Heart Health Special Report from Dr Ross WalkerWe bring you this important special report from highly respected Sydney-based cardiologist Dr Ross Walker
What is Atherosclerosis?Atherosclerosis is defined as the deposition of fatty substances, inflammatory cells and mediators in the sub-endothelial layer of blood vessels, eventually leading to thickening and hardening of medium to large sized arteries. Atherosclerosis has a very long pre-symptomatic phase, often lasting decades. Common clinical manifestation of Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease (AVD), such as acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina, stroke or sudden cardiac death, usually occur following the rupture of a large plaque in the blood vessel wall. It is very unusual for these events to occur as part of a slow, progressive obstruction in an artery (a common misconception).
Management of Cardiovascular DiseaseThe conventional management of cardiovascular disease is the combination of lifestyle modification, along with orthodox pharmaceutical therapy, typically statins, blood thinning and other drugs. There is also no real argument that the best management of cardiovascular disease is prevention. Most conventional doctors, however, would dispute the benefits of supplementation. I would like to present an alternative view on what I believe to be the best, evidence-based natural substance available for adjunctive cardiovascular therapy.
BergaMetBergaMet, the commercially available natural supplement sourced from the juice of Bergamot oranges grown on the Southern Ionic strip of Calabria, (Italy), has now been in clinical use for the past four years. I personally have had experience with well over 4,000 patients and have been involved in a number of publications with my colleague Professor Mollace, who has headed the seminal research on what I believe to be the most powerful natural product I have had the opportunity to use in my thirty years of practising cardiology.
The Cholesterol DebateThe recent vigorous debate, about the place of cholesterol, saturated fat and statins in the causation and management of cardiovascular disease, has raised some interesting questions as to the most effective forms of therapy. Firstly, my position regarding statin therapy is that this group of drugs does have an established place in the management of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease with a very strong evidence base. Statins, however, should not be used in people at low risk for vascular disease purely because they have elevated total cholesterol. In my practice, I utilise a risk management strategy to determine whether pharmaceutical therapy is necessary, over and above lifestyle management and the appropriate use of supplements such as BergaMet. In my experience, a significant number of patients experience significant side effects from statin therapy especially when used in the long term and anywhere between 5-10% of patients in the real world (not in the very carefully selected randomised control of clinical trials) are completely statin intolerant. It is my opinion that BergaMet represents a viable adjunct to enhancing statin effect and, at times, is an alternative for statin intolerant patients. Professor Mollace and I have a published paper clearly showing an enhanced benefit on the lipid profile when adding BergaMet to a lower dose of statin compared with double the dose of statin alone. (1)
Good and Bad CholesterolAnother major misconception amongst the general public, and many members of the medical profession, is that LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol and HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol. It is, in fact, specific sub fractions of both LDL and HDL that have detrimental effects
- Small dense LDL cholesterol is in fact the pro-atherogenic component
- Small HDL is the pro-inflammatory component
Metabolic SyndromeRelated to this important LDL and HDL sub fraction effect, is the overall benefit on the very common Metabolic Syndrome, which has now been shown to effect over 70 million US citizens, 6 million Australians and 15 million citizens living in the UK. Metabolic Syndrome is characterised by a tendency to:
- Type II diabetes,
- Dyslipidaemia, which is characterised by elevated total cholesterol and triglyceride and low HDL
- along with the increasingly common issue of Abdominal Obesity.
Dr Ross Walker’s conclusionIt is therefore my medical opinion that BergaMet Mega should be used in:
- All patients over the age of fifty to maintain normal arterial function and flexibility.
- In all patients with Metabolic Syndrome.
- All patients on statin therapy, to be able to achieve the same lipid values but run the statins at a lower dose.
- All patients who are statin intolerant, as an alternative to maintaining healthy LDL and HDL sub fractions.
- All patients at low risk for vascular disease who have lipid abnormalities.
- May assist in the maintenance of normal/healthy cholesterol levels in healthy individuals
- May assist in the maintenance of a normal/healthy LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio
- A rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids
About Dr Ross WalkerDr Walker has a medical practice on Sydney's upper north shore. He provides a service in all aspects of echocardiography, focusing on stress echocardiography, which is a well accepted, accurate method for assessing heart disease, not involving irradiation or injections. There are presently no other stress echo services on the upper North Shore. Dr Walker commenced stress echocardiography in 1992 and has since performed 15,000 studies, over 30,000 trans thoracic echoes and 2,000 trans oesophageal echoes. Stress echocardiography provides much more information to the practitioner than stress testing alone. His other area of expertise is in the field of preventative cardiology and he has also commenced a related service in arterial screening, which is an indirect measure of endothelial function and arterial stiffness, and does not involve irradiation or injections. Dr Walker has published six books on preventative cardiology and lectures both nationally and internationally on this subject. He can be contacted through his website http://drrosswalker.com/
- Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDL-cholesterol, LOX-1 expression and protein kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia Micaela Gliozzi, RossWalker, Saverio Muscoli, Cristiana Vitale, Santo Gratteri, Cristina Carresi, Vincenzo Musolino, Vanessa Russo, Elzbieta Janda, Salvatore Ragusa, Antonio Aloe, Ernesto Palma, Carolina Muscoli, Franco Romeo, Vincenzo Mollace :International Journal of Cardiology 170 (2013) 140-145
- The effect of bergamot-derived polyphenolic fraction on LDL small dense particles and non alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients with metabolic syndrome Micaela Gliozzi1*, Cristina Carresi1, Vincenzo Musolino1, Francesca Oppedisano1, Cristiana Vitale2, Giuseppe Rosano2, Giuseppe Muscianisi1, Francesco Romeo3, Rocco Mollace1, Ross Walker4, James Ehrlich5, Vincenzo Mollace1 Advances in Biological Chemistry, 2013, doi:10.4236/abc.2013.34041 Published Online 2013
- Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of bergamot polyphenols: From animal models to human studies Vincenzo Mollace, Iolanda Sacco, Elzbieta Janda , Claudio Malara , Domenica Ventrice , Carmen Colica , Valeria Visalli , Saverio Muscoli , Salvatore Ragusa , Carolina Muscoli, Domenica Antonio Rotiroti , Franco Romeo Fitoterapia 82 (2011) 309-316
- Ch 84: Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease Volume 2 Edited by Ronald Ross Watson, Victor R. Preedy, Sherma Zibadi. Academic Press