Can Cardiovascular Disease Be Reversed
Promising Study: Can Cardiovascular Disease Be Reversed?
By Stuart Diamond, Editor-in-Chief
Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in America. Of the over 26 million Americans who diagnosed with heart disease over 600,000 will die this year – one in four deaths. Both patients and doctors continue to ask: “Can cardiovascular disease be reversed?”
Holistic medical practitioners, nutritionists, and wellness companies insist that with dramatic changes in lifestyle and diet, the progression of heart disease can be slowed and in some cases reversed. But that is where many mainstream cardiologists challenge the optimists. They argue that the full reversal of coronary artery disease is still a distant goal.
Mainstream cardiology advocates the use of powerful pharmaceutical drugs and mechanical stents that are implanted into blocked arteries to prop them open. These strategies do keep some people alive — though not necessarily healthy.
However, are there natural, gentler alternatives – alternatives that don’t necessarily require a complete change in lifestyle — alternatives that can be shown to be effective as a sole agent in reducing disease?
For example, Dr. Benedict S. Maniscalco and Karen A. Taylor published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Pathophysiology a study they conducted on 100 patients with coronary artery disease. The goal was daunting – to measure the change, if any, in CAD using only supplements and over the course of only four months.
The first step was to find a way to quantify the amount of disease in each patient. This was done by detecting and quantifying the coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores for each participant. To find a coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, the patients were examined with computerized t. These advanced scanners allow researchers to actually visualize and quantify the amount of arterial calcification. The scores range from 0 to 400+, and is considered one of the best 10 year predictors of a serious coronary event, such as a heart attack. The higher the score the greater the risk. In addition, a battery of standard blood test were given including complete blood count, metabolic panel, liver function, C-reactive protein and lipids – to set the standard baseline.
The patients were given a daily dose of supplements which included ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid disodium (EDTA) a salt that is often used as a detoxifying agent, as well as a specific recipe of nutraceuticals, amino acids, and vitamins. Patients did not change diet, medication or exercise plans. They were only asked to refrain from taking any other supplements or vitamins during the course of the study. The patients were tested after 2 months and then again at the end of 4 months.
The results were striking.
57% percent of the patients who finished the study had significant decreases in total CAC scores, the average decrease being 14%. Patients who had Angina at the start of the study, 84% (16 of 19) found a decrease of symptoms. Lipid profiles improved toward non-plaque forming direction significantly, a remarkable finding in a patient group where 86% were on continuous statin medication already before the trial. And just as important, no adverse physiologic effects were seen in renal, hepatic, or hematopoietic systems.
The paper concluded that CAC scores decreased during the trial in most CAD patients implying regression of calcified coronary artery plaque volume. The patients tolerated the therapy well and their angina and lipid profiles improved. All this in only four months.
Today there are wellness clinics who have adopted similar protocols for heart disease as the ones used in the 2004 trial. In general, the patient is always under the care of a qualified cardiologist or internist. The first step is to create a baseline. Besides CAC scores and blood testing, there are today non-invasive advanced diagnostics that can be used right in a physician’s office. Similar to a standard office EKG, these devices run algorhythmic cross-checks against a database of 30,000 other cardiac patients. The devices provide quick, yet accurate analyses of coronary function and blockage. (Studies show that these in-office devices are as accurate in detecting heart disease as nuclear stress testing or angiograms.) Whatever tests are used, the important point is that a quantifiable baseline is established.
Patients are then given a supplement prescription, similar to the one used in the trial discussed above. Patients continue their regular medications, statins, blood pressure medications, diets, exercise plans, etc. Also, since the prescriptions are natural supplements, the potential dangers and side effects, in most cases, are minimal.
Patients are retested every two months, tracking improvement, if any, in the cardiovascular function. The protocol is followed for six to 12 months. Though these clinics have not followed patients in a way as to establish scientific verification of the protocols, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence, including dramatic improvement from baseline results, that the therapy is effective.
It will be interesting to see how the Maniscalco and other studies will impact the field of cardiology 10 or 20 years from now. In the meantime, heart disease patients are taking responsibility for their own health and seeking out exploring their options. Further treatment trials for long-term therapy with matched controls are warranted.