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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Chong, ND

The Cause of Heart Attacks- Part 2

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

In part 1 of this article, I questioned whether or not the ongoing travesty that is heart attack morbidity and mortality in our world today is at least in part due to the fact that the conventional treatment approach is not fully addressing the true cause of this condition. I also brought up some questions about cardiovascular disease that are unanswerable using the theory that elevated LDL particles are in and of themselves the sole or primary cause of this condition. Finally, I discussed a way of viewing the cause of this condition that would allow for answers to these questions and thus provide a more thorough way of addressing it. Here was my last sentence:

If then, we are to be as thorough as possible in our efforts to prevent heart attacks, we should not stop at lowering cholesterol. In fact, that should be a secondary focus, with the primary focus instead being the conditions which allow for it to become a problem.

Here’s how…..

One of my mentors, Dr. Mark Houston of the Hypertension Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, always stresses the ideas of “infinite insults” when discussing the true causality behind cardiovascular disease, and thus how to more thoroughly go about preventing and treating it.

I think of this idea often when working with people in my practice, and trying to focus (as noted above) on the conditions which allow for it.

“Infinite insults” is a term Dr. Houston uses to describe in general all the various things that can harm the health and function of your endothelium, or the inside lining of your blood vessels. Your endothelium is where the rubber meets the road in terms of potential for plaque to form in your arteries or not. A healthy, resilient, and robustly functioning endothelium makes you all but impervious to this process developing, whereas endothelial DYSfunction is the prerequisite and breeding ground for it.

Certainly, excessive levels of cholesterol carrying molecules like the infamous LDL or ‘bad

cholesterol’ can fit into the category of infinite insults, but so can elevated levels of:

  • Oxidative stress

  • Inflammation

  • Blood sugar

  • Homocysteine

  • Iron

  • Insulin

  • More obscure factors such as Lp(a), TMAO, endotoxins, heavy metals, various types of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms

  • Many more (hence the term “infinite”)

An additional factor to consider, is the concept of “susceptibility”, as it pertains to the vascular endothelium itself. In other words, if we are evaluating for the potential for damage to occur to a structure (the endothelium in this case) the most thorough evaluation would not only include assessment of the harmful factors noted above, but also the structure itself, and how susceptible, or vulnerable it is to damage.

In this case then, what would increase the endothelium’s susceptibility to damage?

Far and away, the factor which has the most impact on this area is nutrition. In other words, superior nutritional status, which assesses and accounts for both genetic factors such as Lp(a), MTHFR, and others, as well as specific nutrients crucial to optimal production and function of blood vessels will provide the most bang for the susceptibility buck. These nutrients include:

  • Amino acids like Arginine, Lysine, and Proline

  • Macrominerals like Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium

  • Vitamins A, B Complex, C, and E