The Beginner's Guide to Natural Living
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Dr. Angela Agrios, ND
My very talented Naturopathic Doctor
She treats a wide variety of conditions
Office & phone appointments available
Los Angeles, CA (Pacific Palisades)

Heart Disease
Naturopathic Medicine Treatment
Interview with Dr. Arlan Cage, ND

Heart Disease Symptoms
Heart disease is a collection of gradually increasing symptoms that affect the heart’s ability to pump blood through the body. Perhaps one of the first symptoms that can show up is high cholesterol. Usually the next thing to show up is high blood pressure. This can then lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis, which is basically referred to in lay terms as “blocked arteries.” The next step for most people is sometimes angina, or pain in the chest, and if left untreated, that can lead to thickening of the heart walls that we refer to as “congestive heart failure,” and eventually it can lead to heart attack and even death.

Heart Disease Medications
The conventional medicine approach to managing heart disease is to attempt to control each individual symptom with a different medication. So they’ll try to control the high cholesterol with a cholesterol-lowering drug; they’ll try to control the blood pressure with one or more blood pressure-controlling drugs, and so on. In those cases, they can be valuable tools for the short term. But long-term, for case management, they produce side effects and they don’t address the root causes of the condition.

Heart Disease Diagnosis - Naturopathic Medicine
When patients come to see me, I always start with a thorough history that looks at their diet and lifestyle factors: heart disease is one hundred percent related to diet and lifestyle and so if they have this, I need to know what factors are going on in each patient’s history so I can help teach them how to reverse those. Next, I’m going to order basic blood work where I need to look at things like lipid panel, but also some things that are often missed, like homocysteine levels and C-reactive protein levels, because those factors are actually some of the things that actually cause vascular inflammation. I’ll then also order electrocardiograms to look at the electrical conductivity of the heart, usually a Doppler echocardiogram to look at the cardiac output—is it pumping blood efficiently?—and sometimes a CT scan to see if they have calcium deposits in the coronary arteries.

Heart Disease Treatment - Naturopathic Medicine
I’ll always base my treatments on test results. For example, if someone has high levels of homocysteine, which is a normal metabolic waste product and can actually damage the blood vessel linings, the treatment involves high levels of vitamins B6, B12, folic acid, and an amino acid called glycine.

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If the patient is consuming a lot of dairy products such as milk or cheese, and those products happen to be pasteurized, one of the risk factors is an enzyme in cow’s milk, known as xanthine oxidase, will be broken up into fragments which the body absorbs into the bloodstream, and those xanthine oxidase fragments actually cause inflammation and damage to the lining of the blood vessels. That, in turn, causes the elevated cholesterol and the other symptoms we see in heart disease. So it would be very important for those patients to give up their dairy products completely.

Heart Disease Supplements - Arginine
If a patient is presenting with angina, or chest pain, one of the problems is either a blockage or a constriction of the blood vessels supplying the heart with blood, which are called the coronary arteries. The main form of treatment I use is the amino acid arginine, which stimulates the body to produce its own natural nitric oxide, which can help dilate the blood vessels and stimulate the healing of the blood vessels. And I always am using the herbs hawthorn berry and gingko biloba—the hawthorn will help nourish the heart, and the gingko biloba increases the fine circulation in the body.

Heart Disease Diet
In every case of patients with heart disease, I always prescribe a nutritional plan consisting of organic, whole foods and no processed foods. I will supplement essential vitamins and minerals. In every case, I’m always prescribing some form of appropriate exercise program and stress-reduction plan.

Heart Disease Prevention and Success
Patients who follow my treatment protocol have had great success. Their high blood pressure is lower, their high cholesterol is lower, their angina goes away, their atherosclerosis is reversed, and within a year, most of them are off all prescription medications. If someone would like to prevent or reverse heart disease, I recommend they adopt a natural living lifestyle that includes whole foods, no processed foods, essential nutrient supplementation, and exercise. I would also recommend they seek out a qualified naturopathic doctor who can help them manage the more serious aspects of this condition.

Interview with Dr. Arlan Cage, ND

Also See: Dr. Angela Agrios, ND Naturopathic Doctor Health Series