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Heart Health Some Differences for Women

There are a number of different conditions that affect the heart. The one that I will address in this article is the buildup of plaque, known as atherosclerosis. This is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries.  There is now some evidence that the plaque buildup is not just inside the artery, but that is another article.  Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. It is natural to think “OK, I just won’t eat any foods containing cholesterol, calcium or fat.”

I do not advocate the elimination of fat, cholesterol and calcium from one’s diet. We certainly need calcium and a certain amount of healthy fat in our diet. Rather, there is some interesting research about chipping away at the plaque with an amino acid called L-Lysine and keeping the arterial walls healthy with Vitamin C. Imagine being able to reverse plaque buildup without prescription medications which will always come with undesirable side effects.

I will start with the research of a brilliant biochemist and two time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling. In 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Eight years later he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to weapons of mass destruction. His work on Vitamin C was much derided by the scientific community. Why, I do not know. It could be jealousy, the financial interests of big pharmaceutical companies or….who knows why? The man, Linus Pauling, obviously knew how to conduct research and knew a great deal about chemistry and biochemistry. His research regarding the beneficial effects of Vitamin C on the heart is finally being corroborated with current research. You might enjoy this beautiful tribute to Dr. Pauling and his work written by a physician.

Below are two articles on recent research on Vitamin C and its role in heart health.

Another link is below to an article by Dr. Mercola which saves me many a word here. However, Dr. Mercola states that Dr. Pauling took 12,000mg of Vitamin C per day whereas my research says that he took 3,000 mgs per day. Dr. Pauling said that the optimal level for vitamin C intake was different for each person and suggested taking as much as the bowel would tolerate. In other words, increase your Vitamin C intake until you start to have diarrhea as a result. Once that occurs, reduce the amount until you can comfortably take it without causing diarrhea. His hypothesis was that your body needs the amount it can comfortably tolerate. Vitamin C is a harmless substance and very hard to overdose on. Many people receive higher doses of Vitamin C intravenously without an adverse reaction.

The Pauling Institute researched Vitamin C and its role in human health. The researchers noted that while Vitamin C helped arterial walls remain healthy, Vitamin C alone did not reduce plaque build-up in the artery. They found that L-lysine, an amino acid, taken with Vitamin C effectively reduced the plaque build-up. They found it effective to use equal amounts of Vitamin C and L-lysine. That would mean that whatever your bowel tolerance for Vitamin C is, and equal amount of L-lysine is desirable to reduce the presence of plaque along the arterial wall.L-lysine chips away at the plaque while Vitamin C keeps the arterial walls supple. The following information is taken from the site,


• Vitamin C is required to strengthen arteries so that the body does not try to patch arteries with "plaster casts" of plaque. Plaque is the body’s patching compound much like we would patch a hole in the wall. When the plaque accumulates to the extent that the interior space (lumen) of the artery is constricted, it is called atherosclerosis.

• Lysine is an Lp(a) binding inhibitor, meaning at sufficient dosage it can reverse the plaster cast build-up (atherosclerotic plaques). Lp(a) is the sticky form of LDL cholesterol that Pauling/Rath identified as the primary risk factor.

In autopsies on young men who died in the Korean War, plaque was seen in their still young arteries. It appears that the plaque build-up can start young and continues as we age to a point of severe constriction of arteries. This can cause a heart attack. There a number of people who take Vitamin C and L-lysine to prevent atherosclerosis.

I know of one woman who had several minor heart attacks.** After the last one she was bedridden for three months until she tried the Pauling therapy. She took 4,000 mgs of Vitamin C per day and an equal amount of L-lysine, 4,000 mgs spread out over the day. This is what her bowel could tolerate.

Within one week this 65-year old woman was out of bed and had energy. She continued that therapy for six months, finally reducing the amount to 2000 mgs of Vitamin C and 2,000 mgs of L-lysine daily. She takes 1,000 of each taken in the morning and again at night. Two years later she still has not suffered a heart attack and her energy levels remain stable. Some people can tolerate 6,000 mgs each of Vitamin C and L-lysine, spread out throughout the day, to more quickly attack the plaque.

**Heart Attack Symptoms Different for Women and Men

**It is interesting to note that for this woman and her several minor heart attacks, they were each not easily identified as heart attacks, initially, because they presented as digestive disorders. This underscores the fact that for women the symptoms of a heart attack can be very, very different than for men.

A family physician confirmed this when she told me that during one of her rotations in medical school in the emergency room, an elderly woman was seen. Her symptoms were vomiting and gastric distress. She was sent home only to return a week later with the same symptoms when tests revealed that she was suffering from a myocardial infarction (heart attack). This physician said she will never forget that experience.

Please read all about this if you or someone you know has suffered a heart attack due to constricted arteries.

This is a more detailed review of Pauling’s work in this area with references for further research at the end.

A word of caution; never try to treat your own heart condition without consulting a doctor. Heart conditions can be life threatening and you must get in to see your doctor. Please discuss any treatments you wish to try with your physician first.