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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Heart Health, Heart Risk

On a daily basis I work with people who have complex and complicated health conditions. I see things that few see in my process of uncovering what may be the best approach for a client, based on their biochemistry, doctor's diagnosis (or even too often, no dx), and other factors.

Generally I rely on nutrition, the use of supplements and herbs. I may use or suggest other therapies, especially for the emotional and spiritual component so important for health. I am partial to energy medicine and homeopathy, but it seems few people choose this approach, at least in the US where it is mostly unknown.

As I always tell people, natural healing takes time. There is a lot of coaching on my part because people are used to a pill for a symptom so they seem to feel better.

Feeling better is not always a good thing. Sometimes it seems as if it is one step back before two forward.

Patience surely wins out in the end. Just this week I have reports from two clients with serious heart problems and other health problems. Neither of these two people are taking aspirin. It has taken some months to see the improvement but here is one with a BNP reduced from 200 to 128 in three months. The other client suffered from a clot secondary to atrial fibrillation because of hyperthyroidism with severe low adrenal function. Now her thyroid is normal without radiation and she won't have to see the cardiologist for a year.

There are good benefits from vitamin E (the correct kind), nattokinase, magnesium, herbs with blood thinning properties like garlic, red clover, gingko, or hawthorne. I try to stay away from aspirin, for reasons I've know a long time, and as reported below.

I use NON-SOY vitamin E with tocotrienols and hawthorne as a first line of defense. This is based on science, decades and hundreds of years old.

I always hope my clients are a bridge to the medical community to help open eyes, minds too.

Aspirin doesn't always help heart attacks
Published: Feb. 27, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- A U.S. study has found up to 20 percent of patients may not benefit from taking aspirin to prevent second heart attacks and strokes.

The study, published online in advance of print in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found about 20 percent of patients don't have have the anti-platelet response from aspirin -- the effect thought to protect against a second stroke, second heart attack or second episode of peripheral artery disease.

"In those three indications, it's crystal clear that aspirin reduces the risk of a second heart attack or stroke in most patients," lead study researcher Francis Gengo of the University of Buffalo said in a statement.

"But we have known for years that in some stroke and heart attack patients, aspirin has no preventive effect."

If blood drawn from a patient taking aspirin shows the aspirin isn't helping -- platelets are still aggregating -- a patient is diagnosed as being aspirin resistant. If a stroke patient has a second stroke while on aspirin, the patient has experienced what is known as clinical aspirin failure.

"We found, across the board, about 80 percent of the patients in our study were aspirin sensitive -- their platelets did not aggregate in arteries -- and 20 percent were aspirin resistant," Gengo said.

© 2008 United Press International.

A new note on hawthorne
If you had a heart ailment during Shakespeare's era your doctor might have given you an extract of hawthorn, a flowering shrub that grows wild throughout Europe. In fact, hawthorn was probably the statin drug of its day – automatically prescribed to improve heart health.

Over the past four centuries, scientists have shown that hawthorn extract is rich in flavonoids, which help dilate arteries, improve blood flow, and lower blood pressure.

These actions clearly benefit the heart, but could hawthorn help treat patients with a health challenge as severe as chronic heart failure? That's a tall order, but a new study shows that hawthorn is up to the task.

Symptom control

Last year, in the e-Alert "Relaxed and Flexible" (4/9/07), I told you about a 2003 study in which more than 200 patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) were divided into three groups to receive either 900 mg or 1,800 mg of hawthorn extract daily or placebo. After 16 weeks, maximum exercise tolerance increased significantly in the high- dose group compared to the other two groups, and heart failure symptoms improved in both of the extract groups, but not the placebo group.

That study was probably included in an Exeter University meta-analysis of clinical trials in which hawthorn was tested on hundreds of patients.

Researchers combed through five medical databases looking for randomized, double- blind, placebo controlled trials in which extracts of hawthorn leaf and flower were tested on CHF patients Fourteen trials, which included more than 1,100 subjects, met the criteria for inclusion In most of the trials hawthorn was used as a complementary treatment along with conventional drug treatments for CHF As in the trial mentioned above, exercise tolerance was significantly improved by hawthorn intervention, as was maximal workload and pressure-heart rate product (an index of cardiac oxygen consumption) Analysis showed that CHF symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue also improved In the most recent issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Exeter team writes: "These results suggest that there is a significant benefit in symptom control and physiologic outcomes from hawthorn extract as an adjunctive treatment for chronic heart failure."

Adverse side effects were described as "infrequent, mild, and transient."

Working daily miracles

Some heart specialists would have you believe that the Exeter results are of no significance.

In a MedPage Today report about the trial, Gregg Fonarow, M.D., director of the heart failure program at UCLA described hawthorn as safe but "not particularly helpful." He based his assessment on a large, two-year trial that I told you about in "Relaxed and Flexible." In that study, more than 2,600 subjects with advanced CHF were given either 900 mg of hawthorn daily or a placebo. Results showed that the extract didn't prevent death associated with cardiac events and didn't prevent non-fatal cardiac events.

Do you get the feeling Dr. Gonarow is missing the point?

The Exeter study shows that hawthorn extract may improve quality of life measures for CHF patients. Granted, hawthorn may not actually save the lives of gravely ill patients, but many CHF patients will likely find the extract to be "particularly helpful" in coping with the day-to-day challenges of their disease.

It should also be noted that at the 18-month follow up assessment in the 2007 study, patients who were taking the extract had a 20 percent reduced risk of CHF-related death compared to placebo – a difference that equaled four additional months of survival time.

Talk to your doctor before adding hawthorn to your daily regimen. CHF patients might want to consult with an experienced herbalist to make sure they receive a potent, high- quality hawthorn extract.


Raghavendra said...

This is true that benifit of vitamin E "There are good benefits from vitamin E (the correct kind), nattokinase, magnesium, herbs with blood thinning properties like garlic, red clover, gingko, or hawthorne." Thank you for information

In Home Care Idaho Falls said...

Must admit that you are one of the coolest bloggers I ever saw.

herbalYODA said...

Thanks for your comment and at least over where I am we do not have INEEL