Easing Angina and Heart Attack Recovery

  • 21 Aug 2011
  • Reading time 10 mins
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If you’ve had a heart attack or suffer from angina, don’t underestimate the combined effect of a total nutritional strategy.

If you know you have significant arterial blockages or have had a heart attack, possibly leaving your heart muscle somewhat compromised, do not underestimate the combined effect of a total nutritional strategy, ideally personalised by a nutritional therapist depending on your test results. These steps are also worth taking if you are facing bypass surgery.

This may include:
• A low GL diet, with plant sterols, soluble fibres and antioxidant nutrients
• High potency niacin for lowering cholesterol and lipoprotein(a) and raising HDL
• Extra antioxidants, including CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione or NAC
• Extra lysine, especially if your lipoprotein(a) level is raised
• Extra omega 3's both from eating fish and supplements
• Extra magnesium and potassium, and strict sodium avoidance, both eating more fruit and veg and supplementing 300mg of magnesium, which relaxes arteries

These form the basis of the diet and supplementary recommendations, together with building up exercise and learning techniques such as HeartMath for reducing your stress level. These kinds of actions have been shown to reduce angina, relax arteries, lower triglycerides and LDLs and reduce risk of a heart attack. However, there are a few other strategies that you might like to consider. Boost your nitric oxide level Your body produces a highly versatile nutrient, nitric oxide (NO), that does many of the things you need to recover after a heart attack and improve the health of your arteries. It expands blood vessels, it stops platelets in the blood clumping together forming clots and it helps to break down arterial plaque and, acting as an antioxidant, it helps to protect blood fats from damage. While a number of drugs, notably Viagra and ACE inhibitors, aim to boost NO, according to Louis Ignarro, who won a Nobel Prize for his research into NO, you can increase your body’s ability to make NO by taking a combination of certain supplements, as well as exercising.

He recommends: L-arginine, which is an amino acid found in all protein foods. From arginine the body makes NO. He recommends supplementing 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams (mg) taken twice daily – for a total of 4,000 to 6,000 mg. L-citrulline. Supplemental arginine doesn’t enter cells readily unless it is combined with L-citrulline, another amino acid. Melons ......

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