Health Care in Harmony with Nature
Dr. Arlan Cage, ND, LAc


The Cardiovascular/Endocrine Constellation:

The Common Roots of High Blood Pressure, Abnormal Blood Lipids, Obesity,
Atherosclerosis, Strokes, Diabetes and Heart Disease

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High blood sugars, high blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerids), obesity, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes: what do all these chronic diseases have in common? If you guessed they are all currently at epidemic levels in the United States and most Western cultures, they are virtually unheard of elsewhere in the world, and that their root cause is the standard diet of modern American culture, (no matter who is eating it) -- You're right! Give yourself a Prize.

The commonalities between all these conditions are the abnormally high levels of simple carbohydrates, trans-fatty acids and long-chain hydrogenated oils in our diets, coupled with severe deficiencies of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. Stress clearly plays a role in the progression of these conditions as well.

The process starts literally at the roots -- farm soils have been deficient of minerals since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, when abusive farming practices combined with a periodic drought in America's heartland resulted in most of the mineral-rich American topsoil (having been accumulated and maintained for many centuries) literally blowing away. Our farmlands have never recovered. Follow-up studies in the 1980s as part of the Earth Day conference concluded that the situation then was even worse than it had been in the 1930s. With continued abusive farm practices, and no effort made to re-mineralize the soil, it only stands to reason that the soil won't miraculously heal itself. Here in 2005, 20 years later, the situation continues to degrade.

Why does this affect our health today? Minerals are among the list of essential nutrients that have been identified by scientists. Essential Nutrients are thoses things that are absolutely necessary for life, but which our bodies are incapable of making from simpler raw materials. They can only be obtained through the food we eat. Mineral and vitamin deficiencies are identified with many chronic illnesses. Vitamins are primarily manufactured by plants using minerals as crucial raw materials. No minerals in the soils means the plant cannot absorb them through their roots. No minerals in the plants, meanwhile, means there are also no vitamins in the plants. Any animal which later eats that plant, expecting it to be rich in vitamins and minerals, will be sorely disappointed.

The severe deficiencies of minerals in the soils leads to deficiencies of both minerals and vitamins in the plants. In order to make the plants grow at all, artificial fertilizers are used. Substances chosen are those things which make the plants grow big, not necessarily those things which make them more nutritious (since food crops are sold purely by weight, not their nutritional value). These mineral deficient crops, meanwhile, are more susceptible to pests and weeds, so the answer becomes still more artifical chemicals -- pesticides and herbicides -- all of which are toxic to humans in very small dosages.

When crops finally are harvested, the degradation of our food supply continues. The become processed, mainly with the objective of increasing the shelf life of the substance (I hesitate to call it food any longer) by removing those portions of the plant most likely to spoil. Using grains as an example, the germ and bran are removed. These just happen to contain most of the essential oils, protiens, vitamins and minerals that were originally present. All that remains is the starch, i.e. sugar, that had been stored in the grain to provide energy for the seed when it sprouts (grains are the seeds of different plants, mostly in the Grass Family).

The resulting substance is so devoid of any nutritional value it can sit on the shelf for months, even years, without spoiling -- even the bacteria can't eat it! Studies have been done feeding labratory rats either white flour or the cardboard box it came in. The rats eating the boxes lived longer than the rats eating the flour.

which condition of the Cardiovascular/Endocrine Constellation that a person eventually develops depends to a certain extent on their genetic makeup. Some people may be more prone to heart disease while others may be more prone to diabetes. The factors in the progression of these conditions though, are common: abnormal fats cause cell membranes to become rigid and less efficient. These fats also oxidize more readily and produce free radicals which cause additional damage. High quantities of simple carbohydrates in the diet lead to consistently high blood sugars which can cause vascular damage. These foods are also devoid of fiber which is necessary for the heatlh of the GI tract; in turn this leads to a degrading of our intestinal walls and a "leaky gut" phenomena. This phenomena in turn can promote food allergies as particles larger than normal leak past the intestinal barrier. Food allergies are yet another source of vascular damage.

As blood vessels become damaged the body's defense mechanisms build cholesterol plaques to patch holes and prevent leakage. This is the root of atherosclerosis. Narrowing, more rigid arteries give rise to high blood pressure, which in turn is the precursor to many kinds of heart disease and strokes.

Our body's stress response is a crucial survival mechanism. To better understand it, image a sabre-toothed tiger jumping at you. Anything you don't need to survive the next five seconds is determined to be "un-necessary" and is shut down. Virtually all the blood, oxygen and fuel in the body is shunted to our muscles, lungs and heart so we can use them to fight, run or both. All other systems, the Gastro-intestinal system, reproductive system, immune system, etc., are shut down. Lets face it -- if we don't survive that crucial 5 seconds, we don't need to worry about digesting this morning's breakfast.

The Fight or Flight response by our body works great, but not if we have to respond to a perceived threat every 5 or 10 minutes, all day long. One of the primary organs involved in regulating the stress response is the adrenal gland. If our adrenals only have to "fight the sabre-toothed tiger" every few days or weeks, they do fine. If, however, we perceive something in our world as stressful many times every day, eventually, they lose their ability to respond.

Cortisol is our body's main stress hormone and when the adrenal receives a signal from the SNS, cortisol is released into the blood stream. It then causes many of the body's functions to be shut down until the stressful situation is over, when the Parasympathetic Nervous System kicks in, the "Feed and Frolic" portion of the nervous system responsible for rest, eating, digestion, healing and sleeping.

Continued exposure to stress keeps the body and adrenal glands in a constant sympathetic state, never allowing the body's parasympathetic system to re-juvenate us. Long term sympathetic predominance leads to a depressed immune system and frequent colds, flus and other illnesses. We also experience decreased absorption of nutrients from the GI tract, which means every organ and tissue in the body begins to be starved for crucial nutrition.

Long term exposure to frequent stress also tricks the body into thinking it has entered a famine, and again, shuts down certain body systems such as the reproductive centers. This famine-like stress is a large component of the modern infertility trend, for instance. It also triggers the body to slow down our metabolism and try to save every possible calorie as fat, because clearly there is a famine and severe food shortage going on -- the cortisol levels say so. When we continue to eat every day our body simple stores the food you were fortunate to find as more fat, which is a good thing, because clearly you're in a famine!

The good news if you have any of these conditions is that the answer is as close as your nearest organic supermarket. Switching the foods you eat from the "industrial-grade" diet of simple sugars and bad fats to organic vegetables, whole grains and essential oils is all that many people need to completely reverse obesity, heart disease diabetes, etc.. Click here for more specific information on diabetes. Often, to control symptoms and speed recovery, additional measures are needed, and Dr. Cage will develop an individualized treatment plan using safe, natural remedies to enhance the success of your nutritional program.

The "Take-Home Message" is simply this: all these conditions are rooted in a low quality diet compounded by a high-stress lifestyle, and they can all be prevented, and reversed, using nutrition and natural remedies. None of them require you to be sick and on dangerous medications for the rest of your life.

High Blood Pressure
High Cholesterol
Heart Murmur
Recovery from Heart Attack

Peripheral Artery Disease
Venous Stasis
Clotting Disorders
Poor Peripheral Circulation

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