SpectraCell Blog

The Role of Micronutrients in Heart Disease

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 @ 01:56 PM

Is Your Heart at Risk?



There is compelling evidence that deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and its symptoms. Similarly, the use of many drugs in treating heart disease often lead to various nutrient deficiencies.

Micronutrients and High Blood Pressure:

High blood pressure can result in physical damage to thMicronutrients and High Blood Pressuree walls of our blood vessels. Although the causes of hypertension often overlap, micronutrient deficiencies can cause or worsen this condition. Several mineral deficiencies such as zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure.

Research also suggests that a high level of oxidative stress eventually takes its toll on our arteries, ultimately causing hypertension. Several studies of coenzyme Q10 lowered blood pressure significantly. The antioxidant vitamins C and E help blood vessels maintain their flexibility, allowing them to easily dilate and contract. The powerful antioxidant lipoic acid reduces blood pressure by inhibiting inflammatory responses in the blood vessels. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to hypertension because it contributes to endothelial dysfunction, a condition where the lining of blood vessels cannot relax properly and secrete substances that promote inflammation of the blood vessel lining.

Prevent Arterial "Scarring":

Vitamin B6, B12, folate, serine and choline are all necessary to properly metabolize homocysteine and reduce the risk of arterial scarring. In fact, B-vitamin therapy has been an effective treatment for reducing heart disease and blood pressure.

Keeping the Heart Muscle StrongKeeping the Heart Muscle Strong:

The heart’s requirement for energy compared to other muscle tissues is incredibly high. Carnitine is an amino acid that facilitates the transport of fatty acids into heart cell mitochondria, thus helping the heart meet its strong demand for chemical energy. It also helps muscles, including the heart, recover from damage, such as from a heart attack. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is another key component in energy metabolism by helping the heart increase its pumping strength. Deficiencies of vitamin B1 have been found in patients with congestive heart failure, as long-term use of diuretic drugs, which are often prescribed to those patients, deplete the body’s storage of thiamine. Coenzyme Q10 is also required by cardiac tissue in large amounts to properly function. Statin drugs deplete the body of CoQ10, so deficiencies of CoQ10 in statin-users are particularly common.

Heart Disease is an Inflammatory Process:

Scientists now emphasize that heart disease is actually an inflammatory condition within the blood vessels. Inflammation and oxidative stress work together damaging arteries and impairing cardiac function. Several antioxidant nutrients minimize this inflammatory process.

Glutathione is the most potent intracellular antioxidant and actually helps to regenerate other antioxidants in the body. Cysteine, glutathione, B2, selenium, Vitamin E and Vitamin C work together to reduce oxidative stress throughout the entire cardiovascular system.

How Well Do Your Arteries Fight Oxidative Stress?:

An optimal antioxidant status is particularly important in the Preventing Atherosclerosisprevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Since many antioxidants work together synergistically, measuring a single antioxidant may not provide an accurate picture of total antioxidant function. SpectraCell’s SPECTROX™ score will provide a complete and accurate picture of the overall antioxidant status of patients.

Preventing Atherosclerosis:

One of the major culprits in heart attacks and stroke is the buildup of plaque within the arteries throughout the body. Lipoproteins become dangerous when they are oxidized, making them “sticky” and causing blockage of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Micronutrient deficiencies accelerate atherosclerosis. One study showed that oleic acid (found primarily in olive oil) reduces oxidative damage to lipoproteins. It also facilitates absorption of vitamin A in the gut, which is important because vitamin A is linked to lower levels of arterial plaque, primarily due to its antioxidant effect in protecting lipids from oxidation.

Vitamin K supplementation to deficient people slowed the progression of plaque formation in major arteries. Vitamin B3 (niacin) lowers blood cholesterol (fats in the blood), inhibits the oxidation of LDL, and is currently the most effective drug available for raising the heart-protective, good HDL cholesterol. One study on chemicals made from vitamin B5 (pantothenic acids) showed a decrease in blood triglycerides and cholesterol, and evidence suggests that vitamin E can even retard existing atherosclerosis. Another study showed that inositol, a member of the B vitamin family, decreases dangerous small, dense lipoproteins that easily penetrate blood vessel walls and cause atherosclerosis.

Preventing StrokePreventing Stroke:

A recent study on more than 20,000 people concluded that adequate vitamin C levels reduced risk of stroke by over 40%. Similar studies on calcium, magnesium, folate and biotin all concluded that adequate levels of these nutrients contribute to a reduction in the incidence of stroke.

Share with us your experience with the role micronutrients have played in heart disease with your patient population! Do you have a particular success?

Topics: serine, micronutrients, micronutrient testing, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Copper, Antioxidants, Heart Disease, Vitamin K, Calcium, Triglycerides, biotin, inositol, Heart Attack, Glutathione, High Blood Pressure, Oxidative Stress, Spectrox, Stroke, Lipoprotein Particles, LDL and HDL

50 year old female with CHRONIC FATIGUE and nutritional deficiencies

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jul 02, 2010 @ 11:28 AM

Background:Chronic Fatigue

In 2005, this patient initially compained of fatigue, stating she would often feel tired upon rising and would have to push herself throughout the day and often take naps in the afternoon. She also complained of tinnitus, abdominal bloating and gas, mild constipation, yeast infections, weight gain, aching in her hips and fibrocystic breast disease. Her primary care physician had done minimal testing and attributed her symptoms to depression, recommending antidepressant medications which gave her no benefit. After undergoing standard labs and an ION panel, the patient noted that most of her symptoms still persisted.

The patient underwent SpectraCell's micronutrient testing to determine i fany improvements could be observed relative to the initial laboratory tests two years earlier. The results revealed considerable deficiencies in vitamin B12, pantothenate, vitamin D, CoQ10 and Spectrox. Borderline deficiencies were found in vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, folate, biotin, serine, choline, inositol, carnitine, chromium, zinc, copper, magnesium, glutathione, selenium and vitamin E. These findings were surprising given the consistency of oral supplementation over the previous two years. Many of the new deficiencies were not considered to be low on the ION panel in 2005. Based upon these deficiencies, and a concern that digestive tissues were part of the problem, she was administered the following IV infusions (once a week for 6-8 weeks):

  1. Vitamin C (25 grams)
  2. B-complex
  3. B12
  4. Pantothenate
  5. CoQ10
  6. Folic Acid
  7. Chromium
  8. Zinc
  9. Copper
  10. Selenium
  11. Magnesium
  12. Calcium
  13. Glutathione

During this time, oral supplementation was scaled back and directed only towards elimination of GI infection and gut repair.

What was his clinical outcome?

After 8 weeks of treatment, the patient reported dramatic improvement in energy, noting that she had not experienced anything like this prior to doing the IV replacement infusions. All digestive symptoms were resolved, her mood was better, she had less tinnitus, she had lost weight, body aches were diminished and her breasts were even better than before. Oral supplementation was modified to focus on those nutritional deficiencies identified in the test results.


At her last office visit in 2008, she reported to be in good health, feeling that many of her chronic problems from the past were no longer an issue. She reported good energy with minimal fatigue, except for mid afternoon, and no more problems with her breasts. The patient was on a simple maintenance regimen of nutritional supplements that included some of the deficient nutrients identified in 2007.

Topics: serine, folate, Carnitine, Choline, B Vitamins, deficiencies, chronic fatigue and nutrition, biotin, inositol