Integrative Health Blog

Natural Options for Heart Health

Posted by NIHA Staff on Thu, Nov 01, 2018


Metabolic Cardiology  is a fairly new branch of Functional Medicine. Metabolic cardiology is a non-invasive, simple, integrative medical approach which addresses the prevention, management, treatment and monitoring of cardiovascular disease at the core basic level- which is the heart muscle cell. Functional medicine physicians are always concerned with addressing health issues at the root of the problem.

The goal here is to improve and preserve heart health at the cellular level of the individual heart cell through organic interventions that are natural to the human body. Diseased heart muscles are energy-source depleted or lacking the natural cell fuel, known as  adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is formed and recycled on the cellular metabolic level, and supplies all the energy required for every cell, organ, system and body function. ATP is so critical for energy production that it is known as the “energy currency” for life.

There are four supplements that play a major role in supporting a healthy ATP-efficient heart cell:

1.Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is an organic factor that is made and stored in the cell energy house, or mitochondria. It is natural for levels to fall as the body forms less CoQ10 as we age, but other causes of Low CoQ10 can include: Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6 deficiency, Genetic defects in CoQ10 synthesis or utilization, co-existent ailments and infections, Oxidative stress and the possible negative side effects of statin drugs (cholesterol lowering medication).

2. L-carnitine

L-carnitine Is the biologically active form of Carnitine. L-carnitine's main role in the body has to do with mitochondrial energy production in cells; it also helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they can be burned for energy. About 98% of the body's L-carnitine stores are found in the muscles, along with small amounts in the liver and blood. L-carnitine is considered essential for normal heart function.

3. D-Ribose

D-Ribose is a naturally occurring sugar that is present in all living cells. It is a key component in many biological synthesis, but most active in binding a sugar molecule to a protein or fat molecule. D-Ribose binding to adenine creates adenosine which is the building block for Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). D-Ribose is utilized in the synthesis of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) and Flavin Adenine Dinucleotide (FAD), two dinucleotides involved in provision of oxygen on the cellular level. D-Ribose is a key structural component of both Nucleic acids RNA and DNA embedded in cell chromosomes, which are  essential for cell livelihood, maturation, division and reproduction.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential co-factor or "helper mineral" in the biochemical reactions continuously performed by enzymes. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of cellular functions including but not limited to: protein formation, energy creation, muscle movements, nervous system regulation and gene maintenance whereby DNA and RNA are created and repaired. A low magnesium level can put one at risk for irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations.

A functional medicine approach to metabolic cardiology stresses fulfilling the essential metabolic needs of the cells along with proven evidence based approaches, echocardiography evaluation, and monitoring treatment for the best outcome of the patient. This is an effective treatment strategy and can have a positive impact for people with cardiovascular risk factors, which can be modified to reduce the risk of heart disease.

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Topics: heart disease, functional medicine, supplements