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The Ultimate Solutions to Heart Disease, Stroke & Alzheimers, part 6 -Policosanol, DVT, L-Arginine, New Diagnostics

3rd April 2007 by Arrow Durfee Posted in Uncategorized

from Dr. Campbell:
Researchers were shocked…
This new supplement slashes Cholesterol 54% better than dangerous Statin drugs!
Studies show it sends Cholesterol plunging. Also thins your blood, which can prevent deadly clots.
Here’s a terrific example of nature knowing better. It’s very exciting news if you have a cholesterol problem, but would like to avoid the many harmful side effects of statin drugs. Even the researchers were shocked when they tested policosanol- a safe, natural substance found in citrus peels, rice and sugar cane. In one study, l 244 women with high cholesterol got either a placebo or policosanol. Amazed researchers saw the “bad” cholesterol of the policosanol group plunge by 25%. Total cholesterol fell 17%. And their ratio of total to “good” cholesterol (the most important risk factor) improved by a whopping 27.2%! Another study dared to pit policosanol against a popular statin drug. Those given policosanol lowered their bad cholesterol by an average of 19.3%-versus just 15.6% for the statin. Most important, policosanol improved the most crucial ratio-total cholesterol to good cholesterol-by 24.4% (the statin drug only improved it by 15.9%). My comment- “it raised my HDL above the chart to 63!”
3 Ways to Prevent Heart Attacks
Just like statin drugs, policosanol appears to work by making your liver produce less Cholesterol, and by making it absorb more of the harmful type of cholesterol. But it does so much more. It also makes your blood less thick, protecting you from a deadly heart attack or stroke. Plus, it reduces inflammation in your body, which we now know leads to heart disease. Best of all, while statins have a list of potential side effects as long as your arm, over 30 studies on policosanol have yet to show a single adverse side effect.
Some people found that policosanol helps them to lose weight – welcome news if you’re at risk for heart disease! And it has also been shown to improve libido in lab animals-a stark contrast with statin drugs, which can wreak havoc on your love life. To protect your heart, knowledge is your most important weapon: You need to know how different drugs work…their side effects.. .how to protect yourself if you take them.. .and if there are any prescription or natural alternatives that may be better for you. In short, you need to research prescription alternatives, where you’ll discover…. Cholesterol-lowering drugs that can reduce your chances of a heart attack. . If you have a heart attack, request a mega dose of this heart-rescuing mineral magnesium immediately after taking a teaspoon of capsicum in a cup of hot water.
In clinical research and in my experience as a clinical nutritionist, Policosanol has shown the ability to reduce cholesterol levels. In 1994, a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 22 patients with hypercholesterolemia. After eight weeks the patients taking policosanol had a marked reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. A similar double blind, placebo-controlled study was performed on 69 patients, with comparable results. The group of patients taking 10mg of policosanol daily for two years had an 18% reduction in total cholesterol and a 25% reduction in LDL cholesterol. Notably, after 12 months, the so-called good HDL cholesterol was elevated by 21%. A follow up study was performed on a larger patient group. Researchers chose 437 patients randomized to receive, under double-blind conditions, policosanol or placebo once a day. After twelve weeks, patients receiving policosanol had a 25% reduction in LDL cholesterol, a 17% reduction in total cholesterol, and a 28% increase in HDL cholesterol. The placebo group did not achieve any reduction in total cholesterol, or LDL. Policosanol seems to be effective at lowering cholesterol on both men and women, and all age groups. A study on 179 older aged people resulted in a reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by 13% and 16% respectively. Also on a positive note there was a 14% increase in HDL cholesterol and a 28% reduction in the total cholesterol to HDL ratio.

Policosanol and Cholesterol Lowering Drugs

There have been numerous studies comparing the effects of policosanol to cholesterol lowering drugs. In one study a group of patients were randomized to receive under double-blind conditions, either policosanol or pravastatin. The results were impressive, with the policosanol group seeing a 19.3% reduction in LDL cholesterol and a 13.9% reduction in total cholesterol. The group taking pravastatin had a 15.6% reduction in LDL cholesterol and an 11.8% reduction in total cholesterol. The patients taking policosanol noticed an increase in HDL cholesterol, while the patients taking pravastatin did not. The policosanol group did not experience any side effects, whereas several people taking pravastatin had elevation of liver function enzymes. Several other studies have demonstrated similar results when comparing policosanol to statin drugs.

Cardiovascular Disease and Policosanol

More than just elevated cholesterol levels can cause cardiovascular disease. Platelet aggregation and intermittent claudication are conditions associated with cardiovascular disease. Intermittent claudication is caused by inadequate blood supply attributable to arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Usually the first symptoms are severe pains in the calf muscle. Intermittent claudication and arteriosclerosis can be caused by platelet aggregation. Platelets are small discs in the blood responsible for blood coagulation and thrombus formation. This process is important to stop the loss of blood after surgery or an injury. However, excessive platelet aggregation caused by vascular injury or excessive stress can lead to atherosclerotic plaque formation. This, in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease. Researchers have discovered the benefits of Policosanol in patients experiencing intermittent claudication and platelet aggregation. Early animal studies demonstrated that policosanol reduced platelet aggregation by inhibiting the inflammatory mediator thromboxane B2. More recent human studies revealed the same positive effects. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials investigating the effects of policosanol on platelet aggregation found that patients receiving policosanol had significantly less platelet aggregation than did the placebo group. The method of action for reducing platelet aggregation was the ability of policosanol to inhibit the production of inflammatory mediators arachidonic acid, thromboxane B2 and prostacyclin. By reducing platelet aggregation there was a noticeable decline in intermittent claudication. A six-week study demonstrated that patients with moderately severe intermittent claudication had a considerable improvement after supplementing with policosanol. These patients reported less lower leg pain, and were able to increase their walking distance. It was noted that Policosanol did not affect the coagulation time when administered at single or repeated doses.

For many years it was believed that a gradual build-up of fatty deposits lead to the narrowing of an artery supplying blood to the heart, causing the state of oxygen deprivation that characterizes an attack.
While that certainly causes some attacks, it turns out that a more insidious type of deposit is the major cause of heart attacks. “Ninety percent plus of heart attacks are not occurring at the tightest blockage that a person has in their anatomy,” explains Dr. Richard Page, head of the division of cardiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. “The great majority are due to vulnerable plaque.”
So-called vulnerable plaque, also known as unstable plaque, is a fatty deposit that triggers inflammatory responses in the body, which in turn attracts immune cells. These immune cells, acting in the body’s defense, eat through and weaken the deposits, which can lead them to burst or rupture, suddenly blocking the flow of blood through the artery.
What was once a relatively minor blockage that did not cause any symptoms such as chest pain or even show up on clinical examination can quickly become lethal.

New Approach Allows Doctors to See Plaque

Because they can be so hard to detect and dangerous, researchers have been developing new ways of locating these plaques and deciphering which may be most likely to rupture.
One such technique was recently presented by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Known as OCT, or optical coherence tomography, this imaging tool provides a map of the inside of the vessel with greater resolution than other imaging techniques.
“The advantage is we can directly visualize the plaque,” I.K. Jang, principal investigator and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, told ABCNEWS’ Dr. Tim Johnson.
OCT is one of many invasive techniques that involve threading a catheter through an artery in the groin up into the heart to identify blockages with the hope of identifying which are closest to rupture.
“They all identify different aspects [of the plaque],” explains Dr. Ward Casscells, professor of cardiology and vice president for biotechnology at the University of Texas in Houston. “They are all true, and all have their limitations.”
OCT, for example, while providing improved resolution, is expensive and requires that blood flow to the area be stopped.
“When you occlude [or cut off] blood flow, it may be that the procedure is not tolerated and you have to stop the procedure,” says Casscells. “If you persist too long, you can cause trouble. The tissue downstream in the heart can die.”
Other Techniques Provide Insights
Here is a brief description of some other invasive unstable plaque detection techniques that are giving cardiologists an insight into what makes unstable plaques tick:
Intravenous Ultrasound: Has the advantage of being a less expensive imaging technique that also does not need to stop blood flow in order to get good results. However, OCT provides resolution that is 10 times better, allowing cardiologists better discrimination of details.
Thermal Imaging: Measures the heat given off by the immune cells as they digest cholesterol in the blockage. The drawback is it only provides metabolic information and does not provide a picture of the plaque.
Near Infrared: Provides chemical information about the plaque so cardiologists can detect high fat build-up. It has the advantage of ‘seeing’ through blood, but does not provide metabolic information like thermal imaging, nor does it provide a picture.
Elastography: Also known as palpography, is used to gauge the thickness of the cap on the blockage. The thinner the cap, the closer it is to rupturing.
Since no one technique provides a complete picture, experts say it is likely that some combination of them will provide the best information about unstable plaques. For example, ultrasound may be used in combination with OCT.
“I don’t think those two technologies are necessarily competing. They should be complementary,” says Jang. “So, for example you can scan alongside with ultrasound, identify a potential area at risk, then you can activate OCT.”

Detection Without Invasion

Not all ways of detecting vulnerable plaques are invasive. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, and CT scans are also being explored as approaches to tell physicians about vulnerable plaque.
Other researchers, while acknowledging a role for invasive imaging techniques in emergency situations, are looking forward to identifying systemic markers indicating the presence of vulnerable plagues.
“The first thing to remember is the whole concept of vulnerability is a little more complex than simply shoving a catheter into an artery and finding a vulnerable plaque,” says Dr. P.K. Shah, director of the division of cardiology Atherosclerosis Research Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “It turns out that at any one time, 50 to 75 percent of patients with acute coronary syndromes will have multiple sites where there is evidence of plaque rupture.”
Instead of looking around for all possible sites where unstable plaques exist, which include vessels leading to other organs such as the brain, Shah favors identifying blood components, like C-reactive protein, that are signals of inflammation.
“The emphasis, I believe, should be on looking for those markers of risk that are easily measurable, measure the total vascular risk throughout the body, and can be repeatedly retested,” he adds.
Invasive imaging techniques may make this goal more easily attainable. “Now maybe as we pin down who’s got the vulnerable plaque, we could end up making better correlations to blood markers or other types of scans that are less invasive,” says Page.
He adds widespread application of these imaging techniques is still a long way off.
“While this is fascinating and potentially important, here and now in terms of applying it, it’s more of a research tool and one that merits heavy investigation,” says Page. “It’s not going to change the way we practice cardiology right now.”
Prevention is still considered the best approach to this problem. The statin drugs have proven to be very helpful is stabilizing plaque and reducing inflammation. The addition; however of 60mg. CoQ10 is recommended to replace the lost production from using statins.

Washburn’s note: They got the statin drugs main ingredient from Red Yeast Rice!

Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT)

DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower limbs. A complication of DVT, pulmonary embolism, can occur when a fragment of a blood clot breaks loose from the wall of the vein and migrates to the lungs, where it blocks a pulmonary artery or one of its branches.
If you are off your feet for a while due to cancer or certain heart or respiratory diseases, talk to your doctor or click here for more details on DVT risk factors.
• According to the American Heart Association, up to 2 million Americans are affected annually by DVT
• Of those who develop PE, up to 200,000 will die each year
• More people die in the United States from PE than breast cancer and AIDS combined

DVT is preventable and treatable. Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is a common but serious medical condition that occurs in approximately two million Americans each year. DVT occurs when a thrombus (blood clot) forms in one of the large veins, usually in the lower limbs, leading to either partially or completely blocked circulation. The condition may result in health complications, such as a pulmonary embolism (PE) and even death if not diagnosed and treated effectively. The best way to prevent DVT is to talk to your doctor about your risks, especially if you have cancer or certain heart or respiratory diseases.

Who is at Risk for Deep-Vein Thrombosis?

Certain individuals may be at increased risk for developing DVT, although DVT can occur in almost anyone. Some risk factors or triggering events to discuss with your doctor include:
• Cancer
• Certain heart or respiratory diseases
• Prior DVT
• Advanced age
• Acute medical illness with restricted mobility
• Inherited or acquired predisposition to clotting
• Obesity
• Stroke
• Hospitalization
• Patients undergoing major surgery, such as joint replacements, who remain immobile in bed after an operation
• Pregnancy
• Restricted mobility caused by long-distance travel
• Use of birth control pills
• Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy
• Trauma

Signs and Symptoms of Deep-Vein Thrombosis

Symptoms of DVT may include pain, swelling, tenderness, discoloration or redness of the affected area, and skin that is warm to the touch. However, as many as half of all DVT episodes produce minimal symptoms or are completely “silent.”
Because a number of other conditions – including muscle strains, skin infections, and phlebitis (inflammation of veins) – display symptoms similar to those of DVT, the condition may be difficult to diagnose without specific tests.

Quick DVT Facts:

• According to the American Heart Association, DVT occurs in about 2 million Americans every year.
• More people suffer from DVT annually than heart attack and stroke.
• Up to 600,000 people are hospitalized in the U.S. each year for DVT.
• Fatal PE may be the most common preventable cause of hospital death in the United States.
• Only one-third of hospitalized patients with risk factors for blood clots received preventive treatment, according to a U.S. multi-center study.
• Without preventive treatment, up to 60 percent of patients who undergo total hip replacement surgery may develop DVT.
• Cancer patients undergoing surgical procedures have at least twice the risk of postoperative DVT and more than three times the risk of fatal PE than non-cancer patients undergoing similar procedures.
• In the elderly, DVT is associated with a 21 percent one-year mortality rate, and PE is associated with a 39 percent one-year mortality rate.
• PE is the leading cause of maternal death associated with childbirth. A woman’s risk of developing VTE is six times greater when she is pregnant.

MORE ON L-Arginine

J. Ignarro, PhD, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on nitric oxide.
He is distinguished professor of pharmacology at University of California, Los Angeles, School
of Medicine, and author of No More Heart Disease
One molecule produced by the body may do more than any drug to prevent heart attack and stroke. Nitric oxide, a gas that occurs naturally in the body, is critical for healthy circulation. It helps dilate blood vessels, prevent blood clots and regulate blood pressure, and it may inhibit the accumulation of arterial plaque.

HOW IT WORKS
Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule primarily produced by cells in the endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels. A signaling molecule fits into docking sites (receptors) on cell walls and triggers biochemical reactions. Nitric oxide helps prevent heart disease and stroke by… Expanding blood vessels. Nitric oxide protects the blood vessels’ smooth muscle tissue from harmful constriction. This allows blood to circulate with less force. Some doctors report that elevating nitric oxide in hypertensive patients can lower blood pressure by 10 to 60 points. Controlling platelet function. Platelets, cell-like structures in blood , that can clump together, may form blood-blocking clots, the main cause of heart attack and stroke. A vascular net- ~at is enhanced by nitric oxide sheds platelets and inhibits dangerous clots.

Reducing arterial plaque by 50%.

Arterial plaque, which consists of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries, is the underlying cause of heart disease. Nitric oxide is an antioxidant that inhibits the passage of monocytes, a type of immune cell, into the artery wall. This reduces the underlying inflammation that promotes plaque. Lowering total cholesterol by 10% to 20%.That’s a modest decrease-but there’s some evidence that nitric oxide is even more effective when combined with cholesterol-lowering statins. Nitric oxide lowers cholesterol through its antioxidant activity. Preliminary research suggests that stimulating nitric oxide production in people who have elevated cholesterol makes it possible to lower their statin doses by at least 50%.

TO BOOST NITRIC OXIDE LEVELS
It is not yet known how much nitric oxide normally is present in the body or what levels are optimal. The gas is difficult to measure because it disappears almost instantly upon exposure to air. Research scientists can measure levels with electrodes inserted in blood vessels. Simpler tests are needed before doctors can measure nitric oxide as part of standard checkups. Beginning in early adulthood, nitric oxide levels gradually decline, probably due to damage to the endothelial cells caused by such factors as a high-fat diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Nitric oxide can’t be taken in supplement form because it’s a gas. However, patients can take other supplements that increase production of nitric oxide in the blood vessels. These supplements, all available at health-food stores, have few if any side effects…L-arginine, an amino acid found in meats, grains and fish, passes through the intestine into the blood. From the blood, it enters endothelial cells of arteries, where it is used to make nitric oxide.A Mayo Clinic study found that people taking L-arginine had significant improvement in endothelial function and blood flow compared with those taking placebos. It is hard to get enough L-arginine from food, so supplements are recommended. , Dose: 2,000 mg to 3,000 mg taken twice daily-for a total of 4,000 to 6,000 mg.

L-citrulline. Supplemental arginine doesn’t enter cells readily unless it is combined with L-citrulline, another amino acid. Melons and cucumbers are rich sources of L-citrulline, but they don’t provide high enough levels to significantly increase nitric oxide levels. Dose: 400 mg to 600 mg daily.Daily multivitamin that includes vitamin E. Vitamin E reduces the assault of cell-damaging free radicals on the endothelial lining and may promote higher levels of nitric oxide. The amount of vitamin E in most multivitamin/ mineral supplements is about 50 international units (IU), an effective dose. Warning: Don’t take high-dose vitamin E supplements. Recent studies suggest that people who take daily doses of 400 IU or higher may be more susceptible to heart disease and other illnesses. Vitamin C. Like vitamin E, vitamin C reduces oxidation in the blood vessels and may cause an increase in nitric oxide. People who consume high levels of vitamin C experience a reduction in arterial plaque, which is associated with higher levels of nitric oxide. You can get vitamin C from food, but I recommend supplements because they are convenient and easy to take. Dose: 500 mg daily.

DIET&EXERCISE

In addition to taking supplements, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle by watching what you eat and being active. Try to..”
Do aerobic exercise for at least 20 Minutes three days a week. It stimulates Endothelial cells to continuously produce Nitric oxide, even on days that you don’t exercise.

Minimize intake of saturated fat.

Saturated fat, found in such animal products as red meat, poultry, butter and whole milk, contributes to the accumulation of arterial plaque and impairs nitric oxide production.
Better: Olive oil, fish and flaxseed. The fats found in these foods help protect the endothelium by elevating Nitric oxide levels.

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