A healthy diet, regular exercise, and the daily use of a broad spectrum, pharmaceutical-grade nutritional supplement program, that includes vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and the essential fatty acids appear to be our best bet for reducing the risk of heart disease, and death from heart disease, as well as nearly every other chronic degenerative disease (cancer, diabetes, lung diseases, Alzheimer’s disease …just to name a few). Antioxidants have even been shown to slow the aging process, and promote longevity. Today, people are living longer than ever, but they are usually living longer with chronic illnesses, not necessarily living longer, HEALTHIER lives.
Too often we KNOW what we “should do,” but often don’t. We get lulled into a false sense of “health security” simply because we don’t “feel” anything wrong. However, the majority of people who die of heart disease don’t feel any symptoms whatsoever…they simply have a heart attack one day and die! Even more startling, more than half of the people who die of atherosclerotic (plaque)-related heart attacks have totally NORMAL cholesterol levels! If that is the case, then there MUST be more going on than cholesterol that is causing coronary artery disease and deaths from heart attacks.
Our lifestyles choices have almost everything to do with our chances of dying of a heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and to some degree many cancers, as well as many other chronic diseases. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to choose among what will support us in becoming healthier and what will not. For example, stress and sleep can be considered two opposing forces affecting our health. A lack of sleep and an increase in stress will increase the risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and accelerate aging.
Most people know to eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, reduce exposure to toxic substances, but most people still do not realize the incredible benefits that may be obtained through daily implementation of a full spectrum, pharmacuetical-grade vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, and omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement program.
The True Cause of Heart Disease and Stroke
Atherosclerosis is a disease characterized primarily by inflammation of the arterial lining caused by oxidative damage from homocysteine, a toxic amino acid complex found in everyone. Homocsyteine, in combination with other free radicals and toxins that we’re all continually exposed to (stress, pollution, unhealthy food choices, cigarette smoke, etc.), oxidizes arteries, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, which in turn releases C Reactive Protein (CRP) from the liver-a marker of an inflammation. Inflammation (which results from oxidation) is the beginning stage of plaque build-up and ultimately, cardiovascular disease. Plaque, combined with the thickening of arterial smooth muscles, arterial spasms, and clotting, puts a person at a high risk of suffering heart attack or stroke.
Oxidation of metal resuls in rust. We’re not made of metal so we do not rust, but we do undergo oxidation. Cut an apple in half, and watch it turn brown when it is exposed to air ….it is being oxidized, or damaged. Bananas when purchased green at the grocery store and put quietum plus on your kitchen counter, will eventually ripen to yellow. Oxidation causes them to turn brown, and then black. Rubber bands left in the driveway in the hot summer sun, exposed to UV light, become brittle after a few weeks as the elastic molecules are oxidized (damaged). People who do not protect their skin from the sun and exccessively tan, cause oxidative damage to collagen and elastic molecules, and end up wrinkled more than others who protect their skin.
Oxidation occurs every single second throughout our entire body, organs, and cells. Free radicals, from various sources, including breathing and metabolism, let alone from toxic chemicals, stress, trans fat, and cigarette smoking, strip away electrons from cell membranes, hormone receptors (including insulin receptors), lipids (including cholesterol), enzymes, and DNA …which may initiate cancer.
Antioxidants, which are both produced by your cells and ingested in the form of vitamins and other supplements, “donate” electrons to neutralize free radicals, and therefore protect our cells and cellular structures from damage. Our cells are protected by antioxidants, and they repair themselves. Healthy cells function at their optimum. Healthy cells not only function normally, healthy cells are, by definition, not cancerous.
This does NOT mean that a person who takes nutritional supplements will never develop heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, wrinkle, or die. However, this much is true …just like we know, people who smoke 2 to 4 packs of cigarettes per day (excessive oxidation) have an increased risk of nearly all chronic diseases compared to those who don’t smoke, and likewise, those who do not take a full-spectrum, quality nutritional supplement program have a much better chance of living a longer and healthier life compared to those who do not adequately supplement.
Regarding the number one cause of death, heart disease: Of the two major types of cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol, the more important parameter is the level of HDL cholesterol. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is responsible for clearing out the LDL cholesterol that sticks to arterial walls. Exercise, vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants, particularly the bioflavonoid and olive polyphenol antioxidants, increase HDL cholesterol levels and protect the LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage, and therefore may do more to reduce your risk of heart disease than medications.
LDL cholesterol is not inherently bad. It is necessary for life. It is important for many cellular functions, hormone production, cellular repair, brain function, etc. LDL cholesterol only becomes “bad” when it is damaged, or oxidized by free radicals. Only the damaged, or oxidized form of LDL cholesterol sticks to the arterial walls to initiate the formation of plaque. So, rather than focusing on lowering the level of LDL cholesterol, it make more sense to focus on lowering the OXIDATION of LDL cholesterol!
Let us look at the case of cigarette smoking for a simple example demonstrating that we really need to reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol to prevent atherosclerosis, as opposed to indiscriminately lowering LDL cholesterol with statin drugs. Everyone knows that cigarette smoking increases the risk of many chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Smokers with normal levels of LDL cholesterol are at an even greater risk of developing heart disease than a non-smoker who has elevated levels of LDL cholesterol. Of course the reason why a smoker with normal levels of LDL cholesterol is at greater risk of disease is because his LDL gets excessively oxidized.