Heart and Cardiovascular Disease
Our blood flows through an ingenious network of arteries, veins and capillaries. The walls of the arteries are lined with a thin layer of cells called the endothelium. The endothelium covers an area of six to eight tennis courts and all cells combined amount to about the size of the liver. Cardiologists today consider the endothelium as an organ in itself because of its very specific function in our metabolism.
The endothelium is involved in many aspects of vascular biology. The scientists Furchgott, Zawadski, Ignarro concluded that the Endothelium and its key product Nitric-Oxide (NO) are the prime regulators of vascular health. For this they received in 1988 the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
The endothelium ensures proper functioning of blood vessels. It ensures that the blood vessel relaxes and widens when needed (vasodilatation). In addition, it inhibits the formation of blood clots, and makes it difficult for the white blood cells to attach themselves to the vessel wall (plaque formation). The latter is important for the prevention of atherosclerosis.
As with other organs, ageing influenced by lifestyle can damage the endothelium. When the endothelium is impaired all kinds of problems arise. You can compare it to a damaged road surface, which causes accidents and traffic congestion. Doctors call this phenomenon endothelial dysfunction.
However, when the endothelium is healthy and supple, cholesterol does not do damage. A chronically inflamed endothelium, not cholesterol, is the main cause of arteriosclerosis, and thus, indirectly, the main cause of cardiovascular disease.
This was confirmed by scientific research by Dr. Peter Libby (Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Harvard Medical) in 2002 and published in the leading medical journal the Scientific American.
Leading cardiologists such as Prof. dr. Paul Hugenholtz and Dr. Roderik Kraaijenhagen in the Netherlands advocate a healthy endothelium. Addressing the real cause and promoting a healthy endothelium will visibly reduce the disease’s symptoms, such as increased cholesterol, decreased blood flow and plaque formation. This leads to lasting vitality without unfortunate side effects.