The Best Approach to Heart Failure
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
It is estimated that 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure (1), and an estimated $30.7 billion dollars a year is spent on its treatment. (2) Statistics like these are very common in the healthcare world. Many people would think that this means that it is just a very common condition, that is expensive to treat, and that is just the way it is. But when I see statistics like this, I know that it means the condition being discussed has been misunderstood and the approaches to treatment being utilized are severely off base.
So, let’s try and understand it first. Once we understand it, we can address it appropriately. It is thought that heart failure is when the heart is not performing its job of pumping the blood as well as it should be. This idea supposedly explains the symptoms of heart failure, which include the congestion of fluid in the lungs and retention of fluid in the body, reduction of blood delivery to the body resulting in dizziness and fatigue, irregular heartbeats, and weight gain. If blood is not getting moved around the body effectively then these symptoms make sense. But is it the hearts fault?
I would argue no. The main reason being that the hearts’ job is not actually to pump the blood around the body. I have explained this in detail in my previous blog post called “Is the Heart Really a Pump?”. Once we understand that the heart is not solely responsible for the movement of blood, we can stop seeing the heart as the problem in heart failure and look for the real reason these symptoms are present. While the heart does provide some motion of blood when it is in the area of the heart itself, the main mechanism by which the blood moves through the body has to do with the water component of the blood.
Water has the ability to hold energy, and when it does it will form what is called exclusion zone water on the inner lining of our arteries. (3) When this happens, it creates an energy gradient that propels the blood through the arteries and veins. This creates the majority of our blood flow. (This has been proven but I cannot cite it just yet as it has not quite been published and the research authors have asked that I not discuss it in detail until it is published).
With the movement of the blood taken care of, the heart can focus on what it is designed to do, which is create a stop gap for blood so that it stays balanced between the arteries and veins, as well as to vortex (or swirl) the blood, which is one of the ways to energize the water in the blood. Knowing all this, it will now make more sense when I tell you that heart failure occurs when water in the blood is not energized and therefore not able to propel itself through the blood vessels.
When this happens, the heart is forced to be more of a pump that it is designed to be. This results in the characteristic rounding out of the heart seen in heart failure where it is shaped more like a basketball instead of the normal football-like shape. The heart is shaped more like a football because when it contracts it does so in a twisting motion, spirally vortexing the blood with each contraction. In heart failure the heart expands to be more like the shape of a basketball due to it being forced to act more like a pressure propulsion pump because the blood is not moving on its own. This youtube video is an excellent explanation of this concept of the spiral orientation of the heart muscle, though the doctors in the film are not aware the that heart is not a pump.
So, the cause of heart failure is not a dysfunctional heart, instead it is a breakdown of the mechanisms that allow blood to self-propel itself. In other words, water that is not sufficiently energized. The natural question is what causes this to happen. Ultimately, it is a lack of exposing the body to things that energize the water in it. Some things that energize the water are contact with the Earth (grounding), eating foods/water that have energized water in it (whole foods/spring water), vortexing the water in the presence of oxygen (like the heart does), and exposure to infrared light (sunlight).
Thinking about these things it is clear to me that heart failure happens when humans remove themselves from the environment that they evolved in. In nature humans would be exposed to those things on a daily basis but in our modern lives it just doesn’t happen as much, especially as we age and often times become less active spending less time outdoors. While this is the main driving factor to heart failure, there are instances when someone could have damaged heart tissue from a toxin exposure or previous heart attack that make them more susceptible to heart failure.
Now for the good stuff. Knowing what is driving heart failure we can know take steps to address it. Aside from doing the things mentioned above, that humans are lacking in their modern environments, I believe the best combination of treatment for heart failure is a ketogenic diet, balancing the autonomic nervous system, and infrared sauna therapy.
I have written about how the preferred fuel source of the heart is fatty acids and ketones and that even in the presence of glucose the heart will choose to burn fat and ketones. (4,5) I cannot help but wonder if the high carbohydrate diets of modern day are not only deficient in foods that contain energized water but are also forcing the heart to burn more glucose than it would like. The heart is more efficient when burning fats, (6) and burning glucose will create an inefficient heart that is more susceptible to heart failure int eh event that the heart is forced to do more pumping that it would like.
Since the hearts of people in heart failure are said to be inefficient, I think it makes sense to provide the heart with a the most efficient fuel source that we can. That would be fatty acids and ketones. (7,8) If the heart is starving for its preferred fuel source while also having to act as a pump more than it is designed to, you can imagine that is a recipe for an inefficient heart, heart failure. While the preferred fuel source of the heart is fatty acids and ketones normally, this seems to be even more true in the case of heart failure, as hearts in heart failure have been shown to have more of an affinity for ketones. (9,10) There has even been evidence of a ketogenic diet successfully treating heart failure in people with glucose storage disease. (11,12) A fat adapted, ketogenic physiology can provide clear benefits to those struggling with heart failure.