by Craig Weatherby
While most heart specialists focus solely on drugs and surgery, pioneering cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, M.D. has long known that there’s much more to heart health than plumbing.
He's made it his life work to investigate the crucial roles that behavior, emotion, and nutrition play in heart disease, in order to help people prevent and reverse heart disease via conventional and complementary therapies.
Dr. Sinatra has authored several pioneering works on the multiple causes and cures for heart disease, including The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology.
Today, we’ll take a look at the updated, 2008 edition of The Sinatra Solution, published earlier this month, which includes the latest findings on key cardiac supplements and offers illuminating case studies.
First published in 2005, The Sinatra Solution educated patients—and many doctors—about the metabolic processes critical to heart health, and four dietary supplements that can boost energy levels in heart-muscle cells.
The Sinatra Solution highlights the often-overlooked metabolic aspects of heart disease.
|About Dr. Sinatra|
Dr. Sinatra is the board-certified cardiac surgeon and internist who gained fame in 1998 for his first bestseller, Optimum Health: A Natural Lifesaving Prescription for your Body and Mind.
Last year, we reviewed Reverse Heart Disease Now, in which he explored the lifestyle factors that affect cardiovascular disease (See our review here).
He’s since written several landmark books on cardiovascular health and has appeared often on national radio and TV, including CNN, XM Radio, and PBS.
Simply put, the heart needs a great deal of energy, but its cells’ capacity to generate it declines as a result of heart disease. This situation creates a downward spiral that drugs can’t reverse and artery-clearing surgery doesn't always alleviate.
Heart patients’ energy shortage
To get sufficient energy, the heart’s muscle cells require two things that patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) or congestive heart failure (CHF) often lack:
- An abundant supply of oxygen-rich blood.
- Ample supplies of certain nutrients and metabolic chemicals.
The Sinatra Solution focuses on four unsung heroes of cardiac health: coenzyme Q10 (coQ10), L-carnitine, magnesium, and D-ribose.
The synergistic combination of these energy-supplying nutrients maximizes the amount of oxygen that the heart and skeletal muscle can extract from the blood and optimize the rate at which cells convert food to the vital energy-storage chemical known as ATP, without which cells cannot function.
In The Sinatra Solution, Dr. Sinatra explains the importance of cellular energy metabolism on cardiovascular health, and the positive impact these four energy-supplying nutrients have on the cardiovascular system.
|Taking statins? Sick at heart? Consider coQ10|
Countless studies have documented the benefits of coQ10 in cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure.
Sadly, all too few cardiologists recommend coQ10 supplements, even though the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs they routinely prescribe reduce tissue levels of coQ10.
Many heart patients suffer inadequate coQ10 levels and internal production of coQ10 requires optimal nutrition, making this common medical failure close to malpractice.
Unknown until the early 1970’s, coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like compound essential to the energy-producing metabolic pathways of every cell. (Coenzymes are small non-protein molecules that carry chemical groups between the complex proteins known as enzymes, which do much of the body’s cell-level work.)
British scientist Peter Mitchell won the 1978 Nobel Prize for elucidating coQ10’s role in the energy transfer processes within the mitochondria of human cells.
CoQ10 also acts as an essential, fat-soluble antioxidant that protects the fatty acids in cell membranes from free radicals.
While coQ10 occurs in leafy greens, nuts, fish and meats, it is hard to absorb from foods and most of the body’s coQ10 is created within cells via a complex process that requires adequate supplies of specific amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
As Dr. Sinatra, explains, CoQ10 comes in supplemental forms that are much easier for the body to absorb, compared to food sources.
He guides us through the basics of energy metabolism, and clearly describes how coQ10, magnesium, L-carnitine, and D-ribose affect heart health.
These excerpts will give you a sense of why he is so passionate about the need to ensure adequate intake of all four heart-health factors:
“It’s all about ATP. Hearts, skeletal muscles, and every other tissue in our bodies have absolute need for adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, as their primary energy currency.”
- “Coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine are major players in the energy recycling metabolic pathways. Both are known to be deficient in sick hearts and muscles.”
- “D-ribose is the only compound used by the body to replenish depleted energy stores. Hearts and muscles do not have the metabolic machinery they need to make ribose quickly when tissues are affected by metabolic stress.”
- “Magnesium is a vital mineral used by the enzymes that make energy synthesis and recycling possible. Without this important nutrient, the cells’ energy metabolism would grind to a halt.”
Anti-aging and athletic benefits
While the main focus of The Sinatra Solution is on improving heart health, the updated edition of this groundbreaking book also touches upon the positive effect this supplemental quartet exerts on other diseases and disorders.
In fact, supplemental use of these nutrients isn’t limited to healing sick hearts or helping preventing heart disease. Their energy-enhancing abilities work throughout the body, essentially charging up every body cell to function at optimal capacity.
The last chapter of The Sinatra Solution provides detailed advice on the supplements and doses appropriate for slowing aging, enhancing athletic performance, and alleviating each of several specific heart or energy disorders, including angina, heart failure, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, and diabetes.
Last week Japanese researchers reported their clinical finding that coQ10 supplements may reduce the occurrence of muscular injuries in athletes.
They found that, compared to placebo, levels of markers associated with increased wear and tear in the muscle—like creatine kinase and lipid peroxide—were significantly lower in elite Japanese kendo athletes after consuming coQ10 for 20 days (Kon M et al. 2008).
Unsurprisingly, given his deep understanding of human nutrition, the sad state of American diets, and the broad benefits of omega-3s, every one of these supplement prescriptions includes a multivitamin and one gram (1,000 mg) of fish oil.
The updated edition of The Sinatra Solution is a must-have for anyone concerned about heart disease, anti-aging, or attaining optimal energy levels… in other words, everybody!
- Kon M, Tanabe K, Akimoto T et al. Reducing exercise-induced muscular injury in kendo athletes with supplementation of coenzyme Q10. Br J Nutr. 20 Feb 2008. doi:10.1017/S0007114508926544