Most people, including most medical doctors, associate heart attacks with cholesterol, occlusion of the coronary arteries by plaque and an ensuing lack of oxygen that impairs the functioning of the heart muscle. It’s a widely accepted and rather simple “model” that doesn’t require a deeper understanding of what keeps the heart ticking. Millions of people have been “treated” with medicines and therapies that find their origin in this theory. But what if the model is wrong ?! What if there is more realistic model that leads the way to successfully dealing with cardiovascular disease ?! And, what if this approach has been proven !!
Many years ago, when I was working as a journalist for Dutch media, I wrote a lengthy article in a Dutch weekly magazine about a highly effective German medicinal product that is capable of interrupting and preventing an ischaemic heart attack: Strodival®. The product, which unfortunately was discontinued, contained a natural extract called ouabain or g-Strophanthin. At the time, I visited and interviewed several German doctors who treated their patients with Strodival® with great and lasting success. I visited and interviewed patients who had found great relief by taking it. I witnessed the almost instant effect felt by a heart-patient who took g-Strophanthin for the first time in his life. In no less than 15 minutes, he changed from a man suffering from chest-pain to one who could breathe and smile again.
Victory over heart infarction
Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, this highly effective and relatively cheap herbal remedy was discontinued under enormous and harsh pressure of the medical and pharmaceutical orthodoxy, which refused to accept the possibility that their extremely profitable cholesterol-blocked-arteries theory is way off the mark. Those of you who wish to read more about Strodival®/g-Strophanthin and where to get it nowadays should order Rolf-Jürgen Petry’s book Strophanthin – der mögliche Sieg über den Herzinfarkt (in German) and/or Hauke Fürstenwerth’s Ouabain: a gift from paradise (in English).
Understanding the problem by making a fist
What concerns us here is that the application of this fiercely suppressed remedy is pivoted on a view regarding the causes of a heart attack that is diametrically opposed to the commonly accepted one. The simplest way to understand this unorthodox theory is to make a fist, squeeze hard and then quickly open your hand. You will see that the inside of your hand has become “whitish” and will turn “reddish” again within a few seconds. You have squeezed the blood out of the inner muscles of your hand and when you open it the blood will come back right away. Your heart resembles your fist. It is a muscle that has 4 chambers. It is the lower left chamber that leads the blood into the main artery, the aorta, which is the main gateway to the circulatory system. This section of the heart muscle, called the left ventricle, is the place where heart attacks occur. The left ventricle will turn “whitish” with each heartbeart and will turn “reddish” when it replenishes itself upon relaxation in between the beats.
The nervous impulses that make the heart tick
The heart contracts and relaxes under the continuous influence of 2 kinds of “opposing” nervous impulses. You may think of them as the impulses that move a pendulum, from left to right to left to right …., on and on and on. One impulse stresses the heart so that it “beats,” the other impulse tells the heart to relax so as to recover in between the beats. When it comes to considering the causes of a heart attack, the most common “kneejerk” idea is to conclude that too much stress will most likely contribute to a malfunctioning of the heart. You may be surprised that this is not the case. It is, to the contrary, the weakness or absence of the relaxing impulse that is associated with heart attacks. When the relaxing impulse is weak, the stress impulse gets the upper hand, even when you’re not “stressed out” or involved in heavy exercise or physical work. People who are at rest and feel comfortably relaxed can still detect arrhythmias and strange things going on in the area of the heart. A mystery ? Just check this website, which is maintained by the German medical doctor Knut Stroka.
The relaxing impulse is the dominant one
Stroka explains how every intense physiological effort or emotional impact that takes one’s heart to its limits, that pushes the pulse up to dizzying heights, is tolerated by the organism as long as the relaxing impulse remains intact. This prevents the excitation impulse from getting out of control and damaging the heart muscle. The complex and balanced interaction of the 2 impulses builds the basis of a healthy life. In heart patients, the relaxing impulse is chronically defective and weak. Current scientific research acknowledges that in patients with coronary heart disease, the relaxing impulse on the heart’s pendulum is chronically reduced in comparison to healthy people. This, in turn, disturbs the metabolism of the heart muscle.
The heart attack
Which brings us to the heart attack itself. How does it actually take place ? I invite you again to make a fist and squeeze hard. Open your hand and now imagine that, during relaxation, the blood will not instantly return to your hand’s inner muscle. Before the full return of the blood, squeeze again and open your hand. Imagine that, again, the blood does not immediately return to the muscle. Now, consider that this resembles your heart, which contracts, but does not relax sufficiently enough for the blood to fully return to the muscle of the left ventricle. The heart will suffer from a lack of fresh blood, but the muscle will nevertheless seek to continue beating.
Lack of oxygen causes fermentation
When there’s a lack of oxygen, the heart is forced to shift from producing energy by burning oxygen ‒ of which there’s too little ‒ to a less efficient way of producing energy. This process, which splits sugar by way of fermentation, is called glycolysis. It produces less energy and, what is even more problematic, fermentation produces lactic acid. The lactic acid will make the red blood cells, that must pass through the capillaries of the heart muscle’s vasculature, stiffer. When they’re no longer flexible, the red blood cells won’t be able to pass through the capillaries and this will block the flow of blood altogether. At this location, the muscle cells will deteriorate, disintegrate and a scar will be produced. Voilà, that’s a heart attack. By the way, the acidification is felt as angina pectoris, which indicates the onset of a heart attack.
What can you do ?
Knut Stroka’s advice is actually quite simple. He doesn’t focus in the stress impulse, but on the relaxing one. Physical activity strengthens the relaxing impulse. Sitting around a lot weakens it. Endurance sports promote the economic functioning of the heart and prevent heart attacks. The expression of emotions and lively social contacts [not lockdowns !!!] benefit the relaxing cardiac impulses. A satisfactory emotional life, good relationships, and love and sex all offer good protection against heart attacks. Constant suppression of feelings and social isolation [lockdowns !!!] promote the tendency to heart attack. Every stressful event impairs the relaxing impulse; chronic stress can lead to long-term impairment. If, after a long period of stress, a positive, satisfying result is achieved, the activity of the relaxing impulse again increases, accompanied by a feeling of wellness. During a period of negative stress, in which feelings of annoyance, anger and frustration remain, the temporary down-regulation can result in a constant blockade of the relaxing impulse. Such chronic psychosocial stress [as it is caused by lockdowns] can result in damage to the heart.
Oxidative stress and heart attacks
In my next blog, I will address the relationship between the stress and relaxation impulses and the formation of free radicals. For those of you who have been following my blogs, it will be evident what role Masquelier’s OPCs play in the field of cardiovascular health and the scavenging of free radicals.