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Atherosclerosis can be reversed, Vitamin C

Your Heart Is Slowly Dying From Chronic Scurvy

 By Dr. Gifford Jones

Why is research that could save countless lives unknown to Canadian and U.S. doctors?  This week, a report that Dr. Sydney Bush, an optometrist in Hull, England, has made an historic discovery. He claims that atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) can be reversed. And his research, which could save millions from heart attack, should have made headlines around the world.

It’s been said that the eye is the window to the heart. It’s the only part of the body through which doctors can see arteries and veins during an eye examination. This allows doctors to see changes in retinal vessels, the result of aging, hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis. And it’s been believed for years that blockages in arteries due to cholesterol deposits could not be reversed.

Dr. Bush decided to do more than look into the eye. In 1998 he started to use a technique called “CardioRetinometry” at his eye clinic in Hull, England. This instrument takes pictures of the retina, the back part of the eye, that transmits images to the brain. These photos have enabled Dr. Bush to observe change in retinal vessels over a course of several years.

CardioRetinometry photos could also pinpoint collections of cholesterol deposits in retinal vessels. Bush states that he could see a fine, white line, similar to a silver wire, running down almost every artery of adults who had high cholesterol.

But a chance encounter occurred that would reshape his thinking about coronary heart disease. While taking photos of the retina Dr. Bush was also prescribing 3,000 to 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C to treat certain eye problems.

To his surprise he discovered that this amount of vitamin C resulted in changes in retinal arteries. Cholesterol deposits decreased in size, arteries became larger and there was increased blood flow to the retina. Proof this was happening was staring him in the face. And what happens to arteries in the retina also happens to arteries in the heart.

What does all this mean? Few people realize that animals manufacture vitamin C, but humans do not. For instance, goats produce 13,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily. Humans lost this ability during the course of evolution. This is why cats never died of scurvy during voyages to the New World while sailors succumbed to this disease.

Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner, whom I have interviewed, extolled the virtues of vitamin C. He claimed that although humans no longer die from scurvy, they are nevertheless suffering from inadequate amounts of vitamin C.

So why is vitamin C so important in preventing retinal disease and heart attack? Brick walls are held together by strong mortar and we all know what happens if mortar starts to crumble. Cells, on the other hand, are glued together by collagen and vitamin C is necessary to manufacture and maintain its strength.

Pauling believed that the heart dies from a silent form of scurvy. In effect, inadequate levels of vitamin C weaken collagen, which is not good news for coronary arteries as they face the greatest pressure when the heart beats. The end result is injured arteries and heart attack.

Linus Pauling’s theory about coronary attack and now the findings of Dr. Bush compliment each other. Namely, a lack of vitamin C triggers heart attack and an excess of C guards against it.

The great irony is that British physicians, rather than looking at Dr Bush’s research with an open mind, have criticized his work. It may be the old story that new, revolutionary ideas, contrary to current medical thinking, often collect dust.

I’ve not yet had time to visit Bush’s clinic in England. But he has sent me retinal pictures taken before vitamin C was prescribed and those taken following its use. The results are there for everyone to see.

Each year millions of North Americans die from coronary attack. Surely it’s time for heart specialists and ophthalmologists to take a look at Dr. Bush’s research. They may decide that our heart is not healthy until the eyes say so.

For last week’s column on vitamin C see the web site http://www.mydoctor.ca/gifford-jones

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Dr. Gifford Jones  Bio
Dr. Gifford Jones Most recent columns

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of The Harvard Medical School. He’s been a ship’s surgeon, hotel physician and family doctor and later trained in surgery at McGill in Montreal, University of Rochester N.Y. and Harvard. His medical column is published by 60 Canadian newspapers and several in the U.S. He is the author of seven books. Dr. Walker has a medical practice in Toronto. His Web site is: http://www.mydoctor.ca/gifford-jones

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