Learn how low levels of vitamin C can affect heart health. Antioxidant activity, supporting healthy vascular smooth muscle cells, healthy collagen production and healthy lipid profiles are just some of the ways vitamin C supports cardiovascular health.
The scientific literature is clear: low levels of vitamin C can affect heart health. Vitamin C supports heart health via several important mechanisms:
In an interview featured in Element magazine, naturopathic cardiologist Daniel Chong, ND explains research on this connection:
“The idea that vitamin C may be a key component in cardiovascular health was first conceptualized by Linus Pauling and Matthias Rath in 1990. Humans are one of the few animals on the planet that are unable to make vitamin C. They are also one of the few animals to develop cardiovascular disease. The only animals that have heart attacks like we do are guinea pigs, and they don’t make vitamin C either.”
Chong continues: “Vitamin C is required for collagen production. Pauling and Rath suggested that vitamin C insufficiency weakens blood vessel walls which triggers a biological repair process leading to plaque formation. They noticed that one of the most effective repair molecules to be mobilized during the process was lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)]. They observed an inverse relationship between production of Lp(a) and vitamin C levels, and proposed that Lp(a) might act as a surrogate to protect the blood vessels when vitamin C levels decline.”
The Dr. Rath Research Institute then developed a mouse model to imitate human metabolism. The mice were genetically altered to lose the ability to produce vitamin C and at the same time gain the ability to produce Lp(a). Mice were placed on a consistent diet with varied amounts of vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid).”
The study results showed that mice consuming less vitamin C produced more Lp(a). Also, the production of Lp(a) paralleled the development of atherogenic plaques. Even more exciting is that the researchers were able to achieve a level of vitamin C where the mice had no plaque formation at all.”
Vitamin C is a nutrient vital to human health. As integrative practitioners know, determining how much vitamin C to recommend can be highly individualized, based on a person’s age and health status. “I don’t feel many of the human studies of vitamin C supplementation have been useful in estimating the amount that’s sufficient to support cardiovascular health because they rarely use dosages of more than 1,000 mg per day,” explains Chong. He says this is inconsistent when compared to amounts produced endogenously in animals. “For example, goats produce a baseline amount of vitamin C of a few thousand milligrams per day when they’re healthy and not under stress,” says Chong. “Interestingly, when they are exposed to stress of any kind, goats increase production of vitamin C to over 10,000 mg per day.”
All experts agree that when taking vitamin C, regardless of the dose recommended, it’s always best to consume multiple doses throughout the day versus one large daily dose. This mimics nature, says Chong, who often recommends 2,000 mg per day. “Some patients may need more, depending on their diet and lifestyle,” says Chong.
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So, the COVID-19 coronavirus is most likely going to be in your community in the next few weeks if it isn’t already and I am repeatedly being asked by patients what they can do to protect their families besides stocking up on toilet paper.
The biggest thing that we can do for our families and ourselves is boost innate immunity against viruses; do things to help prime our immune system so it is ready to shut the virus down. There is no need to panic- for most people it will be a mild illness and so the very same measures that we take against a flu can help with respect to immune building for the coronavirus. I have to start by saying make sure you are doing the basics- good nutrition (largely plant based whole foods diet), good sleep (try to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night), decrease stress (meditate, laugh, be social), exercise, and wash hands regularly. All of these things seem so basic, but really do affect the health of our immune system.
Now that that is out of the way- what else can you do naturally? This is kind of an easy one for me because I have used it for so long with my own family, friends and patients and I know that it works. There are a few ingredients that have many good studies and medical literature supporting the fact that they can measurably increase our immune system efficacy against viruses. It specifically works by increasing the potency of our Natural Killer Cells, which besides having an awesome name, are one of our biggest defenses against viruses. Although I make an antiviral cocktail from different supplements that I keep in my fridge when my family is sick; the one ingredient that always goes in is the Immunoberry liquid by Designs For Health. It is a one stop shop of the studied powerhouse antiviral ingredients; Elderberry, Astralagus, Cherry Bark, Maitake and Shitake mushrooms, and Beta Glucans.
My kids even ask for “the mushroom stuff” when they are starting to feel under the weather or are sick. I believe everyone should keep a bottle of this in their fridge. You should check with your physician, however this supplement is generally very safe for children as well as adults and very easy to take -about one ml (one dropper full) every day when you are sick or getting sick to boost your natural immunity. Although, you could use it every day – I don’t recommend that because if you are otherwise healthy you don’t need an immunity boost every day. The taste is “earthy” and for those who don’t like eating dirt it can easily be masked in another liquid. (Read: you can get your kids to take it).
You can find it in our shop for much cheaper than you will find anywhere else. One bottle lasts my family of six 4 months. Any supplement in our shop is quality checked and you can be certain that you are getting what you paid for. We really want our patients to afford and use the supplements that matter so we tried to pass on as big of a discount as we can to you. Please forward this along to anyone else who you think might benefit from this information. I will include the studies below if anyone wants to do some light reading.
If you are convinced here is a link to our shop: If you have already registered with us just sign in, otherwise it only takes a minute to create an account and you can have access to all of our quality tested supplements.
If the link doesn’t work you can visit our site at and click Shop.
I have been hearing it from many patients who were on track and doing well. There’s something about not having structure that makes it really hard to stick to their workout plan and they’re eating plans. With homeschooling, working from home, gym closures, and our very forgiving sweatpants it’s easy to see why it feels like the cards are stacked against us. This is really why Intermittent Dancing + Intermittent Fasting or Intermittent Fast Dancing. This the way to go- Seriously it’s going to be a new trend and you’re hearing it here first because I’m pretty sure I invented it – at least I have never had a client tell me they had been prescribed this before. I’m actually going to dare you to do it for one month because it’s really easy to stick to and it works. Comment below if you are going to take the challenge and share it with others- and then click here to get started KinderFayssouxMD.com
The Plan and why it works:
We are combining the power of Ketosis (Fasting) and Dancing (High Intensity Interval Training at a Minimum Effective Dose )
Fasting can be done for two main reasons- Longevity or Weight Management (loss or stabilization). I have an article on Intermittent Fasting here already, but essentially when you are doing fasting for weight loss the 16:8 works best and is the easiest to maintain long term. This means you eat for only 8 hours a day and you fast the other 16. The best window can vary depending on your schedule, but for most people 12pm-8pm or 10pm-6pm work best because it is really hard to fast if you have a family and everyone is eating dinner. Fasting is really easy- you just don’t eat.
So, what do you eat when you are not fasting? I’m going to tell you exactly what I tell my clients- You will plan to have 2 full meals during your 8 hour fasting window. And, you will take a ketone ester (not a ketone salt) – 1 capful if you are female, 2 if you are male 20 minutes prior to each meal. Your meals should consist of a protein, a carb, and a veggie and if possible you will eat them in that order (if you are having a sandwich you don’t need to take it apart and eat it in pieces- that’s just weird). If you get hungry, you can have one snack between your meals preferably something low fat like fruit. The only other food rule is that your meals is you can only have 100 calories of fat with each meal – you choose it, mayo, oil, butter, cheese, avocado, dressing, etc… The first two days might be a little adjustment period as your body gets used to burning your stored fat for fuel, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to do this after 3 days- and that you don’t even get hungry. Drink water, unsweetended tea (hot or iced), no alcohol, black coffee,
Now for the Intermittent dancing- super simple- you have to dance (and sing outloud if your location permits) for 5 minutes a day, but if you are only to purposefully exercise for 5 minutes a day you better be doing it hard enough so your body and muscles get the message and start producing all of the beneficial signaling hormones of exercise. This is exactly how you do it- turn on your favorite music, start a timer for five minutes and you dance as hard as you can until you are out of breath and feel like you are going to die (energy level required for this will depend – if you are in shape you may have to throw some really high energy moves like jumping, squatting, somersaulting to get you winded -but do what you gotta do) and when you feel like you are going to die- dance for another count of ten and then stop and count to fifteen and start and repeat until your timer rings. Dancing is way more fun, but if you wanted to be a little more structured or take it to the next level- just do any body weight exercise you can remember from middle school PE ( Burpees, Cherry Pickers, Jumping Jacks, Butt Kickers, Mountain Climbers, Squats, Quick Feet, Lunges, Cartwheels, Pushups) with the same of idea of setting your timer, doing them until you feel like you are going to die, stop for 15 seconds, repeat until timer ends.
The reason 5 minutes can work is because of a concept called minimum effective dose of exercise- the smallest dose or exercise required that will produce a desired outcome. And for most of us busy people if done correctly it can mean as little as 5 minutes of HIIT exercise a day and combined with fasting can produce real results with respect to fat loss without muscle loss.
Kinder Fayssoux MD
This challenge is for fun- but we will be opening up our new Fat Loss in 5 minutes a day course again in June. Enrollment is limited, so gather your friends and hold your spot at the Quarantine rate of $399 for a 8 week program If you would like to hold a spot click here.
Over the past month, I have seen a surge of patients presenting with anxiety and/or depression in my practice. “I am so scared, scared to go out, scared to be home alone, scared of how I am going to pay my bills, and scared that my family members and friends could die in the next few weeks. I don’t know what to do,” said one patient recently.
Although this particular patient was feeling it all, everyone has probably experienced some variation of at least one of these thoughts over the past few weeks. In the context of what is going on right now with COVID-19, we call this situational anxiety and/or depression and expect most of it will dissipate once the pandemic passes. However, as we don’t know how long that is going to be, it is especially important to educate and empower patients with knowledge about how stress can affect their long-term health and what they can do about it.
To put it simply, stress increases the number of inflammatory markers in our bloodstream which, in turn, decrease our immunity, making us more susceptible to infections, and putting us at higher risk of developing chronic disease states such as autoimmune conditions, dementia, diabetes and heart disease, to mention a few.
One of the most powerful things someone experiencing these thoughts can contemplate is how much their worry will change the outcome of that which they are worried about. In most cases, the answer is not at all.
I love to adapt the concept of Steven Covey’s Circle of Influence from his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I ask the patient to draw a circle about the size of a plum and then draw a circle around that about the size of a big salad plate. The small circle represents their circle of influence and in this area, they are to write the things they can change or influence by worrying about them. The space outside of the small circle and inside the big circle is where they write all the things they worry about that their worry can’t change. This is a powerful visual exercise to help patients see there is very little they can control or change by worrying about it. This realization has helped many patients create a positive thought habit when they find themselves feeling overwhelmed with worry, and in turn, make a conscious decision to not worry.
In addition to decreasing the time spent as a “worrywart,” there are a few essential lifestyle habits that also help with anxiety and depression such as getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep, 15- to 30-minutes of daily exercise and eating a rainbow of fresh whole foods. But there is something more you can do, and it is very powerful. If you are my patient, you will not leave the office without learning about it…
Meditation. Not only has this practice shown to directly decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, but it also has been shown in studies to reduce blood levels of inflammatory markers.
The best part is that it is very simple to incorporate. I recommend downloading a meditation app (there are many free ones) and starting a practice of meditating 5-minutes twice a day. Over time, you slowly work up to 15 to 30-minutes twice a day, usually upon wakening and before bed.
Another fact that surprises patients is that for mild to moderate depression and anxiety, walking briskly for 30 minutes was found to be just as effective as commonly prescribed medications. So, adding a brisk walk and getting outside, whether it’s in your yard or your neighborhood, also can help with the feelings of overwhelm.
Of course, some patients need anti-anxiolytic and antidepressant prescription medications and that is absolutely fine. Adding these other holistic modalities is not going to detract from the benefits of medication and will most likely work in synergy to produce a stronger sense of overall well-being.
Sleep is important for many reasons. During sleep our brain is hard at work cleaning up and organizing all of the activity from the day. The ideal amount of sleep for longevity, decreased risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases like Parkinson’s and dementia is 7 to 9 hours.
Many people struggle with sleep issues and it is important to dig in and unroot where the problem lies: is it sleep initiation? sleep latency? or both? Sleep initiation is having trouble falling asleep and sleep latency is having trouble staying asleep or achieving deep levels of sleep. Sleep initiation tends to be related to anxiety, elevated cortisol levels, exercising too close to bedtime, caffeine intake, temperature, screen time, inadequate morning light, or decreased natural melatonin production. Sleep latency can be caused by excessive ambient light, screen time, alcohol use, bedroom temperature, pets, or children in the bed, hormonal imbalances, prescription medications, and nighttime urination. I often hear patients say, “it’s normal to get less sleep as you age,” but that isn’t entirely true; regardless of your age, you should be able to get very close to the recommended hours of sleep.
Common supplements that can help with sleep initiation are melatonin, valerian root, passionflower and lemon balm. Common supplements that can help with sleep latency are glycine and l-theanine. Honokiol or dihydrohonokiol-B (DHHb), derived from magnolia bark, can work for both.
– Kinder Fayssoux MD
Common supplements that can help with sleep initiation are melatonin, valerian root, passionflower and lemon balm. Common supplements that can help with sleep latency are glycine and l-theanine. Honokiol or dihydrohonokiol-B (DHHb), derived from magnolia bark, can work for both. You should check with your physician prior to trying these supplements, especially if you are on any other prescription medications, but generally speaking, they are safe substances. Tylenol PM or Nyquil should not be used for sleep as they have many other ingredients in them besides the antihistamine, usually Benadryl, which is putting you to sleep. However, I also don’t recommend patients use Benadryl or antihistamines alone as a sleep aid as there are other side effects of those medications that can make sleep worse; the most common being increased nighttime urination.
Other activities that are conducive to restful sleep are meditation and gentle stretching or yoga before bed. Another recommendation supported by science is to do a controlled sleep deprivation for 24 hours in order to reset the sleep cycle. If your sleep pattern is off, stay awake for 24 hours, and then go to sleep between 9 and 10 p.m. to reset the cycle and maintain this bedtime. Excessive napping also can interfere with a solid sleep routine.
Often overlooked, another easy fix is to review your prescription medications. For example, if you take a medication that makes you urinate more, ask your doctor if you can take that medication in the morning instead of the afternoon or evening to decrease the likelihood that you will need to urinate in the middle of the night. Reviewing the sleep-disturbing effects of all your prescription medications is paramount.
Sometimes prescription medications are necessary to help with sleep, but they should primarily be looked at as a temporary solution for most. There is no consensus as to whether they produce deep sleep at a level that is beneficial for health. Also, some of these products, particularly benzodiazepines, steeply increase your risk for dementia – even with occasional use. That being said, occasional use of prescription sleep aids can be necessary at times to reset and regulate the sleep cycle.