Heart Health and Gluten SensitivityDo you know what the most common first sign of heart disease is? If you guessed sudden death, you would be correct. Of course, not all people with heart disease have such a dramatic demise. Many suffer for years with decreased oxygen delivery to their heart and rest of the body, resulting in ever increasing difficulty with simple daily activities, like walking up a flight of stairs, or taking the dog for a walk.

Because the death rate from heart disease is so high, much time and money has been spent in trying to learn why. Of course, you can find a lot written about cholesterol and the supposed benefits of cholesterol-lowering medications, but it is not clear that these drugs actually improve life or decrease the actual death rate.

When we are talking about cardiovascular disease, the first issue we must address is inflammation. Inflammation is a fairly complex topic and any discussion will include inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are the chemical messengers that the immune system uses for its internal communication; much like the brain uses neurotransmitters.

We recommend a basic cytokine test to get an idea of which ones, if any are elevated. You can also get information about Th1 and Th2 responses.  More about Th1 and Th2

Many factors will play into the inflammation issue, but one important one that we will discuss today is gluten sensitivity.

Many researchers estimate that at least 30% of the population is gluten sensitive, to the point that it will cause, or at least contribute, to a significant disease state. You will notice that I said researchers, because your local doctor will not likely be up to speed on this. Why More People Don’t Know Gluten

If 30% of the population is gluten sensitive, and since this gluten sensitivity (GS) has general inflammation as a common effect, what are the odds that GS plays a role in cardio-vascular inflammation as well?

The research on this topic is spotty still. If you are at high risk for heart disease, meaning that you have a family history of heart problems, you would do well to get tested for gluten sensitivity. If all comes back negative then you can focus on the other possible factors.

Make sure you get the complete antibody test. I only know of one lab that has a comprehensive profile and that is Cyrex Labs. We can help facilitate this test. You call us with some very basic information like address, birth date, phone number and email and we will get you a kit for your single tube blood draw that you can take care of in your area. The exception is NY, NJ, RI and MA. You will have to get your blood drawn in a different state or have your doctor order the tests for you.

While you are waiting for your gluten test to come back, you should be on tocotrienols. Tocotrienols are a variation of vitamin E that has been shown to be extremely cardiovascular protective, and an effective anti-cancer agent too. Cardio Protective Tocotrienols. We recommend Biotics Tocotrienols. You will only need 2-3 pearls per day to achieve the excellent protection tocotrienols can provide.

If you have concerns about the safety of vitamin E in general, follow this link for a more complete discussion. The summary is that a recent study that gained widespread publicity did not use vitamin E, but a petrochemical-derived molecule that resembled vitamin E, but reported findings as if it were the real thing. Safety of Vitamin E

L-arginine can also be helpful in reducing inflammation, especially when it comes to the cardiovascular system. Elevated triglycerides levels in your blood work are often a sign of inflammation, with serious potential to compromise the heart and blood vessels. L-arginine is an excellent option to support the natural anti-inflammation pathways. Our favorite source of L-arginine is Thorne Research Perfusia. You will take two capsules per day in most cases.