high blood pressure

  • A Healthy Heart At Every Age

    A Healthy Heart At Every Age Ann Louise Gittleman

    Even if heart disease “doesn't run in your family,” this article is for you. Even if you have low cholesterol levels and your blood pressure is normal, this article is for you, too. This information doubles as both prevention and treatment— and its knowledge is critical for us all.

    In the past, you may have thought of heart disease as an illness that you associated predominately with men. These days, we know that more than one in three women have some form of cardiovascular disease. As of the 2016 fact sheet from the American Heart Association, 398,086 females passed away from cardiovascular disease or congenital cardiovascular disease, with 402,851 males passing away from the same. Further, they've found that 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stoke and that fewer women survive their first heart attack than men. This illness clearly does not favor one gender.

    So, what causes heart disease? Simply put, cardiovascular disease results when the lumens of the coronary arteries, which carry blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart, become smaller. This constriction can be caused by excess salt in the blood pulling fluid from the arteries. Arteries are further constricted by a buildup of fats, oxidized cholesterol, excess calcium, and plaque in the artery walls. Angina, or chest pain, occurs when the heart fails to receive enough oxygen through these narrowed arteries. When these arteries become obstructed, a heart attack can occur, resulting in damage to the heart tissue. This process of plaque buildup and obstruction is known as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

    What Are the Risks?
    There are over 250 risk factors for heart disease that have been identified. However, you'll be relieved to know that a large number of these factors—including many that are especially dangerous—can be lowered with lifestyle choices and changes. However, two risk factors associated with heart disease are beyond your control: heredity and age. For both men and women, the closer your blood-tie to a relative who suffered from heart disease, the greater your risk of developing it. In addition, age is a factor for women. As women reach menopause, their risk factor of developing heart disease rises significantly. Regardless if your family history predisposes you to a higher risk or not or your current age, there are certain risk factors that you should be mindful to pay close attention to. Let's touch on a few that you can begin making changes to reduce today.

    High Blood Pressure
    Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is both a cause and an effect of cardiovascular disease. The exact cause of hypertension is generally unknown, but what we do know is that high blood pressure often accompanies heart disease. The excessive force of the blood against the arteries weakens the cellular walls, allowing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, excess calcium, and other toxic substances to form deposits that eventually block the arteries. Almost 50 percent of all midlife women are diagnosed with hypertension by age 50. Most who have hypertension are unaware of it because it usually produces no physical symptoms. Routine blood pressure checks, at least every two years, can detect potential hypertension; blood pressure readings above 140/90 may spell danger. Because so many test results have shown a direct relationship between high salt intake and hypertension, removing the salt shaker from your table would be wise. Sodium is a factor in hypertension because it causes fluid retention, which adds stress to both the heart and the circulatory system. Hypertension, left undiagnosed or untreated, can result in stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and other serious diseases.

    Smoking
    Let's face facts: if you still smoke, your chances of dying from heart disease are almost three times as great as those of dying from lung cancer. The negative effects of smoking on your cardiovascular system are related to several actions. Nicotine causes blood platelets to become sticky, increasing plaque formation. Smoking also has been shown to decrease levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and increase LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Cigarettes are high in cadmium, a toxic mineral that damages heart tissue. The Nurses' Health Study, conducted by Harvard researchers, found that women who smoked just one to four cigarettes a day had nearly two and one-half times the rate of heart disease of nonsmokers. Keep in mind that even secondhand smoke increases your risk of heart disease, so make your home and car smoke-free environments.

    Obesity
    Unfortunately for us, weight appears to be a more significant risk factor for women than it is for men. A study by Harvard researcher JoAnn Manson, MD, found that in obese women, seven out of ten cases of heart disease resulted from their excess weight. Even women who are at the high end of their “normal” range seem to have an increased risk. To compound the problem, overweight women tend to be sedentary; they are also more likely to develop hypertension, high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and type 2 diabetes, all of which increase the likelihood of heart disease. How the weight is distributed on your body also seems to have an impact.

    Women with an apple body shape—who have a proportionally higher amount of fat around their abdomen than elsewhere on their body—have higher rates of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes than their pear-shaped sisters, who carry their excess fat in their hips and thighs. Scientists believe this association relates to the hormone cortisol, which causes fatty acids to be released into the bloodstream from the central fat cells. These cells are located close to your liver; the released fatty acids stress the liver, causing cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin levels to rise. Psychology researcher Elissa S. Epel has also discovered that apple-shaped women feel stress more and produce more cortisol as a result than do pear-shaped women.

    Diabetes
    For us women, diabetes is an additional risk factor for heart disease. Blood platelets in diabetics seem to stick together more readily than in non-diabetics, causing clogging of the arteries. Diabetics also have higher total cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol levels. Research shows that women over the age of 45 are twice as likely as men to develop type 2 (formerly known as adult-onset) diabetes, and female diabetics are at double the risk of heart disease of male diabetics. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be managed with diet and exercise.

    A Sedentary Lifestyle
    Movies depicting life on the nineteenth-century American frontier and Canadian wilderness are harsh reminders of just how physically demanding everyday life once was. We might enjoy watching someone else chop wood, carry buckets of water long distances, and walk behind a plow horse, but few of us would trade in our computers, microwave ovens, and central heating to live that life. All our muscles, including our heart, need exercise, however. Exercise helps lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Regular aerobic exercise—such as walking, running, jumping rope, and dancing—reduces the risk of heart disease by about 30 percent in postmenopausal women. It also influences several other risk factors.

    People who exercise regularly have a 35 percent lower risk of hypertension, as well as a lower risk of diabetes. Exercise stimulates production of serotonin, endorphins, and other brain chemicals that reduce anxiety and stress and create a balanced sleep-wake cycle, helping to control cortisol levels. When you exercise, you also aid calcium metabolism, triggering the calcification process within your bones so excess calcium does not build up in your blood vessels. And you don't even need to spend one to two hours a day in strenuous activity to achieve cardiovascular benefits. Do keep in mind that over exercising can be just as harmful as being a couch potato. Moderate exercise, performed regularly, significantly decreases your risk of heart disease.

    No matter your age, stage, and gender, it's import to make daily choices that love your heart and your health.

  • Images of Menopause in Western Society

    Menopause is the term used to describe the progressive cessation of menstruation in a woman over time. Menopause typically occurs after a woman’s child-bearing years, between the ages of 45 and 50. Some women, however, experience it as early as 35 and as late as 60 years old. The process of menopause can last for two to six years, during which time a woman’s hormone levels change due to the reduction in the production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries as they cease to produce eggs. Physiologically, menopause marks the end of a woman’s childbearing capacity and is a part of her natural aging process.

  • Is Your Hectic Lifestyle Making You Sick ?

    Face it. Life is a balancing act. Between work, relationships, parental duties, staying fit, academic efforts, maintaining friendships, community involvement and personal fulfillment, it’s a wonder most of us can even find time to catch our breath. Yet we soldier forward with all our obligations and commitments because we have to, and in most cases, we want to. But when life gets so hectic the stress of it all impacts our mental and physical well-being, it’s time to take action.

    Becoming familiar with the ways different types of stress can affect our minds and bodies, specifically our immune system, as well as learning about the available tools that have been clinically proven to manage the impact of stress on the immune system, are proactive steps toward keeping healthy. Lessening the impact of harmful invaders on our immune system entails not just strengthening it to combat the bacteria and viruses that cause common illnesses, but also ensuring that our immune system’s response to such external stimuli as allergens is not too strong—as asthma and other long-term health implications can result. In short, keeping our immune systems in check, but more importantly, in balance, is imperative to our overall health.

    How Stress Affects the Immune System
    While many aspects of our daily lives can negatively impact our immune systems—a less-than-optimal diet, travel, pollution, changing seasons, overexertion during exercise, lack of sleep and even the normal aging process—stress can also interfere with a healthy immune system.

    Certain physiological changes occur to help an individual cope with stress. Chronic activation of the neurological pathways associated with stress result in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters/ chemicals, which then alter the function of certain cells of the immune system. These altered cells cause the immune system to respond improperly, either by over-responding or under-responding, to bacteria, viruses, allergens, fungi and parasites.

    In addition to impacting the human immune system, stress that is mismanaged and remains too high for prolonged periods of time can lead to a variety of symptoms associated with very serious illnesses, including heart disease, anxiety disorders, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, respiratory disorders, accidental injuries and cirrhosis of the liver. Stress has been linked to all of these illnesses, all of which are leading causes of death in the United States.

    Types of Stress
    There are certain types of stressful events and situations called “stressors” that our bodies react to in different ways. Surprisingly, not all types of stressors negatively affect us. “Acute stressors” are time-limited and temporary. Public speaking and academic testing are examples of short-term stressors that temporarily boost, or over-stimulate, the immune system. The body quickly adapts itself to respond to short-term stressors through the “fight or flight” response by releasing such chemicals as adrenaline that enable our pupils to dilate, our awareness to intensify, our sight to sharpen, our impulses to quicken and our immune system to mobilize and increase activation. Much of the time increased immune system activity is a benefit to us, as it helps to ready the body for challenges, but in some cases an over-reactive immune system can result in allergies, asthma, chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

    “Sequential stressors” include major events that give rise to a series of related challenges, such as the loss of a spouse or a natural disaster. “Chronic stressors” are ongoing, persuasive demands that force people to restructure their identity or social roles and have no end in sight. Examples of such stressors include caring for an aging spouse or elderly parent, being victim of an event that leads to a permanent disability or fleeing a third-world country because of violence or war.

    Both sequential and chronic stressors suppress, or under-stimulate, the immune system, leaving the body open for attack and more vulnerable to illness. Other manifestations of these types of stress include: fatigue and exhaustion; headaches or migraines; neck and back pain or stiffness; gastrointestinal problems (nausea, diarrhea, constipation or colitis); chest pains or palpitations; sleep disturbances; family conflicts; job tensions; and a change in sexual energy.

    A Tool for a Balanced Immune System: EpiCor
    While we may be able to employ various proven tactics to reduce our stress level, such as exercise, meditation, acupuncture and/ or massage therapy, the fact remains that certain amounts of stress will be present in our lives; especially in today’s increasingly over-scheduled society. So, if escaping our stressors is not an option—and for most of us it’s not—we may need some extra help in keeping our immune system in balance while we deal with daily stress.

    One such all-natural tool that can be used in this capacity is a product called EpiCor™, which is comprised of metabolites that nourish and balance the body’s immune system. EpiCor strengthens resistance and maintains wellness before immune health issues develop by helping the body modulate its immune response.

    Just like the medical breakthroughs penicillin and X-rays, EpiCor was discovered by accident! When the parent company experienced minimal health insurance premium rate increases several years in a row and the incidences of employees using sick days were rare, a series of scientific studies were conducted. Findings confirmed that production workers who had been exposed to the ingredient experienced significantly higher immune activity than those workers who had not been exposed. EpiCor is unique in that just one 500 milligram capsule per day helps the immune system stay strong and healthy through balance. A strong immune system is not one that has only been stimulated or boosted. Those actions can certainly be helpful at specific times, but as we have just learned, there are times that the immune system can over-respond, leading to health issues. A strong immune system is one that is balanced and can respond appropriately, depending on the situation at hand. These two actions—boosting and suppressing—constitute EpiCor’s proven methodology known as “immune balance.”

    Research on EpiCor and What it Means to Us
    Unlike so many other immune health supplements, a bevy of scientific research supports EpiCor’s effects on the immune system. Favorable efficacy profiles have been observed for Epi- Cor in clinical trials, and studies at the cellular (in vitro) level have suggested its mechanisms of action. Multiple toxicological studies have been performed that prove the safety of EpiCor. In addition to finding that EpiCor has no contraindications, ongoing research has also confirmed EpiCor fights free radicals through its high antioxidant activity and helps to manage inflammation.

    Most recently, a published study found that EpiCor has a significant impact on the incidence and duration of the common cold and flu. Specifically, this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that taken once a day, a 500 milligram EpiCor capsule significantly decreased the incidences of cold and flu symptoms as well as observable symptom duration. These results translate into fewer sick days for people taking EpiCor, which is of great importance to American businesses dealing with health care costs, employee sick days and lost revenue.

    Now think of what this research on EpiCor means for our personal overall health which, as we have learned, is directly affected by our stress levels. If we are healthy, we are not staying home sick from work and falling behind. If we are healthy, we are more likely to be fully engaged when interacting with our partners, children and friends, thus strengthening those relationships instead of aggravating them by being over-stressed and irritable. If we are healthy, we have more physical energy to participate in personal fulfillment activities that interest us and allow us to decompress, such as gardening, cooking, exercising and reading. And finally, if we are healthy, we are not spending money on medial deductibles, treatments or unnecessary prescriptions, which is a major concern according to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) recent national survey reporting that money is the leading cause of stress for 75 percent of all Americans. The APA also found that 77 percent of people suffering from stress reported physical symptoms including fatigue, headache, upset stomach, muscle tension, change in appetite, teeth grinding, change in sex drive and feeling dizzy.

    Sound familiar?

    Isn’t it time we broke this vicious stress-illness cycle? Keeping our immune system balanced is the first step. In addition to giving our immune system the very basic things that help to keep it healthy—good nutrition and plenty of sleep—there are other things we can do to support it as well. One such thing is EpiCor. As an all-natural, safe and economical way of supporting the immune system, EpiCor just may be the key to a balanced and healthy life.

    References:
    • Jensen, G, et al. An anti-inflammatory immunogen from yeast culture induces activation and alters chemokine receptor expression on human natural killer cells and B lymphocytes in vitro. Nutrition Research (2007), 27:6, 327–335.
    • Moyad, M, et al. Effects of a modified yeast supplement on cold/flu symptoms. Urologic Nursing (2008), 28:1, 50–5.
    • Padgett, DA, et al. How stress influences the immune response.
    • TRENDS in Immunology (2003), 24:8, 444–8. Segerstrom SC, et al. Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychological Bulletin (2004), 130, 601–30.
  • Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally

    Lowering Blood Pressure Naturally Charles K Bens

    High Blood Pressure Is Often Called "The Silent Killer" due to the fact that so many people don’t realize they have high blood pressure before it is too late. Here are some basic facts to consider.

    • Systolic (the higher number) measures blood being pushed from the heart.
    • Diastolic (the lower number) measures pressure at rest when the heart is starting to refill.
    • Excellent blood pressure is 115 over 75, not 120 over 80, which is often recommended.
    1. Pre-hypertension is 120–139 over 80–89.
    2. Hypertension is 140 over 90 or higher.
    3. Hypotension is anything under 110 over 70 or lower.
    What causes high blood pressure?
    • The most common causes are:
    • Genetic factors
    • Ethnic background
    • Low level of physical activity
    • Excess salt intake
    • Obesity
    • Build up of plaque
    • Excess alcohol
    • Smoking
    • Poor nutrition

    Persistently high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, dementia, heart disease, stroke, arterial disease and vision problems. Conventional medicine uses medications for high blood pressure such as Diuretics, Beta Blockers, ACE Inhibitors, Calcium Channel Blockers or Aldosterone Blockers. These medications are often effective but can also cause many side effects such as heart muscle dysfunction, asthma, low heart rate, irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, kidney dysfunction, swelling of ankles and rapid heartbeat. These negative side effects can often be avoided by following a more natural approach based on excellent scientific evidence.

    Foods to include:
    • Vegetables
    • Omega oils
    • Fruits
    • Poultry and fish
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Whole grains (not wheat)
    • Foods to avoid
    • Saturated fat
    • Salt
    • Processed food
    • Sugar
    • Alcohol
    • Fried foods
    • Nutritional supplements to include:
    • Garlic
    • Fish oil
    • Magnesium
    • Vitamin E
    • Vitamin D3
    • Arginine
    • Taurine
    • L-carnitine
    • Vitamins C
    • Fish peptides
    • Co-enzymes
    • Q10
    • Lecithin

    Managing stress—Stress can increase blood pressure. Avoid stress, if possible, and use meditation, yoga, deep breathing, sunshine exposure or tai chi to help bring your blood pressure down.

    Exercise is important—Getting enough exercise is vital to maintaining good blood pressure. Try to get about 45–60 minutes a day of aerobic and strength exercise as well as some stretching and flexibility movements. Concentrate on the core as much as possible (the stomach and back).

    Final suggestions—If prescription medication is necessary there is one type that is preferred over the others and it is Telemisartin. This medication has very few side effects as well as several benefits such as improved arterial support and increased energy production. When diet, supplements, stress management and exercise are working for you it may be possible to substitute Telemisartin with a natural product called Pept ACE made from fish peptides.

  • The Power of Leptin Breaks Through Chronic Health Barriers

    Editor's Note: This third story in Kat James' series featuring the power of the little-known hormone, leptin, highlights common, living examples of the vast range of health issues dramatically and predictably affected by the recovery of function of the hormone, leptin, which circulates in all humans and most other animals and impacts literally all biological functions. For introductory and other stories on leptin's power, view James' first two articles on the subject in TotalHealth. Catching Up With Leptin Pioneer Kat James and Transforming Journeys Part 1.

    TRANSFORMED BEYOND BELIEF:
    Former Pescatarian Couple Breaks Through Chronic Health Barriers With The POWER OF LEPTIN

    Charles and Toby Geschwind—both in their early seventies— have seen more than their share of major health scares. Having become self-described natural health investigators out of necessity they've thus far succeeded in averting their own respective health disasters. Toby sent her own form of ovarian cancer into remission with a combination of diet and chemotherapy, though her cancer came back recently, and the chemo caused uncomfortable digestive and regularity challenges. Charles' prostate cancer and diabetes went into remission with his mix of conventional and nutritional treatment choices, though his pre-diabetes has lingered, and life-long heart beat irregularities have persisted, requiring (at least according to his somewhat famous cardiologist) life-long control with prescription drugs, which carry their own significant risks.

    In November of 2017, Charles and Toby happened on a lecture I gave in New York City and learned of my educational retreats focused on helping people recover the functioning of the master hormone, leptin (a hormone in our bodies that is malfunctioning in most North Americans). My health protocols—honed over seventeen years of hands-on coaching— were derived from my own original protocol that healed my own near-fatal health crises.

    Charles and Toby were part of a retreat group that convened at the<br />historic 1880s Harlem Jazz and Gospel Mansion to learn about leptin.
    Charles and Toby were part of a retreat group that convened at the historic
    1880s ‘Harlem Jazz and Gospel Mansion” to learn about leptin.

    In spite of many reservations, including their kosher restrictions, avoidance of red meat for ten years due to Charles' "A-fib" (irregular heartbeat), high blood pressure, and diabetic history, plus their relegation of fat (especially animal fat) to the dietary villain list on the advice of Charles' well-known cardiologist…my promotion of high-fat, meat, cholesterol, and certain dairy foods and limitation on so many of their low-fat and "health foods" including oatmeal, beans, and several fruits sounded like crazy talk at first to the Geschwinds. But the success stories, such as that of Shianne Lombard's, told here in TotalHealth a few months back, plus many more accounts of dramatic turnarounds in digestive, weight, sleep, energy and other issues they could relate to, convinced them to join me at a retreat in a landmark mansion in upper Manhattan only ten days following that lecture. Among many other "oddities," plunging into my protocol would involve moving past their pescatarian (fish was their only animal food) limitations, finding their optimal individual fat and protein ratios, incorporating certain strategic dairy products they'd long since "banned", and incorporating targeted supplements, while cutting out basically anything that would cause a rise in their own individual insulin and leptin hormones (this is an individualized factor subject to one's health and hereditary history). But plunge in they did. And about ten days later, both had literally transformed into very different biochemical beings.

    Charles started my regimen two days prior to the retreat, going through the expected low-energy day. By the day after he arrived at the retreat he was surprised to experience his first sleep through the night with only one waking in at least twenty years of waking 4–5 times. This common sign of recovered leptin function (leptin function recovery takes as little as three to four days) has proved permanent for Charles up to this writing, a month and a half later. His face started to change visibly to everyone by the second day at the mansion coinciding with loss of fluid (again, coinciding with the usual transitional timing and signs of leptin sensitivity).

    Toby began the regimen two days later, and thus went through the transitional discomforts on-site at the retreat. Weaning off of sugar as one's primary fuel and transitioning to the body burning fat as its new primary fuel, accompanies a drop-out in energy and marked die-off of sugar-fed yeast and fungi which can cause low energy and flu-like symptoms for a day or two. Seeing Charles changes (and that of several others at the retreat) in advance of hers was all the encouragement she needed to wait it out. On the fourth day Toby began to feel better. In the meantime, both Toby's and Charles' first bites of high-quality, grass-fed meat were surreal for them. Their bodies' immediate positive responses were encouraging (I could relate as I watched them, remembering my own first bite of meat after seven years away from it).

    Once home, physical changes were even more obvious and progressive, yet the initial surprise and opposition to the new diet from family members popped up. In Charles' words: "At first it was difficult for all of us to accept Kat's principles which were the opposite of everything we'd been told to do for our cancer, my heart disease, and my pre-diabetes. My younger sister is a nutritionist and told us it went against all she'd learned as well. But when we got home and my whole family noticed how different I looked and the continued changes, including my being able to walk greater and greater distances and up stairs without getting out of breath, they began to support our new way of life fully. The teller at my bank even called me over and commented on how I was looking. The change in only a handful of days was that dramatic.

    Within a week after we got home, Toby's cramps and poor elimination issues that had worsened with chemo soon fully resolved and our energy went through the roof. At that point, even my nutritionist sister was on-board with this approach.

    Labs at One Month: No More A-Fib, High Blood Sugar, or High Blood Pressure

    Charles' celebrity cardiologist was less embracing of what he'd embarked on and—even after dramatic swings to normal range blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart test values—still didn't really want to hear about it. "I took all of the blood pressure, blood sugar, stress, and heart monitor tests around December 5th," said Charles. "He called me the next day and told me to get off of my Metoprolol (a heartbeat-regulating drug with some significant side-effects) 'right away.' We re-tested my heart the day after I went off the drug and he told me that without medication my heart rate was now normal. 'I don't know what you did, but all of your numbers are perfect' is all he said. He is considered one of the most brilliant cardiologists, but when I started to tell him about this regimen, I could tell he did not want to hear about it. This is the first time in at least twelve years that I'm testing normal. I've had a racing heart all of my life. Now, for the first time, I have no a-fib.

    My new ability to sleep through the night since the second day on this protocol has also continued ever since. I could never fall asleep at a decent hour before and always got up numerous times. Now I'm up at seven taking a walk because I want to. That's something I've never done. Both Toby's energy and mine is through the roof. My clothes keep getting looser. My favorite Movado watch was too tight to wear on October 30th. I had a link removed a couple of weeks after the retreat because it was too loose. My clothes have continued to get looser and looser. I'm gaining strength and muscle. I can now walk for long periods without getting out of breath.

    What's amazing is I've always been an overweight, yo-yo dieter. This time I don't feel any self-deprivation. I used to be a bottomless pit. Now, all craving is gone. I look at and smell the "normal" food others are eating that I used to eat and it literally nauseates me now. I just don't want those foods. I do love what I'm eating now, though. That first steak was mind-blowing and I now feel how my body needs it now and then."

    Toby was initially even more hesitant than Charles to reintroduce red meat. But after her grimacing first bite, a change in expression followed "this is pretty darn good" she remarked in front of the group. And with all of the other tenets of the program in place, her physical (and ideological) transformation soon became apparent. Once home, to her amazement, her chronic cramping, digestive and elimination problems subsided within a week to the point of being completely resolved.

    Toby's CA-125 Tests and Cancer Considerations
    Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125) is a tumor marker test that is used to measure cancer-related proteins in the blood. It's reliability is controversial, but Toby is a strong advocate for all women getting the test, as high numbers very often coincide with cancer being present whereas below 35, and particularly single-digit numbers generally correspond with less presence of cancer.

    "Toby's CA-125 reading was 375 when she was first diagnosed in March, 2012 and then the day of the operation one week later it was 775. After her chemo and dietary changes she had gotten the number as low as 10.3. After the retreat it tested at 8.7, which is hard to get down to because the test also picks up various inflammation issues too. Needless to say she is very happy."

    A quick search of the terms "leptin" and "cancer" will give further illumination as to their relationship. What you want to strive for, as with insulin, is to avoid rises in leptin, due to dietary sugars. When leptin rises, so does proliferation of various cancers. Recovering leptin function is only possible when leptin levels are kept consistently low through dietary avoidance of carbs and sugar.

    On His Toes
    Charles was scheduled to have surgery on two of his toes, which had become immobile, at the end of November. After several other cases of recovered toe mobility with my protocol, I suggested that he postpone the operation with his doctor's approval. Now scheduled for three weeks after the publication of this article, Charles is hopeful that the surgery can be cancelled as he is seeing return of flexibility to those toes.

    "This program was the best thing we've ever done for our health. We even learned to do this with all of our kosher requirements, which makes all the difference to us. The richness and flavor of the food has convinced us that we could do this long-term. In fact not long after the retreat, we went to an elaborate Chanukah party where there were tons of inappropriate food choices...we weren't at all tempted to go off course."

    Hear Charles' live radio interview on The Kat James Show.

    Keep an eye out for my upcoming Dental Transformation story and consider joining my Costa Rica Total Transformation® later this month, which will serve as the exotic tropical backdrop for several transformation stories in- progress coming up.

  • The Sinatra Solution, Metabolic Cardiology Part I

    Editor's Note:
    This is the first in a series of articles drawn from The Sinatra Solution, Metabolic Cardiology by Stephen T Sinatra, M.D.

    In his introduction to this landmark work, James C. Roberts, M.D., FACC states the following: "Nutritional science provides answers to many lingering questions in medicine. It's the difference between natural science and the man-made science of drug therapy.
    Pharmaceuticals do play an important role in medicine and Dr. Sinatra and I study their use, but more drugs are not the only answer. A better answer is for physicians and patients to learn more about the biology of disease and the biochemical keys to energy production. This knowledge provides the insight needed to support the heart and the recovery of our health, well beyond what drug and surgical therapies can provide. That is why I'm so passionate about metabolic cardiology and that's what you will learn about in this important book.
    "

    Whether you are a practicing cardiologist, afflicted with a heart disease or simply the responsible owner of an adult body, we are confident you will find The Sinatra Solution an invaluable asset to achieving and maintaining optimum health.


    My journey as an integrative cardiologist has been an exciting period in my life, and it has brought me endless moments of satisfaction and joy. Yes, it is joyful when you can reduce human suffering and improve the quality of life for someone else. l have shared many moments of sublime satisfaction with my patients and their families, after their life has been improved or spared through the many alternative, pharmaceutical and technical tools of modern cardiology. But the specialty I hold so close to my own heart still has considerable limitations.

    Pharmaceutical drugs, bypass surgery, angioplasty, stent emplacements, pacemakers and implantable defibrillators all have their place, and many lives would be lost without these high-tech interventions. Cardiologists face a daily dilemma concerning the best diagnostic procedures to refer for their patients and then, based on those test results, which surgical and/or pharmaceutical interventions to select. To complicate the choice, the evaluations we order and the treatments we select may actually create unnecessary risks for patients-risks that are out of proportion to the benefits they will experience. Continuing technological advances, although necessary, add to the complexity of the decision-making process.

    Cardiologists have grown reliant upon these sophisticated medical processes. But somewhere along the way, something has gone amiss. There has been much mistrust of the conventional medical model among the public recently. Starving for new information, massive numbers of patients are consulting alternative therapy practitioners and are visiting book and health food stores in record numbers, creating a multibillion dollar industry outside of the mainstream medical community.

    What is driving even our most conservative patients to look at other forms of therapies? There are many reasons for the increased popularity of alternative medicine, including patient dissatisfaction with ineffective conventional treatments, pharmacologic drug side effects and the high price of medications. Perhaps most important is the fact that traditional medicine has become too impersonal with the involvement of high-tech modalities and time-limited office visits.

    Obviously, the medical consumer is searching for less invasive, safer and lower cost interventions. Some of this comes out of necessity; managed care plans have driven our patients into seeking cost-effective medical care delivery, as more of their health care dollars are coming out of their own pockets.

    Many patients are now questioning the need for potentially life threatening drugs and invasive interventions that carry considerable risk of side effects, complications and even mortality.

    Recent research has suggested that 2 million lives are lost each year as a result of complications from" standard-of-care" interventions, medical errors and complications. When we consider that the fourth leading cause of death in the United States is properly prescribed medications in a hospital setting, something's gotta give!

    Even in 2005, coronary artery bypass surgeries (CABS) are performed on the basis of clogged arteries alone with no regard to quality of life issues. This is not smart medicine. Rates of complications from CABS-such as heart attack, infection, stroke, and central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction-are disturbing. It is important to note that CNS dysfunction was observed in an alarming 61 percent of patients six months after CABS. People are naturally looking for less risky and fewer surgical alternatives in lieu of such downsides.

    During my 30 years of practicing cardiology I have seen a slow paradigm shift regarding the perceived availability of effective, natural alternatives for the treatment of a wide range of cardiovascular disorders-problems like angina, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure (CHF). More physicians have expanded their approach to heart disease and accept and recommend complementary therapies as equally judicious treatment interventions. However, invasive CABS is a sound approach to improve quality of life and possibly advance longevity when alternative or medical therapy fails to correct a patient's symptoms of refractory angina (chest pain, shortness of breath and so on).

    An integrative cardiologist is one who brings conventional methodologies to the table and also offers complementary and alternative interventions that can boost patients to an even better quality of life. Integrative cardiologists are as comfortable prescribing diet and lifestyle changes, a vast array of nutritional therapies and mind/body approaches as they are scheduling a treadmill stress test, recommending angioplasty and handing out a medication. They integrate the best of both worlds when caring for their patients.

    For example, I have encountered an endless number of patients awaiting heart transplants-those with the most seriously compromised heart function-who have been literally "cured" by nutritional therapies. Those who want to improve the quality of their lives through both conventional and alternative approaches.

    Getting well requires that the physician and the patient share in the healing process. I believe that we physicians don't really "cure" anyone. We merely coach, care for and support our patients . . . only nature heals.

    A good physician assists patients in finding and stimulating their own healing capabilities. Over the years I've learned that real healing takes place when the intention of the healer matches the intention of the patient.

    The real essence of "doctoring" employs elements from physical, emotional and spiritual realms to reduce human suffering and enhance quality of life. Integrative physicians who use whatever it takes to help heal the patient, are practicing good medicine, as well as what I refer to as smart medicine. And physicians who listen to "the messengers" around them are open enough, and wise enough, to understand that not only can they can learn from their teachers and colleagues, but also from their own patients as well.

    I know that many of my own patients are interested in how I became involved in nutritional and other non-conventional therapies. Most tell me how hard it is to find a physician comfortable with what (I'm sorry to say) we still call "alternative" approaches, and ask how I "fell into it." First of all, many of the practices we now call alternative are actually mainstream healing methods that we've abandoned in our age of technology. Indigenous and advanced cultures alike still use these therapies appropriately and with good results.

    I didn't "fall" into practicing and endorsing complementary forms of healing at all. I truly believe that I was led here. Within a year after passing my cardiovascular boards and becoming a credentialed invasive cardiologist, I began to realize something was missing. For instance, I started asking myself why I saw the same patients coming back into the emergency room with the exact same problems that had brought them there just months earlier-after we thought we'd "fixed" them. Too many times I would take care of a medical crisis, patch the patient up and send him back out, only to see them return again. Surely something was amiss.

    I didn't quite get it. I sincerely thought that I was doing the right things, but I wasn't really helping anyone's body heal itself. Instead, I was performing in the hospital like that proverbial boy desperately sticking his finger in a hole to patch up a dike doomed to break down. I was prescribing drugs and different therapies aimed at directly "fixing the problem," and they did-in the short term. Then I realized what I was failing to see was the bigger picture: I was doing nothing to actually help prevent or even cure the real, complex, underlying problems.

    MY JOURNEY
    At that juncture, I decided I needed to enter a psychotherapy training program to become more open to other modalities of healing, including mind-body medicine. Over the next decade I studied mind-body interactions, became a certified psychoanalyst and read all I could about nutritional medicine. I spent nine years studying bio-energetic psychotherapy, an approach that confirmed my experience and belief that stress in the psyche can translate into physiological processes that create "dis"-ease in the body. Eventually, I coupled this approach with learning all I could about providing better care for the psyche and the body. The latter brought me into the field of nutritional approaches as well as to cellular healing.

    It was at this point that I had my first encounter with coenzyme Q10. It seems no accident that I came across an article in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery reporting how patients taking coenzyme Q10 were able to be weaned more quickly from the heart-lung bypass machine we use during open heart surgeries. I'd recently lost a dear patient after a successful mitral valve replacement operation because he had failed over and over to come off that same pump-a nightmare scenario that happens on extremely rare occasions. So that article really grabbed me and made a strong impression. What regrets! What if I had known about coenzyme Q10 before I'd sent that kind man to a surgeon? His death had been a real heartbreak for me and one that still strays into my thoughts.

    I couldn't bring that one gentleman back, but from then on I could, and did, tell patients awaiting open heart surgeries to start taking a daily dose of 30 milligrams (mg) of coenzyme Q10 two weeks in advance. Thanks to the lessons from one patient, they all came off the heart-lung bypass machine without a problem.

    All through the 1980s I found myself driven to learn all I could about mind-body and nutritional medicine. It consumed most of my spare time. By 1986, I was convinced enough to start using coenzyme Q10 for more cardiac situations, like arrhythmias, hypertension, coronary artery disease, CHF and angina. In 1990 I actually began to develop my own vitamin and mineral formulas using coenzyme Q10, B vitamins, vitamins C, E, and D, carotenoids, flavonoids, calcium, fish oil, green tea and so on, and I believe that they all have merit in the treatment and prevention of heart disease.

    I read reams of research, and even authored several books and journal articles to share the success stories I was observing with my own patients, many of whom were transcending the kind of improvements I had only hoped and prayed for. As I watched those tears of joy and enjoyed hugs from my patients and their family members, it was obvious that we were onto something . . . something big! I didn't realize it, but in the future I would become a metabolic cardiologist.

    A few years later I started using L-carnitine and was truly amazed at how this combination of two nutraceuticals (coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine) provided an even bigger quality of life boost for people. Frankly, when I look back I don't know how I ever practiced cardiovascular medicine without them. Now it's unthinkable not to recommend them to my patients with heart failure, arrhythmia, angina and hypertension. Knowing what I know now, withholding information about these nutraceuticals would be tantamount to malpractice for me.

    It was a new beginning in my practice of medicine to be able to offer my patients alternative therapies that were safe and efficient-and that truly worked. Because nutrition had not been a part of the curriculum when I went to medical school, I had to make time to study it at great length, but my physician colleagues were often skeptical that I knew what I was talking about. So to be sure that I was qualified, I dug in, learned more and took the board examination given by the American College of Nutrition (ACN). I studied for two years, passed the exam and added CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialist) to my credentials.

    MITOCHONDRIAL DEFENSE
    In the 1990s I was recommending nutraceuticals to support the mitochondrial defense system in the cell. You may recall from high school biology that the mitochondria is nicknamed the "powerhouse of the cell" because it's primary function is to generate ATP, that complex energy substrate generated by the Krebs cycle (a long chemical process I hope you never had to memorize for a test question.) I serendipitously came to learn that preserving the mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate in our precious heart cells was really the answer in sustaining the pulsation of cells and life itself.

    I learned that pulsation in the body is the key to vibrancy and life itself in my bioenergetic training for certification. Even prehistoric man knew that life depended upon the pulsating heart. Another light bulb went off! I realized that the health of the heart cell's mitochondria was the key to pulsation and contraction. I became driven to devote my energies to studying the relationships among mitochondria, the heart and cardiological diseases.

    This complex relationship is the essence of metabolic cardiology.

    In 2002 I met Dr. James Roberts at a conference in Las Vegas and listened to his research on the utilization of D-ribose in the cardiac patient. D-ribose is a five-sided sugar that is the missing link in energy transformation. I was truly amazed by Dr. Roberts' presentation and we have become colleagues over the past few years. I have such a genuine respect for Dr. Roberts that I asked him to write the introduction to my book. A well-credentialed integrative cardiologist himself, Dr. Roberts knows the vital importance of D-ribose in providing and sustaining energy, particularly in hearts that are compromised.

    After using D-ribose dozens and dozens of times and becoming convinced of its efficacy, I wrote a newsletter article about it in my "Sinatra Health Report." I wanted to give this new and vital information to my 50,000-plus subscribers describing the emerging field I call "Metabolic Cardiology."

    As my knowledge and experience evolved, I came to realize that when you treat the mitochondria and nurture the heart on a cellular level, then you can improve the health of the whole organism. The study of mitochondrial energy and pharmacokinetics became such a passion that I wanted to write this book to get this life-saving information out to more and more people.