As our health system comes under scrutiny, I noted in the daily newspapers that the Ministry of Health is promoting good health by encouraging citizens to drink more water, eat fruits and vegetables and exercise. This is a commendable initiative that we should all actively support.
However, the ministry needs to go further by also promoting the intake of nutritional supplements, particularly among middle aged and older persons.
According to Robert Crayhon’s Nutrition Made Simple, ‘Older adults need optimal nutrition to help compensate for the decreased function of their bodies and their increased susceptibility to disease.
‘As we age, our bodies no longer digest, assimilate and metabolise food as well as they used to. They need a greatly increased intake of virtually all essential nutrients.’
A deficiency of any of these essential nutrients, especially vitamin C, may result in afflictions that impair our quality of life.
For example, heart attack is one of the leading causes of death in Trinidad and Tobago.
The National Health Service in the UK states ‘a heart attack is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot’.
These blood clots are generally caused by the rupture of cholesterol deposits (plaque) in the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart. When this occurs, the lack of blood to the heart may cause serious heart muscle damage and possibly death.
What is the cause of blood vessel rupture that results in bleeding and blood clots leading to heart attacks?
Cardiologist Dr Thomas E Levy in his book Primal Panacea asserts, ‘The solitary root cause of all coronary arterial blockages is a vitamin C deficiency in the coronary arteries!’
Briefly, the major blood vessels in the body are under great mechanical stress as blood is pumped on a continuous basis.
As a result, degradation of the blood vessels occurs on an ongoing basis. Repair of damage requires adequate levels of vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen in the area of the damage.
Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, provides structural integrity to the arterial walls. If there is insufficient vitamin C to effect repair, there is accumulation of plaque which can later rupture under the stress of the moving blood. This causes bleeding and clot formation leading to heart attacks.
This major problem can be resolved by simply increasing the intake of vitamin C through supplementation.
This straightforward solution has been known for more than 50 years!
Consistent with this, an amazing but little-known fact is that most animals manufacture their own vitamin C; humans do not. As a result, Dr Matthias Rath writes that animals generally don’t get heart attacks since they always have adequate levels of vitamin C. Read his very interesting book Why People Get Heart Attacks But Animals Don’t.
Thus, extensive scientific research over many years has revealed that the main cause of heart attacks is a chronic vitamin C deficiency such that blood vessel repair does not occur with consequent bleeding, clot formation and blockage.
I therefore urge the Ministry of Health to independently confirm this information and thereafter promote vitamin C supplementation in the population.
A modest intake of 1,000mg to 3,000mg each day will significantly lower the risk of heart attacks (and strokes) and markedly improve the overall health of our citizens. Professor Emeritus Stephan Gift Former pro-vice chancellor, Graduate Studies and Research, The UWI