When patients come to me for advice about specific medical problems, they usually have been told that they need medication or surgery, and they are seeking ways to avoid those treatments. Sometimes they have already tried medications, which have produced significant side effects.
Usually, they have many treatment alternatives but they have no information about their choices. One example of effective alternatives is the reduction in blood pressure that meditation produces. Others are the dietary changes and exercise programs that lead to lowered cholesterol. Since the medical treatments for these two conditions are often more dangerous than the problems, it is worth seeking safer alternatives.
Dr. Dean Ornish has shown that patients with heart disease can often avoid surgery and reverse their heart disease with a combination of a low-fat diet, meditation, and exercise. Norman Cousins healed his ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis of the spine) with laughter and high doses of vitamin C. He wrote about his experience in the New England Journal of Medicine, and followed this article with a book, The Anatomy of an Illness. Many patients have cured their digestive disturbances simply by avoiding certain foods.
Over and over, we are seeing the results of lifestyle changes in health care. A recent scientific medical conference put on by the American College for Advancement in Medicine was entitled: Lifestyle Medicine—Medicine for the Nineties. Researchers and physicians both attended and taught at this scientific meeting. Much of it related to the role of dietary supplements in medical therapy.
Dietary supplements are among the safest and most effective choices in health care. They are almost free of side effects, they are easy to take, they are relatively inexpensive, and they usually enhance many life functions besides the specific condition for which they are being given. Following is an example of how nutritionally oriented physicians might use supplements as part of the treatment for a specific health problem. This is a suggestion that is supported in the medical literature and in the experience of many physicians.
Remember this is an example, not a prescription for you, and the supplement list is in addition to many other health practices. Other supplements may be helpful, and you may not need all of these to get results. For more information on any one supplement, look for its description in Dietary Supplements. No one program is appropriate for everybody, but these suggestions are good starting points from which individual programs can be modified.
Angina/Hardening of the Ateries Treatment Programs
Arteriosclerotic heart disease and other vascular diseases result from the buildup of plaque (fatty, fibrous and calcified tissue) in the coronary arteries and the arteries to the brain, abdomen, pelvic organs and legs. As mentioned earlier, it may be caused or reversed by many lifestyle habits. Common symptoms of heart disease include chest tightness or pain, which may radiate to the left arm, jaw, or chin; shortness of breath; and fatigue. Sometimes the symptom is described as a pressure sensation, or even as heartburn or indigestion.
Cerebral artery disease leads to faintness, loss of mental function, and strokes. Hardening of the arteries to the pelvic organs can lead to sexual dysfunction, and leg arterial disease leads to pain in the calves on walking and poor circulation to the feet, which may end up as gangrene.
It is essential to have a good cardiologic and vascular evaluation in addition to any health enhancement program. Depending on the symptoms and history, the supplement program may be quite variable, but the following list includes those supplements that are most likely to be beneficial:
|Basic Multiple Formula||3||3|
|Vitamin C 1000 mg||3||3|
|Magnesium aspartate 200 mg||1||1|
|GLA 240 mg (from borage oil)||1|
|Vitamin E 400 IU natural mixed||1||1|
|Natural carotenes 25,000 IU||1|
|Coenzyme Q10 200 mg||1|
|l-Carnitine 250 mg||2||2|
|Ginkgo biloba extract 60 mg||1||1|
|Niacin-inositol 400 mg||2||2|
|Proanthocyanidins 50 mg mixed||1||1|
|Taurine 500 mg||2||2|