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Cardiovascular health

Interview Questions: Decker Weiss, NMD, FA.SA. Cardiologist (Naturopathic) (press release)

Sunday, May 29, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: cardiovascular health, health news, Natural News


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Q. What is a Naturopathic Cardiologist?

A. Dr. Decker Weiss is the first to be recognized with the title Naturopathic Cardiologist. Dr. Weiss is credentialed as a physician through the state of Arizona and is recognized as a cardiologist by the Arizona Heart Hospital. He is also the first naturopathic physician to have hospital privileges at a conventional hospital, the Arizona Heart Hospital, where he has been on staff for seven years. Dr. Weiss was the first naturopathic physician to be chosen as a Fellow of the American Society of Angiology.

Q. What is the difference between a traditional approach to a cardiology and a naturopathic approach?

A. A naturopathic approach means first treating a patient with natural medicines then conventional medicine or surgery if needed. Dr. Weiss' goal is to rid the body of disease and get patients off medication that can have adverse side effects (e.g., impotence). A traditional approach means starting a patient on medication then monitoring the effects of that medication.

Q. What is the number one issue you encounter with patients maintaining a healthy blood pressure?

A. The number one issue I encounter is nutritional deficiencies related to stress. For patients who are already taking conventional medicine I find that the number one issue is compliance. Patients are hesitant to take medicine that causes adverse side effects.

Q. In addition to diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, are there other natural ways I can lower my blood pressure?

A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time—fish oil, CoQIO, and garlic. As effective as these supplements are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.

However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately and work even better when they're combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.

The majority of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results: lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Let's take a look at each:

Stevia:

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in South America, and is often used as a sweetener. Glycosides in stevia, particularly stevoside, give the plant its sweet flavor—anywhere from 100 to 200 times sweeter than sugar.

The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls—keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.

In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants' blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.

And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly—by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!

Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension— blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia showed regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.

A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants.16 Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.

Hawthorn extract:

Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. oxycantha) has been used since ancient times as a medicinal herb— even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.

The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort—sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.

The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties—protecting against free radical cellular damage.

And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensinconverting enzyme.20'21 Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development—just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.

Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.

Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.

Olive leaf extract:

Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leafs most beneficial compounds is oleuropein— the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.

But it's not just the diet—scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.

Dandelion leaf extract:

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.

Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient Greece. Leaves intended for medicinal use are harvested before flowering, to ensure the most nutrients.

They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, various B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leafs traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it's really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium—one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.

The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax— lowering blood pressure.

Lycopene:

If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene, lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than betacarotene, its more famous cousin.37 Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It's even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.

And, for proof, you don't have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.41"43 The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.

So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found—men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.

Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?

A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination of ingredientvs lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Q. What makes this combination unique?

A. Stevia sets this particular combination apart. As previously mentioned, olive leaf and hawthorne have been in use for heart support for many years. And while stevia is not new, it is usually thought of as a sweetener. Most people don't know about how much potential it has to lower blood pressure.

Q. If my blood pressure is already within the normal range, why should I be concerned or take any action?

A. Even people with normal blood pressure at 55 yearsof age will have a 90% lifetime risk of developing hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension increases with advancing age to the point where more than half of people 60-69 years of age and approximately three-fourths of those 70 years of age and older are affected.

Q. Can I stop taking my prescription medication once I start using these herbs?

A. I do not recommend anyone stop taking any prescription medication without first discussing this decision with your doctor. There may be more than one reason why your doctor prescribed the medication and you should work with him or her to make a fully informed decision regarding your health.

Q. How can I safely go off my blood pressure medication?

A. By working with your doctor to develop a lifestyle plan that incorporates nutritional supplements, diet and exercise. Again, it is very important that you not just quit taking prescription medications. But by working with your doctor to develop a tailored plan it may be possible to reduce or eliminate blood pressure medication. Partner with your doctor and work together toward your health goals.


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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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