Nutrition for the Heart: Clotting, Strokes & Buckwheat

by Jamie Holland, LAc, ABT, ACN

The Heart

The human heart weighs on average 12 ounces (1), and pumps around 6 quarts of blood (2) through 60,000 miles of arteries, capillaries and veins in only once minute. One person’s blood vessels could wrap around the earth 2.5 times! (3)

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States. There are almost twice as many heart attack deaths in the US than minutes in a year; every 37 seconds there is a heart attack death in the US. (6) 1,600,000 heart attacks per year total. (7)

Understanding the Dangers of Clotting

Blood clots, or thrombosis is the leading cause of death for Americans. Blood clots lead to heart attacks, strokes, deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms and are the cause of almost half of all deaths in the US! (24)

When a clot is pathogenic, it is called a thromboembolic disorder. This is a blood clot, or thrombus (this is the coagulation of blood where the blood becomes semi-solid) inside one of the blood vessels that is then carried from that original site and blocks another vessel. (24)

"While normal blood clots are a natural part of healing, abnormal arterial and venous blood clots are a significant cause of death and disability." (Mannucci 2011).

Collagen is one of most important factors in a blood clot. This is because collagen fibers make up the strength of the blood vessels. When the vessels are weak and are torn, blood clots form and plague develops to plug the leak in the vessels. It is this plague that can be dislodged, when pushed around by the every flowing blood being pumped by your heart, and find a new place to lodge. (24)

The most common form of heart attack occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) blocks a coronary artery that feeds your heart muscle. The leading cause of stroke occurs when a blood clot occludes, or obstructs, an artery supplying blood to your brain. Formation of vascular blood clots is also a leading cause of death in cancer patients because cancer cells create conditions that favor clotting. (24)

Rutin to the rescue

"All the blood clot related conditions are life-threatening, and so there is a need for safe, effective and preventive treatment. A natural substance rutin, also called rutoside, is a citrus flavonoid glycoside found in Fagopyrum esculentum (buckwheat), the leaves and petioles of Rheum species, and Asparagus. This flavonoid compound has shown effective thrombolytic activity (prevents the formation of blood clots) by blocking the enzyme protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) found in all cells involved in blood clotting. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established that rutin is safe and, thus provides a safe and inexpensive drug that could reduce recurrent clots and help save thousands of lives."—International Current Pharmaceutical Journal (24)

“Thrombosis, or blood clot formation, and its sequelae remain a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, and recurrent thrombosis is common despite current optimal therapy. Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is an oxidoreductase that has recently been shown to participate in thrombus formation.” (20)

Summary of Rutin and Collagen

Rutin promotes collagen production. The strength of our capillaries is in collagen. High pressure (HBP) can rupture weak capillaries causing hemorrhage. Weak collagen in the digestive tract causes leaky gut, colitis, IBS. Weak collagen in the vessels of the legs cause varicose veins. Radiation damages collagen of the cell walls.

Rutin—Safely Curbing Clots

“Harvard researchers have found that rutin, a substance contained in that fruit (as well as in onions, buckwheat, and tea), has potent anti clotting powers that could help prevent heart attack and stroke.

“Researchers discovered rutin’s antithrombotic property when they screened a set of 5,000 compounds for their ability to block the action of a key protein involved in the formation of vessel-clogging blood clots. When rutin rose to the top of the list, ‘It was very surprising, and we still don’t understand exactly why it is so potent,’

“Indeed, if scientists had tried to design a clot-preventing molecule, they could scarcely have created one more perfect than —Harvard Magazine (9)

“These findings... [on rutin] ...identify a novel strategy for preventing thrombosis, and help pave the way for clinical testing of this popular flavonoid as a therapy for the prevention and treatment of stroke and heart attack, as well as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism.

“Of particular note, rutin was shown to inhibit both platelet accumulation and fibrin generation during thrombus formation. “Clots occur in both arteries and in veins,” explains Flaumenhaft. “Clots in arteries are platelet-rich, while those in veins are fibrin-rich. This discovery suggests that a single agent can treat and prevent both types of clots.

“Rutin proved to be the most potently antithrombotic compound that we ever tested.”—The Harvard Gazette: (8)

“...some flavonoids [rutin] are capable of increasing collagen and inhibiting the degradation of matrix...By inhibiting MMP, flavonoids could increase the rate and the amount of collagen synthesized by fibroblasts necessary for the formation of new wound matrix, thereby speeding up the healing process” (18)

“Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and the main protein that makes up the extracellular matrix in our tissues, i.e. the “bulk” of our tissues. It is a so called fibrillar protein, in that the collagen molecules self assemble into fibrils, and these fibrils are critical to both the tissue’s biological and mechanical roles. The collagen fibrils act as a scaffold, both supporting the cells in the tissue and providing tracks for them to move along when they need to move to a site of injury, for instance.” (19)

“Orally administered rutin also demonstrated antithrombotic activity…. These results indicate that PDI is the relevant antithrombotic target of rutin in vivo. Rutin is well tolerated at concentrations higher than that required to inhibit PDI activity in vivo. Thus, targeting extracellular PDI for antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapy may be a viable approach to prevent thrombosis in a setting of coronary artery disease, stroke and venous thromboembolism.”—Blood (21)

Rutin doesn’t interact with warfarin because it doesn't affect prothrombin time and thrombin time:  “Only an ethanolic solution of rutin at the concentration of 830 µM prolonged aPTT, while TT and PT were unaffected. —Molecules (22)

“...rutin exerted a significant protective effect against collagen and epinephrine (or thrombin) induced acute thromboembolism in mice. These results suggest that rutin has a potent to be an anti-thrombotic agent for cardiovascular diseases.”—Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering(23)

Rutin (Vitamin P) Evidence of Post-Stroke Treatment

The results suggest rutin as an efficient drug to treat brain ischemia since it was able to promote significant recovery of sensorimotor loss, which was correlated to the reduction of neurodegeneration in the periphery of cortical injury. —Brain Research (25)


Reading Suggestions

Book: “Put Your Heart In Your Mouth,” by Natasha Campbell-McBride

Online: The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy, by Chris Kresser

Sources

***A special thanks to Dr Mark Anderson, and his Back to School for Doctors Seminars 2015 and 2016. Without him and his vast capacity to research, this article would not exist.

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