A Healthy Heart leads to a Good Start for Overall Health!
The state of my heart and how I have chose to support my heart’s health has immensely improved my overall sense of well-being. Since becoming a full time graduate school student 5 years ago my stress had greatly increased and my overall health began to decline. As a student studying Chinese Medicine, this is considered “student syndrome”. In terms of Chinese medicine student syndrome is due to over-studying and too much mental activity. Over use of the mental faculties impairs the Heart and Spleen and impair the blood by causing blood deficiency. Symptoms arise such as poor sleep quality, inability to focus, pale face and tongue, dull complexion, tiredness, heart palpitations, worry, anxiety, and poor memory. These symptoms seemed to plague me after about 3 years into my degree program and in the 4th year I really began to face and treat the problem.
I began to put together a protocol to specifically address my impaired heart function. Along with regular acupuncture treatments, I supplemented with a whole food source of CoQ10 and High quality Omega 3 oil. A huge part of my protocol was daily exercise and diet modifications.
The acupuncture treatments focused on nourishing heart and spleen meridians. The heart in Chinese Medicine governs the blood and the Spleen governs digestion and has a function of making blood. CoQ10 is essential for 90% of all cellular energy production. Since the heart uses a great deal of CoQ10, if there is a deficiency, the heart will be affected first. It is critical to have a whole food source of CoQ10 so that the body can readily accept it. High sources of CoQ10 are found in organ meats like liver and heart. Other sources can be found in whole food supplements that are composed of glandular extracts of organ tissues. I chose to take a supplement of CoQ10 to support my heart.
Omega 3’s are said to improve heart health. Omega 3’s from plant sources must be converted from ALA by enzyme delta 6 desaturase to get the more essential DHA and EPA components. This enzyme can be impaired by high insulin levels which is common in the US. A better source of Omega 3 can be from fish oils like cod liver, salmon, tuna, and krill oil. Omega 3 can reduce inflammation, contribute to functionality of cellular membranes, and reduce triglyceride levels in the blood. Krill oil is unique in that it contains phospholipids, so the omega-3 fats are in the form that your body can use. For this reason Krill oil is more bio-available and absorbed very quickly. I supplemented with fish oil and krill oil to support my daily intake of omega 3’s as well as increased my fatty fish consumption.
The diet I constructed for myself consisted of organic foods with the least amount of processing. Meat, vegetables, some lentils and occasional fruit such as berries was the bulk of my diet. I completely stopped eating grains, dairy products and sugar. I also began an exercise protocol. I started by walking 30 minutes a day and eventually worked my way up to 2.5 miles of accelerated walking and jogging. I would walk up the hills in San Francisco and when I first started, I could barely make it to the top of the hill due to exhaustion. Once I started treating my heart and using my heart physically, I became much more proficient and capable of climbing the hills of SF.
With the entirety of this protocol, I had more energy and a better memory and sleep, as well as less anxiety and heart palpitations. By following the protocol daily, I noticed a difference within the first week and felt completely different and more confident with the overall state of my heart by the first month. I found all of the components of my protocol to be crucial. Exercise and acupuncture alone would not have produced the same outcome because I was so deficient that I need the whole food supplementation of CoQ10 and Omega 3’s to provide substance to my system to enable the exercise and acupuncture to have it’s affects. I am sure by taking good care of my heart in the ways I have and continue to do will prevent heart failure in the future. I feel lucky that I have experienced such a shift and hope to help many of my patients in the future the same way.
Langsjoen, Peter H. MD, FACC. Febuary 2008. Life Extension Online Magazine. Date Retrieved 12/13/12. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2008/
Reviewed by Nazario, Brunilda MD. March 30, 2011. Web Md. Retreived 12/13/12. http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet
Dr. Mercola. August 26, 2011. Mercola. Retrieved 12/13/12. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/26/