Combat Against Cardiovascular Disease
Stephen Holt, MD
I write consistently with deep passion about the threat posed by the metabolic Syndrome X. This disorder affects 70 million people, but it is not a common diagnosis in medical practice. Syndrome X is the variable combination of obesity, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, linked by resistance to the hormone insulin. Syndrome X is the primary constellation of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other disorders such as inflammatory disease, cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc.
Recent research shows that just losing weight or just lowering cholesterol, or just treating blood pressure, may be often a waste of time. All of these health threatening problems need to be addressed together with diet, lifestyle change, and nutritional factors to combat Syndrome X. Syndrome X nutritional factors are available in a variety of dietary supplements, and they have effects of smoothing out blood sugar, lowering blood cholesterol, helping with weight control, and promoting cardiovascular health. A key issue is the reversal of insulin resistance by restriction of simple sugar in the diet and the use of natural substances that are insulin sensitizers, e.g., alpha lipoic acid, chromium and vanadium, etc.
Oxidative stress to body tissues promotes many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. The power of antioxidants used in multiple formats that can access many different body tissues, is the basis of the use of dietary supplements and anti-oxidant power. We have another important issue to contend with. Modern research points to the role of inflammation in the promotion of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Many anti-oxidants have an anti-inflammatory effect and oxidative damage to tissues promotes cardiovascular disease. Important antioxidants include, but are not limited to vitamin C, E, beta carotene, curcumin (turmeric), ellagic acid, selenium, zinc, and the very important polyphenols found in green tea.
In brief, all cardiovascular risk factors must be addressed together, with elimination of substance abuse, exercise, and good lifestyle. Antioxidants and nutritional factors for Syndrome X are extremely important interventions in the modern practice of integrative medicine.