Traditional medicine modifies just 6 risk factors — obesity, smoking, high LDL-cholesterol, low HDL-cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood sugar. However, integrative and alternative doctors have come to recognize 11 additional risk factors.
Here are two additional risk factors to consider if you want to keep your heart healthy …
Low Vitamin K2In nature, vitamin K is found in two forms: K1, which occurs in leafy green vegetables; and K2, which exists in organ meats, egg yolks, dairy products, and particularly in fermented products such as cheese and curd. While some ingested K1 is converted to K2 in the body, significant benefits occur when vitamin K2 itself is supplemented.1
The absorption of K2 into the bloodstream is relatively efficient, whereas relatively little K1 is absorbed from plant foods. The kinds of food rich in K2 (organ meats, eggs, and dairy) should not be eaten in excess. This is why supplementation is so important. The Japanese, who eat large quantities of a fermented soybean food, have lower rates of heart disease because of K2.2
In one study, rats given vitamin K1 plus warfarin (a blood thinner) were not protected against arterial calcification. The scientists fed rats a diet containing warfarin plus K1, vitamin K2, or both forms. None of the rats that received K2 developed arterial calcification, while 100% of the rats that received K1 without vitamin K2 displayed calcification in the aorta and carotid arteries.
A more recent study showed that higher doses of K2 decreased arterial calcium content by 50% in rats. What makes this finding so remarkable is that most people over age 30–40 already have some degree of arterial calcification and up until now have had no means to reverse it.3
Life Extension suggests 1100 mcg/day of vitamin K2 — 1000 mcg from MK-4 and 100 mcg from MK-7. MK-4 and 7 are sub-forms of vitamin K2.
Low PON-1Paraoxanase-1 or PON-1 is the enzymatic engine for HDL-cholesterol. People with higher levels of PON-1 have a lower risk of cardiovascular outcomes.4
The enzyme performs three critical functions:
- Prevents Oxidation of Fats & Cholesterol
- Eases Inflammation within Arterial Plaques
- Supports Optimal Reverse Cholesterol Transport
- Pomegranate – Consider supplementing with an extract that includes nutrients from the fruit, seeds, and flower.
- Resveratrol – Supplementing with 250 mg/day of the “trans” form is best.
- Quercetin – A potent polyphenol antioxidant found in citrus fruits.
- Black Tea Theaflavins – Black is the new green tea! An antioxidant found in black tea, called theaflavin, helps to ease inflammation within the arterial wall.
What You Need to KnowThe one mechanism, one drug approach for treating heart disease is killing us! Until conventional doctors acknowledge and treat the additional risk factors, Americans will continue to die from heart attacks and strokes. But don’t wait for conventional doctors; take charge of your own heart destiny and begin modifying the risk factors mentioned in this post.
- J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134(11):3100-5.
- Int J Epidemiol. 2000 Oct;29(5):832-6.
- Blood. 2007 Apr 1;109(7):2823-31.
- Indian J Clin Biochem. 2008; 23(4):378-81.