Having a healthy heart is always at the top of my priority, as my father passed away several years ago from a sudden heart attack and my brother had quite a scare just a couple of years ago.
Lifestyle changes are always the most important adjustments we take to stay healthy ( see the graphic above), but frequently cardiac patients are prescribed a number of drugs to counteract specific risk factors.
I’m not here to evaluate whether or not you need these drugs- that is between your own personal physician and yourself- but I do want to provide some information on the benefits of nutrients for your overall cardiovascular health.
Dr. Tom Carter, practicing cardio-thoracic surgeon, and expert on nutrition and heart health did an amazing job of simplifying some of the steps we can take to avoid heart disease in a thirty minute video you can see HERE.
For those of you who don’t have time to watch or prefer the concise version, here are some facts, simplified:
What Do Micronutrients and Supplements have to do with Heart Health?
First of all, LDL Cholesterol, often called the bad cholesterol, is still needed by the body for certain important functions, such as incorporation into nerve and brain tissue. It is a precursor for vitamin D synthesis as well as many necessary hormones.
The problem with LDL is that it is quite fragile, and the oxidized (damaged) form is quite sticky to the lining of your blood vessels.
What helps protect LDL Cholesterol from oxidative damage?
What Causes Artherosclerosis or Cholesterol Plaque?
As the LDL cholesterol sticks to the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels, homocysteine rises with increasing inflammation and further damages both the endothelial cells and the LDL cholesterol, making them even stickier and increasing the plaque buildup.
How can we Decrease Homocysteine Levels?
Homocysteine also is a precurser to some important healthy compounds called SAMe and Glutathione.
Conversion of homocysteine to SAMe and Glutathione requires the following nutrients:
What Happens Next?
Plaque formation and endothelial damage resulting in inflammation keeps cycling, eventually causing partial blockage of the arteries and blood vessels. The immune system sends in white blood cells (lymphocytes) and inflammatory proteins called cytokines.
Eventually the plaque forms a brittle fibrous cap on it that is ready to burst. During stress or unusual exercise our blood vessels spasm, and every once in a while that cap ruptures releasing a blood clot which blocks the entire pathway.
Result: Heart Attack, Stroke, or Death
How Would Dr. Carter Prevent this Occurrence?
Maybe you do want to take the time to watch The Video
Isn’t science fun? !
Here’s to Your Heart Health!