Thursday, 27 March 2014

Can Cardiovascular Disease Be Reversed?

The allopathic medical approach to cardiovascular disease is to treat the symptoms. In some respects this is successful at keeping the patient alive, but at the expense of their long term quality of life. In fact, Western medicine has nothing to treat the route cause of cardiovascular disease. The best cardiovascular drugs available to medicine are the statins, which may lower cholesterol levels, but does not significantly improve long term mortality rates.

The Nutritional Approach

The success of mainstream medicine is put to shame by the ability of the nutritional sciences to treat cardiovascular disease. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and nutrition scores highly in this regard. Plants provide a veritable cornucopia of compounds that have been shown in scientific studies to prevent cardiovascular disease. But does nature offer anything to reverse the condition once it has developed?

Tocotrienols

Tocotrienols are a sub-group of vitamin E. They are plant polyphenols that have antioxidant effects in humans. Tocotrienols are able to cause regression of carotid stenosis (a blockage in the carotid artery). The result of this is an increase in blood flow to the heart, which explains the ability of vitamin E to protects from heart attacks.  How tocotrienols can cause regression of arterial plaques is not known, but it is interesting to speculate as to the possible mechanisms of action.

Antioxidants Reverse Endothelial Dysfunction

Tocotrienols are powerful antioxidants in humans. They inhibit the oxidation of fatty acids in cell membranes and this causes a reduction in lipid peroxides. High concentrations of lipid peroxides are harmful to to health. Accumulation of oxidised products such as lipid peroxides decreases the synthesis of nitric oxide in the walls of arteries and this can cause endothelial dysfunction. Antioxidants such as tocotrienols can prevent this process.

Tocotrienols Increase Blood Flow?

Antioxidants improve the function of the endothelium of arteries by inhibiting free radicals. This allows the arteries to remain elastic and undergo flow mediated dilation in response to increases in blood pressure. This may explain the ability of tocotrienols to increase blood flow and regress carotid stenoses. However, because tocotrienols are only found in limited foods, supplements have to be taken to obtain high concentrations.
RdB

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