Vitamin C good for healthy heart and eyes
Why would I travel to snowy England in January? I had the chance to spend a week studying with Dr. Sydney Bush, a distinguished English professor of optometry. This week, why I believe his research on the cause of coronary artery disease deserves a Nobel Prize, and how you can benefit from his research.
What causes coronary attack? Authorities say it's due to increased blood cholesterol. But I've always questioned this theorysinceinterviewing Dr. Linus Pauling (the only person to receive two Nobel Prizes).
Years ago Pauling told me animals manufacture vitamin C, but humans do not. For instance, goats produce 13,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily! Humans lost this ability during the course of evolution. That's why cats survived voyages to the New World while sailors died of scurvy.
Why is vitamin C so important in preventing heart attack? Brick walls are held together by mortar and we all know what happens if mortar crumbles. Cells are glued together by collagen and vitamin C is necessary to manufacture it and maintain its strength. Pauling believed that an insufficient amount of vitamin C weakens coronary vessels, causing tiny cracks. Blood clots develop, and the result is lethal.
Years later, Dr. William Stehbens, professor of pathology at Wellington University, New Zealand, reported that mechanical stress from each heart beat causes coronary attack. This added further evidence to Pauling's theory that increased pressure along with poor coronary glue triggers heart attack.
Now Bush has made another historic discovery. He prescribed high doses of vitamin C to patients suffering from eye infections and allergies. Luckily, he also took photos of the retina (the back part of the eye) before C was given and then one year later. The retina is the only part of the body where doctors can see arteries and veins.
To his surprise, he discovered that large doses of vitamin C caused cholesterol deposits to decrease in size, arteries became larger and there was increased blood flow to the retina. What happens to arteries in the retina must also happen to arteries in the heart.
In effect, Bush's research shows atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) can be reversed. And that the heart is not healthy until the eyes say so. This finding could save millions from premature coronary death and it should have made headlines around the world.
Pauling also advised the use of lysine along with vitamin C. Lysine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. Lysine has the ability to inactivate bad cholesterol decreasing the risk of heart attack.
Since returning to Canada I'm convinced that ideally everyone, particularly those at greater risk of heart attack, should have a retinal photo taken. If life-threatening changes are visible this is a great motivator to change lifestyle habits and start treatment with vitamin C and Lysine.
I'm acutely aware that this approach to preventing coronary attack will be criticized by main stream medical thinking. But I hope that some physicians, particularly cardiologists, will also have an open mind on this matter.
Retinal photos take just a few minutes and in most cases do not require drops in the eye.
Dr. Dennis Ruskin, a respected Toronto optometrist, is willing to take retinal photos and e-mail them to Bush in England. Bush will then use his years of experience to determine if treatment is required to help circumvent the risk of coronary attack and other cardiovascular problems.
For now this program is available only to those living in the Toronto area, but hopefully it will expand to other areas as participating optometrists are located in other cities. At the moment this test is not covered by any medical insurance.
This column and program are not meant to displace the advice of your own eye doctor or physician. So in health matters always discuss this information with your doctor.
But if, after consultation, you wish to consider this test in Toronto (or in future other locations) you can get more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-917-4396
Dr. Gifford-Jones' common sense-based medical column, offered with the occasional dash of humour, has been published in Canadian newspapers for 30 years.