Disease: THE Biggest Killer in the Western World
By Liz Barrington,
Natural Body Healing
Did you know that heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK;
it claims one adult life every 3 minutes, and is blamed
for nearly two-fifths of the deaths in people aged 75 and under.
Yet, this condition doesn’t just affect the UK; circulatory
disease is widespread across the Western world.
Every year, approximately 25% of all deaths in the US occur from
heart attacks, and the majority of these are attributable to
hardening of the arteries. In addition to heart attacks, a poor
circulatory system can lead to strokes, kidney disease, varicose
veins, blood clots and a variety of other conditions that can
kill or severely limit the enjoyment of life.
The 3 major factors that contribute to circulatory problems are
high blood pressure (hypertension),
high levels of
cholesterol in the bloodstream, and also
Blood pressure equipment measures how much the heart
contracts (systolic pressure) and how much the arteries
contract (diastolic pressure) and these values constantly
change throughout the day. For example, readings rise
sharply in the early morning and decline during the late
morning. They then rise again in the afternoon and finally
drop to a low level at night. Values can also vary within
a short period of time and they also depend upon your current
level of activity, stress and whether you've just eaten
Moreover, many people have a different blood pressure reading
when they measure it at home because they tend to be more
relaxed than when at the doctor's surgery. It's
recommended therefore that you buy yourself a blood pressure
monitor so that you can provide your doctor with valuable
information on your normal blood pressure values and
pulse rates, rather than elevated levels obtained by the doctor.
According to the World Health Organisation, the standard blood
pressure values at resting pulse should be 140 (systolic
reading) over 90 (diastolic reading) for industrialised
societies. However, many health specialists believe that
this is still too high, and the ideal reading should actually be
120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic). It's important that
you keep an eye on this barometer of health on a regular basis,
and incorporate adjustments in your diet and lifestyle
is indeed linked directly to hypertension and high levels of
triglycerides and cholesterol. Other factors include obesity,
hereditary factors and emotional stress.
Unfortunately the threat of problems significantly increases
when more than one of these factors is present.
Optimum health of the vital circulatory system is
absolutely essential as it’s responsible for providing a
continuous supply of nutrients and oxygen into every cell
in the body. Simultaneously, our circulatory system collects
carbon dioxide, toxins and other waste material produced by the
cells and then carries them away for removal out of the body.
The circulatory system accomplishes this mammoth task through a
network of nearly 60,000 miles of blood vessels and a
fist-sized ‘pump’ of an organ – the heart, which drives more
than 2,000 gallons of blood through its chambers every day.
There are 3 types of blood vessels in the body: arteries,
veins and capillaries. Arteries are
thick-walled vessels that carry blood from the heart to all
parts of the body. Each time your heart beats, the elasticised
walls of the arteries swell to make room for the blood that’s
forced into them. The muscles inside the walls then squeeze the
blood (contract) to force it to move along the capillaries.
If the arteries lose their elasticity (called ‘arteriosclerosis’
or hardening of the arteries), the heart has to work that much
harder to keep the blood circulating. Arteriosclerosis is a
complex process that develops over a considerable time; it
appears to begin in childhood and progress with ageing.
Fatty deposits called plaques can accumulate on the walls
of any of our arteries; they gather into clusters and adhere to
the inside of the arterial wall which therefore narrows the
artery diameter to the point where the blood supply becomes
inadequate and tissue damage can occur. Platelets play an
important role in heart disease; when platelets clump together,
they release compounds, including prostaglandins that
significantly contribute to the plaque formation.
are thin-walled blood vessels and their role is to return blood
from the body to the heart. Many larger veins have valves to
prevent a back-flow of blood. If these valves experience
prolonged or excessive pressure, veins can become overstretched,
and the valves may be destroyed or become ineffective, resulting
in problems such as varicose veins, haemorrhoids etc.
are the smallest blood vessels in the body and they connect the
arteries to the veins. Because capillaries are extremely small
and have permeable walls, it’s possible for capillaries to reach
nearly every cell in the body and to transfer substances,
including important nutrients to and from the tissues.
The heart is made up of muscles that facilitate its pumping
action and comprises of 4 chambers. The upper chambers are
referred to as the ‘atria’ and the lower chambers are referred
to as ‘ventricles’.
blood enters the right atrium and moves through it into the
right ventricle. From there, blood is sent via the pulmonary
arteries to the lungs so that it can pick up a fresh supply of
oxygen. Once it has taken on a supply of oxygen, oxygen-rich
blood then moves through the pulmonary veins, first to the left
atrium and then to the left ventricle. This cycle is performed
A healthy heart has a regular beat, although the rate can vary
depending on several factors including your age, sex, level of
physical activity and your current state of emotions. Like a
machine, if the heart is overworked and is not properly
maintained, it cannot function optimally which can lead to
serious health problems.
For the circulatory system to function properly, the heart must
be strong. In addition, the vessels must be capable of safely
transporting optimal amounts of blood, and the blood itself must
be healthy. Serious problems can arise when these 3 conditions
are not met, and these problems can include high blood pressure,
arterial plaque, stress, poor circulation, heart disease and
The best treatment in any heart disease is PREVENTION, which
will probably mean incorporating a healthier diet and exercise
regime into your life-style. We recommend the following to
prevent heart disease:
Eat healthier. Reduce
the amount of high animal fat that you eat ie. saturated
fats found in dairy, red meat, processed meats and fried
foods. Increase your consumption of oily fish and chicken,
oats, grains, pulses, eat plenty of fresh fruit and
vegetables, wholesome foods and importantly, considerably
boost your fibre intake. Apart from making bowel movements
easier with less strain on your body, fibre also helps
absorb some of the cholesterol that your body is trying to
eliminate. Always remember to drink plenty of water.
Salt is the largest single contributor to high blood
Cut out your salt intake (especially your consumption of
‘table salt’), salty snacks and reduce your intake of
ready-made processed foods. Your blood pressure should
start dropping within a few days if you do this. If you
absolutely need a little salt with your food, then change to
using iodised sea salt, or better still, squeeze some lemon
or lime over your food to add a little extra flavouring.
Reduce your consumption of caffeine, alcohol and any other
that can contribute to the raising of blood pressure.
Please note, ONE regular glass of red wine daily can have
beneficial health effects on the heart, due to its high
Visit your doctor to have regular check-ups
for your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Undertake regular cardiovascular exercise
– as this strengthens the heart and helps lower
cholesterol. Never exercise to the point of exhaustion
which can damage your heart. No matter what your age, always
start exercise slowly, gradually increasing your pace
and distance. Brisk walking and swimming are excellent
activities that can be taken at your own pace.
Quit smoking – now!
Apart from damaging your lungs, the bad breath, the extra toxins and excessive
free radical damage that causes so much extra stress on your body
including your heart; smoking also increases platelet
stickiness and adhesion. So, if you smoke, you have a
greater chance of suffering a heart attack or a stroke.
Don’t carry a heavy heart!
Stress, sadness, loneliness and isolation have all been
implicated in the development of heart disease. If you’re
stressed, take up meditation, yoga, pilates, tai-chi, deep
breathing and other relaxation techniques that can be
incorporated into your daily regime that can help ease the
effect of stress on the body. 'Nutri-Calm'
is a great natural stress-relieving supplement. If you do
feel isolated, try joining volunteer activities, local
groups of interest, classes or other hobbies, make new
friends and try to get more out of life.
herbal supplements can be very effective in helping to keep the
circulatory system healthy; however, depending on your own
condition, it can take time before you start to feel the
benefits. So, be patient!
Heart disease is not a condition to be taken lightly.
Hardening of the arteries or high cholesterol levels have
accumulated over a long period of time, so they will not
disappear over night!
Always consult your doctor before undertaking any herbal
supplements for heart disease, and do not change your
regimen of prescription, or other pharmaceutical drugs
without your doctor’s supervision.
Here are some Nature’s Sunshine
supplements that you may wish to consider in
conjunction with your Doctor, if you currently have heart
disease or if you have a family history of circulatory problems:
For Overall Heart Health:
– this is our amazing ‘key’ product for the heart and
circulatory system. It is a
high-potency vitamin and mineral supplement that contains
herbs, amino acids and other nutrients designed to benefit the
entire circulatory system including the arteries, veins,
capillaries, tissues and organs. This supplement can also help
if you suffer with high blood pressure, cold hands and feet and
arteriosclerosis/hardening of the arteries. This supplement
helps with the overall strengthening of the heart muscle,
boosting its efficiency in using oxygen and energy, and assists
in dilating coronary arteries. The combination also contains
vitamins C and B6, demonstrated to reduce platelet
adhesion and aggregation, helping to ‘dissolve’ plaques that are
Plus' – this
unique product containing a vitamin-like substance called
co-enzyme Q10. An enzyme can induce chemical changes in other
substances without being changed itself. Enzymes are made up of
2 parts—a protein portion and a co-factor portion consisting of
minerals or vitamins. Many studies confirm that Co-Q10
supports cardiac function. Co-Q10 helps produce cellular energy
and acts as an antioxidant. As an antioxidant, Co-Q10 scavenges
free radicals, protects cardiac cells and promotes the
re-generation of Vitamin E, another heart-healthy antioxidant.
Co-Q10 can also help with heart failure, heart attack prevention
and recovery, high blood pressure, gum disease, migraine and
Nature's Sunshine has harvested the most beneficial fruits and
natural extracts from around the world and combined them into
this unique delicious, powerful nutritious juice which has been
specially formulated to neutralise excess free radicals.
Zambroza's synergistic blend of ten powerful
ingredients include mangosteen, wolfberry (goji berry), apple
extract, blueberry, concord grape, grape seed, grape skin, green
tea, red berry and raspberry.
Zambroza can help speed up the
healing of arterial injuries that often lead to the accumulation
of plaque. This
power-house of antioxidants helps the body fight the effects of
ageing, counters inflammation caused by excess free radicals,
supports the cardiovascular system, promotes energy, helps
maintain healthy cell growth and greatly enhances the immune
system. Independent research confirms that
Zambroza is the World’s Most Powerful Antioxidant
Drink that you can buy.
Oil’ are both rich sources of ‘Essential
Fatty Acids’ which are fats that have to be taken externally
through the diet because the body cannot manufacture them.
Essential Fatty Acids are vital to the body because they are
necessary in keeping our cell membranes healthy and they form a
large component of the nervous system within the brain and in
the retina. They are especially good for the heart. Supportive
research shows that the consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty
acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The best
sources of Omega 3 are found in high quality fish oils which can
easily be assimilated in the body. Flaxseed oil is also a very
good source, especially for vegans, and it has no after-taste.
Hulls Combination’ provides additional
bulk to the diet to ensure toxins are swiftly removed from the
body which also helps to reduce our internal stress levels.
Also fibre helps to
reduce total cholesterol and LDL levels in the body because it
binds with dietary cholesterol and fat to prevent their
Garlic' – Garlic
contains substances that prevent platelets from sticking
total cholesterol, LDL levels, triglycerides (a type of blood
fat), whilst increasing ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels. Garlic
also promotes the breakdown of certain types of blood clots and
lowers blood pressure.
technological breakthroughs have made it possible to manufacture
odourless garlic. The question is - does it retain the potency
of fresh garlic? Studies have shown that it doesn't and
therefore almost all odourless garlic supplements do not
have any real potency.
Nature's Sunshine offers you the finest and most potent garlic
on the market with a special coating that helps control the
garlic's odour. When broken open, these tablets have a strong
garlic odour—unlike other ‘odourless’ garlic products.
Trade-secret processing and careful preparation of each tablet
gives NSP’s High-Potency Garlic a special locked-in freshness
coating. It contains chlorophyll, which controls odour whilst
assuring a long, effective shelf-life.
the tablet does not break down for absorption until it reaches
the small intestine, you receive the full nutritional value of
garlic without the undesirable taste. Moreover, comparing total
allicin potential (TAP) with other leading brands shows that
Nature's Sunshine leads the pack. NSP’s High-Potency Garlic is
valued above all others for its great potency and superb
quality. One 400 mg tablet equals 1,200 mg of fresh garlic,
roughly equal to one clove.
& Hawthorn Combination'
– this supplement contains Ginkgo Biloba leaves and Hawthorn
Berries, used in many cultures to support the circulatory system
because it increases blood circulation and oxygen utilisation in
the heart muscle. Much scientific research has confirmed the
traditional value of ginkgo in the treatment of heart disease.
It’s an antioxidant; it enhances heart efficiency and increases
blood supply to the extremities. It also has a tonic effect on
the blood vessels, gradually improving their health. It also
prevents platelets from sticking together and may be
particularly helpful if arteriosclerosis has affected brain
function or arteries in the arms or legs.
Berries dilate coronary arteries, thus they increase the blood
supply to the heart. It also helps improve metabolic processes
in the heart, including oxygenation and energy production. It
also decreases lactic acid - the waste product of exertion that
causes muscle pain, and it also strengthens artery walls. It’s
an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and it reduces cholesterol.
This product is great if you have a family or personal history
of heart disease, or a medical diagnosis of cardiac problems.
This Ginkgo & Hawthorn combination is very popular in Europe.
For those taking blood
pressure/blood thinning medication - please read on:
Hawthorn can decrease blood pressure; therefore if you
are already taking several blood pressure medications, you
should monitor your blood pressure once your Doctor has given
you the OK to start taking this product.
are already taking aspirin or blood-thinning medication – the
Ginkgo may exacerbate blood-thinning action. Therefore, you can
still take this product once your Doctor has given you the
go-ahead, but you should monitor yourself for signs of undue
bleeding such as bruising too easily. If this happens, you
should consult your Doctor – perhaps he will agree to reduce the
levels of aspirin or blood-thinning medication that you are
useful supporting supplements for good heart health include:
Calcium Magnesium and
Capsicum & Garlic with Parsley.
specifically for 1)
and 2) Vascular Problems,
such as varicose veins, haemorrhoids or spider veins:
II' - This
combination of policosanol, phytosterol (plant sterols),
inositol nicotinate (a form of niacin), resveratrol and
artichoke powder offers a host of benefits to the heart and the
circulatory system. These include maintaining cholesterol levels
that are already in the normal range, protection of the heart,
antioxidant properties, maintaining already-normal platelet
aggregation levels and more.
Chestnut and Butcher’s Broom Combination'
- this is a combination of 6 powerful herbs and nutrients that
work together to fortify and nourish the overall health,
strength and resilience of veins. This formula not only improves
appearance, but supports optimal blood flow to the heart,
thereby relieving fluid congestion in the legs and minimising
the occurrence of damaged or weakened vessels that obstruct
proper circulation. Its nutrients improve the strength, tone
and function of veins. Continued use of this supplement may
improve haemorrhoid conditions and minimise the appearance of
varicose and spider veins.
Heart disease is a VERY serious, potentially life-threatening
condition which requires you to see your doctor or cardiologist
on a regular basis. Herbal and nutritional supplements can help
to prevent and treat heart disease. However, if you’re
presently taking medication for a heart condition, you should
work with your doctor and a professional herbalist to develop a
personalised programme for you, because many herbs
interact with heart medications.
You should NEVER stop taking prescription medication without
first consulting your doctor. If you or your Doctor
requires our assistance to verify whether our supplements will
interfere with your medication, please
We have access to our own in-house team of pharmacists who fully
understand which drugs are available worldwide and how our herbs
interact with each.
important thing that you can do to help strengthen your
circulatory system is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s all about
putting your life into perspective, taking responsibility and
looking after yourself. At the end of the day, your own health
should be your highest priority, because without good heart health,
you may not be able to fulfil your own personal dreams and
If you’re more relaxed,
you eat properly and exercise regularly and you’ve got more balance
in your life, you’ll become much healthier and happier. You
only have one heart, which has to last your entire lifetime - so
remember to look after it.
The nutritional supplement product links stated in this article can only be purchased from this website in UK and in Europe; however all other health product links stated on this page are available worldwide from Natural Body Healing.
The above information should not be treated as a substitute for the
medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care