Heart Health
By Doctor Weil

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

There are four conditions associated with coronary artery disease: atherosclerosis, insulin
resistance, high homocysteine and angina pectoris.

Atherosclerosis - Overview

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol-rich plaque builds up along the arterial walls.
Atherosclerosis is thought to develop when an injury occurs to the endothelial (inside) lining
along the artery wall. In response to the injury, white blood cells, along with lipids, begin to
accumulate along the inner layer of the artery. The muscle layer of the artery may also grow,
forming the basis of a plaque, which many grow large enough to block the artery. If the plaque is
disturbed, platelets may begin to accumulate at the site and form a thrombus, or clot. A clot can
continue to grow until it completely blocks an artery, cutting off the oxygen supply to a vital organ,
or a clot can break free from the vessel wall (become an embolus) and become lodged
somewhere else further downstream. This could lead to a heart attack or stroke if the clot
completely blocks the blood and oxygen supply to a major artery leading to the heart or brain.

Causes and Symptoms

Recent studies have shown that children with one or both parents who have had heart disease
before age 60 were more likely to have atherosclerosis themselves, and the risk of CAD
increases progressively with age. Other risk factors for developing atherosclerotic plaques
include high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the use of birth control
pills or estrogen replacement therapy.

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

Those with atherosclerosis should try to:

Get more exercise. This will help maintain the health of the vessels leading to the heart, as well
as strengthening the heart muscle itself.
Lower your intake of saturated fats, and control cholesterol.
Stop smoking.
Control your blood pressure.

Nutrition and Supplements

Fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish and fish oil supplements have been shown to be an
effective preventive strategy against heart disease. They can lower triglyceride levels, increase
HDL cholesterol, help minimize inflammation and blood clotting, and keep blood vessels healthy.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This antioxidant is thought to be one of the most important antioxidant
supplements for protection against many forms of cardiovascular disease. It helps protect LDL
cholesterol from oxidation, maintain healthy blood vessels, protect against clots and plaque
rupture, and support optimal functioning of the heart muscle.

Insulin Resistance - Overview

Insulin is a hormone that facilitates the transport of glucose from the blood into cells where it is
used as fuel. When blood sugar rises after a meal, the pancreas secretes insulin into the
bloodstream. With insulin resistance, the normal amount of insulin secreted is not enough to
move glucose into the cells - thus the cells are "resistant" to the action of insulin. To compensate,
the pancreas secretes even more insulin, and is able to maintain fairly normal blood-sugar
movement into cells and a normal blood-sugar level.

The resulting high level of insulin, however, has several negative effects elsewhere in the body. It
influences the enzymes in the liver that produce cholesterol and acts on the kidney (which can
contribute to high blood pressure). High insulin levels also have a role in the process that
regulates inflammation. Eventually, blood-sugar levels will continue to rise because the pancreas
stops producing enough insulin or the cells become more and more resistant to the insulin that is
produced. In time, insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 diabetes, itself a risk factor for heart

A simple way to diagnose an insulin resistance problem is to take a blood test that looks for a
low HDL cholesterol, along with a high triglyceride level, a high fasting insulin level or a high uric
acid level.

Causes and Symptoms

Insulin resistance is often due to:

Genetic factors, such as a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.
Excess weight, with the extra pounds accumulating in the abdomen (the classic "apple" shape).
However, thin people can also have the problem and be at the same risk for heart disease, high
blood pressure and diabetes.

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

For those with insulin resistance, try the following:

Watch your carbohydrate intake. The classic low-fat, high-carb diet that was the standard
recommendation for preventing or treating heart disease for years can actually make insulin
resistance worse. Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) raise blood sugar levels and trigger the
release of insulin. A moderately low carbohydrate diet (40 to 45 percent of calories)
emphasizing low glycemic index sources of carbohydrate (those that raise blood sugar levels
slowly rather than quickly) is recommended. In general, foods very rich in fiber are healthy.
Cut saturated fats, but keep healthy fats. Include moderate amounts of monounsaturated fat (30
to 35 percent of calories) rather than following a strict low-fat diet.
Eat generous amounts (five or more servings) of non-starchy vegetables and one to two
servings of low-glycemic index fruit every day.
Lose weight if you are overweight. Even small amounts of weight loss can improve insulin
Exercise. Vigorous aerobic exercise decreases the cells' resistance to insulin.
Eat fish frequently. The best are cold-water fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like wild
Alaskan salmon and sardines. This type of fat seems to improve cells' response to insulin.
Eat small, frequent meals to keep blood sugar levels as stable as possible.

Nutrition and Supplements

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This powerful antioxidant has been shown to be beneficial for heart
health by protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation and re-energizing the mitochondria in the
heart cells, which is where energy metabolism occurs.
Alpha-lipoic acid. This antioxidant nutrient improves the cells' response to insulin and can help
stabilize blood sugar levels.
Magnesium. Higher insulin and blood sugar levels are often observed in people with low plasma
magnesium levels and magnesium supplementation improves insulin resistance in animal
Chromium. This mineral helps stabilize blood sugar, may improve serum lipid profiles, and also
may help the body utilize glucose and burn fat. The best form to use is GTF Chromium.

High Homocysteine - Overview

Homocysteine is an amino acid that becomes available to the body with the breakdown of
dietary protein. Homocysteine is also produced in the body from another amino acid called
methionine. One of methionine's main functions is to provide methyl groups for cellular reactions.
A methyl group is a small, simple chemical fragment consisting of one carbon molecule and
three hydrogen molecules. When methionine donates a methyl group for a cellular reaction, it
becomes homocysteine. Typically homocysteine then receives another methyl group from either
folic acid or vitamin B6 and is turned back into methionine. Vitamin B12 acts as a co-factor for
this reaction.

A high homocysteine level is primarily a sign of an inadequate intake of folic acid or vitamin B6.
In short, if you don't have enough of certain critical B vitamins, your homocysteine level can rise.
At elevated levels, homocysteine is thought to contribute to plaque formation by damaging the
arterial wall. High levels may also act on platelets and increase the risks of clot formation.

Causes and Symptoms

High homocysteine levels can be due to:

Genetics. There are genetic variations in folic acid absorption and utilization. Some individuals
therefore need much more folic acid than the RDA of 400 mcg.
Stress. Epinephrine and norephinephrine are stress-induced neurotransmitters. Their
metabolism in the liver involves methylation, a process that uses methyl groups, and can
increase need for methyl donors like folic acid.
Coffee consumption. As coffee consumption increases, homocysteine levels increase.
Inadequate amounts of folic acid, vitamin B6 or vitamin B12 in your diet and supplements.

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

To lower your homocysteine levels:

Increase dietary B vitamins. The richest sources of folate (the name for the family of folic acids
found in food) are green vegetables, orange juice and beans. The RDA for folic acid is 400 mcg.
Learn how to moderate your stress. Breathing exercises, meditation and mind-body exercises
such as yoga can help to reduce stress.

Nutrition and Supplements

Start getting more folic acid. Augment your intake of dietary B vitamins with a daily B-100 B-
Complex supplement.

Angina Pectoris - Overview

Angina is chest pain that can occur when there is a dramatic decrease in the blood supply to the
heart, an increased demand for oxygen by the heart, or a combination of both. It is a classic
symptom of coronary artery disease and is sometimes predictive of heart attacks. If the walls of
the coronary arteries are hard and unable to relax (for example, as a result of atherosclerosis),
the vessels will not be able to dilate properly, which affects blood flow. Increasing physical or
emotional exertion increases the demand for oxygen. If the arteries are so blocked that the heart
cannot receive sufficient oxygen to meet its needs, angina can result.

Causes and Symptoms

Angina is often linked to the following:

Coronary artery disease. Plaque formation can narrow the arteries supplying the heart to the
point that the blood flow can no longer meet the heart's demands.
Coronary artery spasm. In some cases angina can result from arterial spasms, which cause a
temporary constriction in the artery.
Emotional or physical stress, exerting oneself after a meal, or extreme temperature changes.
Cigarette smoking. Nicotine has direct effects on blood vessels, which can bring on an angina

The single most important feature of angina is chest pain brought on by physical exertion.
Exertion increases the oxygen demands of the heart beyond the supply capabilities of
compromised coronary arteries, resulting in pain. The length of an attack and the severity can
vary. While most experience chest pain, angina may also feel like a tightness or pressure in the
chest, or pains that radiate to the neck, along the left shoulder or down the left arm. Difficulty
breathing and nausea may also be present.

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

Several studies suggest that coronary artery insufficiency can be reversed by following a
conscientious program of lifestyle modification involving a strictly vegetarian low-fat diet,
practicing yoga and meditation, group therapy and moderate exercise. In addition, don't smoke,
and quit if you're currently a smoker.

Nutrition and Supplements

For those with angina, try:

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). It is a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to be beneficial for
heart health by re-energizing the mitochondria in the heart cells, which is where energy
metabolism occurs. CoQ10 may thus assist in lowering the oxygen demands of the heart by
improving its energy efficiency. This nutrient may also help lower blood pressure.
Hawthorne. Another antioxidant with beneficial heart-health properties, hawthorne may help
improve coronary artery blood flow and circulation to the extremities of the body, therefore
improving symptoms of angina.
L-arginine. A precursor to nitric oxide that relaxes blood vessels in the heart and improves
cardiac metabolism.

NOTE: Both hawthorne and L-Carnitine should only be used under the supervision of a physician.

Cholesterol - Overview

High cholesterol is also a well-known risk factor in heart disease. This waxy, fat-like substance
comes from the diet, but is primarily made by the liver, and is an essential component of cell
membranes. The body also uses it to produce hormones and vitamin D.

Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream attached to two different compounds called
lipoproteins: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is
commonly known as the "bad cholesterol"; it carries cholesterol from the liver throughout the
body, making it available and potentially allowing it to be deposited in artery walls. HDL is known
as the "good cholesterol"; it picks up cholesterol from the blood and delivers it to cells that use it,
or back to the liver to be recycled or eliminated from the body.

Causes and Symptoms

The body needs cholesterol to function, but too much of it in the blood, or too much of the wrong
kind, can add up to trouble. The factors leading to heart disease are as follows:

High total cholesterol, especially high LDL levels. These two factors combine to form a well
known risk factor for heart disease (though people can have heart disease without having high
cholesterol). Lifestyle may influence cholesterol levels in part, especially the consumption of
saturated fats, but the tendency toward high cholesterol appears to be genetic. Treating high
cholesterol levels with dietary and nutritional supplementation is moderately effective.
Medications to lower cholesterol are usually very effective.

Low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. This is a different pattern than high total and
LDL cholesterol although someone may have both. This pattern, sometimes called “Syndrome
X,” is associated with insulin resistance. It is frequently influenced by diet and lifestyle, but also is
genetically driven and appears to affect about 30 percent of the population. It carries with it an
increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes as well as heart disease. Dietary and
nutritional supplement treatments for this pattern are different from those for high total and LDL
cholesterol levels. Here, lifestyle changes are generally quite effective.

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

To improve your cholesterol profile, try the following:

Lose weight. Even a modest amount of weight loss can lower cholesterol levels.
Reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat. The richest sources of saturated fat (fat that is
usually solid at room temperature) in the diet are dairy foods (except the fat-free versions),
especially whole milk, cheese, butter and cream. Red meat is also high in saturated fat.
Avoid trans-fat. These heart damaging fats can reduce HDL levels and raise LDL levels. If you
find "partially hydrogenated oil" listed in the ingredient list on food labels, find a healthier
substitute. There are many spreads available on the market today that are free from trans-fat.
Trans-fat is found in many margarines and in most heavily processed foods, as well as in snack
foods like chips, crackers and cookies, and in the oils used to cook fast-food french fries,
doughnuts and movie popcorn.
Exercise. Daily aerobic exercise is one well-proven method to increase HDL levels.
Don't smoke. Smoking is a risk factor for heart disease all by itself, but can also significantly
lower HDL cholesterol.
Relax. Emotional stress may trigger the body to release fat into the bloodstream, raising
cholesterol levels. Practice daily breathing exercises and a stress-reduction technique that
works for you, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery or tai chi.

Nutrition and Supplements

The following may help to reduce cholesterol levels:

Eat some nuts every day. My Optimum Health Plan's menu plan is rich in nuts, especially
almonds, walnuts and cashews, which contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Substitute soy protein for animal protein. The protein in soy foods has been shown to lower
cholesterol levels. Try to incorporate two servings a day into your meals. Choose from tofu,
tempeh, soy milk, whole soy beans and roasted soy nuts.
Use fresh garlic regularly in your meals. Garlic has been shown to lower both cholesterol levels
and blood pressure - and it tastes wonderful, too. Use one or two raw or lightly cooked cloves a
Drink green tea daily. The antioxidants in green tea help lower cholesterol and prevent the
cholesterol in your blood from oxidizing.
Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has a powerful cholesterol-lowering effect. The best
sources of soluble fiber are beans and lentils, apples, citrus fruits, oats, barley, peas, carrots
and ground flax seed.
Limit refined carbohydrates. A diet full of cookies, cakes, crackers, fluffy breads, chips and
sodas can increase triglyceride levels and lower HDL.
Take Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to be
beneficial for heart health by protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation and by re-energizing the
mitochondria in the heart cells, which is where energy metabolism occurs. CoQ10 may also help
lower blood pressure.
Take fish oil. Though omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil don't specifically lower total or LDL
cholesterol levels, they do seem to reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing platelet
stickiness, inflammation and triglyceride levels.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) - Overview

As the heart pumps blood through the arteries (large blood vessels), it pushes the blood against
the arterial walls with a force that is measured as "blood pressure." High blood pressure is
defined as a reading above 140/90 mm Hg (systolic/diastolic). (Systolic pressure - the first
number - measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts. Diastolic pressure -
the second number - measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxing between
beats and filling with blood.) Research now suggests that "high-normal" blood pressure (130 to
139 over 85 to 89) can also raise risk of cardiovascular disease. Normal blood pressure is 120
to 129 over 80 to 84, and optimal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. Excessive pressure
makes the heart work harder, increasing its oxygen demands and contributing to angina, and
can eventually lead to an enlarged heart (cardiomegaly), as well as damage to blood vessels in
the kidneys and brain. Hypertension, therefore, increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and
kidney disease.

Hypertension is the most common form of cardiovascular disease in America, affecting about
50 million people - that's close to one out of four adults. The good news is that hypertension is
easy to detect, and can often be improved or controlled with changes in diet and lifestyle.

Causes and Symptoms

Hypertension is often called a "silent killer" because even severe, uncontrolled high blood
pressure usually has no obvious symptoms.

The elderly are at increased risk for hypertension, and high blood pressure can occur as the
arterial walls lose their elasticity with age and cause the pressure of the blood moving through
the arteries to rise. In most cases (those known as "essential hypertension"), Doctors cannot
pinpoint the precise cause of high blood pressure. However, they do know that certain factors
can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure:

Stress can cause hypertension by activating the sympathetic nervous system, causing the
arteries to maintain a more rigid tone.
Eating large amounts of sodium can cause excess water retention, expand blood volume and
ultimately increase blood pressure.
Caffeine acts as a cardiovascular stimulant and raises blood pressure.
A diet low in calcium, magnesium and potassium can increase blood pressure.
Insulin resistance can increase blood pressure by causing the kidneys to retain sodium.
Regular alcohol intake can increase blood pressure.
Being overweight increases blood pressure.
Medications. Some prescription drugs, including steroids, birth control pills, decongestants,
NSAIDS and diet pills can raise blood pressure. Some over-the-counter medicines, such as
those containing licorice root, ephedra, guarana, kola nut, yerba mate, ginseng and yohimbe,
may also raise blood pressure.

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

Limit your caffeine intake. The caffeine in coffee, tea and sodas can contribute to high blood
Limit alcohol intake. Blood pressure increases as your body metabolizes alcohol.
Avoid processed foods. These are the biggest sources of sodium in today's diet.
Maintain optimal weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can improve blood pressure.
Relax. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and biofeedback are all relaxation techniques that
can help lower blood pressure.
Don't smoke. Smoking contributes to all cardiovascular diseases - and many other life-
threatening conditions as well.
Exercise. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, like walking, can lower blood
Check your meds. Discuss your current medications and their risks of increasing blood pressure
with your doctor.

Nutrition and Supplements

The DASH diet, developed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health's National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute is based on a large-scale research study that identified the foods that
affect blood pressure (www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf). The most
important parts of the DASH are generous amounts of fruits and vegetables and low-fat or fat-
free dairy products that provide adequate calcium. The diet is also relatively low in fat and
sodium. DASH researchers have shown that diets rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium,
and low in sodium (2,400 mg or less), play an important role in maintaining healthy blood
pressure levels. People with high blood pressure should incorporate the components of the
DASH diet into their daily routine.

In addition, make sure you do the following:

Eat 8 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
Choose low- or non-fat dairy foods, consuming two to three servings per day.
Limit animal protein to 6 oz per day, emphasizing lean sources.
Say no to salt. Those with salt sensitivity or a family history or hypertension may benefit from
reducing salt to about one teaspoon a day (2,400 mg).
Use garlic, which has a modest effect on lowering blood pressure and may help relax blood
Consume 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds and dry beans per week (2 Tbsp nuts or seeds, or 1/2
cup cooked dried beans).
Eat plenty of fish. Include at least three servings of fish a week, emphasizing cold-water fish like
wild Alaskan salmon and sardines, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Take fish-oil
supplements if you cannot get enough omega-3-rich foods.
Take calcium and magnesium. Inadequate intake of both of these minerals has been associated
with high blood pressure. Women should get between 1,000 and 1,500 mg of calcium a day,
while men may want to get no more than the RDA (1,000 to 1,200 mg a day) from all sources.
Take vitamin C. A supplement of this antioxidant vitamin has been shown to lower blood
pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension.

Stroke - Overview

According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the
United States(when considered separately from other types of cardiovascular disease),
accounting for about one out of every 14.5 deaths. Approximately three-fourths of stroke victims
are over the age of 65, but a person can have a stroke at any age. Although stroke seems to
affect as many men as women, more women die of a stroke than men in all age groups.

Causes and Factors

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident, is the death of brain tissue caused from a
lack of blood flow and insufficient oxygen to the brain. The brain receives about 25 percent of the
body's oxygen supply from a continuous blood flow through the carotid arteries (that come up
through both sides of the front of the neck) and the basilar artery (which forms at the base of the
skull from the vertebral arteries).

There are two main classifications of strokes:

Ischemic. The blood supply is cut off to part of the brain, either due to atherosclerosis or a blood
clot. Infections, inflammation or certain medications can all contribute to ischemic strokes. These
strokes are the most common type, causing about 80 percent of all stroke cases.
Hemorrhagic. These strokes comprise the remaining 20 percent of cases. Hemorrhagic strokes
are caused from a ruptured blood vessel, preventing normal blood flow and causing bleeding
into an area of the brain. They can be the result of hypertension, which causes excessive
pressure on the arterial walls that may already be damaged by arteriosclerosis. A ruptured
aneurysm (the rupture of a weakened area in the blood vessel wall), can also cause a
hemorrhagic stroke. There is an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in those whose blood has
been made "too thin" by anticoagulant medications such as coumadin, or through the over-use
of aspirin or other medications with blood-thinning properties.

Strokes (like heart attacks) result from a sudden blockage in a blood vessel that reduces or cuts
off oxygen supply to the cells, often resulting in the death of the tissue. Strokes have recently
been termed "brain attacks" to convey the need for immediate action when one occurs. It only
takes a short period of time without oxygen to cause damage to the brain.

Risk factors for stroke include:

Age. The risk of stroke increases with age, doubling after age 55.
High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol all impact circulation and vascular
health and contribute to plaque and clot formation.
History of a clotting disorder.
Use of replacement estrogen therapy or birth control pills.

Suggested Lifestyle Changes

Control your blood pressure either through lifestyle changes or medication.
Exercise. People who exercise consistently have a lower risk for having a stroke.
If you smoke - quit.
Limit alcohol intake. If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. Moderate alcohol intake is
defined as no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks a day for men.
Manage diabetes and keep tight control of blood sugar levels.
Lower cholesterol into a healthy range.

Nutrition and Supplements

Focus on your diet. Follow a diet designed for those with high blood pressure and heart disease
- it may be helpful in preventing strokes.
Take calcium and magnesium. These minerals are helpful in controlling high blood pressure,
one of the strongest risk factors for stroke.

Congestive Heart Failure - Overview

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a very serious heart condition in which the heart cannot pump
sufficient blood to meet the circulatory needs of the body. Even though the condition typically
gets worse over time, people are able to live with the disease for many years.

Causes and Symptoms

CHF can stem from any disease that causes impairment in the heart's ability to contract and
pump blood. The impaired pumping power may follow a heart attack in which the heart muscle
was damaged, or the muscles may become thick or inflexible from hypertension, diabetes, or
improperly functioning valves. When the heart is constantly overworked, it first becomes larger
and thicker - as will any muscle in the body that you consistently exercise and push hard - and it
begins to beat more frequently. These changes eventually compromise the heart's efficiency,
however, and over time the heart tires out. Back pressure in the circulatory system may have
damaging effects on other organs, such as the kidneys, and fluid may collect in the lower legs,
causing swelling, or in the lungs, causing shortness of breath.

Factors linked to CHF include:

An overactive thyroid gland
A viral or bacterial infection in the heart muscle
Morbid obesity
High blood pressure
Damaged heart valves

Symptoms of CHF may include:

Fatigue and weakness, particularly when performing physical activities, which stems from a lack
of sufficient oxygen to the muscles.
Swelling in the lower extremities. If the right side of the heart is affected, fluid builds up in the
feet, ankles, abdomen, liver and legs. Left-sided heart failure can cause fluid retention in the
lungs, leading to shortness of breath.
Wheezing or coughing up pinkish phlegm.
Dizzy spells.
Rapid weight gain from fluid retention.

Recommended Lifestyle Changes

The most important thing you can change is your diet - obesity and diabetes are both linked to
diet, and both linked to CHF. Consult a nutritionist to determine a diet right for your situation.

If you smoke, quit. Tobacco has direct and damaging effects on the cardiovascular system.
Avoid salt. Sodium promotes fluid retention. Avoid high-sodium foods, heavily processed foods
and unnecessary salt.
Take your prescribed medication. Diuretics ("water pills") and beta blockers, as well as Digitalis
and others can strengthen the heart and make it work more efficiently.
Check other meds. Over-the-counter NSAIDS, such as aspirin, Motrin (ibuprofen) and Aleve
(Naproxen) may increase fluid retention. Tell your doctor about any remedies you are taking.
Control risk factors. Work with your doctor to address high blood pressure, diabetes and
atherosclerosis or other heart problems.
Reduce stress. The hormones released by the body in response to stress, anxiety and
depression make the heart work harder. Practice relaxation techniques, volunteer, and seek
positive social interactions. The relaxing breath (taught elsewhere on this site) can improve the
oxygenation of blood and take workload off the heart.

Nutrition and Supplements

If you are coping with, or are at risk of congestive heart failure, try the following:

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to be beneficial
for heart health by re-energizing the mitochondria in the heart cells, which is where energy
metabolism occurs. This nutrient is very important for the heart cells of patients with heart failure.
CoQ10 may also help lower blood pressure.
L-Carnitine. This amino acid is essential for energy metabolism of the heart muscle.
Cordyceps. This medicinal mushroom is a good energy booster and can improve the efficiency
of the lungs and heart.
Hawthorne. This herb may increase heart-muscle strength and also act as a mild diuretic.

Be sure to discuss the use of any supplement with your doctor. Your prescription drug dosages
may need to be adjusted as these other measures take effect

8 Ways to Prevent Coronary Artery Disease Through Diet

The best way to prevent heart disease is by modifying lifestyle. Your diet is one area that is
under your control and slight alterations can make a big impact on heart health. Begin
incorporating the following healthy habits into your diet:

Limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet, and avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils,
margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils, and all foods that might contain
trans-fatty acids (such as deep-fried foods). These can clog arteries and raise bad cholesterol
Avoid fast foods and highly processed foods, which can be high in calories and lead to weight
gain - a contributing factor in heart health.
Eat more fruits and vegetables - they provide antioxidants and fiber for overall health benefits.
Eat garlic. It can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and thin the blood.
Increase omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from fish and fortified
eggs. If you don't eat fish, I would recommend taking a fish oil supplement. The omega-3 fatty
acids they contain have been shown to be an effective preventive strategy against heart
disease, and they can lower triglycerides, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, help minimize
inflammation and blood clotting, and keep blood vessels healthy.
Substitute green tea for coffee. An antioxidant-rich brew, green tea has polyphenols which have
heart-protective effects. Dark chocolate is another good source of polyphenols.
Eat whole grains, nuts, and seeds for their fiber and other protective factors. At the same time,
decrease the amount of white bread, pasta and other refined carbohydrates in your diet.
Monitor your sodium intake - always taste foods before salting, and try not to salt at all. Avoid
adding salt when cooking, too.

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