Ask anyone what is the nation’s number one killer and most people will say heart attack. But how many know that congestive heart failure (CHF) is the fastest growing cause of heart disease in North America? Why is this happening? And why are mitochondria of vital importance, particularly as we all grow older?
Congestive Heart Failure occurs for several reasons. A coronary attack may have destroyed cardiac muscle. Or hypertension over a period of years has weakened it. Or obesity and diabetes has resulted in hardening of coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to the heart. So, in addition to aging, a series of events may injure the heart. As the “Gifford-Jones Law” states, one problem leads to another and another.
In the end, it’s mitochondria that determine how long the heart will beat. And when the heart says enough is enough, death occurs.
Mitochondria are tiny power plants present in almost all living cells that constantly produce energy. These allow cardiac muscles to beat 100,000 times every 24 hours. Or 2.7 billion times by age 70, without stopping!
I’m sure most readers have experienced “brownouts” when electricity fails, and civilization as we know it, momentarily ends. It’s the power plant that keeps cities functioning. Can you imagine the chaos if toilets failed to flush for a few days!
But humans can also have brownouts due to malfunctioning mitochondria. These cause days when we lack energy, feel exhausted, have muscle weakness, difficulty remembering things, or become seriously ill. For instance, researchers have linked Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease to ineffectual mitochondria.
Experts on CHF say that much can be done to maintain healthy mitochondria and increase cardiac longevity. A workout of 30 to 60 minutes is ideal and the more intensive the better, but there appears to be little benefit beyond 60 minutes.
Limited consumption of food. This allows mitochondria more time to remove free radicals, the metabolic ash that’s left after energy has been consumed and which is linked to aging. Intermittent fasting is advised which allows time for mitochondria to remove unwanted cellular debris such as old mitochondria. This may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. A diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates also has a beneficial effect on mitochondria.
Researchers at Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University report that a healthy blood level of vitamin C protects and restores enzyme activity in aging mitochondria which provide energy for the proper function of cardiac muscle. The report does not say how much vitamin C. But I’d suggest one scoop of Medi-C Plus which contains 2,000 milligrams of powdered vitamin C, after breakfast and the evening meal.
A report in the medical publication, LifeExtension, says, “A deficiency of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deprives the heart of a critical factor of energy supply and can be a key contributor to an impaired pumping of the heart.” This is because mitochrondria cannot make energy without an adequate supply of CoQ10.
Researchers add that a group of international cardiologists enrolled 420 people with moderate to severe heart failure in a double blind study. They were prescribed either a placebo or 100 mg. of CoQ10 three times a day for two years, in addition to standard drug therapy.
At the end of the study those taking CoQ10 had a 50 percent reduction in the risk of heart failure and stroke. They also had a lower death rate from both cardiovascular and other causes. The study also revealed that the heart’s muscle had become more efficient, reducing the risk of auricular fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart. Medi-C Plus and other brands of powdered vitamin C along with CoQ10 are available in Health Food Stores.
Finally, a deep massage removes toxins, improves blood and oxygen circulation and growth of mitochondria.
It’s never too early to start being kind to your heart. Dr. Michael McDonald, an expert on heart failure at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the University of Toronto, says, “This diagnosis of failure usually means life-expectancy of from 2 to 5 years. And today, if you’re over the age of 65, it’s the most common reason for being admitted to hospital.”