Cardiovascular Disease and Prevention with Integrative Medicine

Cardiovascular disease is traditionally treated through medications and lifestyle modifications, yet adherence to these treatments is often poor.

The use of complementary therapies, such as non-prescription vitamins and chelation, is increasing, and patients are seeking information from their physicians about the safety and effectiveness of these therapies.

When considering integrative therapies for cardiovascular disease, it is important to understand the underlying pathogenesis of the disease, which may be linked to chronic stress, inflammation, and altered gut microbiota.

There is evidence for several promising integrative therapies for the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, including specific nutritional approaches, chelation, acupuncture, and select supplements and herbal therapies.

Pathogenesis of Chronic Disease States, including Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease has been associated with an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system[i]. The sympathetic or “fight or flight” nervous system is activated in times of stress. As a result, cortisol and epinephrine levels are heightened. These hormones allow our blood pressures and heart rates to rise so we have adequate blood flow to essential organs for flight and allow the body to be alert.

Our immune system also triggers an inflammatory cascade. The parasympathetic or “rest and digest” nervous system offsets the sympathetic nervous system. It brings the cortisol levels and epinephrine levels down. Blood flow goes back to nonessential processes, such as eating and bladder and bowel movements.

Often, our bodies are heavily shifted toward sympathetic overdrive, which leads to burnout. With this imbalance, there are chronically elevated hormone levels, which result in elevated blood pressures and heart rates on a long-term basis. In times of burnout, there is significant imbalance in the immune response and there is evidence of increased inflammatory markers, decreased wound healing, and poorer response to infection.

With chronic stress, there is overactivation of the hormonal systems and subsequent formation of disease-causing free radicals causing oxidative stress. Inflammation and oxidative stress can then cause chronic fatigue, depression, and excessive weight gain. In addition, persistent elevation of cortisol can lead to insulin resistance, which can cause diabetes and CVD, such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmias.

The Integrative Treatment Approach

The integrative treatment approach in cardiology focuses on bringing the “rest and digest” system into balance with the “fight or flight” system.

It involves understanding the impact of food on our bodies and putting healthful foods into our system to aid in proper digestion.

It also requires us to understand about environmental exposures, such as pollution and heavy metal exposures and how to remove them through detoxification and chelation.

Diagnosis and Treatment at the Swiss Biological Medicine Center

At the Swiss Biological Medicine Center, we are able to test for imbalances in the autonomous nervous system as well as looking at the overall body health through darkfield microscopy.

We are also providing diagnostics as to heavy metal exposure coupled with heavy metal sensitivity tests.

Once the physical condition is diagnosed, we provide a customised treatment plan to rebalance the autonomous nervous system, guide dietary changes with specific nutrition plans and detoxify the body through chelation.

[i] Bairey Merz CN, Elboudwarej O, Mehta P. The autonomic nervous system and cardiovascular health and disease. JACC Heart Fail 2015;3(5):383–5.