5. Factors Contributing To Heart Impairment
Heart impairment results after many years of unhealthful living. It is the cumulative effect of improper diet, poison habits, sedentary lifestyle, overwork, etc. All of this leads to enervation, impaired elimination and toxicosis. Major factors resulting in this toxicosis include cigarette smoking, improper diet, lack of exercise, alcohol, coffee, stress, obesity and drugs. The combination of these factors eventually leads to impairment of one or several of the mechanisms described in the physiology of the heart. When any of these mechanisms are impaired, the heart is directly affected.
5.1 Cigarette Smoking
The single most important effect on health due to cigarette smoking is the development of heart impairment. In 1975, approximately 25% of the 650,000 deaths from coronary heart disease were attributed to cigarette smoking. The 1979 Report of the Surgeon General On Smoking and Health identifies smoking as related to coronary heart disease for both men and women in the United States, and cigarette smoking as a major independent risk factor for the development of fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction.
Smokers who quit reduce their risk of dying from coronary heart disease; the reduction approaches that for the nonsmoker following a total abstinence of ten years. Studies show that smoking low tar and nicotine cigarettes does not reduce one’s risk significantly; some smokers merely inhale more deeply or smoke more often.
It has also been shown that cigarette smoking is associated with more severe atherosclerosis of the aorta and coronary arteries than has been found in nonsmokers. Smoking is also reported as being responsible for increased deaths from arteriosclerotic aneurysm of the aorta (a ballooning effect that can lead to its rupturing).
Recent research would indicate that carbon monoxide may be one of the factors in the cigarette smoke that leads to the development of atherosclerosis, resulting in angina pectoris and heart failure.
Carbon monoxide (CO), one of the most poisonous byproducts of cigarette smoking, is a colorless, odorless gas that makes up anywhere from about one to five percent of cigarette smoke. Because it has an extremely strong affinity for hemoglobin (which carries oxygen to the tissues), any inhaled CO quickly displaces the oxygen in the blood, forming carboxyhemoglobin. Carbon monoxide may cause damage by injuring the walls of the arteries, enhancing the development of atherosclerosis, which narrows the arteries, diminishing the supply of oxygen and other nutrients. In addition, carbon monoxide is the principal contributor to diseases of the respiratory system and sudden death from coronary heart disease.
Nicotine is generally understood to be the addictive element in tobacco that results in stimulation of the adrenal glands and certain heart tissues to release certain hormones called catecholamines. The catecholamines raise the blood pressure and the heart rate, causing the heart to work harder, thus requiring a greater amount of oxygen. But as smokers take in nicotine, they are also inhaling carbon monoxide, which decreases the amount of oxygen in their blood. Thus, nicotine in combination with carbon monoxide may be the predisposing factor in the development of heart disease and heart “attacks.”
In addition to speeding up the heart rate and causing a rise in the blood pressure, nicotine also results in a constriction of the blood vessels. The constriction of blood vessels additionally leads to a decrease in blood flow to the fingers and toes and aggravates such peripheral vascular conditions as Buerger’s disease and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
You must realize that cigarette smoking is one of a series of factors that lead to heart impairment. Other factors are important also and together create the conditions (a state of toxicosis) that results in this degenerative disease.
Habitual excesses in eating (especially in concentrated fats, protein and sugars); eating the wrong kinds of foods; eating improperly-combined foods; result in toxicosis and enervation of all bodily organs including the, heart.
In 1961, the American Heart Association began providing information to the public on the link between high levels of cholesterol in the blood and the development of atherosclerosis, the disease where fatty deposits or plaques accumulate in the walls of the arteries. Simultaneously there was encouragement of the public to decrease its intake of fat and cholesterol. Such advice has its origin in the research around 1913 by a Russian scientist, Nikolai Avitschev, showing a connection between a high-cholesterol diet and fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis) of rabbits. This discovery has led to extensive medical research on how blood fats and cholesterol contribute to disease of the human circulatory system.
Atherosclerosis develops gradually due to an unhealthful lifestyle, with no symptoms, for anywhere from twenty to forty years or even longer. Then serious clinical signs manifest themselves. These may be in the form of chest pain, heart “attack,” stroke or sudden death.
Dietary substances and blood constituents other than cholesterol are also involved in the development of atherosclerosis. When you follow a more healthful lifestyle, including proper diet, the accumulation of these fatty substances do not occur.
In order for the body to transport and use fats, they must be combined with another molecule to make them soluble in the blood serum, the fluid portion of blood. This molecule is a protein, that combines with the fats to form lipoproteins, making possible the transport and utilization of fats. Lipoprotein molecules come in various sizes and weights and the amounts of cholesterol and other lipids they contain vary according to the size and weight.
The heaviest of these molecules is high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL contains the highest proportion of protein and has recently been shown to be possibly important in transporting fat away from body cells. Thus, cholesterol and other fats do not accumulate within the artery walls. There is also evidence that the higher the amount of HDL in the blood, the lower the subsequent risk of fatty artery disease, heart failure and strokes. Normal levels of HDL are found in people whose diet consists chiefly of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is lighter than HDL and contains the largest proportion of cholesterol of any of the lipoproteins. There is considerable evidence that a high amount of LDL is a factor in the accumulation of fatty, materials in artery walls. High levels of LDL are found in those people whose diet is high in animal products—meat, eggs and dairy products.
Researchers have found that lower cholesterol levels are associated with lower incidence of heart disease. For example:
Monkeys fed a high-fat diet to increase their levels of blood cholesterol, after returning to their normal low-fat diet, do show evidence of reduction in fatty deposits in their arteries.
Wartime experiences in Switzerland, Scandinavia and other European countries during the 1940s suggest that changes in diet, which included reduced consumption of fats and increased consumption of vegetables, resulted in a lower incidence of heart impairment in a fairly short time.
Dietary changes in Europe after World War II, and increased consumption of fats and sugar among immigrants to Israel and the United States, coincided with an increase in blood cholesterol levels and a rapidly increasing frequency of heart attacks.
Many people use margarine because they are told that the unsaturated fat in margarine is much more desirable than the saturated fats found in butter. But margarine is an artificial product full of additives, emulsifiers and chemicals that aren’t meant for human consumption. Flavor enhancers in the form of diacetyl and isopropyl and steryl citrates are added to margarine. Sodium benzoate, benzoic acid or citric acid are added as preservatives. (The benzoates are poisonous and have actually resulted in death.) Emulisifiers are also added, such as diglycerides, monoglycerides, etc. and these do not have to appear on the label.
When margarine is hydrogenated, a chemical process is used where hydrogen is added to unsaturated bonds of carbon or oxygen of the oil. Under a controlled process, however, most of the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, is changed to oleic acid. The hardening process may also produce a different spatial arrangement of the atoms of the molecule of an essential fatty acid (EFA). Because of this difference, the EFA are not utilized properly by our cells and can actually interfere with the utilization of normal fatty acids. This situation may accentuate a deficiency of EFA. Researchers report that cancer, arthritis, heart disease, skin disease, arteriosclerosis, and other degenerative conditions appear to be affected by a lack of EFA.
It becomes clear that margarine is something that we definitely should not consume. Butter does not contain as many artificial additives but it is a saturated fat known to play a role in the development of artherosclerosis. It is also often heavily salted and dyed. Many physicians advocate the inclusion in our diet of such polyunsaturated oils as corn or safflower oil in the place of butter or margarine. However, consumption of polyunsaturated fats is known to result in the formation of free radicals.
When atoms combine to form molecules, their electrons usually group together in pairs. If one of the electrons is lost, the, molecule becomes a free radical. In the presence of oxygen, free radicals form spontaneously in the tissues from certain substances, mainly polyunsaturated fat. According to Zane Kime, unpaired electrons are very unstable. They react abnormally with almost anything close by and can result in damage to nearly every system in the body. As the unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats increase in the diet, they also increase in the tissues. Metabolism can be altered because the cell walls are further weakened due to the abnormal fatty acid formation. This allows many impurities to enter the cells that would not ordinarily enter.
Where are we to obtain our dietary fats if not from margarine, butter or free oils? The best source is found in our natural foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. We are not only receiving all the fats that we require from these foods but we are acquiring them in the correct proportions with the vitamins and minerals and other food constituents. The body makes use of this form of EFA easily and perfectly.
In a study comparing the effects of substituting plant for animal fat in the diet, six subjects showed significant reductions in serum concentrations of free and esterfied cholesterol and of phospholipids when plant fats were substituted for animal fats during a four-month period. The approximate change was a 20% decrease even though body weights and caloric intakes were kept constant during the experiment.
In another study, 58 vegetarians who eat no animal products and live on a farm commune were examined. The average lipoprotein-cholesterol level of this group were 60% of age-and-sex-specific normal levels compared to a control group. The conclusion of the study placed the vegetarians in a lower-risk category for the development of clinically manifest atheroclerosis.
Consumption of refined carbohydrates results in enervation and impairment of all bodily cells, tissues, glands, organs and systems. This unhealthful habit often results in diabetes and/or arteriosclerosis. Overconsumption of refined sugar stresses the pancreas until it becomes so enervated that it ceases to function. The body then begins to break down stored glucose in the fat cells into triglycerides. This increases the fat in the blood to above normal levels and some of this fat remains in the arteries of the heart and elsewhere.
The results of incorrect diet are systemic and do not involve just one organ or gland. It takes many years of this unnecessary abuse to damage the heart so severely that it is incapable of performing.
As in all bodily organs, the heart is intimately involved with, and dependent upon, all other bodily systems. Any slight impairment in any of the ystems—nervous, endocrine, digestive, etc.—will affect the heart.
Overconsumption of carbohydrates results in a toxicosis that ultimately affects total health.
The quantity and quality of the proteins are essential for optimum health. Many people overeat on protein foods. This results in enervation, since much more energy is needed for digestion and metabolism of protein. The body must either eliminate excess protein or store it for future use. This situation is enervating and, if continued, will result in impaired elimination with the increase of endogenous and exogenous poisons. The end result is degenerative disease. Dr. Robert Gross states, “The end products of protein digestion are acidic—urea, uric acids, adenine, etc. which, beyond a certain normal range, will cause degeneration of body tissue, producing gout, liver malfunctions, kidney disorders, digestive disturbances, arthritis and even hallucinations.” Dr. D. J. Scott says: “Too much protein solidifies (like coffee) and has the same stimulating effect, and a high-protein diet will eventually destroy the glandular system, and damage the liver, adrenals and kidneys.” When any of these organs are affected, the heart is also.
Not only the amount of protein, but the kind of protein is important. The best sources of concentrated protein for man are raw unsalted nuts and seeds. In their raw state, all the enzymes are intact and the amino acids are unchanged. Fruits and vegetables, though containing relatively smaller amounts of protein in their natural state, also provide amino acids for complete and optimal nutrition.
When proteins have been cooked or preserved, enzymes are coagulated, cleavage is inhibited and the amino acids may not be liberated for body use. Instead they become soil for bacteria and poisonous decomposition byproducts. Man cannot digest flesh protein properly and putrefaction invariably results. This adds poisons to the body in addition to the poisons that are already in the meat. All of this contributes to the development of disease.
Dr. Shelton says, “The heart is a muscular organ—it is almost all muscle—and like all other muscles of the body, is strengthened by use. A heart that is never called upon to do vigorous work does not grow vigorous and strong. If it always does light work it tends to become soft and flabby. It needs periods of vigorous work to build up and maintain its maximum strength and ability.”
The response of heart muscle to exercise is similar to that of skeletal muscle. After such training, the heart can contract more strongly and in a better coordinated way so as to wring out more blood with each contraction. In endurance training, the heart muscle becomes larger, adding to the potential power of each stroke. The heart rate becomes slower at rest (intensive endurance training can slow the resting rate ten beats per minute). The coronary circulation increases as the result of exercise. This increase in coronary vessels appears in all active tissues, aiding in the delivery of supplies and the removal of waste.
Thus, with proper exercise, the heart becomes richer in oxygen, more massive and powerful, and more efficient. The reconditioned heart beats more slowly at rest and during work, and acquires a greater pumping capacity.
Exercise also provides the heart with a fantastic support system. Every muscle is like an auxiliary heart, helping to pump blood. When a muscle contracts, it squeezes blood toward the heart. When it relaxes, it allows the muscle to be filled with blood—exactly like the heart. The proper conditioning exercise is a rhythmic continuous one where the muscles pump repetitively. As blood pumps’ from the muscles, it is always toward the heart.
When a sedentary person becomes fairly active by adding a mild exercise such as walking, many changes take place in his body that are important in improving the general health. Blood pressure is lowered, resting heart rate decreases, muscles (including the heart muscle) become stronger and there is a vast increase in the number of active small blood vessels that carry blood to the cells of the muscular tissues. The blood itself is improved; it carries more oxygen; and the blood platelets become more efficient.
According to Dr. Fred Stutman, author of The Doctor’s Walking Book, people with sedentary jobs run a higher risk of coronary artery disease. He says that walking between 45 minutes and one hour, three or four times a week, may decrease this risk. Walking increases the ability of the heart and lungs to take in and distribute oxygen in the body and this helps build physical endurance. It is claimed that this factor has been beneficial to patients with coronary heart disease. However, keep in mind that this is only one aspect of health and must be combined with all of the other conditions in order to result in health. Heart disease cannot be eliminated through exercise alone, but it helps when all of the other conditions for health are provided.
Dr. Stutman also points out that moderate exercise results in lowered circulating blood fats to the same extent as the more strenuous forms of exercise. We do not have to be marathon runners for optimum health but a moderate exercise program is recommended. Exercise results in the altering of the distribution of different forms of lipoproteins in the blood.
Caffeine results in stimulation of the heart and rapid heart beat and arrhythmias are typical symptoms of this stimulation.
A substance found in almost all cells, including lymphocytes, is known as cyclic adenosine monophosphate (C-AMP). If high levels of cyclic AMP build up in the lymphocytes, they become unable to function properly. Coffee, tea and chocolate containing caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine increase the amount of C-AMP which would normally take place. Increased C-AMP depresses the ability of the lymphocytes to function, and is a stimulant to the nervous system.
Researchers have found that 158 mg. of caffeine results in a rise in cardiac index and stroke index in normal subjects. Caffeine also results in cerebral vascular resistance with a decrease in blood flow.
Sandord Bolton reported a 60% increase in acute heart attacks associated with consumption of one to five cups of coffee and a 120% increase with more than five cups. An epidemiological study involving Hawaiian males showed a significant correlation between coffee consumption and heart disease.
Caffeine also stimulates release of catecholamines from the adrenal medulla. Catecholamines have a marked effect on the central nervous system, metabolic rate, temperature and smooth muscle.
In one study, instant coffee (220 mg. of caffeine), was given to 18 young males with a resultant increase in epinephrine blood levels and urinary output. Blood lipids were also increased as a result of catecholamine stimulation. Epinephrine is a vasoconstrictor and cardiac stimulant.
Even in small doses, caffeine is a powerful poison that results in impairment of all parts of the body. These systemic effects often result in heart impairment as enervation of this organ becomes greater.
Evidence linking alcohol consumption and heart disease includes the following:
- Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with elevated blood pressure.
- Distinctive forms of heart enlargement and heart failure occur in advanced alcoholics, who often tend to be malnourished.
- Alcohol has been shown to result in impaired performance of heart muscle in humans.
- Experimental evidence in animals shows structural and functional derangement of heart muscle cells as an effect of chronic administration of alcohol.
Alcohol is a poison and its ingestion results in enervation of all bodily organs including the heart. The heart is at first stimulated while it attempts to rid the body of this poison but alter a time becomes enervated and its function becomes impaired. Accumulation of the very toxic products of alcohol burden the liver and all other parts of the body including the nervous system and glands that directly affect the heart performance.
Various studies have shown coronary heart disease to be associated with such psychological tendencies as anxiety, neuroticism, depression, aggression, hostility, sense of time urgency and with such social factors as mobility, status, life events and dissatisfactions.
These factors may contribute to the development of heart impairment along with underlying conditions of enervation and toxicosis that result from improper diet and the rest of the factors which result in chronic disease.
Under stressful conditions, adrenal glands will secrete certain hormones that have a direct influence on the heart. Repeated stress will eventually result in enervation of the heart and the rest of the organs responding to that stress. This is just another factor in the total health package that should not be ignored.
Evidence linking obesity and overweight to cardiovascular risk includes the following:
- Insurance experience indicates that the death rate from all “diseases” including cardiovascular rises, as relative weight goes from low to above average.
- Some follow-up studies of United States populations show similar relationships and risks.
- Obesity and overweight are widely associated with other risk characteristics thought to have an influence in fatty artery disease (specifically, high blood pressure, glucose intolerance and diabetes and elevated blood uric acid). All of these factors can be resolved through a proper diet and weight reduction, as can cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Obesity, obviously, is the result of improper diet together with lack of exercise. This condition is the direct result of a diet high in fats, meat, dairy products and sugar. All of these foods will not only result in obesity but the toxins invariably found in all of these foods will clog the body with poisons and contribute to the development of degenerative diseases of all kinds including heart impairment. Obesity may be corrected quickly through a fast followed by a diet of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts (unsalted) and seeds. Not only will weight normalize but general total health will greatly improve along with the lowered incidence of heart disease.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. General Physiology
- 3. How The Heart Works
- 4. Control Centers
- 5. Factors Contributing Heart Impairment
- 6. A Look At Other Societies
- 7. Hypertension
- 8. Cardiovascular Drugs
- 9. Your Choice
- 10. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Coronary Thrombosis By Dr. Robert R. Gross, D.C., Ph.D.
- Article #2: Heart Attack By Dr. Geo. E. Crandall
- Article #3: Exercise And The Heart