Use L-Arginine with Caution
L-arginine is an amino acid that is the precursor of nitric oxide (NO), which plays a role in relaxing blood vessels and helps keep the lining of blood vessels healthy. There have been small studies with CHF and angina patients showing that L-arginine increased exercise tolerance and improved quality of life. However, a small government-sponsored study (National Institutes of Health) that compared L-arginine supplementation with a placebo in patients who recently had a heart attack found that more of those taking L-arginine died during the study. The numbers were very small but still statistically significant. L-arginine is, in general, a very safe supplement, but taking high doses of any one amino acid can have effects on many other systems of the body. Until more research has been done with high-dose amino acids, it would be wise to use them only under the care of an experienced health care professional.
Ban Pesticides from Your Life
Chronic exposure to pesticides is a known heart disease risk, but it is one that most people never think of when they have their lawn doused with chemicals, spray their garden, go after bugs in the house with a can of spray, or have their house fumigated. If you’re pouring poisons down gopher or mole holes, or dousing your aphids with pesticides and your dog with flea dip, you’re exposing yourself and your heart, not to mention your dog, to unacceptable levels of poisons.
These poisons may not kill you on the spot, but they will create free radical damage in your tissues and accumulate in the body. A study done of agricultural workers in the Ukraine showed that those frequently exposed to pesticides had a higher rate of heart disease as well as a higher rate of miscarriages and birth defects. There is also evidence that fetal exposure to pesticides can cause congenital heart disease.
Pesticides aren’t the only toxins that can cause heart disease. Other toxins found in the workplace and in the garage include solvents, glues, and other binding materials, dyes, lacquers, paints, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), metals, and vinylchloride. In many cases, workers only need to be exposed to fumes or dust from these materials to increase their risk of heart disease. For women, nail polish and nail polish remover are common and little-recognized sources of potentially damaging toxins.
Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins
Here are some tips for reducing your exposure to pesticides and other environmental toxins:
• Control fleas on your pets and in your home with substances such as boric acid compounds (now found in most pet stores, or contact Fleabusters) and aromatic oils such as pennyroyal, rather than flea powders. (Women who are pregnant should not have direct contact with pennyroyal oil.)
• If you’re a gardener, do it the organic way. There are plenty of books and magazines on the subject, and local classes are easy to find. You can create a beautiful lawn and garden without chemicals, and in the long run you’ll have far fewer pest problems.
• Don’t drink tap water if you have a city or county water supply. Get a good water filter, at least for the tap, that will remove heavy metals and pesticides.
• If you are exposed to pesticides, take a cool shower and drink plenty of clean water to help flush out the poisons.
• Wash, peel, or even scrub fruits and vegetables well, and eat organic produce whenever possible.
• If you think something at work is making you sick, pursue it. It could be mold or fungus in the heating or cooling system, fumes from wall paneling or carpets, or a coworker’s liberally applied cologne or perfume. Virtually all perfumes and scented products, which we refer to as “fake-grances,” are made from a nasty brew of chemicals, many of them toxic.
• Stop using fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides. Get out of the habit of blasting indoor and outdoor pests with a can of spray. Learn how to control pests naturally.
• Don’t move in next door to an agricultural field or orchard unless you know it’s organic and likely to stay that way.
Don’t take it for granted that just because you buy a pesticide, herbicide, fungicide, cleaning solvent, paint, or other chemical from the hardware store it’s safe. The industries that use these substances are largely unregulated. Thousands of these products on the shelves have never been tested for safety. In fact, you should assume they are harmful unless you find out otherwise, and avoid contact with skin and avoid breathing the fumes. Even such simple household chemicals as ammonia and chlorine can be harmful.
Prescription Alternatives: Hundreds of Free, Natural, Prescription-Free Remedies to Restore & Maintain Your Health, by Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph, Ph. D, & Virginia Hopkins, M.A. Published by McGraw-Hill.