How Your Heart Health, Gut & Hormones are Linked

How Your Heart Health, Gut & Hormones are Linked

Welcome to my Podcast, Regenerate You, I’m Dr. Nirvana!

In this episode, I’m​​ discussing how hormones and your gut, can impact your cardiovascular health. This includes cholesterol and heart disease. I’ll share my tips on what you can do to overcome the obstacles that cause heart disease, with a natural approach to healing your body by going to the root cause.

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The Skinny on Heart Attacks

The Skinny on Heart Attacks

Even Skinny People Develop Heart Disease

How Thin People (Especially Women) are at Risk

In my previous article, I wrote about a persistent myth in our current culture: that LDL cholesterol leads directly to a higher risk of heart disease. I discussed why this is not necessarily the case and possible explanations. So where does heart disease come from and is it directly related to our diet and the high rates of obesity? And is body size or weight related to higher risk for heart disease?

Lipoprotein(a), is a particle in your blood which carries cholesterol, fats and proteins.  The amount your body makes is inherited from one or both parents and is determined by the genes passed on from your parent(s) when you are born.  It does not change very much during your lifetime. Diet and exercise seems to have little to no impact on the lipoprotein(a) level.  Some cholesterol and Lp(a) in your blood is normal. A high level of LDL cholesterol increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.  Lipoprotein(a) is a type of lipoprotein/cholesterol and high levels increase your risk for atherosclerosis (build up of fatty deposits in the wall of the artery, also called atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or CVD). About 20% or one in five people have high levels of Lp(a) which is anything greater than 50mg/dL. This is based on genetic factors they inherited from their parents, and most don’t know they have it.

As high levels of Lp(a) travel through the bloodstream, it collects in the arteries, leading to gradual narrowing of the artery that can limit blood supply to the heart, brain, and kidneys as well as the legs. It can increase the risk of blood clots, heart attack or stroke. This is why you don’t have to be overweight to have heart disease. Genetics sometimes can be just as important as the efforts put behind a healthy diet and lifestyle. Susan Lucci’s most recent incident of a cardiac event, is an excellent example.

Causes of High Cholesterol

Protein intake has been a bit controversial in recent years—while it sounds like a good idea to eat a protein-rich diet, studies have found that too much protein, especially from certain sources, is not so good for long-term health. A new study from the University of Eastern Finland finds that men who eat a high-protein diet have a slightly increased risk of heart disease in middle age. But again, not all proteins are created equal. For animal and  dairy protein, the risk was higher.

Diets high in saturated fats and white flour, white sugar, white rice, and vegetable oil also have a higher risk for heart disease. A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is not the answer to decreasing heart disease. In fact, this diet has been shown to increase triglycerides, decrease HDL, and increase small dense LDL and inflammation – all of the factors for a heart attack. Avoiding processed foods and focusing on whole natural foods means giving yourself a better chance of avoiding heart disease.

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Preventing Heart Disease

1.Test for Lipoprotein(a)

 A simple blood test can measure your Lp(a) level; however, it is not included in most standard cholesterol or lipid panels.  Unfortunately, not all insurance companies cover testing for Lp(a) at this time so check with your insurance company or provider.

2. Remove or Reduce Animal Products

Contrary to what people believe about “organic” consumption be

ing exclusively free of medications or toxins, in order to be bread for consumption, The National Organic Program, does permit the use of vaccines to be administered to livestock. These and other inflammatory toxins accumulate in the fat, brain and bone of the animal. Therefore exposing us to the same toxins and burdening the liver and heart from further damage. Eating whole plant based proteins is a far better alternative towards a healthy heart.

3. Curb your Sweet Tooth

And what about sugar? This culprit offers insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals and simultaneously robs your body of nutrient stores. This can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease. High glycemic or refined sugar cause elevated glucose levels which gradually build up on the inner lining of your arteries developing plaques.

 

Lowering Lp(a) Naturally

1.Lysine

Lipoprotein(a) attaches to the artery at the lysine binding sites forming atherosclerotic plaques. The higher the concentration of the free lysine in the blood, the more likely lipoprotein(a) will bind with this lysine, rather than the lysine strands that have been exposed by cracks in blood vessels; or the other lysine that has been attracted to the lipoprotein(a) already attached to the blood vessel wall. Linus Pauling showed that 6 grams a day were effective at lowering Lp(a) levels by two to five times.

2. Vitamin C IV Therapy

Vitamin C can reduce or prevent the development of atherosclerosis by lowering plasma lipoprotein(a), decreasing lipoprotein infiltration into the arterial wall, and preventing lipid peroxidation. Unfortunately oral dosing of vitamin C is not enough to effectively lower Lp(a) values. For this reason, I formulated a highly powerful Vitamin C IV that does.

3. Balancing Hormones

Estrogen has been found to lower Lp(a) levels in postmenopausal women. If you are a women, levels of Lp(a) increase as the natural estrogen level declines with menopause. Therefore, if you are older than 40, testing your hormones with my specialized hormone testing would be highly recommended to help prevent heart disease.

Is LDL Cholesterol Bad?

Is LDL Cholesterol Bad?

Is LDL Cholesterol Bad?

Uncovering the Truth Behind the Good and Bad of Cholesterol

Throughout my many years in Practice, one of the number one questions that prevail is, “Is cholesterol bad?” The short answer is that cholesterol is necessary for life, through the production of hormones and for the protection of our body as it’s used in cells’ outer membranes while insulating nerve fibers. Cholesterol is made in the liver and delivered through the bloodstream as a key part of our immune systems. Any time there is a wound or injury that needs to be healed, cholesterol production is increased. In fact, if you don’t have enough, there’s evidence suggesting that two of the risks you may be running into are depression and dementia.

Heart disease is the body’s way of communicating injury to the heart muscle. Very high LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels are a marker of widespread vascular injury. The Allopathic Medical community likes to silence the body’s signals of excess LDL production through medication. However, the ideal solution would be to understand why the body is producing so much LDL to begin. 

Causes of Bad Cholesterol

High LDL cholesterol can be attributed to the following which we will discuss more so in depth:

  1. Poor nutrition
  2. Liver stagnation

Liver Stagnation

Humans are not meant to eat large amounts of protein or fat. Our liver and kidneys are responsible for processing proteins to remove harmful byproducts like ammonia, but can only handle so many toxins in general.  The human body is involved in fending off xenoestrogens, air pollutants, chronic infections, and mycotoxins.  This leaves very little room for dealing with the metabolites of protein.  Our modern world is so polluted, that humans don’t always have the necessary means to fight off natural byproducts of a healthy metabolism.  If you’re consuming a high protein diet (greater than 25 percent), you should consider supplementing with glutathione intravenously to help the livers metabolism of proteins and fat. Considering a plant based diet is highly beneficial for lowering LDL cholesterol, but also in keeping the liver healthy and producing healthier cholesterol overall.

Poor Nutrition

Because of the Standard American Diet (SAD) and the toxic environment we live in these days, a lot of people’s systems are constantly inflamed. The majority of this inflammation is tied directly to the health of our gut. The gut’s balance gets inflamed (for a number of reasons, all lifestyle-related), and the body’s immune system starts attacking all the wrong things. The vicious cycle starts, and just keeps on perpetuating itself leading to a multitude of GI issues such as Leaky Gut.

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When your body becomes inflamed, the liver gets the message and starts pumping cholesterol out into the bloodstream. Once the threat is neutralized, they are sent back to the liver and then flushed out of the system through the normal channels such as urination. However, in a chronic state of inflammation, the liver continually pumps out cholesterol which becomes oxidized. And once that happens, it’s a lot harder for your system to get rid of them via the proper channels. Because of that, the oxidized cholesterol begins forming plaques inside the arteries. These plaques are especially damaging when they start clogging the circulatory system’s main channels—the aorta, heart, and arteries in the legs. That’s when heart disease, strokes, and atherosclerosis become real possibilities.

The Solution

As mentioned previously, medications are not the answer. The solution is actually much simpler than you’d think. Eat less meat and more plants. There is no downside to eating more plants and less meat.

One of the things that works to flush plaque from our arteries is fiber. Outside of what we make ourselves, our only other source of cholesterol is from saturated and trans fats in the meat we eat.  As you begin to eat more plants, your system starts cleaning itself.

Changes in lifestyle and diet work on the problem at the root. Which, if you’ll remember, is the gut. Studies have repeatedly shown that the key to a healthy gut is removing the burden on the gut which can easily be determined through an at-home test kit I offer all of my patients. Once the gut gets healthy, the body is no longer constantly inflamed, and the liver doesn’t have to pump out more and more cholesterol.

If you suffer from high cholesterol or heart disease, consider scheduling an initial consultation with Dr. Nirvana here.

Vitamin C to lower Cholesterol

Vitamin C to Lower Cholesterol

Because cholesterol tends to be high when there are other problems in the body (especially in the arteries), bringing down your unhealthy cholesterol levels means taking actions that benefit the entire cardiovascular system—not just going after cholesterol itself.

Targeted nutritional support is an effective tool for that when used with a healthy diet and regular exercise. To start, I would recommend incorporating more of this one particular antioxidant that has proven to be beneficial in lower cholesterol levels. This powerful antioxidant is known as ascorbic acid, or in simple terms, Vitamin C.

Low levels of vitamin C have been shown to have the following effects on the cardiovascular system:

  • Increase cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL levels, decrease HDL levels
  • Suppress the conversion of excess blood cholesterol into bile
  • Restrict the production of collagen, a connective tissue components that give structural strength to arterial walls

Various studies have shown that adding supplemental vitamin C can lower total cholesterol, blood fats, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while at the same time increasing HDL cholesterol. I recommend 2–2.5 grams a day. (Note: Daily doses of 2 grams or more may lower copper levels. Be sure you get at least 2 mg of dietary copper daily when taking higher dosages which can be found in conjunction with zinc.)

Vitamin C reduces LDL levels by increasing the ability of the liver to transform cholesterol into bile acids. Vitamin C may also reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and increase the number of LDL-receptors thus increasing the rate of removal of LDL cholesterol from the blood.

A desirable LDL cholesterol level is less than 100mg/dL while a desirable HDL cholesterol level is greater than 60mg/dL. Triglyceride levels lower than 150mg/dL are considered optimal.

Good dietary sources of vitamin C include: red peppers, broccol, raw potatoes, brussel sprouts, strawberries, lemons, kiwifruit, and grapefuit. Remember that boiling vegetables for a long period of time can lead to as much as an 80% reduction in vitamin C levels so where possible vegetables should be lightly steamed or consumed raw to maximize the amount of available vitamin C.

If you have high cholesterol levels, supplementing with Vitamin C IV Therapy can help to significantly lower the oxidative burden on your liver and arteries. If you’re interested in beginning IV therapy, please contact the office here.