HealthQuest Online provides regular reviews of the scientific literature, supporting the use of supplementation for the restoration and maintenance of health
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NOTE:   The studies we will review are tagged with citation numbers like this: [2]
If you “click” on that red number, you will be transported to the actual study.
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A Conversation About Heart Health

There’s an interesting misconception in the scientific research community. They appear to believe that individual, isolated nutrients may (or may not) have an effect on our health. This newsletter has previously reviewed numerous clinical trials that tested single synthetic nutrients to no avail. When will they ever learn?

There is a similar false impression about our internal organs. The Heart is NOT an isolated organ. It does not function independently... it is attached interactively to our vascular, lymphatic and hormonal system(s), and is directly controlled by the nervous system.

Anything that has an adverse effect on our blood vessels, including dietary deficiencies or toxins, will eventually cause harm to the heart. From this perspective, it’s easier to appreciate the many layers of causation. Whatever enters the blood stream comes from the digestive tract, or is absorbed from the environment, through our lungs or skin. Whatever enters the GI tract is there because of our daily food choices. We also need to consider the source of our foodstuffs: are they organic or conventional, and are they genetically modified (GMO) or normal (real) food?

Other than rare structural abnormalities, heart disease is mostly a disease of choice.
Statistics suggest that heart disease, the #1 killer, is 80% preventable. [1]

The CDC stats relate that 715,000 Americans have a heart attack each year, and 600,000 die as a result. [2] This issue of HealthQuest will review how Shaklee can contribute to your health by reducing the risks associated with heart and vascular disease.

But please, don’t fall into the trap that researchers do. We will discuss various nutrients that have been shown to reduce risk... but remember that there is no single “nutrient savior”. Heart health derives from a balanced diet, supported by a full spectrum of supplemented nutrients. That is the Big Picture.

A Review of 2 Failed Trials

2008 and 2009 were watershed years for the Journal of the American Medical Association. They published a series of 4 heart disease and cancer articles, based on two long-term supplementation trials.

The first group of articles reported the results from the Physicians' Health Study trial. This 8-year trial included 3,700 male physicians, in the Vitamin C & E leg of the study. That trial led to the publication of 2 different articles, suggesting that supplementation with Vitamin C & E did not reduce the incidence of heart disease or cancer. [3], [4] The Media went into their usual feeding frenzy.

The researchers encouraged their doctors to take 400 IU of SYNTHETIC alpha-tocopherol EVERY OTHER DAY, and to take 500 mg of SYNTHETIC ascorbic acid, provided by BASF Corporation, “The Chemical Company”.

Men with a history of heart attack(s), stroke(s), cancer(s), or numerous risk factors for developing those diseases, were all eligible to enroll in this trial.

Unfortunately for the public, the Media never mentioned the following facts about the enrolled participants during their “supplements don’t work” commentaries:

  • 44% were past or current smokers
  • 42% had high blood pressure
  • 6% had heart disease
  • 6% had diabetes
  • 9% had cancer(s)
  • The median age was 64.3 years old

The doctors all received their supplements by mail, and their compliance was measured by an annual questionnaire. Compliance was based upon their having taken “at least two-thirds” of their supplements.

Considering that they only reported once a year, under-reporting was likely. Truthfully, do you remember if you took all your vitamins last March?

The second series of articles reported on the Antioxidant and Folic Acid Heart Study, one of five “legs” of a much larger clinical trial called the Women’s Health Initiative.

Like the PHS II study, this trial led to the publication of 2 different papers. [6], [7] Researchers gave SYNTHETIC folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 to 5,442 female health professionals, aged 42 years or older, over a 7-year period. Again, these synthetic single nutrients were provided by BASF Corporation, “The Chemical Company”. Both studies concluded that these 3 nutrients did not reduce the incidence of heart disease or cancer.

Serious flaws in this trial included:

  • Median age was 64 years [6], [7]

  • All the participants selected were “high risk”, already having pre-existing cardiovascular disease (CVD) or at least 3 or more major risk factors for CVD.   In fact, if you were perfectly healthy, you could not participate in this trial.

  • Compliance of supplementation was measured yearly via mail-in questionnaires, if they remembered to take 2 out of every 3 prescribed doses of synthetic supplements. Once again I have to ask: Would YOU remember if you took all your vitamins a year ago March?

Flawed Trials Help No One

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Frank M. Painter, DC

HealthQuest Newsletter

Buffalo, NY

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