Diseases of blood vessels are a major cause of premature disability and
death. Proper, adequate diet revision should be aggressively sought as a
solution to this major endemic disease problem, if not by national policy, then
by personal prerogative.
Heart attacks and strokes are the most obvious consequence of damaged
arteries and increased clotting of blood. The main event of both heart attacks
and strokes is the occlusion by a sudden blood clot of one or more blood
vessels; the clotting event is called a thrombosis. When blood flow is
critically short cells die. When the coronary arteries are obstructed, the heart
muscle is damaged - a myocardial infarct and may fail. When the arteries
to the brain are obstructed a cerebral infarct occurs with loss of motor,
sensory or cognitive abilities. Neither the heart nor the brain can repair the damage so that the injury
leaves behind a permanent disability. Thrombosis occurs in arteries narrowed by
fatty lesions in the arterial walls, a process known as atherosclerosis. When
the coronary or cerebral arteries are diseased it is a matter of time
before symptoms of reduced blood flow are felt or an attack occurs.
Aging men and women are having more heart attacks and strokes.
One explanation is that the population at risk is becoming more sedentary with
an increase in obesity. Their food supply is clearly suspect and it is not just
the fat in the diet. These arterial problems with different and complex origins
link to the diets and lifestyle popular in Europe and North America and occur
less often among physically active, vegetable-eating populations who seldom eat
dairy products, meat, and other high-protein-fat foods. Well-known risk factors
are family history, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, excess body fat, and
physical inactivity. The risk of heart attacks positively correlates with higher
blood levels of cholesterol; the risk of strokes does not. Smoking and diabetes
are the greatest risk factors.
Fat Is Not the Only Pathogen in Food
High cholesterol theories of vascular disease are too simple. Cardiovascular
and cerebrovascular events are thought of, simplistically, as just one disease.
We prefer a whole-system's interactive model. No single dietary factor, such as
an elevated cholesterol level, will be solely responsible for calamitous events.
We must consider the total impact of the food supply. For example we should ask:
"What about the sugar and the protein content of foods? What food factors
increase clotting and increase the work-load on the heart? What dietary
conditions predispose to arrhythmias? What dietary factors are protective
against ischemic damage to the heart and brain?
There has been a relatively sudden paradigm shift in cardiovascular medicine
from fat theories of disease toward recognition of the pervasive rope of
inflammation. Inflammation is a consequence of immune activity. Chronic
inflammation may arise from food, infection, and autoimmune disease. I have yet
to meet a cardiologist who knows that food antigens, such as cow’s milk
proteins, can trigger inflammatory disease. Delayed pattern food allergy may
cause inflammation in vessel walls and trigger the clotting mechanism. Keaney et
a reported that:” background Inflammation within vulnerable coronary plaques may
cause unstable angina by promoting rupture and erosion. In unstable angina,
activated leukocytes may be found in peripheral and coronary-sinus blood. “
A non-specific indicator of inflammation is the C-reactive protein levels in
the blood. Elevated levels are associated with increased risk of heart attacks
and strokes. For example, Ridker et al studied 27,939 apparently healthy
American women, who were followed for eight years for the occurrence of
myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, coronary revascularization, or death
from cardiovascular causes. Elevated C-reactive protein levels were a better
predictor of vascular events than low LDL cholesterol levels. The researchers
reported that: ” 77 percent of all events occurred among women with LDL
cholesterol levels below 160 mg per deciliter (4.14 mmol per liter), and 46
percent occurred among those with LDL cholesterol levels below 130 mg per
deciliter (3.36 mmol per liter)… C-reactive protein and LDL cholesterol
measurements tended to identify different high-risk groups, screening for both
biologic markers provided better prognostic information than screening for
The Solution - Diet Revision and Exercise
To improve the health of modern citizens and to reduce, at the same time, the
increasing costs of health-care, self-responsibility for disease-prevention is
required. Each person will have to alter disease-causing habits, change poor
eating habits, stop smoking and drinking, and become more physically active.
Many years ago, in his best-selling book "The Pritikin Promise", Nathan Pritikin
advocated a more stringent low fat diet to combat cardiovascular disease. He,
like many nutritional theorists, chose one food demon to attack,
fat-cholesterol, but he also recommended limiting high protein foods such as
poultry, lean meat, and fish to 3.5 ounces per day. Pritikin advocated high
vegetable intake but discouraged the ingesting of vegetable oils. But some
vegetable oils have potential health benefits. Olive oil, for example, is
protective against heart attacks.
High Blood Pressure also relates to diet. For years, excessive sodium salt
was associated with hypertension, and low sodium diets were recommended.
According to the Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and
Control, non-drug strategies should be the priority for hypertension control in
the 90's. Smoking cessation, low fat diet, weight loss, exercise, reduced
alcoholic beverage consumption, and increased potassium intake with decreased
sodium are the important steps to avoid the problem of high blood pressure. A
vegetarian diet is favorable for anyone with high blood pressure and other
manifestations of cardiovascular disease.
The Alpha Nutrition Programis
designed to reduce cholesterol, total fat, saturated fats, and food allergy
while increasing vegetable fiber-all desirable measures in the effort to prevent
blood vessel diseases, heart attacks and strokes. Increased intake of potassium,
magnesium and calcium is advocated with a reduction in sodium salt intake.
Increased intake of six vitamins: folic acid, pyridoxine, Vitamin B12,
beta carotene, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and vitamin E-are recommended. The
program can be recommended, along with exercise and relaxation, as the most
important defenses against cardiovascular disease.
Alpha Nutrition is desirable for people who are struggling with chronic
symptoms that suggest they have food-related disease and also have some of the
risk factors for arterial disease. Clues to the pervasive effects of the wrong
food supply include headaches, fatigue, digestive symptoms, arthritic symptoms,
food cravings and compulsive eating or drinking. The presence of recurrent or
persistent symptoms means the complete comprehensive diet revision is required -
not just salt and fat reduction.
Major diseases originate from eating too much of the wrong food and damage is
done to many organs simultaneously. The evidence does suggest that some
interventions are beneficial in terms of preventing heart attacks and strokes
and that disease progression can be halted by important changes in diet and
increased exercise. The occurrence of a heart attack or stroke confirms that
atherosclerosis is advanced, damage has been done and that the rules of
intervention have changed. We suggest that a prudent person suffering early
vascular dysfunction symptoms would be wise to pursue vigorous, thorough diet
revision at the earliest opportunity.
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