Hope for Congestive Heart Failure and Arrhythmia
While congestive heart failure is very serious and certain arrhythmias could lead to sudden death, they are typically both very treatable. As with most muscles in the body, the heart can be maintained and even strengthened. Treatment is all about reenergizing and refueling the heart by increasing blood flow to it and supplying nutrients to strengthen the heart and give it more energy. You might think of it like recharging the “battery cells” of the heart. It is really a question of getting as much “energy” generated for the heart as possible.
As with any other muscle, this energy starts at the cellular level, and the powerhouse of the cell is mitochondria, small organelles inside of each cell that generate energy by synthesizing fuel (food) and oxygen and making ATP. Mitochondria generate over 90 percent of the energy the body uses and make up about 35 percent of heart cells. It is mitochondrial energy that drives the metabolism. ATP is the heart’s energy currency. Mitochondrial energy is produced in a process that uses oxygen and nutrients to change adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and inorganic phosphate, then changes those two back to ATP again. This cycle is almost like the turning of a turbine, releasing energy with each change. If the cell is deficient in fuel or oxygen, this cycle suffers; thus the cell’s metabolism suffers and its function is compromised.
The by-product of this cycle is carbon dioxide (CO2), water, and a small amount of damaged oxygen molecules that are missing an electron – in other words, free radicals. The CO2 is exhaled when we breathe, along with a little of the water, while the rest of the water travels to the kidneys. If the free radicals accumulate to high levels, it can cause problems; however, there is evidence that some level of them may be important for functions such as mitochondrial respiration, white blood cell activity, and platelet activation. Very high levels, though, will injure the cell membranes, degrade the mitochondria and other parts of the cell, as well as damage DNA. To prevent this, it is recommended that glutathione-boosting supplements, which is the body’s most important antioxidant.
The key to optimizing this energy-producing cycle is keeping the mitochondria healthy. If we have healthy mitochondria, then we will be healthy too. Healthy mitochondria protect against any number of degenerative disease like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.