Vitamin C and a Healthy Heart
Heart health doesn't have to be a chamber of secrets leading to concern and worry. Your heart pulses over 100,000 times a day and each one of those heartbeats are a new opportunity to get to know one of your most integral organs.
While heart disease is used as a catchall phrase for any heart complication all too often, it's important to know what we're really talking about when we discuss ailments of the heart. Heart disease can be exacerbated by familiar demons like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and of course smoking. Diabetes and excess weight, as well as a variety of other medical disorders and lifestyle habits, might increase one's risk of heart disease. We all know the above, but what can we do besides "eat healthy and lose weight" to help our ticker?
Well, have you ever heard of Linus Pauling?
Pauling is most known for achieving not one but TWO Nobel prizes but he is also known for discovering the nature of the chemical bond, finding the origin of sickle cell anemia, inventing an accurate oxygen meter for submarines, assisting in the creation of synthetic plasma, and determining the structure of proteins, among many other achievements. His work with heart health is incredibly intriguing.
The link between Vitamin C and Heart Disease
At a special seminar given by the Life Sciences Division's Lipoprotein and Atherosclerosis Group on August 10, 1993, this scientific maverick spoke to an overflowing crowd about vitamin C and heart disease.
He began by sharing his own tale of how he came to support the Vitamin C cause. In 1966, he was introduced to the topic by scientist Irwin Stone. He would write "Vitamin C and the Common Cold" five years later, and then aggressively espouse vitamin C as a fighter of more serious diseases like cancer.
The vitamin's versatility in illness prevention, according to Pauling, stems from its role in the production of collagen, a protein that gives structure to connective tissues and gives skin and blood vessels strength.
One of human evolution's major calamities according to Pauling was the loss of our predecessors' ability to synthesize vitamin C. Pauling believed the feature was likely lost when our forefathers ate a diet of vitamin-rich foods and didn't need to make the vitamin themselves. As a result, humans are now one of the few animal species that must obtain the vitamin solely through their diet. Since proto-humans left their fruit-and-vegetable-rich surroundings, they've been deficient in vitamin C. Pauling believes our vitamin C intake should be comparable to what other animals make on their own.
The connection between vitamin C and lipoprotein-a, a molecule whose levels in the blood have been linked to cardiovascular disease, was then discussed by Pauling. Lipoprotein-a is also a significant component of the plaques observed in the arteries. Pauling has published experiments claiming that lipoprotein-a is a vitamin C surrogate, helping to strengthen blood vessel walls when the vitamin is deficient in the diet. Animals that, unlike humans, synthesize their own vitamin C and have far larger quantities of the vitamin in their bodies have relatively little lipoprotein-a in their blood, according to Pauling's lecture.
Pauling believes that high dosages of vitamin C can help prevent cardiovascular disease by preventing the creation of disease-promoting lesions on blood vessel walls and perhaps lowering blood levels of lipoprotein-a. Studies of scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, back up vitamin C's link to healthy blood vessels.
Based on the above research, it would be beneficial to speak with your care provider about increasing Vitamin C dosage especially if you suffer or are at risk for diseases of the heart. But how do you know if you're at increased risk or already on the heart disease spectrum?
Heart Rate Variability Test
The Heart Rate Variability Test (HRV) is available for Human Engine Clinic patients. This is a diagnostic test that measures autonomic nervous system function and cardiac stress. It's fairly simple and, unlike stress tests you may be familiar with at your primary care physician's office, it doesn't involve running!
The Heart Rate Variability test is done by connecting the patient to a heart rate monitor to determine how the autonomic nervous system is functioning. The word autonomic means self-regulating and refers to the part of your nervous system that keeps your heart beating, your kidneys and liver filtering, digestive system digesting without you having to think about it. When you are relaxed and not stressed, your heart and all of your organs function the way they were designed to function. When you are stressed, the body goes into a fight-or-flight mode for a short period of time. That's completely normal - as long as your body can get back to it's resting rate within a short period of time. Some people tend to stay in an excited state for long periods of time which is an indication of poor heart health. Keeping your autonomic nervous system in a stressed state creates health problems in the long run, including heart problems and other degenerative conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
The heart rate variability test gives us a good look into the balance of your autonomic nervous system and regular chiropractic adjustments and expert help can correct these imbalances markedly. We would love to talk to you personally about your heart health, so if you found the above information helpful and want more insight into supplementing with Vitamin C or getting your heart rate variability results, please reach out to us! In the meantime, we encourage you to follow the following steps for improved hearth health:
Eat healthy - high vitamin C foods and heart healthy foods like nuts, avocado and even dark chocolate can help your heart function at a higher level
Get some exercise - 30 minutes a day a few times a week is all you need to make a big improvement in easing your heart from fight or flight mode and destressing
Smile more - when people are around happy people, they feel better, and happy people have a lower risk of heart disease. Spend your spare time with people who make you grin and laugh.
Get away from screens - decreasing screen time has shown to improve heart health numbers
Please reach out to us if you have questions or to book a hearth health appointment! Mention this blog and receive a complimentary heart health consultation and initial variability test!