The patient: “Blair,” a health-conscious 70-year-old woman in otherwise excellent health
Why she came to see me: Blair, who has been a patient for 20 years or so, had experienced premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), the medical term for extra heartbeats, for nearly her entire life. Since early childhood, she had been aware of an uncomfortable chest sensation that felt like a bubbling or pounding, usually triggered by stress and anxiety, that was either ignored or dismissed and attributed to her being a “sensitive female.” She learned in her 40s that the condition was this heart arrhythmia called PVCs. She was told by a cardiologist that hers were benign, and “not to worry as long as they were infrequent and didn’t last long.”
She was under my care and eating well, including plenty of the fruits and vegetables that would help one avoid or mitigate PVCs…getting plenty of exercise, including frequent brisk long walks and challenging hikes…and dutifully taking the supplements that I had prescribed for her. Lately, though, Blair had been troubled by more frequent episodes. Her long walks didn’t seem to be a trigger, but caffeine and the increased anxiety and stress associated with the long illness and subsequent death of a close family member did seem to be triggers.
How I evaluated her: I had her come in for a routine physical, ran generalized blood work with a few specific markers that would disclose cardiac stress, and performed an expanded examination of her heart. This included baseline blood pressure, both static and with rapid postural changes…Chinese pulse diagnoses…and breath-induced blood-gas-change challenges. I was able to induce a few single PVCs, clearly heard with my stethoscope and felt in her peripheral pulse. (Peripheral pulses are taken in the extremities—arms or legs.)
How we addressed her problem: Based on her excellent bloodwork, diet and otherwise-normal physical exam, we reviewed her supplement regime to see what could be improved. Specific for cardiac support, she was already on a calcium and magnesium complex as salts of caprylic acid for maximum absorption, Vitamin K2-16 (a menaquinone subtype) for tissue mineral utilization and L-carnitine to offset the effects of stress-induced hypoxia (decreased oxygen availability).
What could be done to improve the movement of calcium and magnesium into tissue that had historically been challenged as evidenced by the vulnerability to her long-term rhythm disturbances? A preparation theorized and then produced by the German physician Hans Nieper, MD binding calcium and magnesium to an amino acid salt (2-ethanolamine phosphate) could deliver the minerals intact to vulnerable cardiac cell membrane and effect direct importation. I first worked with this compound when serving as a staff physician under Robert Atkins, MD in NYC and saw firsthand the results of the material and its effect on neuromuscular integration and harmonization.
The patient’s progress: Although Blair’s stress continued and perhaps even worsened with increased employment pressures, the PVCs abated after a few days of starting the therapy and over the past two months, have not returned. She had resumed drinking her beloved hearty Scottish-blend morning tea and had indulged in an occasional cappuccino that was not decaffeinated. WiKi claims that Nieper’s theories are disproven and pharmaceuticals ineffective although I beg to differ. To quote Dan Aykroyd as Austin Millbarge in his movie, Spies Like Us, “We mock what we don’t understand…”