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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
August/September 2004


Health Risks and Environmental Issues
by Rose Marie Williams, MA

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Heart Disease Supplements Being Threatened

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in this country. Dr. Matthias Rath, an international crusader for disease prevention, and staunch supporter of nutritional supplements, believes heart attacks and strokes are not true diseases, but the result of nutritional deficiencies. The heart may be considered the motor of the cardiovascular system, and as such requires optimum fuel for optimum performance. Superior fuel for the heart includes a variety of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more. Modern eating habits combined with an agricultural system dependent on synthetic chemicals accelerate nutritional deficiencies in our country. Dr. Stephen Sinatra, clinical cardiologist at Manchester Memorial Hospital in Connecticut, uses the term nutritionals to refer to vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients he recommends for improving cardiovascular function among his patients.1,2

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for preventing cardiovascular disease and maintaining good health on many levels. Vitamin C is a major antioxidant and co-factor for many biochemical reactions. Its most important function is to stimulate the production of collagen, elastin, and other reinforcement molecules in the body. Collagen provides stability for bones, skin, and for the 60,000-mile-long walls of the arteries, veins, and capillaries. Dr. Rath, who worked closely with the great Linus Pauling, emphasizes “(T)he connection between vitamin C deficiency and instability of blood vessels is long established. Unfortunately, the next logical step has not been recognized until now: cardiovascular disease is nothing else than an early form of scurvy.”1

Lesions and instability of blood vessel walls are primary causes of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C is the cement that repairs and stabilizes blood vessel walls. In his book,
Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks . . . But Humans Do, Dr. Rath explains the importance of vitamin C. SAD, the Standard American Diet, provides barely enough vitamin C to prevent frank scurvy, but not enough vitamin C to provide stable, reinforced blood vessel walls. Cracks and lesions appear inside artery walls over time. Vitamin C is necessary for repairing artery walls and other wound healing. Insufficient vitamin C does not allow proper healing. To compensate, the body attempts to repair these lesions and cracks with an alternative method, making cholesterol and fat globules adhere to the inside of vessel walls to repair the damage. Prolonged vitamin C deficiency leads to an overabundance of atherosclerotic deposits in blood vessels. Deposits in arteries leading to the heart cause heart attacks. Deposits in arteries leading to the brain cause stroke. Dr. Rath believes optimum daily intake of vitamin C stabilizes blood vessel walls and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes. The reason animals don’t get heart attacks is because they produce their own vitamin C, whereas humans do not.1

Coenzyme Q10
Dr. Stephen Sinatra calls CoQ10 the miracle nutrient of the 21st century, “because it has been proven to both prevent and treat a host of health problems including heart disease, cancer, periodontal disease and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers.” It can overcome male infertility, improve immune system function, and is an effective anti-aging remedy.3

Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is an important catalyst inside the energy center of each cell, and is in high demand by the heart. “The body requires certain blood levels of CoQ10 to function properly, and when blood levels fall, an increased vulnerability to disease and premature aging occurs.” Dr. Sinatra believes that supplemental CoQ10 improves the quality of life in patients with disease, and saves lives as well. He has had remarkable results using CoQ10 with cardiac patients. CoQ10 has been proven useful in treating a variety of conditions including congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, angina, arrythmia, and other cardiological situations. Dr. Sinatra speaks of the negative bias against CoQ10 in mainstream medicine, where nutritional supplements get very little respect. Since it is not patentable it is not widely promoted among physicians and actually got bad press in a 1996 article in the
Harvard Health Letter, which prompted Dr. Sinatra to reply regarding the amazing results he’s witnessed among his own patients.1,3

Coenzyme Q10 protects and strengthens the heart while lowering blood pressure. Statin drugs, prescribed for millions of people to control cholesterol actually depletes CoQ10 levels in the body. Ironically, drugs marketed to reduce the risk of heart disease may, in fact, be increasing the risk of heart disease.4

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is the most important fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin and primary ally against heart disease. It protects against free radicals and oxidative damage. Vitamin E is rich in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and other cholesterol and fat transporting particles useful for preventing oxidation and interior blood vessel wall damage. It reduces the risk of blood clots by making platelets less sticky. A European study showed vitamin E “to be the most important risk factor for heart disease, beyond smoking.” Vitamin E has been shown to dissolve clots, improve heart pump efficiency, widen arteries, and increase the available oxygen in the blood.1,4

Vitamin E lowers fibrinogen levels (a protein substance in blood necessary for clotting). Too much fibrinogen makes blood too sticky. Excess fibrinogen is related to atrial fibrillation, strokes, intermittent claudication, and high blood pressure. Factors that may increase fibrinogen levels are stress, high blood sugar, pharmaceutical estrogen in HRT and birth control pills, smoking, and obesity. Fibrinogen levels are lowered by exercise, moderate wine consumption, garlic, fish oil, olive oil, and vitamin E.4

Beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) is another important fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin. Like vitamin E, it is transported in lipoprotein particles in the bloodstream to millions of body cells. It protects fat particles from oxidizing and damaging the cardiovascular system.1

The B Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is a cellular essential and important cofactor for optimizing millions of reactions in cardiovascular cells.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is a cofactor for flavin adenosin dinucleotide (FAD), an important carrier molecule of cellular energy.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Niacinamide) is another cellular essential in the body’s energy transport system.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenate) is a cofactor in the conversion of all food into cell energy.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is necessary for the production of red blood cells, the carriers of oxygen to the cells of the cardiovascular system and all other cells in the body.

Vitamin B12 is a cellular essential needed for proper metabolism of fatty acids and for the production of red blood cells. B12 deficiency leads to pernicious anemia—insufficient production of red blood cells.1

Additional Natural Supplements
Folate is necessary for the production of red blood cells and for oxygen supply.1

Biotin is needed for metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.1

Inositol is a cellular essential in sugar and fat metabolism in cardiovascular cells.1

Calcium is necessary for proper contraction of muscle cells including millions of heart muscle cells, nerve impulse conduction and heart beat. It is also required for biological communication among cells of the cardiovascular system and most other cells, plus many other biological functions.

Magnesium is an essential mineral in short supply in the Standard American Diet (SAD), having been removed from table salt because it generates more profit when sold separately as a supplement. Magnesium is very important in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, and serves as nature’s calcium antagonist, normalizing blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. Magnesium supplementation can eliminate angina pain and muscle spasms. It keeps blood flowing smoothly and prevents stickiness. Magnesium balances cholesterol, maintains normal blood pressure, and regulates heartbeat. Magnesium can be depleted by stress, alcohol, diabetes, kidney disease, too much or too little dietary protein, and thyroid disorders. Several drugs are known to deplete magnesium—Aminoglycosides, Cisplatin, Corticosteroids, Cyclosporine, Diuretics, Fosearnet, Gentamicin, and Pentamidine.1,4

Carnitine is an important amino-acid which converts fat into energy, improves pumping function and irregular heartbeat.1

Ginkgo biloba extract is rich in antioxidants that improve circulation, and reduce LDL cholesterol and blood fat levels.4

Glutathione (GSH) prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol and protects the lymphatic system and digestive system from unstable fats and oils.4

Green Tea is an aromatic polyphenol that acts as a potent antioxidant in the body. Green tea prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, lowers cholesterol, raises “good” HDL levels, and lowers triglyceride levels.4

Hawthorne Berries, used for centuries in Europe for angina and high blood pressure, help strengthen blood vessels. Hawthorne berries are rich in bioflavonoids which increase blood flow and oxygen to the heart and strengthen the heart muscle.4

Homocysteine—Greater Risk Than Cholesterol
High levels of homocysteine, a by-product of metabolism of the amino acid, methionine, is increasingly being recognized as a more serious indicator for heart disease than cholesterol. Drugs that interfere with folic acid actually raise homocysteine levels including methotrexate, an immunosuppressive drug used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis; the anticonvulsant drugs, phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamazepine (Tegritol, Epitol); and the cholesterol lowering drugs, cholestipol (Colestid) and cholestyramine (Questran). Homocysteine can be easily and inexpensively lowered by supplementing with vitamins B-6, B-12, and folic acid.4

Pharmaceutical Cartel Threatens Supplements
A new respect for the ancient wisdom of healing herbs, plants, and oils, combined with the scientific understanding of the body’s need for particular vitamins, enzymes, and minerals has helped increasing numbers of consumers take charge of their own health. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” has taken on new meaning. When consumers spend a little money on nutritional supplements to help themselves stay well, the multi-national pharmaceutical industry stands to lose revenue. Consequently, some very unsavory things are going on behind closed doors.

Many holistic practitioners understand that the way mainstream medicine is practiced today is more about “wealth” protection than it is about “health” protection. The pharmaceutical industries have consistently earned enormous profits while creating an excessive burden on the American taxpayer. The pharmaceutical industry is closely related to the petro/chemical/agricultural industries that pollute our air, food, and water, and make huge political contributions to get laws passed that protect their financial interests over the health and well-being of the human population and wildlife. Because their power extends into all areas of the media the public remains mostly uninformed.

A case in point deals with Codex Alimentarius, an international code or rules for dietary and food supplements sponsored by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is part of an international movement to set up guidelines for food additives, pesticides, veterinary drug residues in food, and to standardize natural products such as herbs and vitamins, all of which sounds very noble. Meetings have been taking place in Germany and accelerating at a rapid pace to have the United States “harmonize” with international standards to limit consumer access to information on health choices, and to restrict the public’s right to obtain high-potency vitamins without a prescription.5,6

Many health advocates, including Dr. Matthias Rath, and Gary Null recognize this veiled attempt to protect the consumer from “potentially dangerous” substances as a “global stealth attack against the dietary supplement industry” and against the consumer’s right to prevent disease by using unpatented natural substances. If the issue were really about protecting public health why not enact rules to limit consumer access to alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, hydrogenated oils, white refined sugar, mercury-contaminated fish, fluoride, pharmaceutical estrogens, pesticides, EMF and radiation exposure—things that pose real dangers to public health – but which also derive huge profits to stockholders? Many health advocates recognize that Codex Alimentarius is not about protecting consumer health. It is all about protecting corporate wealth.

Holistic health practitioners and consumers who wish to protect free access to nutritional supplements need to educate themselves about this issue and do everything possible to prevent it from happening. The last Codex meeting took place on 3 November 2003 in Germany, where action moved along at an accelerated pace, and where protesters were barred from speaking, and in some cases barred from attending meetings, as was John C. Hammell, president of International Advocates for Health Freedom (IAHF).

“All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to do nothing.” If thousands of concerned citizens contact their congressional representatives to denounce the United States’ acceptance of Codex limiting access to nutritional supplements, it might be possible to avert this impending assault on disease prevention. There are several health advocacy groups and websites designed to inform the public about what is really behind the
Codex Alimentarius. Health advocates who are concerned, but too busy to get involved can help by sending a donation to the Alliance for Natural Health http://www.alliance-natural-health.orgfor their lawsuit to overturn the EU Food Supplement Directive, or send a donation to International Advocates for Health Freedom (IAHF), 556 Boundary Bay Rd., Point Roberts, WA 98281, 360–945–0352, in order to educate consumers everywhere.

Web Sites:

1. Rath, M., MD, Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks . . . But Humans Do. (San Francisco, CA: Health Now, 1994 1–800–624–2442).
2. Sinatra, S., MD, Heart Sense for Women, (Wash., DC: Lifeline Press, 2000).
3. Sinatra, S., MD, The Coenzyme Q10 Phenomena. (New Canaan, CT: Keats Pub., Inc., 1998).
4. Mindell, E., R.Ph., Ph.D., Hopkins, V., MA, Prescriptions Alternatives. (NY: Contemporary Books, 2003).
5. Williams, R., MA, “Codex Alimentarius,” TLfDP, #225, 2002.
6. “Gary Null’s Codex Alimentarius Action File, Protect Your Right to Obtain Dietary Supplements Before it Fades Away,”

“Health Risks and the Environment”
A 60-minute video by Rose Marie Williams, MA, discusses bovine growth hormone (BGH) and pesticides in the food supply, corporate influence in government, ways to reduce toxic exposure around the home, plus contact numbers for inexpensive water testing and pesticide resource information. Profits benefit the Cancer Awareness Coalition, Inc., (CAC), a grassroots organization that raises public awareness about health risks associated with pesticide and chemical exposures, while promoting safer alternatives. Cost: $20.00 includes s/h. Specify video or DVD.
Send check or money order to CAC, P.O. Box 533, New Paltz, New York 12561.


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