During my undergraduate studies, we learned that heart disease (CVD for cardiovascular disease) was a rare event in the first part of the 20th Century. If a doctor wanted to observe treatment for heart disease he or she would have to travel. All that has changed as CVD is now the number one killer. I went to a chiropractic relicensing seminar in Napa, CA some years ago where we had a presentation by the head of the local hospital cardiac unit. He spent the first couple of hours talking about different procedures to deal with the various heart problems they were used to seeing. I was wondering why I was wasting my precious Saturday morning. The next hour he talked about what he was really trying to do and that was put together a heart disease prevention program. I could see his passion as he described how he would like to work on education so people didn't end up in the emergency phase. He was frustrated because they couldn't get to prevention because they were soooo busy putting out fires.
Is Food Processing Part of the Problem?
So what caused this dramatic change? I read an interesting study in the 1970's by a couple of pathologists who wanted to answer that very question. After considering all the factors they could find, they decided that the biggest factor was the change in how milk was processed. They claimed that the homogenization of milk broke the fat up into such tiny particles that it was processed differently by the body and contributed to fat being deposited in the arteries. They also conjectured that pasteurization was altering the milk and contributing to artery blockage as well.
Why Did This knowledge Disappear?
You always wonder why this information quietly disappears. Was it because other researchers looked at the facts and didn't agree? Did other researchers try to get funding for follow-up studies but couldn't? Was there too much pressure from groups like the Dairy Council to make sure this type of study was never repeated and newspapers were also pressured to refuse to publish anything negative about their products? I don't have the answer. Upon reading this study and others I took my own children off milk as a beverage when they were both small. They did not have any problem growing strong bones and teeth without drinking their 3 glasses of milk a day. I haven't read that yogurt or cottage cheese or cheese is a problem in this regard.
Also in the mid 1900's the Shute brothers of Ontario, did extensive clinical research on vitamin E and CVD. They established protocols that included up to 1600 IU's of vitamin E per day for treatment and management of several types of disorders including CVD. Studies over the last 50-60 years have been interesting as some have shown positive results and some showing little or no benefit. Vitamin E is a safe supplement in this type of dose so the risk seems small but that will be up to you to decide. For a little more info see: Vitamin E Research Blog.
The current theories around heart disease of course center around lipid profiles particularly LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Some research has indicated that high cholesterol isn't that important in the absence of inflammatory processes. To see our supplements that are most likely to help reduce inflammation go to Inflammation Basics Blog. Many people have found that some herbal products can help balance the lipids. CholestGenix is our most popular product for cholesterol management. We encourage follow-up blood tests to make sure that the entire lipid profile is coming into a healthy range. We can also recommend tocotrienols. Tocotrienols are a type of vitamin E and has been shown in some excellent studies to be what the researchers call cardio protective. Noted effects are: lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides, increased HDL, lower HDL and even decreased blood sugar. With tocotrienols, a little goes a long way. We recommend just one tablet daily of CardioVascular Research: Annatto Tocotrienols. Be sure to keep your primary health care practitioner in the loop.