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A Choice of Treatment for the Heart

by Catherine M Crawford(more info)

listed in heart, originally published in issue 92 - September 2003

Over the past four years I have experienced arrhythmia of my heart, at first only once or twice on waking, perhaps only two or three times per month, but gradually more frequently. I put it down to approaching menopause as I also experienced night sweats on occasion. In July 2002, the frequency increased rapidly. During August, I had a bout of what I took to be a two day flu (most of the symptoms but without the severe aching limbs). Ten days later, I was having severe arrhythmia during the night and also at times during the day, causing me to sleep upright and resulting in severe fatigue. It was very frightening, but I also felt a bit dazed by it.

Anterior view of heart cavities
Anterior view of heart cavities

I had to wait four days for a doctor's appointment so I referred to my library to find a nutritional solution. It can be really difficult to look for a solution for oneself when ill, even when trained in the subject. After much research, I decided on Magnesium and Calcium and ordered these from a reputable company. Within 24 hours the arrhythmia had stopped and I felt so much better. I still needed a diagnosis and I wanted reassurance that I was not missing some more serious problem. I took my notes of the supplements and my symptoms to show the doctor, sure that this information would be of help. The notes were handed back unread. I was told to give a blood sample to check the levels of magnesium (but I was taking a supplement so surely the levels would be higher than otherwise?) and then I could have an ECG and perhaps a pacemaker fitted.

That was it. I left the surgery feeling stunned. I had arrived feeling extremely worried since it was my heart that was not functioning properly, and I left feeling that I had bothered the doctor about a minor ailment. I now felt more frightened and even more alone in dealing with the problem. I was given no helpful information on why this should be occurring or whether the supplements were having the correct effect (although judging from the improvement I knew they were). The doctor did not ask about my lifestyle, work or family pressures, diet or family history. The fact that I was 47 years old, of medium build and lead a generally healthy lifestyle never came into the consultation. Did the doctor care if I dropped dead as I left the surgery? I really don't think so. I did have the blood test and my magnesium levels were normal – no surprise there. The results did mean that by taking the supplements I had brought the levels up to a 'normal' level so they must have been very low before.

I am not qualified to diagnose and I did not think that magnesium deficiency was the whole problem, so I still needed another opinion and made an appointment with Dr Peter Mukherji, a general practitioner who is also a homeopath and nutritionist. My consultation with Dr Mukherji was in stark contrast to that with my GP. He welcomed me into his consulting room, listened carefully to my account of my symptoms, read my notes and explained how different problems can arise with the functioning of the heart. He is also a qualified Vega therapist and is able to determine allergies, deficiencies and viruses. We discovered that it was not flu I had, had but a virus that weakens the heart valves (Figure 1). Where there is mitral valve weakness, there is increased excretion of magnesium. The magnesium supplements were indeed what my heart needed, but I still had the virus in my body. Dr Mukherji gave me an antidote and on my next visit my body was clear of the virus. I was also prescribed supplements to help strengthen the heart and to balance inadequacies in my intake of vitamins and minerals shown by the tests (Table 1). It is important to check that total amounts of different vitamins and minerals are not out of balance when taking several. My intake of magnesium and calcium has now been reduced and I am maintaining necessary levels for my body.

Table 1 Supplements
Magnesium Distribution across cell membranes is closely linked with calcium metabolism. Lowered Magnesium levels can produce abnormal cardiac rhythms. The body's ability to metabolize sugar is closely linked to magnesium, so increased intake can be used by those prone to hypoglycaemia to stabilize blood sugar levels. Calcium works with Magnesium and should be taken in the ratio of one or two parts Calcium to one of Magnesium (can be taken as a combined supplement).
Hawthorn Keeps blood vessels relaxed, reduces blood pressure and permits free flow of the blood to the heart muscle. Improved blood flow increases oxygen supply to the heart so the muscle can pump more efficiently and under less strain. It functions in the same way as heart medications and should only be taken under medical supervision for this reason.
Chromium An essential trace element. Helps to balance blood sugar levels and so alleviate hypoglycaemia. It also helps to raise the levels of HDL cholesterol while reducing those of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol also declines.
Iodine Necessary for functioning of the thyroid gland and the overall health of the immune system.
Also included in the diet are:
Garlic Boosts immune function, lowers blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, prevents blood fats from sticking to artery walls and reduces high blood pressure.
Omega 3 & 6 Essential fatty acids, vital for optimal health. Help protect against atherosclerosis.
Olive Oil Cold-pressed, unrefined, contains vitamin E (antioxidant, protects health and function of nervous system and health of red blood cells).
General Vitamin and Mineral capsule

At Christmas, I stopped taking Magnesium and Calcium as they were causing persistent diarrhoea. However, after four days I suffered arrhythmia and angina – pains in my left arm and up my neck – and felt terribly ill. The combination of reducing the supplements, the hectic lead up to Christmas and New Year and visiting my mother in hospital had caused serious problems. I resumed the supplements but changed the brand. The arrhythmia stopped, but I still had to work on reducing the cause of angina. I have continued with all the supplements and have had no further symptoms. I limit my intake of tea and coffee, and drink 2 litres of water daily. My diet is still vegetarian with a good variety of root and salad vegetables, fruits, nuts, pulses, yogurt and quorn, with a minimum amount of dairy and wheat.

As well as supplements, Dr Mukherji advised me to eat a low glycaemic food prior to bedtime to help keep blood sugar levels even during the night (table 2). Up until now, I had not eaten anything after our evening meal until breakfast. This has also helped to keep the heart working well. The Vega test had shown that I am hypoglycaemic and so I need to eat low glycaemic foods and avoid going without nourishment for more than two hours.

Table 2: Glycaemic Index of Foods
Very High Cornflakes, glucose, maltose, puffed rice, rice cakes, white bread.
High Bananas, brown rice, carrots, corn, corn chips, mangoes, muesli, oat bran, parsnips, potatoes, raisins rye crackers, white rice, wholegrain bread.
Moderate Kidney beans (canned), lactose, oranges, peas, potato crisps, pumpernickel bread, sucrose, white and wholewheat pasta.
Low Apples, barley, chickpeas, kidney beans (dried), lentils, milk, peaches, pears, wholegrain rye bread, yogurt.
Very Low Butter, cheese, eggs, fish, fructose, grapefruit, green vegetables, meat, peanuts, plums, seafood, soya beans.

By basing my diet around very low and low glycaemic index foods, I am able to avoid swings in blood sugar levels. High glycaemic index foods are kept to a minimum and when eaten are combined with very low glycaemic index foods.

Of the two consultations and treatments, which would you prefer?
a) ECG and pacemaker, involving a major operation and anaesthetic, resulting in trauma to the whole body.
b) Non-invasive test to identify the virus, allergies, deficiencies;
A homeopathic antidote (4 tablets);
Supplements to help my body heal and repair itself.


Atkins RC. Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's answer to drugs. Pocket Books. 1998.
Briffa J. Food for Health. Marshall Publishing. 1998.
Davies S and Stewart A. Nutritional Medicine. Pan Books. 1987.
Holford P. The Optimum Nutrition Bible. Judy Piatkus Publishers Ltd. 1997.
Jensen B. Dr Jensen's Guide to Body Chemistry and Nutrition. Keats Publishing. 2000.


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About Catherine M Crawford

Catherine graduated from the London School of Aromatherapy in 1995 has run her small but successful practice for over six years. She has a Diploma in Nutritional Medicine and has attended workshops in reflexology, homeopathy, bodywork and aromatherapy. An extension to her practice is the Pure Purple Product line of lotions, gels, creams, balms and lip glosses. She can be reached on Fax: 0131 662 9933;;

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