Why Plants Protect Your From Heart AttackMay 21, 2012
Why Plants Protect Your From Heart Attack
Reference: Esselstyn, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: see color figures in book.
Blood vessels are dumb little creatures. They can only do a few things. They can relax (that’s good – lower blood pressure), they can constrict, (That’s bad – high blood pressure) or they can call for help (hormones to call white cells to clean up the mess – that’s good when you have an infection, bad when you have inflamed LDLs.)
The lining of your blood vessels is the last barrier between the outside world and your cells, so it is a crucial barrier. And it is the largest organ in your body by weight. Nitric oxide is the chemical it puts out to relax. Ergo: you want more nitric oxide. The more you make the better off you are. How do you make nitric oxide? (Remember, nitro under the tongue takes chest pain away? Same idea) L-arginine does it. It’s the amino acid that’s abundant in plants that is the prime building block for nitric oxide. L-arginine is it. Lots of plant foods have it.
Unfortunately, there is a chemical that blocks L-arginine processing into nitric oxide. It’s called ADMA. It comes from digesting animal protein. More ADMA, less nitric oxide. Now, a bit of nuance on top. There is another blocker called DDAH (dimethylarginine dimethylaminohdrolase) that blocks ADMA. DDAH blocks ADMA. You want more DDAH because that lowers the ADMA and raises nitric oxide. It’s good but it’s very delicate and finely balanced. Anything that makes for extra “oxidative stress” like smoking, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high sugar or white flour diet, alcohol consumption, all destroy DDAH resulting in more ADMA, resulting in less nitric oxide.
Did you get all that? Make it simple. You want nitric oxide. You get that from eating plants. You don’t want too much ADMA. You get that from eating too much meat and you make it worse by eating wheat and processed white flour. It sounds like a mouthful but this is the key to why a low fat, low animal protein diet works. We have to get to lots of nitric oxide. That makes your dumb little artery stretchier, more flexible, and less inflamed. Your immune system chills.
Now, I can combine those two in the office clinically. It is now possible to measure the shape of your pulse wave with a nifty little ultrasound machine. Not just the top and the bottom of your blood pressure, but the whole wave and the shape it makes. If you have nice, stretchy, flexible arteries, your pulse wave looks different than if you have stiff arteries. In fact, we can now roughly assign the “age” of your arteries to you, regardless of how old you are, and then lower it by giving you L-arginine as a supplement (with a few other supporting supplements)
And then, over the course of a year, watch your arteries wave age come down. Yes, we can reverse artery disease chemically. The mechanical, artificial bypass of surgery can be “bypassed” with a motivated human who takes the right diet, the right supplements, and the right hormones.
WWW. What will work for me? I’m eating more vegetables and less oil. And I have lowered my own artery age by 10 years over the last 10 months by taking arginine every day. My arteries were 60 years old, just like me. Now they are 50. Cool huh? You can too!
1. What chemical makes arteries relax and stretch? Answer: nitric oxide
2. Where do you get it from? Answer: It is made from the amino acid arginine.
3. What is the most abundant source of arginine: animal or plant based foods? Answer: Plants, hands down.
4. What's the deal with ADMA? Answer: it's a nitric oxide production blocker and there is lots of it in meat. So eating animal products blocks making nitric oxide.
5. Ok, seal the deal. Explain DDAH. It blocks ADMA's blocking. But you lose it when you smoke, eat sugar, white flour, drink too much alcohol. You want DDAH.
Written by John E Whitcomb, MD Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic 17585 W North Ave, Suite 160, Brookfield, WI 53045 262-784-5300 Archives at www.NewsInNutrition.com