Module 11 - Cardiovascular Health

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  1. MO: Big Ideas for cardiovascular health.
    1. Heart disease results from over-consumption of processed foods.

    2. The health of the heart reflects the health of the body. ALWAYS address The Foundations first.

    3. Inflammation is a significant cause of the most common forms of heart disease.
  2. MO: Underlying causes for high blood pressure.
    • Poor Kidney Function ("Renal Hypertension")
    • Dehydration
    • Liver/Biliary Stasis - impairs ability of fats to be emulsified and to the heart for fuel
    • Adrenal - Hyper (blood vessels constrict) or Hypo (anecdotally, hypoadrenics who take adrenal support see a lowering in BP)
    • Sugar Handling Imbalances - Dysinsulinism, Diabetes and/or Reactive hypoglycemia
    • Mineral Imbalances - Sodium/Potassium, Calcium/Phosphorous/Magnesium
    • Fatty Acid Imbalance - poor Omega 3-6 ratio
    • Allergies and Food Sensitivities (we see it as Digestive dysfunction) - increase in pulse can increase BP
    • Thyroid
    • Circulatory - Arteriosclerosis, Atherosclerosis
    • Emotional - outside of NTP realm (refer)
    • Structural - outside of NTP realm (refer)
    • Obesity - more fat = more vasculature; requires heart to pump harder
    • Lack of Exercise
  3. MO: Differences between the “B” and “G” type vitamin complexes.
    • The Vitamin “B” complex is thiamine (B1) based, and contains other B vitamins that are soluble in alcohol – B12, B6, and B4.
    • The Vitamin “G” complex is riboflavin (B2) based, and contains other B vitamins that are not soluble in alcohol - B3, PABA, folic acid, the lipotropic factors choline, inositol, and betaine.
  4. MO: List characteristics of the type of person that would benefit from "B" type vitamin complex.
    • Hypotensive
    • Craves sugar
    • Feels bad/run down
    • Sick often
    • Tends toward CHF (Congestive Heart Failure)
    • Need B1 (the “B” factor) NATURALLY OCCURING THIAMINE
  5. MO: List characteristics of the type of person that would benefit from "G" type vitamin complex.
    • Hypertensive
    • Craves alcohol
    • Feels good/pumped up
    • Does not get sick
    • Tends toward MI (Myocardial Infarction)
  6. MO: How does the Foundation of a PROPERLY PREPARED, NUTRIENT DENSE DIET support the Cardiovascular System?
    • Remember:  Heart disease is a processed-food disease, so get them out!
    • A diet of properly prepared, omnivorous, nutrient dense foods is fundamental for a healthy heart.
    • It’s in whole grains (if appropriate for client) that we get the naturally occurring B1 and B4 vitamins (good for "B" Types).
    • It’s in cold-pressed oils, animal fats, raw nuts, and raw seeds that we get our essential fatty acids.
    • Amino acids taurine and carnitine essential for cellular repair of heart.
    • It is not just about getting the good foods, it is also about getting AWAY from the processed foods.
  7. MO: How does the Foundation of DIGESTION support the Cardiovascular System?
    • Good protein digestion is critical to make the amino acids needed by the heart available (like taurine and carnitine).
    • Proper stomach pH is needed to absorb calcium and digest the B vitamins.
    • Proper liver/gallbladder function enables you to digest healthy fats and the fat soluble vitamins.  Fat is primary source of fuel for the heart.
    • Healthy bowel flora is needed to produce vitamins B1, B2, B12, and K2.
    • K2 essential for directing calcium to the bones and away from soft tissue such as artery walls.
    • If you have poor digestion and lack intrinsic factor in the stomach, you will not uptake B12, which is critical to red blood cell formation.
    • Absorption of minerals such as magnesium & calcium, which are critical for heart contraction & relaxation, depends on healthy digestion.
  8. MO: How does the Foundation of BLOOD SUGAR HANDLING support the Cardiovascular System?
    • Blood sugar imbalances lead to an overproduction of cortisol during the “fight or flight” response. (Remember cortisol cascade from the Endocrine Module?)
    • This can lead to insulin resistance, which compromises mineral uptake by the cells.
    • High insulin also blocks the PG1 pathway for anti-inflammatory prostaglandin production, by shunting EFAs over to PG2 pathway, leading to decreased ability to anti-inflame.
    • Heart disease is NOT a disease of cholesterol and fat.  It is a disease of inflammation & oxidation.  Inflammation is caused by excess insulin.
    • Dysglycemia is the inflammatory precursor to much cardiovascular disease.
    • Insulin resistance reduces body's ability to absorb minerals that are bound to glucose molecules in the blood.
  9. MO: How does the Foundation of FATTY ACID BALANCE support the Cardiovascular System?
    • Good fats best source of energy for the heart.  Fish oil especially good.
    • The appropriate mix of fatty acids is critical for management of inflammation.
    • Inflammation now considered to be a major factor contributing to heart disease.
    • Fatty acids are an essential part of the cell membranes that make up the tissues of the heart and the coronary arteries.
  10. MO: How does the Foundation of MINERAL BALANCE support the Cardiovascular System?
    • Magnesium and calcium are essential for every heartbeat.
    • Calcium: Ca2+ ions trigger contraction and relaxation of the heart (as well as all muscles).
    • Magnesium: without the appropriate calcium-magnesium ratio, the calcium will not work. (Irregular heartbeats are often a sign of magnesium deficiencies.)
    • Sodium:  Newer studies indicate lowering salt consumption does not affect hypertension.  It appears to be more related to the balance between sodium & potassium.
  11. MO: How does the Foundation of HYDRATION support the Cardiovascular System?
    • Good hydration supports good lymphatic flow and proper blood viscosity.  It's harder on the heart to pump sticky, thickened blood.
    • Dehydration causes the vascular system to selectively close some of its vessels, which leads to hypertension.
    • Hydration impacts how efficiently proteins and enzymes function within the body.  Can include some of the proteins that are involved in shuttling calcium & magnesium to the heart.
  12. Describe the Functional Evaluation for the Cardiovascular System.
    BP and Pulse (transcribe from Sugar Handling/Adrenals and Immune/Allergy sections).

    • T1/T2
    • To locate T1, find the most prominent bump at the base of the neck, on the spine.  Place your finger sideways BETWEEN the most prominent bump and the next one above it.  Ask client to move their head back & forward.  Feel which of the bumps moves.  It will move posterior to anterior.  This is C7.  T1 is the vertebra immediately below the one that moves.  Move up a space and down a space until you find C7.  Move your thumbs one inch lateral to T1 spinous process and palpate each side, posterior to anterior.  Next move to T2 and repeat.  Test result is either Positive or Negative for tenderness/congestion (+ or -).  you are palpating the TRANSVERSE Processes, so move 1 1/2" lateral to teh spine on each side.  Record general + or -.  DOES NOT LNT.

    • Left Thenar Pad Tenderness
    • Draw an imaginary circle around the Left Thenar Pad.  Directly in the middle of the circle there should be a slight "hole."  Go into the depth of the tissue, palpating for tenderness.  Often the indicator is a sharp pain.  Same as pancreas palpation, opposite side.  DOES NOT LNT.

    • Chapman Reflex Heart
    • Bilateral, 2nd Intercostal Spaces next to the sternum, L & R.  Palpate A>P for tenderness.  Record R and L indicators.  *There is a theory that the point on the right is more of a Thyroid indicator and the left is more of a Heart indicator.  This is NOT absolute.  LNT.
  13. MO: Relationship between cardiovascular health and inflammation.
    Heart disease in all its many forms is NOT a disease of too much fat or cholesterol as the conventional wisdom would have us believe; it is a disease of inflammation.  Inflammation is the body’s normal, healthy response to injuries of all kinds, from the microscopic to the traumatic.  To reduce inflammation, one must reduce injury.  And the microscopic injuries involved in most vascular disease can be minimized with a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet plus a reduction in the amount of exposure to environmental toxins.  This will reduce the number of damaging agents in the blood stream.
  14. Practitioner Strategy for cardiovascular health.
    • 2-3 months on The Foundations, emphasizing Blood Sugar, Minerals, and EFAs (re-evaluate as needed).
    • Refer client to a Cardiologist as necessary.
    • Add the appropriate “B” or “G” complex to your protocol
    • Add Coenzyme Q10 in your protocol, especially if client is on statins.
    • Consider general supplement for the cardiovascular system.
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Module 11 - Cardiovascular Health
Nutritional Therapy Flash Cards
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