COVID and Coronary Issues, a Glance at the Big Picture

Photo: Our grateful thanks to Anthony Tran on Unsplash.

by Connie Hernandez, ND

Over the last two years our patients have become increasingly worried about cardiovascular issues, since both COVID and the COVID “jabs” have been implicated in certain cardiovascular concerns.

The COVID-related issues range from heart arrhythmias to acute coronary syndrome, to inflammation of both the heart muscle and the heart’s outer layer.

It’s well known that pre-existing conditions can predispose us to COVID complications.  Thus, a good first step toward averting cardiovascular issues would be to assess those pre-existing conditions.

Hypertension is one of the first we would look for – it may even be escalating, as people find their “blood boiling” in the face of today’s divisive politics and the life restrictions imposed by COVID.

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

While conventional medications or strong botanical hypertensives may be necessary, there are other helpful approaches for normalizing blood pressure. For example:

Mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques can help regularize heart rhythms and stabilize imbalances in the autonomic nervous system that elevate blood pressure.

We often recommend the very easy practice of simply observing (without controlling) 10 conscious breaths – breathing in through the nose, and allowing the breath to release through the mouth.

Patients can evaluate this simple meditation practice by wearing a blood pressure cuff while breathing consciously, taking their pressure at the start, then deflating the cuff and leaving it on the arm, then doing the breathing exercise and taking the pressure again. Remarkably – at least, for those not familiar with the power of meditation – both systolic and diastolic blood pressure may fall 10-20 points.

Foods and supplements that boost nitric oxide can help blood vessels relax and expand, increasing the blood flow and  lowering blood pressure.

Nitrates gained an undeserved bad rap in the 1950s and ’60s, when it was thought that they could cause cancer. (It’s why bacon, ham, and hot dogs are touted as nitrate-free.)

In the 1980s and ’90s, however, it was found that nitrate and nitrite actually play an important role in nitric oxide metabolism, which is critical to cardiovascular health. (The scientists who elucidated this fact received a Nobel Prize for their research in 1998.)

  • The most effective nitric oxide-supporting supplements utilize beetroot, pycnogenol, quercitin, l‑arginine and l‑citrilline.
  • Magnesium (particular magnesium taurate)  is useful not only for blood pressure control, but for addressing minor arrhythmias.
  • Coenzyme Q10 helps reduce hypertension and also helps prevent cardiomyopathies. Low Coenzyme Q10 levels are an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. (By the way, CoQ10 is depleted by statin medications.)
Photo: We extend our heartfelt appreciation to photographer Mert Kahveci on Unsplash!

Just as many researchers now believe that inflammation is a more serious concern than high cholesterol in coronary vascular disease, inflammation also promotes hypertension.

A known hypertension precursor is damage to the arteries of the endothelium.   The term for this damage is “endothelial glycocalyx dysfunction.”

We’ve had recent success treating hypertension with a product called Arterosil HP that reduces inflammation, addresses oxidative stress, repairs the glycocalyx, and stabilizes and reduces arterial plaque.

There are a number of basic blood tests that can help us assess a predisposition to cardiovascular disease.

  • Cardio-specific c-reactive protein and homocysteine tests help us assess inflammation.
  • Serum Coenzyme Q10 and red blood cell magnesium levels help us assess the status of those nutrients. (The specialized intracellular nutrient test can give us a look at these and a number of other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
  • Oxidized LDL evaluates oxidative damage.
  • Fibrinogen levels help us identify a predisposition for stroke or deep vein thrombosis.
  • D dimer assesses micro clotting.
  • Lipoprotein particle profiles evaluate the size of HDL and LDL particles, indicating whether high cholesterol is actually an issue for you.

When blood pressure fails to come under control, we can order specialized blood tests, as well as cardiovascular evaluation by a cardiologist. These steps can help us determine the cause of the elevation and the most accurately targeted treatment protocols, particularly when pharmaceutical drugs are indicated.

For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660, use the convenient Contact Form to get in touch, or follow the link to: Consultations – Pacific Naturopathic. Thank you!