SOMETIMES, death has a way of swirling around like a whirlwind, maybe just to let us remember it is still alive…..and around. Such was my experience about two weeks ago when I wrote on FACEBOOK that my stomach was getting wormy or filled with butterflies. No fewer than six persons I have been acquainted with for about 30 years passed in a row, so suddenly that I had to gird my loins. Some were going about their daily hustles when, suddenly, they collapsed and departed. One was bouncing up and down everywhere only two days before he passed on the hospital. One went to bed at night and was gone before dawn. The body of another is yet to be flown home from New York. She rose from sleep that last morning, futuristic. She hoped to be in Nigeria by December for the wedding of one of her nieces. She and one of her younger sisters went out to shop for relations and friends in Nigeria and to rekit their New York home with foodstuffs. The COVID19 pandemic had taken the jobs of her two sisters, so she had to pay the rent of $1,400 every month for their three-bedroom apartment and to place food on the dining table. They were lucky winter had not come and they did not have to spend extra money on heating. That done that morning, and all the Nigeria bound packages boxed up and sent to the post office, she retired to her own room….to pray. About one hour later, one of her dependant sisters found her body fallen from a chair on which she sat praying, her nostrils and mouth still oozing fresh blood! They called an ambulance immediately. When it came, it was not kitted well enough for her condition, so the second ambulance had to come. It was the personnel of this other ambulance who confirm her dead.
Hypertension and, perhaps, enlarged heart as well, are foundational cases in these deaths. THE GUARDIAN newspaper of (17 May 2021) says 72.2 million of Nigeria’s 220 million population, or about a third of the country, is HYPERTENSIVE and only about 23 million are treating this dangerous disease. Many hypertensive people do not know they are. Some of those who know to treat hypertension with kid-gloves. The figures come from the Nigerian Medical Association (MNA) and the Nigerian Hypertension Society (NHS) and Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), according to The Guardian report titled HOW HYPERTENSION, HEART DISEASES FUEL COVID19 DEATHS.
It may not be altogether correct to say that about two-thirds of Nigerian hypertension and heart disease cases are outside the treatment net. For there are all sorts of treatment nets outside allopathic or hospital care. More than 70% of the population rely on herbal medicines for their health care, with some proportions cross-linking with allopathy. In this market, confusion in choices is sometimes evident, with surging hither and thither. Many people cannot stand the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs and, so, seek rescue lifelines in Alternative Medicine. For example, anti-hypertensive drugs diminish male libido by slowing down the heart and, thereby, reducing blood flow to the penal shaft. These causes erectile dysfunction and embarrassment in the bedroom. Such affected patients are ever in search of rescue lines. Aspirin and other drugs prescribed for thinning the blood may cause Ulcerations in the stomach and intestine. The injuries may get worse if they are infected with bacteria or fungi, especially candida. The STATIN drugs for lowering total blood cholesterol levels interfere with the production of Coenzyme Q10(CoQ10) in the liver. This may create a shortage of CoQ10 in the heart. As CoQ10 provides energy for the pumping action of the heart, diminished supply means a weakening of heart function and undersupply of blood, nutrients and oxygen to all the cells as well as delayed removal of their waste products for elimination from the body. An accumulation of such wastes implies poisoning. Some diuretics are prescribed for stimulating the kidneys to reduce the water content of the blood volume, to reduce the workload on the heart, actually send more Potassium out of the body than the kidneys ought to allow. Potassium is an important factor in the stability of muscle function.
The heart, being a muscular organ, suffers from such Potassium loss. To prevent this suffering, doctors add a slow-releasing Potassium drug called SLOW K to the protocol. But this is an unnatural form of Potassium that does not properly synergize with natural elements in the body. Some doctors do not prescribe SLOW K. Some patients do not know they must take SLOW K with some types of diuretics. It is against this background that compliance with hospital therapies may be poor. The storyline in Alternative Medicine is not also always saintly. Among some practitioners, clinically proven plant medicines are not used because of the cost, particularly now that the Nigerian currency is very weak against other currencies. Happily, we still find cases of orthodox doctors combining clinically proven natural medical products with pharmaceutical drugs, a medical model now called COMPLIMENTARY OR INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE. As this column is all about herbs and diet or nutrition, and not about pharmaceutical drugs in which it is incompetent, for about four decades, it has been suggesting the use of diet and food supplements as well as clinically proven herbal medicines for elevated blood pressure(hypertension) and some heart-related health challenges.
In the series beginning today, I intend to recall some of those lifelines available for such conditions as rising blood pressure, hardening of the arteries(ARTEROSCLEROSIS), blockage of arteries(ATHEROSCLEROSIS), mitral heart prolapse, palpitation of the heart, arrhythmias or murmuring of the heart, congestive heart failure, low blood pressure, poor blood circulation, angina pectoris(pain in the heart weak heart due to insufficient blood supply to it) and heart attack, among many of the cardiovascular(heart and blood vessel) challenges of not only our time but of all generations as well.
Three leading authorities and authors in these fields will be our tour guides. Readers of this column are familiar with Dr. Robert Atkins, an American cardiologist and author of several books who was a pioneer of complementary medicine in the United States from the 1980s. According to his introduction in one of his books, DR ATKINS VITA NUTRIENT SOLUTION, which has been a companion to me since 1998: Robert C. Atkins, M.D, is the founder and medical director of the Atkins Center, world-renowned integrative medicine practice located in Manhattan. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Cornell University Medical school, Dr. Atkins has been a practicing physician, specializing in cardiology and internal medicine, for over thirty years. During his career, he has built an international reputation as a leader in the field of integrative medicine. He was the National Health Federation’s “Man of the year” and the recipient of the World Organization of Alternative Medicine’s Recognition of Achievement Award. He was also co-founder and last president of the Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative Medicine. He also recently accepted an advisory position at the Columbia Miami Heart Institute’s Center for Alternative Medicine and Longevity.
Dr. Atkins first gained wide acclaim in 1972 with the publication of his initial book, Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution. The book, which first detailed how a low carbohydrate diet combined with vitamin supplements could address most major health ailments, has become one of the top fifty best-selling books of all time, with worldwide sales of more than ten million copies. Dr. Atkins has gone to write several and best-selling books, including Dr. Atkins’ Nutrition Breakthrough and Dr. Atkins’ Health Revolution. His most recent book, Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution has sold nearly two million copies and spent over one year on the New York Times Bestseller List. In addition to his books, Dr Atkins reaches over one million people monthly via his nationally syndicated radio show, Your Health Choices, and newsletter, Dr Atkins’ Health Revelations. The two others were commissioned by NEW YORK TIMES newspaper to write health books which became instant Euro-American best sellers. They are JEAN CARPER, who wrote STOP AGING NOW and co-authors JUDY LINDBERG McFARLAND and LAURA GLADYS McFARLAND, authors of AGING WITHOUT GROWING OLD.
Jean Carper and the McFarlands gained mastery of the anti-aging industry by attending hundreds of high-powered conferences and seminars during which breakthroughs in scientific studies were discussed. Jean Carper was introduced in her STOP AGING NOW:
“JEAN CARPER is a leading authority on health and nutrition and the author of numerous books, including the best-selling food—Your Miracle Medicine and The Food Pharmacy. She is also a columnist for USA Weekend”.
The book AGING WITHOUT GROWING OLD describes Judy Linberg McFarland as follows:
“JUDY LINDBERG McFARLAND is a world-recognized seen on many television programs such as The 700 Club on CBN with Dr. Pat Roberson and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. She now appears on TBN in a weekly series entitled Doctor to Doctor, where she discusses various aspects of health. Judy has a B.S. in Foods and Nutrition from Pepperdine University and learned much of her expertise from her mother, Gladys Lindberg, an early pioneer in the field of applied nutrition. She was the President of the American Nutrition Society in Southern California and has been a longtime member of the National Nutritional Goods Association, serving on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Judy and her husband, Don, own Lindberg Nutrition, their retail store, and Nutrition Express, a mail-order company that ships products throughout the world. These are family businesses run with the assistance of their adult children—Gary, Dan, Laura, and Douglas”.
Addressing the importance of beta-carotene in hypertension therapy, Dr Atkins says:
“The antioxidant action of beta-carotene plays a very important role in the prevention of heart and artery disease. A study of 333 patients who took 50mg of beta-carotene showed that the nutrient reduced major cardiovascular events by 50% in comparison with people who did not take the supplement. Beta-carotene was also found to have a protective effect in angina patients, who experienced far less chest pain on diets that were high in natural beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is also known to increase the level of protective HDL cholesterol. Cholesterol cannot clog arteries until it oxidizes, and many studies have shown that beta-carotene can prevent this dangerous reaction from taking place. Although Vitamin C appears to be the first line of defense in protecting cholesterol from going bad, beta-carotene plays an equally important role as the essential backup nutrient”.
Among her suggestions are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, Selenium, and Magnesium in addition to “antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables”. She says of Magnesium:
“Don’t risk aging prematurely and cutting your life short just because you don’t get enough magnesium. It’s a youth-preserving mineral, especially for your heart. Even small shortages of magnesium appear to make a difference in how long you live and how fast you age. For one thing, as you age you tend to eat diets lower in magnesium and worse, absorb less of it. That lack can accelerate the aging process, as animal studies strikingly illustrate. Animals made deficient in magnesium age more rapidly and die earlier. Depriving young animals of magnesium creates vascular changes and neuromuscular abnormalities typical in aged animals. Giving animals magnesium supplements prevents these premature aging changes. Indeed, animals starved of magnesium are nearly perfect specimens of accelarated aging, say French researchers.
If you chronically have suboptimal levels of magnesium, you, too, can expect to show the signs of old age earlier on particular, clogged arteries, heart arrhythmias(irregular heartbeats), heart attacks, high blood pressure, and Insulin resistance possibly leading to diabetes”.
McFarland mentions beta-carotene, Coenzyme Q10(CoQ10), L-carnitine, and Magnesium. She mentions, as well, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 to lower homocysteine blood levels. She does not forget Chromium, Hawthorn berries, Garlic, Cayenne, Flaxseed oil and some more. Of CoQ10, Judy McFarland says:
“Coenzyme Q10 also called CoQ10, Ubiquinol 10 or Vitamin Q is now being called a “miracle nutrient” by many. It is an essential component of the metabolic process involved in energy (ATP) production.
Dr. Karl Folkers, who was professor and director of the Institute for Biochemical Research at the University of Texas in Austin, has been recognized for years as the world’s leading at the American Academy big Anti-Aging Medicine conference in 1996. When I told him about this book and that I’d quoted him, with a twinkle in his eye he said, ‘Oh, don’t believe a thing I’ve said. He was over 90 years old and charming! During this lecture, Dr. Folkers said, ‘I don’t use the word ‘cure’ lightly but CoQ10 is the ‘cure’ for heart disease’.
He has conducted biochemical, biomedical, and clinical research on CoQ10 for some 35 years and has succeeded in establishing its structure and in isolating CoQ10 in human hearts. The highest concentration of the enzyme is in the heart muscle. His research shows a definite link between CoQ10 deficiency and human heart disease”.
There would appear to be nothing like CoQ10 and Ubiquinol for heart health and heart disease, as this series promises to reveal. Let’s listen again to revolutionary Dr. Robert Atkins.
DR ROBERT ATKINS
He says of CoQ10:
“All organs with high energy demands need a lot of CoQ10, and the most important is the heart. At the beginning of 1990, some fifty studies around the world attested to CoQ10’s impact on cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, mitral valve, and hypertension. When people who needed heart transplants took the nutrient, their conditions improved so remarkably that transplant surgery was no longer necessary. When administered follow(sic) a coronary bypass operation, CoQ10 reduces recovery time. And three separate studies showed that when 100mg was given daily to several thousand people suffering from heart failure, more than 75% displayed improvements in pulmonary function, edema, and heart palpitations with no side effects. Nothing in mainstream cardiology comes close to this kind of success. I am at a loss to explain why CoQ10 is not prescribed routinely to every heart patient. I’m particularly impressed by CoQ10’s therapeutic strength in treating cardiomyopathy, a mixed bag of conditions impairing the heart muscle that collectively are the third most common form of cardiovascular disease. Cardiomyopathy often is the most life-threatening of all heart conditions, and it’s probably the number one reason that people undergo a heart transplant operation. Supplementation improves the prognosis in so many instances that I think the condition is best described as a CoQ10 deficiency”.
“Generous doses of CoQ10 have helped the clear majority of my cardiomyopathy patients, and several of them, who were on the waiting list for a donor’s heart, found that their old heart would do just fine. My experience is by no means unique, as the abundant research documents. In one study, 87% of 216 cardiomyopathy patients displayed noticeable improvements in heart function, again without adverse effects, after taking 100mg per day. The virtual absence of side effects could arguably be CoQ10’s foremost advantage. Drugs merely mask symptoms; they don’t solve the underlying problem, which for most heart disease is the continued presence of atherosclerotic plaque buildups that ultimately block blood vessels. Most cardiovascular drugs not only fail to deal with the hardening of the arteries but in many cases compound it, exposing people to even greater perils. CoQ10, in contrast, deals effectively with most of the factors that cause atherosclerosis”.
“The heart is utterly dependent on CoQ10 to meet its constant energy needs; the muscle contains twice as much of the nutrient as any of other organ or tissue in the body. People with heart disease have 25% less CoQ10 than their healthy counterparts. Should the deficiency reach 75%, some experts have speculated, the heart would stop beating. Perhaps this explains why lovastatin and the other overprescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs have such a mediocre record for saving lives: one of their side effects is inhibiting the body’s natural ability to make CoQ10. One investigation documented six cases of cardiomyopathy that were caused by lovastatin. Cholesterol drugs are self-defeating in another CoQ10 related way. The ubiquitous quinone actually is a good antioxidant, helping to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, considered to be the most artery-clogging substance of all. Because CoQ10 migrates naturally to the heart, some researchers suggest that it may be the most important of all antioxidants for preventing atherosclerosis”.
More information about CoQ10 and other natural antihypertension medicines will be discussed as the series continues. Meanwhile, I recommend special places in your health library for the books of Dr. Atkins, DR ATKINS VITA NUTRIENT SOLUTION, Nature’s Answer To Drugs (hardcover ISBN number 9780684818498/paperback 1999 ISBN number 9780684844886), Jean Carper’s STOP AGING NOW (ISBN number 0-06-098500-3) and Judy Lindberg McFarland’s AGING WITHOUT GROWING OLD (ISBN number 0-88419-969-X).
The series continues……