B.S., C.N.C.

Education Contact Modalities Links

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE / SYNDROME X

THOUGHTS

First, I would like to give you some background information that you can use to try and "peel away the layers" and discover why you may have cardiovascular problems. Granted, CVD can be hereditary, but, there may be an explanation for that, too. Research has found that insulin resistance, hypothyroidism and hypercholesterolemia can all be interrelated. People who are blood type O have been found to have a genetic tendency towards thyroid problems. They have also been found to have high IgA antibody levels which leads them to overly aggressive immune responses putting them at risk of autoimmune disease, especially of the THYROID, when not following a blood type specific diet. Specific immune conditions for blood type O have been found to be : candida albicans, thyroid disease, and inflammatory conditions ( arthritis, ulcers).

By eating a diet that is high in lectins (not following blood type specific recommendations), the "O" person is creating an unhealthy immune system and response. Since the thyroid has been found to be the weakest link, these lectins and the immune response may in all probability attack the thyroid(autoimmune thyroiditis). Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can be a result of either immune destruction or stimulation of thyroid tissue. It has been found through studies (PubMed and the National Library of Medicine), that there is a direct connection between hypothyroidism (low thyroid), hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol) and hyperlipidemia (elevated cholesterol/triglycerides).

Extensive research shows that hypothyroidism leads to high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL, which in turn leads to increased oxidation of LDL, which results in atherosclerosis. If insulin resistance is also present, there can be a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. There are many clinical articles citing insulin resistance as either a factor or a result. There is a strong interaction between insulin resistance and high triglycerides. By eating the wrong foods (wheat, dairy, sugars), the "O" person may promote insulin resistance which elevates triglycerides, which lowers the fibrinolytic activity, which then causes atherosclerotic and coagulation risk factors , which, again, is a factor in coronary artery disease. It has been found through extensive research that there may be a relationship between hyperhomocysteinemia (elevated homocysteine levels) and hypothyroidism.

This information also pertains to blood types A and AB who eat incorrectly. The only difference is, people with those blood types are known to be genetically predisposed to heart disease and have a genetic risk of hypothyroidism, according to research on polymorphism and biochemical individuality.

Many research articles cite subclinical hypothyroidism relative to high LDL and more severe cases of hyperlipoprotienemia. The restoration of subclinical hypothyroidism to normal has resulted in large decreases in LDL. Post-menopausal women have, in most cases, been found to have sub-clinical hypothyroidism ( high TSH, greater than 10; normal free T4, below 10). Controlling hypothyroidism in women has often been found to result in lower lipid levels. In men, the results are not as good, pointing to insulin resistance as a primary factor. Studies have shown that T4 therapy alone does not lower HDL or triglycerides. Doses of T4 which suppress the TSH have been found to be most beneficial.

Subclinical hypothyroidism is known to manifest higher lipoprotein-A, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL, and lower HDL test results. It has also been found to be a leading cause of diabetes.

Based on this information, the best overall dietary suggestions for people with hypercholesterolemia and hypothyroidism would be to follow their own blood type specific diets very closely. The results of an unhealthy diet, no exercise, and high stress can cause both a sluggish thyroid and insulin resistance. High carbohydrate diets (especially refined breads, pastas, sugars, fruit juices, etc.) lead to conditions of high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and hypothyroidism. Research is showing that people with high cholesterol may also have insulin resistance along with low fibrinolytic(breaking down of clots) activity . Abnormalities of carbohydrate metabolism are strongly related to hyperinsulinemia ,which leads to a cluster of cardiovascular risks known as insulin resistance syndrome or Syndrome X.

More often than not, high cholesterol is found along with an entire cluster of metabolic disorders. People with any of the 4 blood types can develop symptoms of this disorder called Syndrome X. This cluster may consist of: insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia and glucose intolerance, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and obesity. Research has shown that insulin resistance , at the core of these problems, interacts with the other disorders to promote the development of diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. Diet (the wrong diet) can create a vicious circle. By eating the wrong foods, (dairy,wheat,corn, and peanuts for blood type O; dairy, wheat, kidney beans, red meat for blood type A; and wheat, chicken, corn, peanuts for blood type B) the metabolism becomes altered. These incorrect foods, among others, contain substances known as lectins. The lectins go throughout the body and attach to insulin receptor sites. This attachment encourages the body to produce more and more insulin. As this goes on, the body becomes unresponsive to the insulin being produced. This is known as insulin resistance, and it,in most cases - signals obesity. The reason for this is that as lectins increase the production of insulin, that same insulin programs the fat cells of the body to store excess carbohydrates as body fat and to NOT burn fat for energy. Hence, insulin resistance always accompanies obesity. This only covers the obesity part of syndrome X. Insulin resistance generally leads to type II diabetes since the body is now resistant to the insulin and what insulin is excreted is no longer effective at keeping the blood glucose under control. As the body excretes more and more insulin to try and keep the blood glucose in balance, that excess insulin promotes excess cholesterol which may increase the risk of blood clots, and the high glucose increases triglycerides. The high glucose also contributes to the narrowing of blood vessels which leads to hypertension. It has also been found that the cells in the heart muscle (myocardium) can become resistant to insulin. The more insulin produced, the higher the risk of coronary heart disease.

In addition to watching the diet very carefully and eliminating the bad foods, it may prove to be very beneficial to use the kelp, bladderwrack (fucus vesiculosis). Bladderwrack, in a person with blood type O, may block the action of dietary lectins in the body, stopping the immune system from attacking itself. The fucus in bladderwrack is the same polysaccharide that is the blood type O antigen. Theoretically, since the sugar fucose is the blood type antigen on O blood cells, and in autoimmune conditions the immune system attacks itself, flooding the system with "fake" fucus would allow the lectins from the bad food or the immune system itself to attack them instead of the antigens in ,say, the thyroid or the joints or the stomach. This is likened to "anti-adhesion" therapy: "Don't attack the thyroid, attack the bladderwrack; don't attack the joints, attack the bladderwrack; don't attack the intestinal lining, attack the bladderwrack." When the immune system attaches to the fucus in the bladderwrack, instead of the body's own antigens, it is then flushed out of the system instead of creating inflammatory conditions which can then lead to other complications. Bladderwrack is better used in small amounts if hypothyroidism is a problem - at least until the cause of the thyroid problem is determined. Bladderwrack is a natural source of iodine, which helps in the production of T4. If your thyroid is making plenty of T4 but not converting it to the active thyroid hormone, T3, then it is not advisable to supplement and make more T4. Taken in small amounts, it could be very beneficial, however, due to the anti-adhesion properties. Bladderwrack or kombu (from good sources) are beneficial for most blood types if taken under supervision of a knowledgable health care practitioner.

Hypothyroidism, as has been found, is associated with high cholesterol. It is associated with a decrease in metabolism, which in turn, can cause obesity, the resulting insulin resistance, and high cholesterol. This is the vicious circle. Interwoven within all of this is the consumption of refined carbohydrates, dairy, and a myriad of other bad foods per blood type to keep the circle going. In addition to all of this... When eating foods that are converted to sugar in your body, oxidative stress is placed on the body as it tries to burn the glucose for energy. This oxidative stress is in the form of mass amounts of free radicals and THIS contributes to faster aging, or degeneration of the body.

There is substantial evidence that elevated insulin increases the risk of colon, liver, pancreatic, breast and endometrial cancer. It has been found that insulin itself may play a role in cancer growth. It is considered a growth hormone. It is a well known fact that cancer is a sugar feeding organism, therefore, insulin resistance greatly increases cancer risk and promotion.

Some of the warning signs of Syndrome X/ cardiovascular disease are as follows:

Fasting glucose above 115 mg/dl
Total chol. above 240mg/dl
HDL- under 50mg/dl
LDL- over100mg/dl
Trig. Above 100mg/dl
Fibrinogen above 300mg/dl
C-reactive protein above 2mg/L
Hypertension: blood pressure above 140/90
HDL/LDL ratio: low ratio = increased risk for heart disease. High ratio = protective against heart disease.

Always keep this in mind:
THYROID HORMONE THERAPY, CHOLESTEROL LOWERING DRUGS, AND INSULIN INJECTIONS ARE MERELY TREATING SYMPTOMS, NOT GETTING RID OF THE CAUSES.

If/when taking statin drugs, it is often recommended to have creatine kinase levels measured. Creatine kinase levels are increased in myocardial infarction and progressive muscular dystrophy. The levels may also be elevated during statin drug therapy due to trauma to the skeletal muscles. Statin drugs cause the depletion of CO Q10 in the skeletal muscles (rhabdomyelosis), which causes destruction of muscles. This increases the creatine kinase. Keep in mind when discussing muscle destruction that the heart is a muscle.

Clinical studies have shown that cholesterol is actually not the primary culprit in cardiovascular disease. It is known that you can have a hemorrhagic stroke from a cholesterol that is too low. A low cholesterol may also put you at risk of a spontaneous subdural hematoma, under the right circumstances. Cholesterol is somewhat at the top of the pyramid. Cascading down from it is basically all of the steroidal hormones: pregnenalone, DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, - in fact, it is the cholesterol on your skin that converts to the active vitamin D3. Vitamin D is very important for your bones, for immunity, and is now known to be an anti-cancer agent. In addition to being the predicessor to the formation of hormones, cholesterol is responsible for the integrity of the vasculature. If it's lowered it too much, vascular integrity is lost - resulting in a hammorhagic stroke. Rather than cholesterol being the cause of cardiovascular disease, it is known now that high levels of the amino acid homocysteine and a protein called C-reactive protein may be the primary risk factors. Homocysteine circulates through the system and essentially shreds the vessels. Then, cholesterol comes along to patch up the damage. Cholesterol builds up only if the homocysteine levels are high and result in continuous damage to the vessels.

C-reactive protein is associated with inflammatory conditions and is a very good marker of a heart attack or stroke risk caused by destabilized athlerosclerotic plaque. When this plaque becomes destabilized, it can burst open and block the flow of blood through the arteries. It is best to keep both homocysteine and C-reactive protein as low as possible. Post-menopausal women taking Premarin or other synthetic hormone replacements, have been found to have drastically elevated C-reactive protein levels and a much higher risk of blood clots. Estrogens, per se, do not appear to increase the C-reactive protein, just synthetic estrogens, with or without progestins (synthetic progesterone). Elevated C-reactive protein indicates a potentially destructive inflammatory autoimmune condition that predisposes one to a number of degenerative diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatitis, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, gastrointestinal cancer, and chronic renal failure)in addition to most chronic or autoimmune diseases. Fish oil( 1000-2000mg DHA), vitamin K, nettle leaf extract and DHEA have been found to suppress C-reactive protein. They have also been found to suppress the inflammatory cytokines (destructive cell damaging chemicals that increase with aging), tumor necrosis factor alpha (destructive to joint cartilage and the heart muscle- but, also used by the body to fight infections), interleukin-6(attacks bone and promotes the formation of fibrinogen that can induce a heart attack or stroke), interleukin 1B, and leukotriene B4. These cytokines are all involved in a chronic inflammatory syndrome. (These particular supplements should be discontinued during a time of active infection. If on blood thinning drugs, it is always best to check with your physician before using Vitamin K.)Homocysteine modulators - B6,B12, folic acid, and TMG(betaine)- have been found to lower levels of homocysteine. In a sense, it is the closest thing to malpractice for a physician to tell patients to "get your cholesterol down as low as possible". Your hormones become disrupted (you get all the problems associated with that), you have nothing to repair damage to the vasculature, and you lose the most natural source of the active Vitamin D3. Testing for C-reactive protein and homocysteine is important due to the ability to detect at-risk patients with normal cholesterol levels. Men with high levels were found to have twice the risk of future stroke, and four times the risk of future peripheral vascular disease. In women, C-reactive protein was the single strongest predictor of future vascular risk.

There has been some controversy surrounding the status of triglycerides as an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease. Some studies have found that treatment for isolated hypertriglyceridemia should not be recommended. They have shown that it is a poor marker of atherogenic risk and there have been no clinical trials that have directly addressed the question of whether lowering the triglyceride level reduces the number of clinical events. Hypertriglyceridemia seems to enhance the risk for the development of heart disease, but cannot be regarded as a counterpart of hypercholesterolemia as a risk factor. Studies have shown that people with established coronary heart disease and a high trigyceride level in association with a low HDL level or other features of syndrome X such as obesity, diabetes or hypertension may benefit from treatment. For people without established heart disease, hypertriglyceridemia should be considered a risk marker prompting aggressive treatment of other risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, high LDL, and obesity. High triglycerides could be the first sign of insulin resistance. Too many carbohydrates (grains,starches,sugars) cause elevated triglycerides. Insulin resistance increases very bad cholesterol (VLDL). High triglycerides coincide with low HDL.

DIETARY SUGGESTIONS:

--- Adding coriander seeds to your diet has been found to enhance the breakdown of cholesterol by the liver.
--- Eat according to your blood type. Keeping the fiber high and fats balanced is always best. However, do NOT eat low or no-fat foods. They are known to increase the risk of insulin resistance - hence high cholesterol due to the very high refined carbohydrate content. Good, lean red meat, if you are blood type O, is known to be highly beneficial, as are vegetables and dark red fruits. Omega 3 fatty acids are very beneficial, however, it is not recommended to over-do it. High amounts of any fats can increase insulin production, which may increase cholesterol.
--- Moderate caloric restriction is recommended... it is better to leave the table not quite full rather than full. This has also been found to be a beneficial practice in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
--- Onions and garlic are an excellent source of natural sulfur and are known to be both antiviral and antiseptic. There has been extensive research concerning their cardiovascular benefits. NOTE: Garlic, especially, is known to have a blood thinning effect; don't use it therapeutically without a healthcare practitioner's guidance. The therapeutic method for utilizing garlic's benefits is crushed or chopped and raw. Mixing it with a small amount of raw honey may make it more palatable. Raw honey, in itself, is also very nutritious.
--- Be careful of carrots or any starchy vegetable. It is known that carrots raise blood sugar levels more than ice cream. They are considered a "starchy" vegetable, therefore they are carbohydrate dense - which will then cause an increase in insulin production, and the resulting high cholesterol. If carrots are eaten on occassion, it is best to eat them raw. It is best to avoid carbohydrate dense foods in general(whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, and fruits)in order to reverse Syndrome X. The amount of insulin your body produces depends on the carbohydrate density of the food you eat. Yams and sweet potatoes are known to bind completely with alkaline phosphatase, which is needed to break down cholesterol and triglycerides. This binding is not a beneficial effect and is best avoided. It is also why people of blood type O are able to eat a large amount of meat without the resulting increase in cholesterol..... they have high amounts of alkaline phosphatase in their system.
--- Avoid dairy (cheese, milk, ice cream, etc), wheat (bread, pasta, etc), corn, potatoes, kidney beans, navy beans, and peanuts. Studies show that those foods affect insulin receptors - sometimes permanently - and cause an increase in insulin which, again, may cause high cholesterol.
--- Consider eliminating or avoiding coffee. Continuing studies associate coffee with high cholesterol due to the fact that it destroys alkaline phosphatase which, as mentioned above, is the enzyme that breaks down the cholesterol in meat. Recent studies have shown coffee to be high in antioxidants, making it healthy for the heart. However, one must view the body as a whole system. Yes, it is high in antioxidants, however, it is also known to greatly stress the adrenal glands. When the adrenal glands are in a state of constant stress, you are in a state of constant "fight or flight" due to excess production of cortisol. Cortisol is known to increase inflammatory reactions in the body; most cardiovascular disease is currently found to be associated with inflammatory reactions. Hence, the finding that testing C-Reactive Protein is one of the most diagnostic tests to be used in the diagnosis of CVD. Keep in mind, also, that, unless coffee is organically grown, it is one of the most highly sprayed crops grown. Those pesticides are toxic to the body - especially the thyroid. The thyroid is extremely influential in the health of the heart and the control of cholesterol.
--- When cooking, use NO hydrogenated oils or margarines. They are known to elevate cholesterol because of anti-essential fatty acid action (trans-fatty acids). The best fats to use for sauteeing or cooking is ghee (clarified butter), organic, virgin coconut oil, and organic, virgin red palm oil. They will not go rancid when heated and are not trans-fatty acids. In fact, all three are very nutritious oils.
--- Avoid frying foods; it oxidizes fats. Cook at the lowest heat possible.
--- Sugar is known to increase LDL(low density lipoproteins) and triglycerides. It has been found to promote increased concentrations of plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, and uric acid.
--- Raw almonds (6-8 four times a week)are rich in arginine and found to cut cholesterol levels by 16 points over a period of 4 weeks.
--- Purple grape juice (unsweetened)may be beneficial in coronary heart disease. Studies show that it is a potent vasodilator yielding almost 3-fold improvement in blood flow. Always remember to buy unsweetened.
--- Exercise (walking 4-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes)is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Studies show that people with blood type O actually do better jogging 45-60 minutes at least 3 times a week.
--- Clinical studies have shown that oral contraceptives, diuretics, and blood pressure meds may elevate cholesterol.
--- Sunlight is known to have a beneficial effect on the metabolism of cholesterol. It is most effective to get at least 10-15 minutes a day three or four days a week of sunlight using no sunscreens or sunglasses. The best time is mid morning or mid afternoon. This is also known to be very beneficial for bone health.
--- In order to get or keep the thyroid in balance, it is best to stay away from green and black tea, fluoridated water, toothpaste with fluoride, and soy. Teas, not only because of the caffeine but, because green tea is VERY high in natural fluoride. Fluoride has been found to play a very large part in the reduction of thyroid hormone activity. In addition to that, it is an extremely toxic substance that should not be ingested in any way. It makes no difference whether it is natural or the toxic by-product of phosphate mining. Soy has properties (goitrogenic) that decrease thyroid hormone activity.
--- When you crave wheat or carbohydrates, consider having a small amount of protein (chicken, turkey, fish, walnuts, almonds(small amount), mozzarella or feta cheese (small amount), pumpkin or flax seeds, eggs, or non-fat yogurt).
---It has been found that fructose is as bad as sucrose in raising cholesterol and triglycerides. It may also increase excess chromium (which balances insulin and blood sugar) excretion.
--- Fenugreek seeds are known to be beneficial for both diabetes and heart disease. Studies have found that they may lower glucose levels and improve cholesterol profile.
--- Studies show that Eating 4 stalks of celery daily may keep blood pressure under control.(celery contains 3-n-butyl phthalide, which is a known blood pressure lowering compound) Hypertension and insulin resistance tend to go hand in hand.
--- If hypothyroidism is suspected,(a morning basal temperature of 97.6 or below for 3 days in a row, goiter, difficulty in swallowing, intolerance to cold, fatigue, slow metabolism, weight gain, hair loss, migraines, depression) be very cautious of fluoride, chlorine and soy. In addition, eating vegetables in the brassica family (brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli,etc) raw may also lower the thyroid. It is best to steam them lightly.
--- Attempt to avoid hypoglycemic conditions (watch processed carbohydrates or a high concentration of starchy vegetables and grains, sugars, caffeine, soft drinks. Stress is also a major factor). They may all ultimately be precursors to "Syndrome X" by causing insulin resistance. Hence, adult onset diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia are: fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, blurred vision, headache, irritability, depression, anxiety, night sweats, insomnia, and tightness in chest. People with hypoglycemia can become very aggressive and lose their tempers. Thyroid problems may also cause hypoglycemic problems.
--- Women who are peri-menopausal or menopausal are often estrogen dominant. Estrogen is known to block thyroid activity, thereby creating a hypothyroid condition. This, in turn, may lead to weight problems, blood sugar problems, cholesterol problems, heart problems - in essence, "Syndrome X".
--- Watch all carbohydrates (beans, grains, breads, some fruits, sugars). They often cause insulin resistance which can elevate triglycerides and cholesterol and lead to hypothyroidism, Syndrome X, and heart disease. When the content of dietary carbohydrate is elevated above the level typically consumed (>55% of calories), the blood concentration of trigycerides rise. This phenomenon is known as carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia. This is paradoxical because the increase in carbohydrates usually comes with a decrease in dietary fats, but, when you increase carbohydrates and decrease dietary fats, the content of blood fats (triglycerides) increases.

SUPPLEMENTAL SUGGESTIONS:
It is not necessary to take every supplement, recommended, every day. My suggestions are extensive so that you and your health care practitioner, can work together to put together different protocols to use at different times. It is never in your best interest to take every supplement every day. Except for the very important essential supplements such as calcium, magnesium, and digestive enzymes, most are best used cyclical. The cycle can be of varying lengths, but, they still need to be used in that manner. In that way, your body never becomes insensitive to the activity of the various supplements and they remain effective. Remember, the goal of nutritional and supplemental intervention is to eventually correct a problem, not treat the symptoms. You may not have to take these forever, as with drugs. Once a condition is stabilized or corrected, a good maintenance program could be set up. In some cases, there may be certain supplements you will want to use regularly. Having said all of that.....always keep in mind that it is never a wise choice to use supplements to "treat" elevated cholesterol or triglycerides UNLESS, at the same time you implement dietary and lifestyle changes. It is the same as "banging your head against a wall", and you will achieve negative results. Supplements are just that - "supplements". They support the body to heal itself, but, the real key to health is in nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Please email me if you have any questions.

All of the previous information was obtained from numerous sources. Among them are:

Eat Right 4 Your Type - D'Adamo
Live Right 4 Your Type - D'Adamo
Nutritional Healing - Balch and Balch
Living Well With Hypothyroidism - Shoman
Disease Prevention and Treatment --Life Extension Foundation
Nutritional Influences on Illness - Werbach
Enzyme Therapy - Cichoke
PDR for Nutritional Supplements
PDR for Herbal Medicine
The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book - Lieberman
Protein Power - Eades
German Commission E Monograph
Natural Treatment for Diabetes
Alternative Medicine, The Definitive Guide
Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine - Pizzorno
Know Your Fats -Enig
Pocket Handbook on Diabetes
Natural Medicine for Heart Disease - Rothfeld
Syndrome X - Berkeson
No-Grain Diet - Mercola
The Thyroid Solution- Arem
Overcoming Thyroid Disorders -Brownstein
Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy - Mills/Bone
The New Holistic Herbal - Hoffman

mercola.com
redflagsdaily.com
hsibaltimore.com
realhealth.com
wrightnewsletter.com
pubmed.org

Health Science Institute
Nutrition and Healing
Real Health Newsletter
Herb Research Foundation