Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of The Blaylock Wellness Report newsletter, is a nationally recognized board-certified neurosurgeon, health practitioner, author, and lecturer. He attended the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and completed his internship and neurological residency at the Medical University of South Carolina. For 26 years, practiced neurosurgery in addition to having a nutritional practice. He recently retired from his neurosurgical duties to devote his full attention to nutritional research. Dr. Blaylock has authored four books, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life, Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients, and his most recent work, Cellular and Molecular Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Find out what others are saying about Dr. Blaylock by clicking here.

Iron and Heart Disease

Thursday, 07 April 2011 11:14 AM

There is compelling evidence that excess iron is playing a major role in a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease.

The first strong suggestion that iron was linked to the risk of cardiovascular disease came from the studies of Dr. J. L. Sullivan, who noticed that premenopausal women had a much lower heart attack risk than men in the same age group, and that with the onset of menopause, women’s risk rose rapidly.

At first, it was assumed that estrogen was playing a protective role. But more careful studies demonstrated that premenopausal women had much lower iron levels than postmenopausal women, primarily due to blood loss during menstruation. Experiments using animals seemed to confirm Sullivan’s hypothesis. Animals fed or infused with excessive iron developed dramatic increases in atherosclerosis.

Consider heart attacks and strokes. Most of them do not result simply from plaque buildup and blockage in an artery. Rather, most heart attacks and strokes are caused by the sudden appearance of a blood clot at the site of an unstable plaque. When all this inflammation is occurring within a blood vessel, the body tries to contain the problem by various means including:

• Cooling down the inflammation

• Encasing the inflammation in a wall of tough collagen

• Boosting antioxidant defenses

If successful, blockage of the vessel is unlikely. But in many cases, the inflammation only worsens, and eventually the collagen cap over the inflammation weakens and ruptures, spilling toxic pus out into the blood vessel.

This pus triggers a blood clot to form in an effort to keep the inflammation from spreading further. Unfortunately, it also shuts off the blood supply in the blood vessel.

Of critical importance to containing this toxic pus is the strength of the collagen cap over the plaque. One of the major causes of weakening of the plaque cap is release of an enzyme called MMP-9 (matrix metalloproteinase-9). This enzyme dissolves the cap, making a rupture more likely. Excess iron seems to promote MMP-9 activation.

A number of nutritional compounds can significantly strengthen the cap, including:

• Grape seed extract (anthrocyanadins)
• Curcumin
• Quercetin
• Ellagic acid
• Hesperidin
• Luteolin
• Vitamin C
• Zinc

These also are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which help cool the reactions within the wall of the blood vessel. Not only are these natural substances more effective by far than statin drugs, they are much safer. For more information on the benefits of supplements, read my special report "Key Vitamins that Save Your Heart, Prevent Cancer and Keep You Living Long."

While the evidence is not strong enough to say iron overloading is the cause of cardiovascular disease, it is playing a major role in driving the process that is at the root of some of these heart disorders. Research suggests that lowering iron levels may prevent or slow the progression of such conditions.

For the latest information on how to protect your heart, see my report "New Heart Revelations."

For more of Dr. Blaylock’s weekly tips, go here to view the archive.

© HealthDay

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Thursday, 07 April 2011 11:14 AM
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