I recently saw a 62 year old woman in my medical practice who had suffered several minor strokes over the last 3 months. These strokes caused some weakness and clumsiness of her right arm as well as a dull ache in the arm. She also noticed that the right side of her face would droop for several hours. She did have slightly high blood pressure but this was quite well controlled with an anti-hypertensive medication known as a beta blocker. She has consulted a specialist neurologist who had done an MRI scan of her brain. An MRI Scan is a wonderful test, as it can show great detail of your brain and the blood vessels inside your brain. An MRI Scan can show the size, shape and texture of your brain as well as detect strokes, tumours and shrinkage.
For this poor woman the results of her MRI Scan was not good news – it showed severe and widespread damage to the small blood vessels supplying her whole brain – this is known as ischaemia which means a reduction in blood supply. The neurologist told this patient that the problem may have been caused by her use of bio-identical hormones and to come and see me. He also told her that there was not much she could do and that these changes were present in most people over 50 years of age! Well I disagree on both counts – the tiny dose of hormones in her hormone cream that she had only been using for several months could not have caused any significant vascular damage and there was plenty that she could and must do to reverse most of this damage !! She was prescribed daily aspirin and the neurologist asked her to return to see him in 6 months but had not offered any specific advice to help her repair or halt the damage that was occurring in the small blood vessels supplying her brain. She was offered cholesterol lowering drugs but her cholesterol levels were normal and any way their use is controversial, as they can cause memory loss which she already had!
I tested her blood for homocysteine levels and they were too high. This was a good find, as it partly explained why there was so much inflammation in her blood vessel walls. It is the inflammation in the blood vessel walls that causes them to become damaged, hardened and blocked. I prescribed a formula to lower her homocysteine levels which contained zinc, activated B vitamins and folinic acid
I gave her the program below to improve the health of the blood vessels in her brain
Weight loss – she was significantly overweight with pre-diabetes – did you know that even slightly elevated blood sugar will damage your small blood vessels ? – She needed a low carbohydrate diet and an exercise program to lower her blood sugar and insulin levels even though they were not bad enough to qualify as diabetes.
Vitamin C – in a dose of 1000mg twice daily to reduce inflammation in her arteries and strengthen the arteries thus reducing risk of rupture of the arteries – check out the research done by Linus Pauling on vitamin C. Visit http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminC/
Thinner Blood – keeping the blood thinner makes it less sticky – supplements to keep her blood thinner include a good quality fish oil and garlic. If you improve your liver function and reverse fatty changes in the liver your blood will be thinner and lower in toxic chemicals that promote vascular inflammation. Another interesting supplement which is used in the USA to clean blood vessel walls and thin the blood is the silk worm enzyme called Serrapeptase
Magnesium – this mineral supports better control of blood pressure and acts as a vasodilator thus improving blood flow.
Improve Gut Health – I also recommended that she take organic apple cider vinegar in the middle of her meals as it helps to improve the gut flora and this reduces general inflammation. Probiotics and fermented foods can also help to reduce systemic inflammation.
Boost Folic Acid – It is imperative to boost levels of folic acid in the blood if you want to reverse vascular damage and brain damage caused by small blood vessel disease. The best way to do this is to make yourself raw juices high in folic acid and magnesium – I recommend kale, basil, parsley, cucumber, celery, carrot and ginger and a small amount of green apple. Drink around 300 mls daily. You can also take a supplement of folic acid but this will not contain all the other anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants found in these raw vegetables. Alternatively you can use a high powered blender to make a green smoothie with these things and include some avocado – the same benefit will be had from whole food smoothies.
Another option is to have intravenous chelation therapy from a doctor who specialises in this technique and good results are possible but you still need to follow a program to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels. Once again best results are achieved with a holistic approach.
For more information see my book titled Raw Juices Can Save Your Life
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