Autophagy for heart health (Pt. 1)
Health starts at the cellular level. We have talked extensively about the nutrients needed by a cell to produce energy and function properly, and about the fact that a cell produces waste that needs to be disposed of. In our previous blog we started talking about a process of cell cleansing known as autophagy. We saw it is one of the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Autophagy seems to have a special significance for heart health. Research has shown that this process of cellular cleaning is increased in the heart due to some conditions such as myocardial ischemia, ischemia reperfusion and hypertension. The reason for this seems to point to an increase in cellular stress that causes the accumulation of aggregated proteins and organelles. In cases like these, the process of autophagy is necessary to sequester these damaged cellular components for degradation (1). In addition, most heart conditions seem to be directly related to a diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugar, as we pointed out in our previous blog. A process known as ‘lactic acidosis’ has been found to cause plaquing inside the arteries due to years of continual carbohydrate metabolism (2).
In today’s blog we will look deeper at the process of autophagy. We will explain what ‘lactic acidosis’ is and how it damages the arteries. We will also see how the ‘Heart and Body Extract’ can provide the needed nutrients to repair the damage done by years of high carbohydrate intake.
The lactic acid cycle
What would be another good reason to stay away from a high carbohydrate diet? The answer is in order to avoid the accumulation of acid waste. The metabolism of carbohydrates produces waste products like lactate, acetate, acetaldehyde and ethanol which are poisons to the body. A diet high in carbohydrates over a long period of time can also cause a deficiency of the B vitamins, which prevents the liver from cleaning these waste products. An accumulation of these waste products causes a build up of acid in the body, condition known as ‘lactic acidosis’. These acids then enter the circulatory system and deplete the blood of oxygen (hypoxia). This hypoxic blood causes the arteries to dilate and the circulation to slow down. The little capillaries, engorged with toxic and hypoxic blood, are unable to feed the cells, which causes cell starvation and cell death (2).
Dr. Royal Lee, the father of holistic nutrition, theorized that this toxic blood damages the arteries, and in order to protect the inner membrane inside of the arteries from this toxic overload, the body starts depositing cholesterol. There are other suspected causes for this arterial plaquing such as blood clots and nutritional deficiencies that cause the arteries to be weakened and rupture. This is the case of vitamin C deficiency, that causes a tear inside the arterial wall. Calcium has been found in these deposits but because vitamin C is needed to heal the arteries, it is more important to address this issue by correcting this deficiency (2). For this, healing insulin resistance is necessary because high insulin blocks vitamin C absorption.
As we saw, the ketogenic diet is a very important tool to stop sugar cravings because it switches the fuel source to fat, rather than sugar and foods that turn quickly into sugar. Another reason the ketogenic diet is important in this case of arterial plaquing is because the ketogenic diet allows the body to burn its own body fat so it lowers cholesterol, triglycerides, cleans visceral fat embedded in the liver, pancreas, and clogged arteries. What is more, by making this fat in our body more fluid, the calcium deposited in the arteries can become more ionized and be allowed to be released more easily.
There are other ways this calcium inside the musculature of our arteries can be removed and that is by supplementing with phosphorus, which pushes calcium out, and with both vitamins K2 and D3, as they soften calcified tissue (16).
The real vitamin C
Dr. Darren Schmidt, DC explains that for the body to get the real benefits of vitamin C, one needs to supplement with whole food sources. This is because vitamin C is a complex molecule that has various nutrients and factors, these are:
- Bioflavonoid complexes
- Organic copper
- P factors
- K factors
- Ascorbic acid
He explains that vitamin C is crucial in healing arteries because it acts as a glue that holds the collagen together. Because sugar raises insulin, and too much insulin blocks nutrient absorption, this means that vitamin C can never enter the cell to heal damaged arteries (2). This is why it is essential to heal insulin resistance.
The ‘Heart and Body Extract’ is high in vitamin C
The ingredients in the “Heart and Body Extract” are a good source of the whole vitamin C complex. Cayenne is also very high source of vitamins A, and the complete B complex while being rich in organic calcium and potassium, as well as vitamin C. Hawthorne contains vitamin C, pectin and other substances. Therefore, it is primarily used to treat the heart’s blood vessels. Bilberry contains pectin, quercetin, vitamins A, B, and C which makes it a natural antioxidant. Bilberry also has the property of lowering blood sugar therefore it can be used for diabetes. This effect is probably due to the flavonoid quercetin which is the main active ingredient in the herb (3).
Tests for the heart
In order to calculate the amount of calcium within arteries, there are two tests that can be performed:
- Coronary artery calcium score: It is a CT scan that takes 5 minutes to conduct. It is measured from 0 to 4,000, 0 meaning there is a 0% chance of having a heart attack in the next 15 years.
- Post-prandial insulin: It measures the metabolic rate through the whole body. This is directly related to the consumption of carbohydrates. When we eat them the blood sugar goes high and low, and the insulin has to catch up every time. After years of high insulin it continues to stay high which is a sign of chronic disease. One way this manifests is by turning bad genes on. This causes inflammation, inflammation causes pain. Sugar burning also causes pathological tissue to grow at a faster rate in the body. This can manifest as cysts, fibroids, tumors, moles, skin tags, etc (2).
How to stop the downward spiral
How can we take control of our dependency on sugar? It is not as simple as strong determination because when the body is in survival mode, which is what happens when we get our energy from sugar, the body is already in a state of high stress due to the low levels of nutrients available. We saw that we can reset our metabolism by switching the body to fat, which is a more stable and nutrient dense food source. Doing this will allow the body to safely fast, which will start the healing process. Years of sugar damage can be cleaned up with the process of autophagy.