Interview of Dr Rath, M.D. by Family Health News

Family Health News: Dr. Rath, your book is entitled "Eradicating Heart Disease." Do you really believe that this deadly disease can be eradicated?

Dr. Rath: Absolutely. There is an interesting phenomenon that startles most people when they hear about it: heart attack, stroke - cardiovascular disease in general -is virtually unknown among animals. It isn't impossible for it to happen, but it simply doesn't occur, regardless of the animal's diet, level of activity or other factors. And yet coronary and cardiovascular diseases are

epidemics worldwide among people. They are the number one killers in all industrialized countries, accounting for about half of all deaths.

For years, scientists have puzzled over this phenomenon, and now at last research is shedding some light on it. With the exception of man and a few other species, animals synthesize the vitamin C they need in their bodies. We do not produce vitamin C, and must attain the levels we need from food and supplementation. If you don't get enough vitamin C, your body cannot produce adequate collagen and collagen is the substance which gives your cardiovascular system its structural integrity. Low vitamin C intake over many years leads to chronic instability of the vessel walls.

Deposits develop over time as a reaction to this instability. Once you understand heart disease as a vitamin deficiency, treatment is easy, non-intrusive and risk free.

But if it were as simple as a vitamin deficiency, wouldn't we know that by now? With the millions of dollars that have been spent on research in th is field, how can this just now be coming to light?

Dr. Rath: Well, I guess sometimes the simplest ideas can be the hardest to see. But there is also an economic factor involved. Vitamins are not patentable. Therefore, there has been little incentive for vital research and clinical studies.

Also, linking disease and nutrition challenges the way many doctors think. This is changing, and more and more doctors every year are considering nutritive factors. But this kind of vast orientation change takes time.

When you mention "vitamin deficiency," most people probably think of scurvy, the disease sailors got a hundred years or so ago when they failed to get any vitamin C in their diets. Is the vitamin deficiency that leads to heart disease the same kind ofthing?

Dr. Rath: As a matter of fact, it is the same thing. Heart disease is a form of early, or chronic, scurvy. When a person develops scurvy, their body is totally depleted of vitamin C and all bodily tissue degrades quickly. The first symptom you see is bleeding gums. And what is this bleeding? It is leaking of the blood vessel walls. As the scurvy progresses, the blood vessel walls----- not just the gums, but throughout the body-------- break down and are no longer able to contain blood as it is pumped through them by the heart. Eventually the blood escapes from the blood vessels, and death results.

The reason that a lack of vitamin C causes scurvy is the same as the reason that a shortage of vitamin C causes heart disease. Among the most important functions of vitamin C in the body is the production of collagen. Collagen molecules form the structure of the entire cardiovascular system. They function like the steel girders in a skyscraper - they form a supporting grid that assures the strength and stability of the veins, arteries and other blood vessels. With no vitamin C, collagen production ceases and in a relatively short time the entire system loses its structural integrity. This is scurvy.

Today most people get enough vitamin C to avoid getting scurvy. However, enough to prevent scurvy isn't necessarily enough to keep your cardiovascular system healthy. If your diet includes only minimal amounts of vitamin C, collagen production is reduced and blood vessels weaken. Tiny lesions develop in the vessel walls, and the blood vessels lose elasticity.

In order to combat this, the body sends clusters of fat molecules into the blood vessel walls, acting as repair agents to do the work that collagen should be doing. But like a plaster patch on a wall, the result is a repair that is not as strong or stable as the original structure. Over time, the body overshoots the repair mechanism. Arterial deposits are nothing other than nature's "plaster cast" against the weakness of the blood vessel walls. If these deposits

develop in the arteries of the heart they lead to the heart attack. If they develop in the arteries of the brain they lead to stroke.

Are there other factors involved besides vitamin C?

Dr. Rath: Yes. Animals that do not produce vitamin C in their bodies, such as humans, do produce a specific type of fat molecule called lipoprotein (a). This molecule is naturally very sticky. The reason why cholesterol particles and other fatty particles deposit in the blood vessel wall is because some of them are coated with these sticky lipoprotein molecules, which form a biological "adhesive tape" around the fatty particle. So it is actually the stickiness of the lipoprotein particle which makes the fat globules accumulate inside the blood vessel wall, which leads to the buildup of deposits and eventually to the clogging of these arteries. In summary, the new understanding is that less stickiness means less risk for heart disease.

Of course, now that the stickiness has become the focus of therapeutic attention, it is logical to say, well, let's look for "Teflon" agents which can prevent and neutralize this stickiness, and thereby prevent the spread and buildup of new deposits, and more importantly reverse already existing deposits by loosening the fatty particles, the LDL and the other cholesterol particles, from the arterial wall and thereby decrease the clogging.

And are there actually "Teflon" agents that can do that?

Dr. Rath: Yes, there are. Part of the work I've been doing, and the patents I've received, involve using the natural amino acids lysine and proline for just this purpose. These two nutritional supplements are the first generation of "Teflon" agents that we know, and of course since they are natural supplements, eventually everyone can take immediate advantage of these new discoveries.

So there are two factors which make humans more prone to heart disease than animals?

Dr. Rath: Yes. First, animals produce a lot of their own vitamin C, which humans do not do. Our ancestors have lost this ability to produce their own vitamin C. All the vitamin C for our bodies must come from our diet.

The second factor is, animals do not have these sticky particles, they just have normal fat particles. This stickiness is the second reason why human beings are much more prone to this disease than any other living beings on this planet.

You hold a patent in this area. Can you explain that, and the studies that led to the patent?

Dr. Rath: Certainly. The scientific search - the drive - that I was involved in over the past eight years, started by looking inside the human arteries. What is it exactly that leads to the buildups of deposits, and kills millions of people every year from heart attacks and strokes?

The key we found was really the adhesive tape - the lipoprotein particle. No adhesive tape - no stickiness - no fatty deposit, period! So, the patent that we received comes directly from this discovery,

and that it is the possibility to use the amino acids, lysine and proline, as agents to reverse these deposits, to get the fatty deposits out of the wall and thereby decrease the risk of heart disease. This is the core of the patent. Of course, in order to get the patents, you have to have a certain amount of experimental evidence, and first clinical evidence.

So, we already have a series of testimonials from people following this program, who have been taking higher amounts of vitamin C, lysine, proline and other important nutrients. A person who has angina pectoris experiences chest pain, which results from the narrowing of the coronary arteries. People following this program report to us regularly that within four to six weeks they almost entirely get rid of this chest pain.

The blood circulation through their coronary arteries has obviously improved, and therefore the chest pain, which is a sign of the suffocating heart muscle, does not occur anymore. Studies which will document the reversal of deposits in the coronary arteries of heart disease patients are in and the results are remarkable.

Beyond vitamin C, lysine and proline, are there other nutrients that you recommend supplementing?

Dr. Rath: Yes. What you have to keep in mind is that your cardiovascular system is your largest organ. One person's cardiovascular system has the surface area of about half a football field! This'system is made of millions of individual cells, and keeping those cells healthy is of paramount importance. So it is essential to follow a well-thought-out nutritional supplementation plan.

One important and powerful antioxidant I have researched is pycnogenol. I recommend this very highly. Pycnogenol is a little known extract of a European pine bark that is tremendously effective in fighting free radical damage. It is absorbed very quickly by the body, and helps potentiate vitamin C and other antioxidant activity. Pycnogenol is a fairly expensive nutrient, and rather hard to find, but it is very worthwhile to seek it out.

I also recommend including other antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, along with vitamin C, for their protective ability. Moreover, many of the B vitamins are important as cell fuel, as are several key minerals and CoEnzyme QIO.



Are there any dangers in using these supplements in the amounts you recommend?

Dr. Rath: The answer is no. Clearly no.

So there is no downside and quite a bit of potential for preventing or even reversing heart disease.

Dr. Rath: Yes. I think the dimension of these discoveries has not yet been understood. What we're talking about is that today medicine has only surgical treatments for heart disease. We are now entering an era where we can reverse heart disease without surgery, based on nutritional supplements. These new safe, effective treatments represent a complete change in our approach to these health problems.

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