Heart Disease – What REALLY Causes It
I’ve been reading Human Heart Cosmic Heart by Dr. Tom Cowen. On one hand it’s been blowing my mind, yet on the other, it’s no surprise that it’s consistent with what I keep uncovering in the literature and clinically.
He is one of my favorite medical doctors as he practices a true art of healing and I have such gratitude for his contributions. I highly recommend this book.
WHAT CAUSES HEART ATTACKS?
Does science have this figured out and are treatments actually effective? This is near to my heart, because my dad had bypass surgery a few years back.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Over 700K Americans have heart attacks annually and over 600k die from heart disease every year. This is the real epidemic.
Can you imagine if a large majority of the population lost their jobs, couldn’t go to restaurants, couldn’t participate in society because their behaviors didn’t reduce this statistic. The outrage would be severe because one’s food and lifestyle is a “personal choice,” right?
Even if those choices burden our healthcare systems, increase insurance premiums for all and even if it makes them much more susceptible to what we call “infectious” agents. None of that matters because the establishment hasn’t been doing their billion dollar campaigning on heart disease for the last year and a half. I digress.
For decades, heart attacks have been thought to be caused by blocked arteries by cholesterol or “plaguing.” We’ve been taught to believe that a major issue is the blockage of one of the coronary arteries.
This is also what they told my dad. He had a 95% “blockage” in what is known as the widow maker. This in conventional medicine is a blockage at the start of the left anterior descending artery (LAD).
The current solution to this issue is to “unblock” these vessels using things like statin medication, or surgery like angioplasty and stents. If this isn’t successful then a much more invasive bypass surgery will be suggested next.
Considering coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) is now one of the most common operations in the US and Cardiovascular Disease is the number one killer of Americans, we may want to understand what’s going on. I certainly do.
What I’ve found as I’ve started to dig, doesn’t surprise me. It is confirmed over and over again that much of what we think we know, even in the scientific sphere, is so limited. What’s more, is that much of what we DO in clinical settings is not based on sturdy science at all.
“About 80 percent of what we do in medicine today is not backed up by solid evidence–a clinical trial that proves it’s really superior to other therapies,”
““Lee Newcomer, M.D., senior vice president for oncology at United Healthcare.
A large, international study led by Stanford and New York University found that invasive procedures like bypass surgery are no better than medications and lifestyle advice at treating heart disease that’s severe but stable (1).
The study involved 5,179 participants at 320 sites in 37 countries and was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2019.
Furthermore, the Bypass Angioplasty Revascularization Investigation (BARI) was a large, randomized controlled trial. It evaluated mortality with multi-vessel disease for those treated with CABG (coronary artery bypass graft surgery) or a less invasive procedure PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention). No statistical difference in survival rates was found at 5 or 10 years (3).
The only exception was with diabetic patients which showed a statistically significant lower mortality with bypass graft surgery at 10 years. This is consistent considering in diabetes the small vessels, the microvasculature, are greatly disturbed. These tiny vessels include the smallest vessels such as the capillaries, arterioles, and venules (3, 4).
That brings me to discussing this microvasculature. Diabetics are more at risk for heart disease and they seem to be the ones that can be helped by the invasive procedures of conventional medicine, likely because their collateral supply is also disturbed.
The main thing that should be clarified here (and one that I’ve only uncovered in this last year) is the collateral blood supply to the heart. We are taught that the heart is fed via 4 main arteries, this is an incomplete understanding. Even conventional medicine is discussing this collateral circulation (5).
Dr. Tom points out, along with others including german doctor Dr. Sroka, that the body continues to build gobs of vessels to compensate for any reduced flow. It builds a complex web of vessels surrounding the entire heart. So if/when a so-called “main” artery is blocked, the heart will continue functioning relatively well.
When my dad went into the hospital to get checked for chest pain, they informed him he had 95% blockage. Yet somehow he was working, walking, living pretty darn well all the way up until he walked into the hospital that day and they told him he was having a heart attack. This is possible because of the collateral circulation.
Furthermore, an older study demonstrates that often the oxygen delivery doesn’t change at all during a myocardial event. If blood were truly cut off or “blocked” we would surely see a reduction in oxygen in that region (2).
Conventional medicine maintains that the risk factors associated with heart attacks are: being a man, smoking, having diabetes, and stress. None of which are related to our coronary arteries directly. Diabetes and smoking we know affect the microvasculature more than anything.
WHAT CAUSES HEART ATTACKS?
Reduced Parasympathetic Tone
The real issue that Dr. Tom and Dr. Sroka insist is at play here is the autonomic nervous system (6). This is the system that controls our involuntary functions and our organs and glands. We have 2 main arms of this system, and in a healthy person, the body is in a constant dance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic. It’s all about stress and then rest.
The vagus nerve is a branch of the parasympathetic arm and innervates the heart and is responsible for slowing the heart. The adrenals release corticosteroids and uses nitric oxide and acetyl choline as important mediators in this process.
As a chiropractor this is right up my alley. Clinically we will observe patients enjoy improvements in heart rate variability, thermography scans and blood pressure within short periods of time of receiving chiropractic care. This is all the autonomic nervous system and why real deal chiropractic care is so impactful.
Disturbed autonomic function does appear to be at the foundation of heart disease. Remember the main risk factors of heart attacks? Turns out that smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and stress will decrease parasympathetic activity thus reducing resilience after stressful sympathetic inputs.
The heart, like all our muscles, has a great ability to tolerate stress over short periods. It can do major work and sustain so long as it has some rest in between.
If you don’t have those periods of genuine rest, the body deteriorates and accumulates more oxidative damage. The heart takes a beating and this can be demonstrated on a heart variability monitor.
Commonly used conventional heart medications appear to work for similar autonomic reasons. Nitrate drugs stimulate nitrous oxide production which up-regulates parasympathetics. Aspirin and statins also stimulate the production of nitrous oxide and acetylcholine. Beta blockers block sympathetic activity.
A Disturbed Water Battery
In our cell/vessel perimeters we have a zone that is negatively charged, what Dr. Gerald Pollack refers to as the exclusion zone, and the inner bulk water which is positively charged. This differential is what drives flow, blood circulation, neurological communication and more.
It’s the same principle of a battery.
The charge of your body batteries is the foundation of your health. A negatively charged coating lines the inside of the blood vessel, it repels other negatively charged particles and acts as a protective layer against any damaging agents to the vessel wall.
If this exclusion zone gets disturbed, such as in an artery, an inflammatory response mounts. This response will bring in repair agents to help seal the damage resulting in what we call ‘plagues.”
Blood sugar dysregulation will also lead to further issues. If you cannot properly transport glucose in and out of cells and it sits in the vessels for too long, this can lead to more vessel deterioration, more plaque build up as a protective consequence, and more rigidity and loss of flexibility.
It’s crucial to get blood sugar in a normal range and improve that metabolic function. These plagues are protective as mentioned above, but there are eventual consequences if the initial behavior isn’t changed.
This is important to understand because without this protective mechanism the blood vessel would bust/break/tear under the pressure of flow in a weakened area. So we must stop blaming this plaque, cholesterol, LDL and the like.
HOW TO PREVENT & RECOVER
To prevent myocardial infarction or improve heart function or angina, we must support parasympathetics. All the things that soothe our nervous system.
Living in harmony with our surroundings, community, remaining in nature’s rhythms and enjoying human and animal contact. This sounds simple, but it’s amazing how far from these natural routines many of us are.
Coffee enemas, sauna, sun, grounding, outdoor activity, prayer, meditation, breath work – all also assist in this as well.
Equally important is to ensure you’re getting some real deal chiropractic care. You want to find someone who is measuring your heart rate variability if possible, but working towards holding your adjustment, not adjusting you all the time. Holding is healing. Look for upper cervical specialists that use Tytron technology or another option I love is Network Spinal Analysis chiropractors.
Also, I’ve learned of an old botanical called Ouabain, called Strophanthus, from an African plant. It’s still used by German cardiologists and highly recommended by Dr. Tom for restoring parasympathetic activity and improving heart metabolism.
I even shipped some to my dad who has diabetes and a history of heart disease. G-strophanthin is a hormone made in the adrenal cortex. It helps produce acetylcholine and converts lactic acid into pyruvate, which is preferred fuel of cardiac tissue.
Getting underlying blood sugar issues handled extremely important. You don’t need to be overweight to have dysglycemia. You can be thin, you can be obese. Looking at blood sugar handling capacity is necessary.
As discussed above ensuring your “water battery” is in tip top shape is important so circulation flows readily. What matters with this is:
– – Light, all of it, red, near and far infrared, UV
– – Earth’s magnetic field
– – Structured water from food or drink
– – Adding fruit, veg juice, lemon juice, herbs/teas, chia seeds, minerals, rocks/stones and vortex action to your liquids to help bring order to the depleted filtered water if that’s what you have
– – Heat, this is why sauna is so impactful
– – Cold, this is why Wim Hof method is so impactful or any cold plunging
– – The touch of other human/animal. We all give off radiant energy and share it.
Lastly, also notable is a technology called EECP (Enhanced External Counter Pulsation). This can be helpful for many people who want to avoid bypass surgery or stenting.
- Helfant RH, Forrester JS, Hampton JR, et al. (1970). Coronary heart disease. Differential hemodynamic, metabolic, and electrocardiographic effects in subjects with and without angina pectoris during atrial pacing. Circulation, 42(4), 601-610.
- Chaitman, Bernard R et al. (2009). The Bypass Angioplasty Revascularization Investigation 2 Diabetes randomized trial of different treatment strategies in type 2 diabetes mellitus with stable ischemic heart disease: impact of treatment strategy on cardiac mortality and myocardial infarction. Circulation, 120(25), 2529-40.
- Barrett EJ, Liu Z, Khamaisi M, et al. (2017). Diabetic Microvascular Disease: An Endocrine Society Scientific Statement. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 102(12), 4343-4410.
- Meier, P., Schirmer, S. H., Lansky, A. J., Timmis, A., Pitt, B., & Seiler, C. (2013). The collateral circulation of the heart. BMC medicine, 11, 143.
- Sroka, K. (2004). On the genesis of myocardial ischemia. Z Kardiol, 93, 768–783.