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July 2000

Letter from Dr. Janson
Chelation Therapy As Part of A Heart Health Program
What is Heart Disease?
Diet Changes for Better Health
Exercise for The Heart
Supplements for Preventing Heart Disease
Herbs That Help Menopause
Colostrum and Transfer Factor
In the Health News
Recipe of the Month: Healthy Travel Tip
References

Letter from Dr. Janson
Dear Friends,
Heart disease from arteriosclerosis is still the number one killer in most industrialized nations (even in France). Fortunately, it is almost totally preventable with lifestyle changes that are manageable for most people—if they know what to do. It is also treatable with natural remedies that can reduce or eliminate the need for medications, and often eliminate the need for surgery.

Of course, surgery is often overused in the first place, so it is not too hard to reduce the "need" for it. Some expert cardiologists estimate that up to 75 percent of all bypass surgeries are unnecessary, and they are not even comparing the use of surgery with lifestyle change and dietary supplements, but with drug therapy.

Chelation Therapy As Part of A Heart Health Program
In addition, they never mention chelation therapy, a treatment that I have found to be very valuable for my patients with heart disease and other circulation problems, such as strokes and claudication (pain in the legs on walking). Chelation therapy is a three-hour intravenous treatment with a synthetic amino acid called EDTA. It is done in a doctor’s office about twice a week for 25 to 40 sessions and it is remarkably safe when administered according to protocol. Chelation can be combined with any other treatment, but is best as a part of a comprehensive health program.

What is Heart Disease?
Arteriosclerotic diseases result from a buildup of plaque (fatty, fibrous, calcified deposits) in the arterial wall, eventually blocking the blood flow to the vital organs. The damage to the arteries results from free-radical injury and inflammation, both of which can be related to lifestyle choices. Common symptoms of heart disease include chest tightness or pain, which may be felt in the left arm, the back, or the jaw, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The chest symptoms may also be perceived as a pressure sensation, like “an elephant sitting on the chest,” as heartburn, or simply as indigestion. Some of the recent tests to predict heart disease risks are related to inflammation (the CRP test that I discussed in the June issue is a test for inflammation).

The most important changes in lifestyle that help to prevent and treat heart disease are dietary changes and exercise. In addition, stress management and dietary supplements play vital roles in reducing the problem. Heart disease is not simply genetic. When we see that American teenagers between 15 and 19 years old already have plaque in their arteries we cannot blame it on genetics. It is almost certainly related to their diets and lack of exercise. In the Korean War, doctors examined young Americans who died of trauma, and they already had plaque in their arteries, while the young Koreans did not. When Koreans move to the US and eat the western diet, they develop the same arterial diseases. As fast foods spread around the world, in their wake we see increases in preventable obesity, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.

Diet Changes for Better Health
Cut down on processed foods, white flour and sugar, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and sweeteners, which are junk, not food. Reduce animal products in the diet. Although fish is probably beneficial, meat, chicken, and dairy contribute to increased mortality from heart disease and cancer. In fact, all-cause mortality is lower in vegetarians than non-vegetarians. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

Numerous scientific studies come to this same conclusion, and they come from all over the world, and the evaluation of many different populations. Many fad diets claim to be helpful in losing weight. They may lead to weight loss because they reduce caloric intake, but they are not healthful diets. High protein and high fat diets are not supported by the medical literature. They are associated with more osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, gallstones, gout, and arthritis. They have little fiber, an important dietary component, and they are low in protective phytochemicals and bioflavonoids (healthful plant pigments).

If you eat dairy products, choose low fat, organic sources, and if you include eggs, choose organic brands. Although I used to recommend mainly salmon, the farming of fish is now widespread, and not many fish farms use natural methods. As a result, the good essential fatty acid composition of fish is altered. The growth hormone used to double the growth rate of the fish, is untested for its health effects. In order to avoid this problem, I now suggest sardines (water packed) as the preferred source. You don’t need much animal product in the diet, but I believe it is beneficial to have some, and small amounts of organic eggs, fish, or low-fat organic yogurt are the best sources.

Exercise for The Heart
Exercise has been shown in many studies to help heart disease, in both prevention and rehabilitation. You don't have to be a competitive athlete to benefit, and you don't have to exhaust yourself to be healthy.

A simple plan of 30 minutes a day of regular, repetitive motion, such as walking, jogging, bicycling, rollerblading, skiing, swimming, or exercise machines is beneficial. Exercise without getting out of breath, but try to work up a sweat. This simple guideline should keep you at aerobic levels of exercise. If there is no exercise you love, get an exercise machine and work out during the news or while reading a magazine.

Supplements for Preventing Heart Disease
In this issue I'll conclude with supplements for prevention. In the next issue I will write about supplements for treatment of specific heart problems, as well as the value of relaxation methods.

First, I always recommend starting with a high-potency, multivitamin-mineral combination. This should give you the B-complex (50 to 100 mg), some vitamins C and E, magnesium and calcium (500 mg each), and trace minerals. However, no multiple preparation has everything you need in adequate doses, so you do need to take some extra supplements for greater protection.

For example, extra vitamins C and E act as potent antioxidants, protecting the blood vessels from free-radical damage. They also help to lower cholesterol while raising the good HDL-cholesterol. I usually recommend about 4000 mg of vitamin C, and 400 IU of vitamin E. If your multiple has this amount of E, then it may be enough until you are over 40 years old, when you might want to take an extra 400 to 800 IU. I advise using only the natural d-alpha tocopherol (as opposed to dl-alpha), plus the mixed tocopherols (beta, gamma, and delta).

Selenium is associated with less heart disease (and less cancer). It works with other antioxidants as a component of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which regenerates vitamin E. Usually 200 to 400 mcg per day is a good dose. The same dose of chromium contributes to preventing heart disease because chromium helps control blood sugar (diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease) and it promotes normal blood fat and cholesterol.

These are the basics for prevention, although as you get over 45 years old you might want to take additional coenzyme Q10, and proanthocyanidins as protective supplements. These and others such as hawthorn berry, L-carnitine, taurine, and garlic are also useful for treatment, so I'll be discussing them in the next edition.

Herbs That Help Menopause
For many years I have recommended alternative therapies for women going through menopause, using diet, exercise, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, magnesium, and bioflavonoids, in addition to natural hormone replacement as needed.

More recently I have added several herbs to my treatment programs with great success, helping many women to eliminate hot flashes, depression, anxiety, and vaginal atrophy and dryness. One of the most effective is standardized extract of black cohosh. Components of this herb called triterpenes have mild estrogenic effects without the side effects commonly seen with typical estrogen therapy, and they are effective in 50 to 90 percent of women, depending on their symptoms. It is one of the most commonly used herbs in Germany. The typical dose of black cohosh is 40 to 80 mg twice a day, each 40-mg pill standardized to contain 1 mg of the active 27-deoxyactein.

Dong quai, also known as Angelica sinensis, is another herb used for menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes. In addition to some very mild estrogenic effects, it also has anti-inflammatory effects and is a free radical scavenger.

Some of the active components of dong quai are ligustilide and ferulic acid. The typical dose is 400 to 600 mg daily of the standardized extract. A side benefit is that this herb relaxes blood vessels, improves circulation, and lowers blood pressure.

Sometimes these herbs work better when taken together, or with Agnus Castus (Vitex), which supports the pituitary gland and consequently the production of progesterone (400 mg per day of standardized extract). None of these herbs precludes the use of natural hormones.

Colostrum and Transfer Factor
I have seen a lot of advertising lately for supplements of colostrum, the thick, "first milk" that contains all the immune factors for an infant while their own immune systems are still developing. In fact, colostrum does protect the calf or the human infant in many ways, but the concentration of immune substances, called "transfer factors" (because they "transfer" immunity), is often too low to be therapeutic. This is where the supplement called "Transfer Factor" comes in.

Transfer Factor is a highly concentrated mixture of immunoglobulins and non-specific inhibitors of infectious agents derived from colostrum. These act as immune stimulators, and promote macrophage activation, lymphocyte maturation, and natural killer (NK) cell activity.

As a supplement, Transfer Factor is useful for defective immunity, especially in children, elderly, and immunosuppressed patients (due to medications and AIDS, for example). It also is beneficial in treating bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic, and mycobacterial infections.

Patients with cancer, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other conditions all benefit from supplements of Transfer Factor. I even recommend it as preventive medicine to protect immunity as people get older. The typical dose is two to three capsules of 200 mg each for prevention, up to 1800 mg for treatment of serious infections or immune compromise.

In the Health News
• Another reason to eat only organic foods: the common pesticide “Dursban” is now being gradually banned. Half of the 20 million pounds used annually is on food crops, such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and grains (where it is not banned yet!). That equals a yearly drink of about a shot-glass full per person in the US, in addition to the chemical exposure around the house, lawn, and garden as the most common household pesticide. It has been in use for about 30 years, and research confirms that it causes symptoms including memory loss and blurred vision. Government and industry still say that "approved" pesticides are safe; the question is whether to believe them about those not yet banned–and wait 30 years to find out about their damaging effects?

• We are also exposed to the toxic chemical– dioxin, a byproduct of paper manufacture and incineration of industrial waste that accumulates in the fat of meat and dairy products. It leads to a risk of cancer 10-fold higher than previously thought in people who eat large amounts of these foods. It also increases birth defects and abnormal childhood development. It helps to eat more vegetarian foods, and take protective dietary supplements, such as antioxidants.

Diet and Disease
• The salt consumption recommendation of 2400 mg daily, far lower than the US average, is too high (Reuters, May 18). A whole foods diet (more fruits and vegetables) and salt consumption of only 1500 mg could lower blood pressure significantly even in non-hypertensives, and thus lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 20 and 35 percent respectively. This is better and safer than blood pressure medications.

Recipe of the Month
Healthy Travel Tip

I always bring my own food for travel, especially when flying. (Swissair has recently begun serving all natural and organic foods on all flights originating in Switzerland–you know who I’ll be flying with on my next European trip.) If you plan your arrival early enough to find a health food store, and ask for a refrigerator in your hotel room, you can keep healthy snacks and meals with you at all times. Look for vegetarian restaurants in the Yellow Pages (or on the Web before departure). Order enough at the restaurants to have leftovers for the next day. Then, on holidays or at conferences where the schedule is tight, you won’t have to depend on hotel food. When driving, I take a cooler with healthy foods. With a little planning, it is not difficult to eat healthfully on the road.

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References

Heart Protection
Fraser GE Associations between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality... Am J Clin Nutr 1999 Sep;70(3 Suppl):532S-8S.

Key TJ, Health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Proc Nutr Soc 1999 May;58(2):271-5.

DeRose DJ, et al., Vegan Diet-Based Lifestyle Program Rapidly Lowers Homocysteine Levels. Prev Med 2000 Mar;30(3):225-233.

Snowdon DA, Phillips RL, Does a vegetarian diet reduce the occurrence of diabetes? Am J Public Health 1985 May;75(5):507-12.

Medkova IL, et al., The results of exposure to an antisclerotic vegetarian diet enriched with soy-based products on patients in the secondary prevention of ischemic heart disease Ter Arkh 1997;69(9):52-5.

Fransje CH, et al., Physical Activity and 10-Year Mortality From Cardiovascular Diseases and All Causes: The Zutphen Elderly Study. Arch Intern Med. 1998;158:1499-1505.

Shephard RJ, Balady GJ, Exercise as cardiovascular therapy. Circulation 1999 Feb 23;99(7):963-72.

Gaziano JM, Antioxidant vitamins and coronary artery disease risk. Am J Med 1994 Sep 26;97(3A):18S-21S.

Rimm EB, Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease in men. N Engl J Med 1993 May 20;328(20):1450-6.

Herbs for Menopause
Lieberman S, A review of the effectiveness of Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh) for the symptoms of menopause. J Womens Health 1998 Jun;7(5):525-9.

Liske E, Therapeutic efficacy and safety of Cimicifuga racemosa for gynecologic disorders. Adv Ther 1998 Jan-Feb;15(1):45-53.

Colostrum and Transfer Factor
Hana I, et al., The influence of age on transfer factor treatment of cellular immunodeficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome and/or chronic viral infections. Biotherapy 1996;9(1-3):91-5.

Estrada-Parra S, et al., Immunotherapy with transfer factor of recurrent herpes simplex type I. Arch Med Res 1995;26 Spec No:S87-92.

 


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CONSULTATIONS:

From September to June, I see patients in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Call 386-409-7747, or send an email to to make arrangements.

In summer, I have a variable schedule, and I see patients in offices at the
Rothfeld Center for Integrative Medicine in Waltham, Massachusetts. For appointments, send an email to make arrangements, or call: 386-409-7747.

I primarily do phone consultations, as well as email and instant messaging consults.


Information herein is not medical advice or direction. All material in this newsletter is provided for information only. Its contents should not be used to provide medical advice on individual problems. Consult a health care professional for medical or health advice.

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