Congestive Heart Failure: A Functional Medicine Approach

[Oversight regarding root causes] leaves aging individuals exposed to the ravages of unchecked heart attack risk factors such as excess homocysteine, insufficient vitamin D, and hormone imbalance & deficiency. This deadly oversight is a fundamental reason cardiovascular disease continues to plague so many Americans (Faloon 2009).1

In contrast to the relatively unimpressive conventional treatment options for heart failure patients, a major breakthrough in heart failure research came in 2013 with the presentation of early results of the Q-SYMBIO coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) trial. This groundbreaking ten-year study provides strong support for a recommendation made by Life Extension many years prior in the context of heart failure. This exciting trial showed that CoQ10 supplementation significantly improves survival even for patients with severe Class III or IV heart failure while dramatically reducing incidence of hospitalization. Specifically, heart failure patients who took 100 mg of CoQ10 three times daily were significantly less likely to have a major cardiovascular event and significantly less likely to die from any cause during the study period compared to control subjects (Mortensen 2013).

Dietary and nutritional interventions have been valuable. “Vitamin B4 is water soluble and is needed in order for the organs and the body to function properly. Vitamin B4 should be included in a healthy daily diet by eating the types of foods that contain this complex vitamin. Bananas, oranges and apples contain vitamin B4, and so do vegetables with green leaves, such as spinach and mustard greens. Herbs that contain vitamin B4 include cloves, hawthorn, jojoba, sage, yucca, ginger and golden seal.”

Clearly, although ‘healing’ is the common goal, western (conventional) and functional (integrative) medicine have two separate approaches.  Conventional addresses symptoms as they present, using pharmaceuticals; functional addresses systems as root causes, and leans towards lifestyle, rather than medications as a first line of treatment.   According to functional medicine, “[m]ost pharmaceutical drugs work by blocking, poisoning, or inhibiting the body’s biochemical pathways.   As an alternative, functional medicine employees the use of nutrients that support the body’s biochemistry to help boost deficiencies that are the cause of the medical condition.  Rather than fighting the symptoms, functional medicine focuses on attacking the cause.”

Chiropractic medicine recognizes there is hope for people suffering from congestive heart failure.  According to Dr. Grisanti, “To be quite honest, when I first started in practice I was like most people thinking that there was no way a disease like congestive heart failure and a host of other diseases (you will learn about) could be reversed. The best I hoped for was at best just to slow down the progressive deterioration of heart failure patients.  To my surprise and the surprise of thousands of people, the more nutrient deficiencies that were identified and fixed, the healthier people became. Of course this is just the beginning of improving the health of people with heart failure.”

Along with common sense lifestyle modifications including diet, exercise, modest alcohol intake etc., Dr. Hyman offers: “. . . supplements can dramatically improve cardiovascular health. Take a good multi-vitamin/mineral along with a purified fish oil supplement that contains 1000 to 2000 milligrams a day of EPA/DHA. (You might need higher doses if you have low HDL and high triglycerides.) I also recommend a fiber supplement such as PGX (Konjac fiber or gluccomanan) to lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels.” 5







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