Evidence of Oxygen Model of Heart Disease

“We all know that oxygen is crucial for survival, but it is intriguing to know that the same oxygen can be used like a drug to treat disease”
Periannan Kuppusamy, PhD, professor of radiology at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

A core tenet of my Oxygen Model of Heart Disease is that heart attacks are, first and foremost, problems of the circulating blood, not of coronary artery walls. This model also predicts that heart health program directed at coronary arteries will have limited, if any, benefits if they do not effectively address the matters of the health of the circulating blood.

Specifically, in the context of coronary artery plaques being the primary cause of coronary heart attacks, the model predicts that drugs that inhibit inflammation in the coronary plaques will not prevent heart attacks. A clear statement that this prediction proved right was published by New England Journal of Medicine on May 1, 2014. Consider the following quote from the Journal article on this date:

“Conclusions – In patients with stable coronary heart disease, darapladib did not significantly reduce the risk of the primary composite end point of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke.” New England Journal of Medicine. May 1, 2014, (2014; 370:1702-1711).

Now a study published in EMBO Molecular Medicine, a Dartmouth researcher found that dying heart cells are kept alive with spikes of oxygen.

During a heart attack when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of the heart is interrupted, and not quickly restored, heart muscle begins dying. Deprived of oxygen and other essential nutrients, cell death continues occurring over a period of time leading to progressive loss of heart function and congestive heart failure.

Current therapies are not effective at limiting cell loss—they only slow down the progression of congestive heart failure.

Periannan Kuppusamy, PhD, professor of radiology at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, found that dying heart cells still contain enough oxygen for metabolism, and additional short-term spikes of oxygen keep the cells alive and active.

His research team used an animal model of acute myocardial infarction and discovered that daily administration of a higher concentration of oxygen for a short period of time each day induced spikes in myocardial oxygenation, which prevented myocardial injury.

“We all know that oxygen is crucial for survival, but it is intriguing to know that the same oxygen can be used like a drug to treat disease,” Kuppusamy says.

Curious about the molecular mechanism of oxygen in treating myocardial injury, he began examining the effect of oxygen on p53, a transcription factor that regulates cell cycle and triggers programmed cell death. To his surprise he saw the ‘oxygen spikes’ altering the function of p53 from a death-inducing protein, to promoting transcription of genes that help dying cardiac cells survive.

My Oxygen Model of Coronary Heart Disease is an extension of my Oxygen Model of Health and Disease. It is a unifying model that explains all aspects of coronary heart disease—causes, clinical course, consequences, and control—on the basis of disturbed oxygen function. The most important among these compromised and/or blocked functions are:

  • oxygen signaling
  • oxygen’s ATP energy generation
  • oxygen’s detergent functions
  • oxygen’s cellular detox functions
  • oxygen-regulated cell membrane and matrix functions
  • oxygen’s cellular repair roles

The Oxygen Model of coronary heart disease provides a simple model that allows physicians to reduce complexities of diverse clinical syndromes into a workable simplicity.

This model predicts that ongoing research will reveal that components of acidosis (excess acidity), oxidosis (increased oxidative stress), and CUD (clotting-unclotting dysequilibrium) will be found to play important roles in the pathology and clinical features of coronary heart disease.

Oxygen, Heart and Healing

If you have never taken herbs and spices for a healthy heart, please pick two from my list in this e-essay and take them in weekly rotation.

If it were my choice, I pick Green Tea and ginger tea with a dash of turmeric

First Things First
– Coronary heart disease is a plaque problem before it becomes a heart attack.
– Coronary heart disease is an inflammatory problem before it becomes a plaque problem.
– Coronary heart disease is an excess acidity and oxyradical problem before it becomes an inflammatory problem.
– Coronary heart disease is an oxygen problem before it becomes an excess acidity and oxyradical problem.

In most cases, insulin and adrenaline toxicities also set the stage for heart attacks. However, first and foremost, these are also oxygen problems. If this is true, some might ask, why don’t doctors explain these simple truths to their patients? The answer: science is dumbed down and doctors cannot think independently. If some herbs improve oxygen homeostasis, why don’t doctors use them? The answer: science is dumbed down and doctors do not recognize that The New England Journal of Medicine is a champion of drugs, not herbs.

A Simple Question

Here is a question: What is the best way to get more oxygen? The answer is at the end of this e essay.

Herbs for a Healthy Heart

Below, I list my suggestions in order of their clinical efficacy based on my experience.
All these herbs are generally available at most health food and ethnic market stores.

Clot busting (antithrombotic) Herbs
Turmeric, cayenne, celery, garlic, ginger, Chinese skullcap, Forskohl’s coleus, and horse chestnut.

Hawthorn berry (as tincture), blood root, goldenseal, basil, black pepper, barberry, cloves, cucumber, garlic, genipap, goldenseal, goldthread, grapes, horse chestnut, ouabain, and yoko.

Blood Cleansers (through anti gut fermentaion effects)
Astragalus, burdock root, echinacea, goldenseal, pau D’Arco, olive leaf, and oregano.

Pro blood Flow
Green tea, flax seeds (freshly ground), black pepper, barberry, and cucumber.

Anti inflammatory
Cat’s claw, avocado, chilgoza pine, thyme, and cantaloupe.

Proteolytic enzymes
Bromelain from pineapples and other botanicals.

Start Low and Build Slow for Becoming Your Own Primary Physician

The above principle is more relevant to the subject of herbs for the heart than it is for other subjects. Safety first. Please know it takes time, sometimes several months to learn to be one’s own authentic primary physician. So, please do not stop your heart or blood pressure medications on your own. Study the information given below, pick a few herbs at a time, use them in small amounts and in weekly rotation until you can observe their effects. Discuss the effects you observe with your cardiologist.

Beware of Pseudoscience

The body of literature about clinical uses of various herbs for cardiovascular disorders is now enormous—and rapidly growing. I do not readily accept the results of blinded and controlled clinical trials about the safety and clinical efficacy of individual herbs and phytofactors since they suffer from the following serious conceptual and methodological flaws:

1. Clinical studies of single herbs are conducted for short periods of time—extending from several weeks to some months—and are wholly inadequate for providing reliable information for their long term (in years) use;
2. Clinical trials of single herbs are conducted with a small number of subjects, and no consideration is given to crucial issues of biochemical individuality of the patients to which the conclusions drawn are applied;
3. Of necessity, clinical trials involving single herbs fail to explore the synergistic and/or antagonistic effects of other herbs and nutrients prescribed in an authentic clinical setting; and
4. Clinical trials are based on the prevailing one disease/one drug model. This model is intellectually invalid and clinically irrelevant.

Beware of Fear

Fear is the instrument of terror used by pharmaceutical companies to push drugs. It is also the instrument of terror used by hospitals and surgeons who profit from “plumbing” procedures for the heart. Ethical cardiologists find it increasingly difficult to counter the pernicious influences of corporate monsters who control their professional journals and associations. The only true weapon people have against the monsters is knowledge and understanding. For understanding to be authentic, it has to be liberating. I hope to offer some liberating information about herbs for the heart in this e essay.

Bottom line: Holism and empiricism is the way. I present this subject at length in Nature’s Preoccupation With Complementarity and Contrariety (2001) the first volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine.

I close this e essay with the question I asked earlier: What is the best way to get more oxygen? The answer: slow Limbic Breathing (Feather Breathing). If slow breathing improves oxygen supply to tissues, why don’t doctors prescribe it? The answer: science is dumbed down and doctors cannot distinguish between New Age fog and serious scientific argument.


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One comment

  • Dr. Ali,

    Thanks for this brilliant essay. This is quite simply the most stunningly intelligent, and comprehensive overview I have read despite having done hundreds of hours of research on the heart. Finally, real science and plain speaking, and from a doctor who understands that medicine is an art as well as a science!

    If this is the molecular model in coronary artery disease, I suspect– looking down at the molecular level, that it also enters into the gene switching, and fibrosis which are so important in cardiac hypertrophy. Cardiac hypertrophy is supposedly a “genetic disease.” A world class cardiac surgeon, who shall remain un-named because he is a highly competent surgen with a good heart– called the excess muscle formed in hypertrophy, “a mechanical problem”, and therefore a problem to be resolved only by surgery. But it looks to me like a mechanical problem with a biochemical foundation–at base, as you say, it is an “oxygen problem.” This surgeon also dismissed all the studies in animal models showing success working on aspects of the oxygen biochemistry to resolve cardiac hypertrophy, saying “there are 10,000 of those studies!” And I thought to myself, because I was arguing with an “expert”) “Exactly!”

    So why is it, that even though there has been at least one human study, and many many annimal studies, demonstating that there may be a way to resolve cardiac hypertrophy by working with the natural elements of the body’s oxygen biochemistry–why is it, when all the animal studies point that direction, and we have evidence in both humans and animals that the heart can remodel itself, why is it that we have the Mayo Clinic claiming that surgery to cut out a a piece of the heart–cardiac myectomy–is the gold standard treatment for cardiac hypertrophy? Why is it that the big expert on hypertrophy in the USA, Dr. Barry Marron, is on record saying that for hypertrophy patients that cardiac defibrillators are the only thing which has been scientifically demonstrated to extend life. Also why do we have Dr. Marron on record saying that he doubts that the evidence from the animal studies points toward useful treatments for cardiac hypertrophy? (BY the way, Dr. Marron is a consultant to the defibrillator industry.)

    Is it possible that what we have here is a demonstration of the fact that what you don’t study, never becomes a proven therapy, no matter how good it might be?

    The substances which have been shown to successfully manipulate the oxygen biochemistry, and cause regression of hypertrophy, or of the fibrosis created by cardiac hypertrophy in the animal studies– such as N-acetyl cysteine are all relatively safe and inexpensive substances. Could that part of the problem–that there are inexpensive natural substances which work? Despite the fact that one out of every five hundred people worldwide has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy–it is the most common genetic cardiac disease– Dr. Marron says the patient population is too “small” to make studies financially feasible–that they cannot get funding. Is
    it that they cannot get funding because there is no potential for a block-buster drug–because these are natural substances which have worked– and most of them inexpensive ones–with the exception of Co Q10, which costs more, but again, is relatively inexpensive compared to many of todays drug’s, and therapies such as open-heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic., Are these therapies not being studied because they could never be patented as drugs?

    Despite the obvious logic in doing one of the important things you advised me to do as my doctor–take substaintial doses, and often, of Co Enzyme Q10–despite the obvious logic of using substantial doses of Co-enzyme Q10–a key enzyme for oxygen metabolism–which has repeatedly been proven safe and in relatively high doses–and has been proven repeatedly to be of value in acheiving better oxygen metabolism in the heart, none of the “experts” I have spoken with even seem to know what it is! I personally spoke with three world class surgeons, and none of them appeared to even know what Co Q10 is! There are a few studies, even a couple of human ones showing its value for supporting the heart during cardiac surgery–and one small study which shows its value for cardiac hypertrophy. But in general there is a amount of scientific massive evidence for the value of Co Enzyme Q10 from studies both animal and human, worldwide. Despite the fact that it is used as heart drug in Japan, and has been for decades– apparently the manufacturing patents are held there, no cardiac surgeon I consulted in Italy–two very very famous ones–one world famous–none of them appear to even know what Co Q10 is! It makes you wonder what kind of severe ban natural (thus unpatentable)substances have been subjected to in our medical system? How many decades ago was it that Dr. Peter Mitchell won the Nobel prize, at least in part, for elucidating the biochemical action of Co Q 10?It makes you wonder, when a substance so important to the body’s biochemistry as to have been the subject of a Nobel Prize, has been over-looked as a treatment, if we have a complete distortion of “science” in clinical medicine because the research is driven by a search for money–a search for the most profitable treatments–rather than a search for the most effective treatments?

    And, doesn’t it appear that the researchers, universities, and pharmaceutical companies are being successful in their search for the treatments which pay best, given the healthcare bills which are bankrupting the USA’s high-tech medical system?

    From here it looks like they are finding the money in medicine, at the same time as patients are being subjected to horrendous therapies such as open heart surgery, or simply dying, despite indications that there is a more natural, more humane, common sense way.

    The same heart surgeon who told me that my hypertrophic heart was perhaps “too fibrotic” for surgery, with a wave of the hand dismissed the animal studies which show that, in varioius ways, if you resolve the block in the oxygen biochemistry–if you create “oxygen homeostasis” as you call it, the heart can remodel itself, and ican even reverse the fibrosis! So, the upshot is that the patient who can be treated with common sense, natural, therapies, is instead left to have a heart transplant, or die. What kind of medicine is this?

    Was Dr. Peter Mitchell’s Nobel Prize thirty years ago? Hasn’t the animal research, and isolated small –poorly-funded human studies, pointed the way for a decades?Wasn’t there more than one n Nobel prize for elucidating the body’s all important oxygen biochemistry?

    If the fruits of this knowledge have not been translated into treatments for patients by now, if not now when?

    How many of us have died or been maimed?

    Thank you for the wonderful work you are doing toward creating a true medicine–a truly scientific, at the same time common sense medicine, which works with in the body’s own biochemical logic– a medicine which uses all of the knowledge we have, not just the therapies which can make a killing–as our warped peudo-scientific medical system now does. The current system makes a killing, and though it is obviously not completely with out merit–can be highly commendable in emergencies, or working on many things like children’s congenital heart defects, it often kills or maims people. For those with chronic disease states, the current industrial medical system has reached a point of utter asurdity. In its search for the pot of gold in medicine, instead of for the most logical and humane therapies–or for preventative therapies, it often kills.

    Sign me,

    A patient who was nearly collateral damage


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