over 0 means that the food is inflammatory. The higher the number, the higher its power of inflammation. Any number with a minus value is anti-inflammatory and the higher the number, the higher its anti-inflammatory power.
Examples of particular foods:
Pan fried bacon (2 strips) has a number +12…
½ cup of baked beans has a number of +65
I cup of blue cheese = +105
One medium banana= +118
One slice of sour dough bread= +261
One cup of Bibb lettuce shredded= +22
One cup of apple juice= +72
Half cup of brown sugar= +746
3 oz of chicken livers= +258
10 chocolate kisses= +166
12 oz of Cola classic= +215
One tablespoon of cod liver oil= –1,028!!!!!!!!
½ cup of coconut oil= +899
4 oz of dry roasted hazelnuts= +427
1 tsp of garlic powder= -440
1 tsp of Tabasco= -370
3 oz of Atlantic Herring fish= -790 etc. – etc.
Summary of important points for heart disease
Calcium is essential to our health from the point of view of nutrition and maintaining the best pH to obtain the best voltage to carry food into the cell and to avoid acidity that deranges further our magnetic imprint.
When the body senses that ionic calcium levels are low, it borrows from Peter (bones for example) to give to Paul (to give to so many important reactions in the body to keep our physiology working for best energy, cell nutrition and immune system health.) But at the same time that the body pulls calcium out from tissues that normally have calcium, during this process of realizing that levels are low, the body also tries to save calcium in other parts of the body, most specifically in our teeth plaque and arterial plaque. If we keep adequate levels of ionized calcium, the body not only doesn’t borrow it from bones ( and we prevent osteoporosis), but even further, takes it from its deposit storage like plaque in teeth and arteries and avoids arteriosclerosis of our arteries like coronary artery disease! …
Personal experience of the above assertion: In 1999, I needed some teeth work in two molars. I had started work in Toledo but lived in Cleveland. My dentist in Cleveland would not work on weekends. I did not want to start with a dentist in Toledo since I did not know if we would move here eventually to stay. So I went without a tooth cleaning for two years. When I finally sold my home in Cleveland and decided to reside and work in Toledo, I immediately secured a dentist who fixed my teeth. After the job was completed, I had a regular tooth cleaning and my hygienist defined my plaque as moderate and tenacious. She predicted that I needed two more visits to take it all off since I had not had a good cleaning of plaque for 2 years.
I had just completed my studies on calcium and had learned what it is important for calcium to be absorbed, which is: the presence of an acid stomach content when Calcium is taken orally; good vitamin D levels; traces of Boron and good magnesium levels, as well as the type of calcium salt (carbonate vs. citrate vs. maleate, etc.). I started taking my calcium with a scientific mind and six months later, when I returned again for my teeth cleaning, my plaque had disappeared as if by magic. They even thought they had the wrong chart… My teeth status did not correspond to the story in my chart of six months before… My body, when given enough levels of calcium, decided to remove its safe-deposit from my teeth plaque (tooth plaque made of calcium deposits and bacteria). I assume that this occurred also in my arteries because my aorta, carotids and lower extremity arteries were clean as a whistle, as we say in medicine, by CT scan. (Revision of this writing in Oct. 2004, found me triumphant once more against dental plaque!. My last scan of my arteries found me with minor plaque in Martinez, CA in 2009).
Because Calcium gets more absorption with an acid stomach, calcium should be taken with some acid fluid, like a small amount of orange juice or vitamin C.
Lipid Profile (as measured for risk for heart disease)
High triglycerides have been convincingly shown to be an independent risk factor for heart disease. The higher your triglycerides, the greater your chance of a heart attack. For women after 50, having high triglycerides is a particularly good predictor of heart disease and every bit as much of a risk factor at it is obesity, smoking or high blood pressure. (Journal of the American Medical Assn. 1996)
What makes triglycerides so dangerous? In large amounts, they thicken your blood and keep it from flowing easily though your blood vessels. They are very small, light fat particles. Your body sends some of your triglycerides to your muscles for energy and stores some as body fat. Triglycerides are converted in the liver into very low-density lipoproteins or VLDL. VLDL may very well be unsung villain of the blood lipids. Your VLDL level goes up along with your triglyceride level and may be just as dangerous, in part because these particles get denser as they circulate in your blood. Under the heading of cholesterol, more will be explained of the relationship between triglycerides and cholesterol.
Sugar becomes a bad fat when consumed beyond what the body needs. Sugar is broken down into small molecules and is reassembled as fats. These fats are called triglycerides! Sugar also raises insulin levels and when too much insulin is circulating in the bloodstream, triglycerides jump astronomically. Therefore, you cannot escape this bad fat trap merely by not eating bad fats. You have to avoid sugar and limit carbohydrates as well. Triglycerides have long been known to rise and fall as our levels of insulin rise and fall. Fish oil lower the triglyceride threat. Success has been achieved with as little as a 1 gram each of EPA and DHA (two components if fish oil) and they lower triglycerides by an average of 25-35%.
If your triglyceride levels are above 100mg/dl, you have twice the risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.
Cholesterol is a waxy fat your body needs for many crucial functions, such as making hormones, cell walls and nerve sheaths. About 85% of the cholesterol in your body is made in your liver and in the cells of your small intestine; the rest, 15%, comes from your diet.
Cholesterol is waxy, which means it is not soluble in water. To carry cholesterol around in your bloodstream, which is mostly water, your body coats it with protein and that is why we call the various types of fatty particles floating in your blood, lipoproteins. The more protein a cholesterol particle carries, the denser it is. About 65% of the circulating lipoprotein in your blood is low-density lipoprotein or LDL. LDLs carry cholesterol to your cells. About 20%of your circulating lipo- proteins are high-density lipoprotein or HDL. These smaller, denser, cholesterol particles are “good” because they pick up cholesterol from your cells and carry it back to the liver for further processing. HDL is one number you want to be as high as possible.
Recently (1999-2000) researches have found that there are two types of low-density cholesterol (bad) particles. One type consists of large, fluffy particles that do not appear to promote arteriosclerosis or the development of plaque within the arteries. The other consists of small dense low-density cholesterol particles, and they are strongly associated with arterial plaque and, thus, it can increase the risk of heart disease. It appears that the balance of “good” bad cholesterol (large fluffy) and the “bad” bad cholesterol (small dense particles) may be a determining factor in the development of heart disease.
Cholesterol and triglycerides
How can you learn which type of LDL you have? Simply by determining the ratio of triglycerides to HDL (good cholesterol). If the ratio is less than 2, you have predominantly the large fluffy LDL particles. If the ratio is greater than 4, you have primarily small dense LDL particles that can accelerate the development of atherosclerotic plaques (data published in 1992 and 2000). This connection between this ratio and heart disease was confirmed by studies from Harvard Medical School (1997). This study found that a ration greater than 7.1 increased the risk of heart disease by 16 times, compared to those with the lowest ratio (less than 1.4).
The importance of the triglycerides/good cholesterol ratio was reinforced by the recently published studies in the Archives of Internal Medicine 2001,which refers to the on-going Copenhagen Male Study. In this study, patients with a low ratio who smoked, did not exercise, had high blood pressure and elevated levels of bad cholesterol (HDL) had a much lower risk of developing heart disease than those with a far better lifestyle and metabolic profile but a higher triglyceride/ good cholesterol ratio. This indicates that lowering this ratio may have a far greater impact on whether the patient develops heart disease than by improving lifestyle factors or reducing high blood pressure and total levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). This research explains why 50% of heart attacks are related to high cholesterol levels and the other half to normal levels.
It is important to remember that the ratio of triglycerides/good cholesterol is an indirect indicator of insulin control. Relatively high levels of this ratio (1 being the best number, indicates that people are still eating diets too rich in carbohydrates since carbohydrates increase the formation of triglycerides..
Lipoprotein (a) (Lp a)
Lipoprotein (a) is a good leading predictor of heart disease as are high triglycerides. This sticky protein that attaches to bad cholesterol (LDL) and give you a worse scenario because it is very sticky. Even worse, it can keep plasminogen, your body natural clot-dissolving enzyme, from working properly. If your Lp(a) is high, you could be one of those unfortunate people who are genetically predisposed to high levels. It is more likely, though, that your elevated level is caused by what you eat. We know that one of the major cause of high Lp(a) levels is eating large amounts of hydrogenated fats – the dreaded trans fats (industrial adulterated fats added especially to baked good to increase shelf life, as discussed above). We also know that a good way to lower your Lp(a) level is to eat more saturated fats versus hydrogenated ones. If you switch margarine for regular butter, you are making a good start. (This was exactly what we were told to do in the 1970’s… that is to eat margarine instead of regular butter…)
You might ask why the body makes such a potentially harmful product as lipoprotein (a). What good does it do? That is the question that the great chemist and two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling asked himself. His answer is very interesting.
Humans and other primates, such as gorillas, are among the very few animals that cannot make their own vitamin C (fruit-eating bats and guinea pigs are the others). Instead they have to get their Vit. C from the foods they eat. The same animals are also the only ones to have Lp(a) in their blood. Pauling, along with his colleague Dr. Mathias Rath, theorized that we have Lp(a) as a sort of fallback mechanism for times when we might have a shortage of Vitamin C. That is because in normal amounts, Lp(a) works to keep your blood vessels strong, protect your arteries from damage, and help repair any damage that does occur – exactly the same thing that vitamin C does. It is theorized that vitamin C is to the arteries as steel is to the walls of a building. For some reason, these animals lost their ability to make Vitamin C and Lp(a) came to stabilize the walls of arteries. This explains how the rest of the animal kingdom that make vitamin C in large amounts (over 10 gms in a large animal) do not form plaque in their arteries.
To prove their theory, Pauling and Rath first caused arteriosclerosis in guinea pigs and then kept them from getting any vitamin C. In the absence of vit. C, the plaque accumulated lipoprotein (a). When the guinea pigs were given plenty of vitamin C, however, they did not develop any plaque in their damaged arteries. What the Pauling-Rath theory suggests is that high levels of vitamin C – perhaps as high as several grams a day – keep lipoprotein (a) in check. They found that the amino acid Lysine helped these patients considerably by rendering the Lp(a) harmless, even without lowering the blood level…!
The Pauling-Rath protocol combined a diet that is low in trans fats and high in saturated fats, along with some other vita nutrients such as Niacin (Vit. B) and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) ( a precursor of gluthatione, the king of intracellular anti-oxidants).
Homocysteine is an abnormal protein but a normal by-product of metabolizing the amino acid methionine. Homocysteine does not come from eating eggs or saturated fat; in fact, it does not come from what you eat at all. It is what you do not eat. Elevated homocysteine is a result of vitamin deficiency especially Vitamin B6 and folic acid. You need these vitamins to make the enzymes that remove homocysteine efficiently.
The homocysteine risk was first called to public’s attention by Dr. Kilmer Mccully in the late 1960s. The countercurrent swung into action and Dr. Mccully was let go from his position as pathologist, was denied tenure and saw his work branded as insignificant.
We do not know exactly how homocysteine damages your arteries. In 1997 a large multicenter study in Europe found that among men and women younger than age 60, the overall risk of coronary and other vascular disease was 2.2 times higher in those with plasma homocysteine levels in the top fifth of normal range, compared to those of other factors, but it was notably higher in smokers and people with high blood pressure. Even mild elevated levels increase your chances of death from any cause, not just heart disease. In a long-term study of nearly 2,000 residents of western Jerusalem, the risk of death was twice as high among subjects with the highest levels of homocysteine as among those with the lowest levels.
Taking a properly dosed multivitamin with enough folic acid could virtually eliminate anyone’s homocystein-based problem. Surveys in Canada and the US
have fingered folic acid as the number-one vitamin deficiency. In general, people with readings of homocystein level greater than 12 micro-mol/liter should take supplements. The original work in the 1980’s indicated that readings up to 15 micro-mol/liter were acceptable.
Heart disease remains the number one killer of Americans. The primary drug used for primary and secondary prevention remains aspirin, even though that it has no effect on cholesterol levels.
What causes heart disease? The evidence clearly demonstrates that there is no single cause of heart disease. The best you can do is discovering what might make you uniquely vulnerable to heart problems. After reading the previous information, there is a clear sense that there are many reasons for arterio-sclerosis formation in the arteries of the whole body, and in this case, the coronaries.
As of the year 2000, at the level of important medical allopathic (MD) institutions like Harvard and Stanford, it is clear that cholesterol is a late responsible factor for arteriosclerosis. Nowadays it is accepted that inflammation is the beginning of plaque in the arteries. We have come to realize that even moderate elevations of CRP (C-Reactive Protein) which measures the degree of inflammation in the body, are associated with a high risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. CRP can be measured by a blood test and it is better known as marker of inflammation in the body. A study in 1997 showed that men with the highest CRP levels had triple risk of a future heart attack and double the risk of stroke compared to men with the lowest CPR levels.
Research is beginning to indicate that the cardiovascular mortality reduction benefits of statin therapy (drugs to reduce cholesterol like Zocor, Mevacor, Pravachol), may be due primarily to its anti-inflammatory action that reduce C-reactive protein levels. (New England Journal of Medicine 2001).
High CRP levels are an even greater risk for women. The women most likely to have dangerously high CRP levels are menopausal women using standard hormone replacement therapy. A 1998 study of female health professionals showed that, as with men, the higher the C-reactive protein level, the greater the risk of cardiovascular events. Women with the highest levels of CPR had 7.3 times the risk of a heart attack or stroke that those with normal CRP levels. If there is good news about CRP, it is that it predicts heart events (first heart attack) as many as 6-8 years in the future. That gives plenty of time to change your lifestyle and institute the diet and heart-protective vita nutrients discussed.
At this point, the only drug therapy that has been shown to reduce CPR levels is a daily regime of low-dose (81 mg) of aspirin.
Some studies have connected certain bacteria to the inflammation that starts plaque in the arterial wall. The connection among clamydia, chronic heart disease and heart attacks was first shown in 1988. Cytomegalovirus and mycoplasma have also been found in plaque at autopsy time.
However, evidence shows that we can keep inflammation going in our bodies through the imbalance of Omega6/Omega3 fatty acid in our diet, and that it plays a predictive role in heart attacks incidence as well. The definite prove that Omega 3 (due to the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin EPA that also blocks the enzyme that makes arachidonic acid) fish oil’s benefits were demonstrated in the GISSI trial. In this trial, heart disease patients supplemented their diets with one gram of omega 3 fatty acids for a four-year period. (Lancet 1999). Compared to patients who did not supplement with omega 3 fish oil, these patients had a 45% reduction in their risk of a sudden fatal heart attack; a 20% reduction in their risk of total cardiovascular mortality and a 10% reduction in overall mortality.
Another powerful statement on the role of diet in the prevention of heart disease comes from the Lyon Diet Heart Study (reports from 1996 and 1999). One group was placed on a diet that followed the American Heart Assn recommendations. A second group was placed on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and containing very low amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids. At the end of four years, both groups had the same cholesterol levels and the same ratio of triglycerides/good cholesterol. However, there was a 70% reduction in both fatal heart attacks and non-fatal heart attacks in the experimental group, compared to the control group who were following the American Heart Assn guidelines, which allowed them to eat large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids that would increase the amount of bad eicosanoids (the inflammatory arachidonic acid).
The primary clinical difference between the two groups was the ratio of arachidonic acid/EPA. The lower ratio of AA/EPA was found in the group of people that ate more fruits, vegetables, and fish and with low consumption of Omega 6 (vegetable oils like corn oil).
Fish oil coupled with improved insulin control (low carbo diet) can have significant benefits in treating cardiovascular disease through eicosanoid modulation, that is by reducing eicosanoids that are inflammatory (arachidonic acid – part of Omega 6 family) and by producing less triglycerides (low sugar diet).
Areas of inflammation in the wall of arteries will attract platelets plus the bad cholesterol that has been oxidized (rusted) and other sticky lipoproteins already discussed. Eventually calcium will deposit and make the plaque hard. Slowly by
surely, plaque will grow and will eventually clog arteries producing the death of tissue irrigated by these arteries, whether in the heart, brain or legs.
Calcium and pH
Calcium, the king of the minerals because it helps the body keep a level of acidity/alkalinity (pH) close to what it is best for all cells, is a huge topic that deserves several pages. In general, the state of acidity of the body will determine the state of disease versus health. To enjoy health and to slow the aging process, the pH outside of the cells should be kept around 7. Because the energy that transports nutrients into the cells through the cellular membrane is electricity, the pH inside the cell will always be less than the outside, in order to create a voltage or electricity to carry nutrients inside. If the outside of the cell is too acid, the interior of the cell will be even more acid, and DNA will be damaged with chronic very acid environment. Again, this topic is so extensive and important, that it will be impossible to cover at this point. Sorry!
Food is a drug. How much, what kind, but mostly, how we eat it, is essential for health and anti-aging purposes. You should remember the following:
1) High levels of insulin should be avoided. Therefore, carbohydrates must be eaten always in a ratio of 40% carbos – 30% protein – 30% fats (to include good fats or fish oil, plus moderate amounts of saturated fats.) One example is the Zone Diet form of eating and the most physiologically. This way, carbohydrates will be absorbed slowly and insulin production is slow, so that there will never be high levels of insulin. Sugar in any form should always be taken with protein.
2) Trans fats or hydrogenated fats (industrially adulterated fats to gain shelf life) should be avoided as much as possible.
3) Insulin level control will allow glucagon to be produced in higher amounts, which will help block the enzyme that makes cholesterol.
4) Avoid excessive amounts of oils rich in Omega 6 fatty acids.
Vita nutrients should be taken daily for the following reasons:
Need for good level of antioxidants to control free radical damaging.
To offer the body consistent levels of vitamins necessary to act as enzymes to repair the body as needed. A good general vitamin with minerals should be taken daily. See best products below.
Fish oil should be consumed daily or flax oil for those allergic to fish. Please read all the reasons behind the need for Omega 3 fatty acids already discussed. Eating Salmon x 2/week will not be enough.
Calcium should be taken daily for a dose of 1,000 mg (1 gram) if there is no kidney disease. Calcium needs Vitamin D, Magnesium and traces of Boron to be absorbed, as well as an acid environment in the stomach. For people taking treatment for acid reflux (e.g.: Zantac, Prevacid, Nexium,, Pepcid, etc.), Calcium must be taken with some acid product (lemonade or Hydrochloric Pepsin tablet).
Extra Vitamin C is recommended, beyond the amount in the multivitamin, for an amount of 2 grams (2,000 mg) daily. More can be taken with no apparent harm.
Best brands for vita nutrients (in my opinion!)
Multivitamin/mineral: always to be taken with food. One of the best are gels (better to dissolve than tablets) from Carlson. Vitamin Bs should be in the amount of 25 mg to 50 mg of each. Note that Centrum Silver vitamins have homeopathic amounts. Besides, vitamins from supermarkets and pharmacies are made in large national laboratories and placed in bottles with different names. Reputable laboratories with brand names as Carlson, Solaray, KAL or TwinLab have a reputation to protect, and the amount they claim the product has, it is most likely the amount present.
Fish oil: one of the best, is Carlson’s Norwegian Salmon Fish Oil (gels) and one gel should be taken with food. If using Flax Oil, the best brand is Barlean’s. For those allergic to Iodide or fish but not to cod fish, Carlson’s cod liver oil with lemon flavor is very good. Amount should be around one gram/day.
Calcium products are varied. Salts of calcium best absorbed are citrate and gluconate. Calcium carbonate (TUMS) is not. LifeTime brand of liquid calcium/magnesium with flavors of different kinds is very good. It can be taken by itself or mixed with foods like cottage cheese or yogurt. I know it is absorbed very well because the pH of my saliva would turn alkaline 2 hours after I took the product. It already has vitamin D in it, an absolute must for calcium absorption. Follow instructions in the bottle to take 1,000 to 1,200 daily if kidney function is normal. Coral Calcium is a good product, and it does not need Vit. D since it comes from the sea and it has it already.
Another look at the process of inflammation!
Inflammation is our body’s biochemical response to an assault. If we are bruised, injured, or attacked by a bacterial infection, chemicals in the affected tissue known as cytokines (cell movers) cal for white blood cells t rush to white blood cells and the related increase in the blood flow is intended to be a healing response. Sometimes, e Diseases Related to Chronic Inflammation
- Allergies – inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions.
- Aging – correlates well with an increase of inflammatory cytokines.
- Alzheimer’s – Chronic inflammation destroys brain cells
- Anemia – Inflammatory cytokines attack erythropoietin production.
- Aortic valve stenosis – Chronic inflammation damages heart valves
- Arthritis – Inflammatory cytokines destroy joint cartilage and synovial fluid.
- Cancer – Chronic inflammation causes many cancers (prostate, colon, breast)
- Congestive heart failure – inflammation contributes to heart muscle wasting.
- Fibromyalgia – Inflammatory cytokines are elevated.
- Heart attack – chronic inflammation starts plaque in the arteries which is necessary for cholesterol to stick to and for calcium to finish forming plaque, which in time can produce total obstruction in an artery with infarct.
- High blood pressure – inflammation has been proven to increase blood pressure
- Kidney failure – inflammatory cytokines restrict circulation in kidneys and damage nephrons.
- Lupus – Inflammatory cytokines induce an autoimmune attack.
- Pancreatitis – Inflammatory cytokines induce pancreatic cell injury.
- Psoriasis – inflammatory cytokines induce dermatitis.
- Stroke – chronic inflammation promotes thrombo-embolic events.
Experts now agree that an anti-inflammatory diet is the best way to lose weight, reduce the signs of aging, and prevent a wide range of diseases. But it’s hard to know which foods to choose. There’s nothing on the nutrition label to tell you how a food affects inflammation. In fact, some of the foods we think of as healthful can actually make inflammation worse!
The IF Rating™ system makes it easy by showing you exactly how foods affect inflammation in the body. Foods with positive IF Ratings are anti-inflammatory; foods with negative ratings are inflammatory.