Nutritional Treatment of Heart Disease with
L-carnitine, Coenzyme Q10, Magnesium, and Vitamin E
The use of nutritional supplements in the treatment as well as prevention of disease is clearly the future of medicine. Nutrition is currently going through a renaissance, and the prospects for alleviating suffering and improving the quality of life are very real, and have generated an excitement heretofore unknown. It's not just in the laboratories; clinicians are finding that nutrient and herbal supplements are indeed quite effective if, and only if, the proper combinations at the proper doses are provided to the appropriate sites.
There is a novel nutritional therapy composed of four nutritional factors each one having been shown to be remarkably effective in the treatment (as well as the prevention) of heart disease. This empirical, but effective, formulation aptly illustrates the three fundamental principles of nutritional therapeutics: type, dose, and site.
Cardiac insufficiency (with its plethora of symptoms, including
arrhythmias, pulse abnormalities, pressure on the chest, difficulty
breathing, and a sense of something being wrong in the area of the
heart) is a condition which, if left untreated, will result in heart
attack. Although there are many causes of cardiac insufficiency (i.e.,
atherosclerosis, ischemia, vasospasm), the ultimate biochemical defect
is an insufficient supply of cellular energy (i.e., ATP). The
combination of L-Carnitine, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, and vitamin E is
an extremely effective treatment for cardiac insufficiency, as the
nutrients provided cover most of the known mechanisms of cardiac
CCME: L-carnitine, Coenzyme Q10, Magnesium, and Vitamin E
Carnitine, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, and vitamin E all interact in the mitochondrial generation of energy. Carnitine carries fats across the inner membrane for beta-oxidation. Coenzyme Q10 is the key factor in the electron transport system. Magnesium is an essential cofactor for many of the enzyme systems which support energy production. Moreover, it is required for ATP stability, as ATP is synthesized as the magnesium complex. Vitamin E is in the membrane where it can scavenge the free radicals generated by the electron transport system.
Lipids provide 60-80% of the metabolic energy required by the heart,
which explains why such high levels of L-carnitine are stored in
cardiac muscle. Moreover, interference with fatty acid oxidation can
have dire consequences on myocardial function. Cognizance of L-carnitine's
import has led to numerous investigations, the results of which have
documented its cardiovascular benefits in both animals2,3 and
humans.4-6 Carnitine is perhaps best known for its lipid-lowering
activity, specifically, its ability
to rapidly and markedly decrease
plasma triglycerides7 and increase HDL cholesterol.8
These findings have been confirmed and reconfirmed in many clinics and laboratories. Teo and colleagues, for example, in an analysis of seven clinical studies, concluded that magnesium (in doses of 5-10 grams by intravenous injection) reduced the odds of death by an astounding 55%.16
Studies of magnesium have revealed it to be Nature's "calcium channel blockerÓ17; unlike its drug counterparts, however, magnesium has no toxic side effects. Another important effect of supplemental magnesium is its ability to mitigate the cardiotoxic effects of catecholamines. Prielipp and associates, for example, published results of a clinical trial in which magnesium (10 mg per kg body weight per hour, or approximately 700 mg per hour for an average adult) attenuated the cardiotoxic effects of epinephrine in 17 bypass patients.18 Interestingly, the drug captopril-an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor-has been demonstrated to work by raising intracellular magnesium.19
Vitamin E also plays a pivotal role in the inhibition of platelet aggregation.22 Platelets aggregate because arachidonic acid is converted into pro-aggregatory thromboxanes; this conversion is an oxidative process responsive to vitamin E treatment.23 The ability of vitamin E to inhibit platelet aggregation is vitally important, as excessive, uncontrolled platelet aggregation is now acknowledged to be a primary causative factor in myocardial infarction. An ancillary mechanism involves vitamin E's ability to block redox cycling of catecholamine - the net result being a diminution in abnormal sympathetic stimulation of the heart.
CCME is, however, therapeutically effective; more importantly, it is practical, hence patient compliance is not a problem. CCME is completely safe, and no toxic side effects have ever been reported (save for the laxative effect of magnesium salts). The icing on the cake is that CCME - in addition to being effective and safe - is very inexpensive as compared with currently prescribed drugs. CCME's cost efficacy is even more impressive when compared to mechanical procedures (e.g., heart transplantation and bypass surgery) that are major contributors to the spiraling cost of health care. CCME is effective, easy, and economical: what more could one possibly expect in clinical medicine?
Reprinted from the Journal of Optimal Nutrition (JON) Vol. 3(3), 1994
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21. Esterbauer H, et al. The role of vitamin E and carotenoids in preventing oxidation of low density lipoproteins. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 570: 254-257, 1989.
22. Jandsk J, et al. Reduction of platelet adhesiveness by vitamin E supplementation in humans. Thrombosis Research 49: 393-404, 1988.
23 Fukusawa K, et al. Vitamin E. Deficiency increases the synthesis of platelet-activating factor (PAF) in rat polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Lipids 24: 236-239, 1989.
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