Minimum work-up for CardioVascular Risk (more than the
conventional work-up) for people with no personal history of heart or blood
vessel disease and no other known risk factors (see facing page for other
For those of you who take Maxi Multi as your vitamin/mineral supplement (for health’s sake, I wish this included everybody!), please note that this formula contains the recommended, optimal doses of B complex vitamins & vitamin C & E. You do not need additional supplementation of these nutrients (unless you have a specific complaint to address) if you are taking this formula. “I’ve got you covered”! AND, I make changes to the formula to constantly reflect new findings in medicine, so your multiple will always be up-to-the-minute when it comes to formulation.
C-Reactive Protein: First reported in the medical journals and reported to YOU from ME in 1998, this risk factor for heart disease and stroke risk is just now being reported by many other conventional and holistic medical journals and newsletters. C-Reactive Protein (C-RP) is a protein found in the blood. It is indicative of inflammation. A growing body of evidence shows that it is not just cholesterol that clogs arteries and cuts off blood flow to the heart and brain. Low-level inflammation in the body appears to be an even greater risk factor (see chart below).
This low level of inflammation is so small that it doesn’t cause pain. (Ordinarily, inflammation makes itself known by pain, swelling, or redness of an area). Older C-RP tests are used to monitor certain autoimmune diseases, but the test is not sensitive enough to detect the small elevations of C-RP that lead to heart disease and stroke. Instead, the “new” test is highly sensitive (hence, the “hs”-C-RP designation).
As you can see from the chart at right, elevations of C-RP are more predictive of heart attack and stroke than any other blood risk factor commonly evaluated for. Because of this, it may be more important to look at hs-C-RP than cholesterol.
The test is inexpensive ($20-30) and my prediction is that it will become a routine part of cardiac risk testing, performed right along with the cholesterol profile, within the next several years. But don’t wait until your insurance pays for the test. Ask your doctor to order it next time you have a cholesterol check.
Source:New England Journal of Medicine, 342:841, 2000, based on studies conducted by Dr. Paul Ridker at Bringham and Women’s Hospital.
“Other” Risk factors (The ones your doctor didn’t tell you about)
Any factor that increases blood viscosity
(thickness) can put additional stress on the vascular system and trigger a
myocardial infarction ("MI"; an “attack” of the heart due to decreased blood
flow) or stroke. I frequently see one or several of these factors elevated
on a patient’s medical records, with the doctor’s note at the bottom of the
page saying “all normal.” The patient often never hears about those lab
values and risks that are indicative of increase blood viscosity, and
therefore, an opportunity is lost to correct a risk factor.
Additional risk factors that are easily identified through routine lab
work include :
Lifestyle factors that influence
“Action Steps” to take to alleviate these risks:
For high RBC and/or platelet count: be generous - donate blood! Phlebotomy (having blood drawn) is an easy way to decrease platelet and RBC count. You doctor can help you know how often to give blood based on your repeat Complete Blood Counts (“CBC,” a standard test that tells numbers of red and white cells, platelets, and how much iron the RBC’s contain. It is a very inexpensive and routine blood test and should probably be used more often than it is).
For high iron: this one is tricky, because it depends on whether or not your body is using iron correctly. However, iron excess is far more common than iron deficiency in adults (women of menstrual age excepted). Be sure your supplements DO NOT contain iron unless you are told to take iron by a doctor. Your Maxi Multi does NOT contain iron for this very reason.
To offset the effects of dietary fats: Fats in the diet make red blood cells stick together for hours after a meal is eaten. Vitamin C & E, taken with meals, “erases” this “sticky” effect and RBC’s behave as if no fats were eaten. That is why I recommend Maxi Multi (with optimal vitamin C & E doses), be taken with each meal instead of just once or twice per day!
Herbs & Blood Viscosity: Nature’s Blood-Thinning Remedies
Conventional medical blood thinning is accomplished by coumadin compounds, which prevent platelet aggregation. This therapy is reserved for people with severe cardiac arrhythmias and other serious problems, because the blood-thinning effects of therapy can have serious consequences. (Coumadin is used as rat poison. The rats eat it, and bleed to death internally). There are some circumstances where this type of blood thinning may be advisable, but treatment must be carefully and frequently monitored by blood testing. Furthermore, coumadin therapy only prevents platelet aggregation. According to conventional medical sources (the Merck manual, 17th edition), only 1/3 of all causative agents of abnormal blood clotting are prevented by the administration of this drug. Bottom line: coumadin is useful in very limited circumstances and must be carefully monitored. So what is the “average Joe or Jane” (without a history of serious blood viscosity problems) supposed to do to help keep the blood flowing smoothly? Mother nature has given us a number of healthful choices.
There are many herbs that act to normalize blood viscosity at different points. A combination of these herbs can actually have a broader “coverage” of clotting risk factors than coumadin alone. The difference is that the herbs are safer than coumadin, can be taken without medical supervision, and can be used in a preventive fashion. The only caution (and this is minor), is to tell your doctor that you are using these herbs IF you are on or going to begin coumadin therapy OR if you are scheduled for surgery. (Blood tests can and should be conducted before surgery to see how viscous your blood is anyway, so blood-thinning herbs aren’t “risky” as some conventional medical sources have portrayed).
Blood Viscosity-Aiding Herbs: The Short Course
decreases platelet aggregation, increases HDL cholesterol, decreases
triglycerides and decreases fibrin.
Other proven anti-clotting herbs include: ginger, gugulipid.
Nutritional Factors Influencing Blood Viscosity
Be SURE to get the following nutrients for their
helpfulness in maintaining normal blood flow and minimizing stroke/heart
Wellness Club brand formula Maxi Greens contains Bilberry, green tea, grape seed extract and bromelain, plus many other “green foods” and herbs, offering broad-spectrum coverage for blood viscosity. (Maxi Greens has many other health benefits besides this. Please see page 109-110 in your Holistic Health Handbook for complete information.
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant and oxygenator made by the body. It is universally deficient in people with heart disease, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias and cancer. The correlation between heart disease and CoQ10 is now so well known that even conventional cardiologists often recommend it to their patients. Further, cholesterol-lowering drugs deplete CoQ10. Although it is not known to specifically impact blood viscosity, it’s role in oxygenation of heart and muscle tissue is vitally important. ANYONE with ANY cardiac risk should be taking supplemental CoQ10. Supplemental CoQ10 is also necessary for anyone on a cholesterol-lowering drug.
Magnesium is a mineral which plays a key role in energy production. It is found in high concentrations in the brain, heart, liver and kidneys. It is also a crucial component of bone.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, magnesium is
the most common nutrient deficiency in the American diet. That’s
unfortunate, because without sufficient magnesium, the heart fails to beat
correctly. in fact, magnesium is rightly known as “Nature’s calcium
channel blocker.” Deficiencies of this mineral can lead to heart
arrhythmia, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, cardiomyopathy and
acute MI (heart attack). [NOTE: magnesium is routinely used IV in emergency cardiac
medicine in many European countries, but less frequently here since it's not
a patent medicine].
An “Action Plan” for Protecting Your Heart and Circulation
For those with no elevated risk
For those with one or more elevated risk factors of
What I take for heart and cardiovascular health :
Here's to Your Healthy Heart!
Readers Write: Remedies for Shingles?
Dave, our friend and regular Reader writes us with questions from time to time - you've read some of them here. He wrote us recently to ask about shingles - a particularly unpleasant viral infection:
Hello again friends. Hope all is well.
That's because the herpes virus is thwarted
by adequate doses of Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E,
Zinc and Selenium. The right doses are found in Maxi Multi or view this
optimal dose chart here:
Laughter is Good Medicine: Out of the mouths of children...
You gotta love them. They keep us young! This is sent to us by a HealthBeat reader: We don't know where these came from or how true they are - but we can't imagine that they are not true - because we know kids...
NUDITY I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year- old shout from the back seat, "Mom! That lady isn't wearing a seat belt!"
OPINIONS On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents."
KETCHUP A woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. "Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle."
MORE NUDITY A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a little boy before?" P
POLICE # 1 While taking a routine vandalism
report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years
old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, "Are you a cop?"
POLICE #2 It was the end of the day when I
parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9
partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. "Is that a
dog you got back there?" he asked.
ELDERLY While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"
DRESS-UP A little girl was watching her
parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned,
"Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit."
DEATH While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead Robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: "Glory be unto the Faaaather, and unto the Sonnn, and into the hole he gooooes."
SCHOOL A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!"
BIBLE A little boy opened the big family
bible He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly,
something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What
he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. "Mama, look
what I found," the boy called out.
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