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Med Hypotheses. 2004;62(1):62-71.

A shift in myocardial substrate, improved endothelial function, and diminished sympathetic activity may contribute to the anti-anginal impact of very-low-fat diets.

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Pantox Laboratories, 4622 Santa Fe St, San Diego, California 92109, USA.


A new category of anti-anginal drug - exemplified by ranolazine - is believed to work by partially inhibiting cardiac oxidation of fatty acids; oxidation of glucose requires less oxygen per mol of ATP generated, and thus is preferable to fat oxidation when oxygen availability is limiting in underperfused cardiac tissue. Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that these drugs inhibit fat oxidation selectively in the heart; thus, chronic use of these drugs can be expected to increase body fat stores until the original rate of fat oxidation is restored by mass action - presumably negating the therapeutic benefit in angina, while exacerbating the manifold adverse effects of insulin resistance syndrome. The rational way to decrease cardiac metabolic reliance on fatty acids is to consume a very-low-fat quasi-vegan diet (i.e., 10% fat calories). Indeed, such diets are known to have a rapid and substantial therapeutic impact on anginal symptoms, while concurrently benefiting insulin sensitivity, markedly improving serum lipid profile, promoting leanness, and lessening coronary risk. A reduction in diurnal insulin secretion might also be achieved, which would be expected to decrease sympathetic activity. While reduced myocardial demand for oxygen doubtless contributes to the beneficial impact of such diets on angina, it is likely that improved cardiac perfusion consequent to improved endothelium-dependent vasodilation also plays a role in this regard. Supplemental carnitine, also beneficial in angina, appears to improve utilization of glucose in the ischemic myocardium by lowering elevated acetyl-coA levels and thereby disinhibiting pyruvate dehydrogenase. Certain other nutraceuticals may aid control of angina by improving endothelial function. In the longer term, these measures have the potential to slow or reverse the progression of stenotic lesions that underlie most cases of angina. These safe and relatively inexpensive nutritional strategies for coping with angina deserve far more attention than orthodox medical practice has thus far accorded them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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