(NaturalNews) In the 1960s, the only known consequence of vitamin D deficiency in adults was osteomalacia, a form of bone softening. Abundant evidence now points to numerous cardioprotective functions of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to diminish heart muscle cells contractile function, contribute to endothelial dysfunction, distort heart muscle structure, and increase smooth muscle growth leading to atherosclerotic plaque formation.
Almost fifty years ago Dr. Harry McCully, Harvard graduate, researcher and professor, found that the amino acid homocysteine was elevated in people who had heart disease as a result of a deficiency in Vitamin B6. It took decades before his findings received wide attention and even now this key nutritional fact is widely ignored by mainstream medicine.
One doctor who did take note of McCully's information was MD John Ellis, who began incorporating it into his medical practice and research more than 40 years ago. Ellis, who went on to literally write the book on Vitamin B6 (Vitamin B6, The Doctor's Report), proved in clinical research that patients with heart problems on high dose Vitamin B6 had far fewer heart episodes and lived significantly longer.
Dr. Matthias Rath determined that, instead of high cholesterol, heart disease is essentially early sailor's scurvy caused by weakening of the arterial walls due to Vitamin C and other vitamin deficiencies. Rath points out that our huge blood vessel network fails in 90% of the cases at the coronary arteries. If high cholesterol were the problem, it should cause clogs everywhere and cause venosclerosis as well as arteriosclerosis.
The only explanation, says Rath, is that coronary artery plaques form in the presence of weakened and damaged arteries. Just as it does in sailor's scurvy, vitamin C induces the natural repair of arterial blood vessel walls – leading to a halt in progression and even to natural regression of vascular lesions.
Eighty years ago, Dr. Kenneth Turner of Harvard Medical School conducted a fascinating study in which he found that rabbits fed an extremely unhealthy diet had almost no atherosclerosis and very low cholesterol levels when given potassium iodine. Sadly, mainstream medicine has never followed up on his study.
Mainstream medical science maintains that obesity is the cause of heart disease, and practically anything else that ails you. However, what has mystified many researchers is how some overweight people stay metabolically fit and have no high blood pressure, high blood sugar or high cholesterol.
Researchers need look no further for the answer to that mystery than the Framington Heart studies which have been ongoing for over 50 years. Those studies have brought widespread understanding of how a traditional Mediterranean diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and olive oil are able to prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The kicker is that traditional peoples on such a diet are often quite overweight. The obvious reason for the difference is that if you are overweight because you like to eat healthy foods instead of foods in the unhealthy SAD diet it is less likely to result in disease because you are getting plenty of nutrients to support the extra weight. The key is nutrient density, or "you are what you eat".
In the next installment of this series we will look at why our foods have become less heart-healthy, the importance of getting nutrition from whole food sources, and the healthiest foods for helping prevent and reverse heart disease.