Arginine, Arginine & Plavix

Hi Everyone! Looking for feedback on the use of arginine. I've read it may help lower BP by relaxing the blood vessels. Found only 1 article that described it as a blood thinner. The blood thinning part is my concern because I'm on Plavix. Also read that there was a study with very poor outcomes (death) when arginine was used with people with recent heart attacks. Does anyone have any idea what is considered "recent"? The articles about the study don't indicate what the correlation was between the arginine & the deaths. Cynic that I am, I wonder if the drug companies sponsored the study to dissuade people from trying alternative therapies. Any other negative outcomes? Has anyone used it with Plavix?

I had been on low dose beta blocker (Coreg) but stopped completely because it made me feel awful. Now my BP is a little on the high side & I want to try controlling it with diet & the arginine.
After reading all of your thoughtful posts, I am starting to think I may have (or had) Prinzmetal- something I never heard of til reading here. I had a thrombus & 2 stents were inserted. Prior to my MI, I had no history- no high BP, no family history, excellent lipids, normal weight, arteries aren't clogged, etc. My one vice- I was a light (approx 5 per day) smoker. Altho all the docs attribute my MI to the smoking, I just don't buy it. I wish I believed the cigs caused the MI, because then I wouldn't be living everyday worrying about my BP & another heart attack.

Feedback appreciated! Thanks!

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27 replies. Join the discussion

Duh! I forgot to include that I take a baby aspirin daily also!

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Hi Ball'Confusion,

Well, I would say consider that there might be several factors that could cause it...if you have heard of Epi-genetics...behavior that triggers genetic expression, this is the generally recognized theory. There are hundreds of thousands of genes and they are mapping new ones daily and certain combinations produce different results. At this point, I've just read in PLOS-Genetics there are 43 that influence heart expression - and 9 of them were *just* discovered. You'd have to understand how 43 to the 43rd power would interact to fully grasp it. These are early days, and with understanding each gene and how it expresses, it's hard to know EXACTLY why some things work for some and not for others.

This is why L-Arginine's jury is still out. It takes many valid studies to understand under consistent circumstances, populations, and with different drug interactions (Plavix, for instance), to understand and predict what the particular drug or pharmaceutical will do. Not all evil is being perpetrated by the drug companies (!). It's laborius and challenging work.

Yes, you might have undiagnosed Prinzmetals, as a form of angina that contributed to your history. I had excellent lipids, too, till I had sub-factor tests that explained why I would have heart disease symptoms. It's rare to catch Prinzmetals in action and docs tend to diagnose empirically, not presumptively.

Regarding smoking. I was exposed to double 2nd hand smoke throughout my childhood and I did some experimental smoking in my 20s (never fully committed). Both parents died, incidentally from lung cancer - mother at age 42, father at age 77. Why her early and him late? Maybe genetic expression, susceptibility. My husband's grandparents lived till 80s/90s and they gave it up late - 50-60 ish with an endarterectomy.

The smallest whiff of smoke now causes my vessels to clamp down and I need nitro to breathe. Stanford is doing research on both L-Arg (Cooke lab) and on unexpected linkage to ADMA (epigenetic factor) related to nicotinic acid. They are actually researching related to diabetes and PAD..but many feel these are related issues to vessel disease, period. There are corresponding studies conducted out of Denmark/Germany. The smoking risks to heart, brain and body are very well established. It's your choice whether your own findings are more valid than the scientist's findings.

LP(a), and VLDL3 the hidden lipid factors that I have, has a much higher risk of stroke (thrombus) and H/A. I have open large vessels, too. Perhaps this accounts for my early expression with SOB/CP and small vessel vasospasm. After a couple of years of skirting these issues, I decided to do extensive reading and educate myself.

Six times more women die of heart attack than from breast cancer. Much of this may have to do with our behavior, food, chemicals, smoking, interacts with our genes. It's why we have an explosion of diabetes worldwide. As they say in the financial world, DYODD - do your own due diligence (read with your own eyes and make your own decisions). Doctors are just a shortcut to that process if we choose to believe them.

All the best ~ Mary

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Dear ball, Sounds like a lot of disbelief of the medical profession. I wanted all good thoughts during every operation done to me. I can't bring myself to think the doctor, who was inside my heart to reverse the damage that I'd done to myself for 50 years, is part of some worldwide conspiracy that doesn't want to cure me by hiding wonder drugs in plain sight "as seen on TV".

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Puddintain,
How would a doctor know about a 'secret' drug if none are studied except pharmaceuticals? I am serious... you even have Cardiologist believing that an essential enzyme like Co enzyme is hogwash. How in the world can a doctor say Coenzyme is not necessary when your cells need it for proper functioning of mitochondria???????????????
This is not an opinion but pure anatomy and physiology. Everybody knows Statins deplete the body of coenzyme. Even your statin companies admit that.

I believe that God knew best. We were not born taking drugs. All of these things that our heart needs like arginine, taurine, carnitine, folate, magnesium, vitamin c are normally gotten from a whole balanced diet. The food we eat today are stripped of those nutrients. These amino acids are normal nitric oxide donors. They do exactly what ace inhibitors do.

Of course once the damage is done to our body, the doctor need to prescribe temporary measures, cause that is all they are temporary... stop taking the drugs and see what happens. The underlying problem is still not fixed. I have seen the body self heal( doctors call it miracles).

I don't think doctors have made a conscious decision to hide any treatments. I think what they know is what they know. Everyone should be doing their own research.
I applaud Ballofconfusion for thinking for herself.
How many women on here are still suffering and they are on tons of drugs they got from the doctor? So obviously that is not the 100% answer either.

Respectfully,

Bre

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Hello B of C

I'm wondering why you don't buy the theory that your smoking caused enough coronary artery damage to cause your heart attack? Every single cigarette hurts the delicate endothelial cells lining our arteries, and the more years those cells are affected, the greater our risk of heart disease. It's natural for us to ask WHY? WHY? WHY? and have a nice neat packaged answer (like "strong family history of 40 year olds with heart disease") but sometimes even knowing the reason doesn't make much difference TODAY in how are treated.

There are many non-drug ways to lower blood pressure (regular exercise is a very good way) especially if your BP is only a "little on the high side".

For example, following the anti-hypertension DASH diet has been shown to have a measurable effect on blood pressure, "lowering levels within two weeks of starting the plan. Not only was blood pressure reduced, but total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad cholesterol" were lower, too." See http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3862329/k.4F4/Healthy_li ving__The_DASH_Diet_to_lower_blood_pressure.htm

Re L-Arginine: here's a Canadian government Health Advisory on it from 2006:

******

May 16, 2006
ADVISORY: For immediate release

OTTAWA - Health Canada is advising patients who have previously had a heart attack not to use L-arginine supplements because of a recent study showing an increased potential risk of death when used after a heart attack.

L-arginine is an amino acid which is commonly used to sustain and promote healthy heart function. However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2006 suggests that L-arginine may not help improve heart and circulatory function following a first heart attack and may be associated with an increased risk of death when used after a heart attack.

All L-arginine products must carry a warning on their label that reflects the recent scientific information. Health Canada has issued a stop-sale and recall on L-arginine-containing products that do not have the appropriate warning labelling. As well, products containing L-arginine must have market authorization before they can be sold in Canada.

For patients with heart disease who have NOT had a previous heart attack, taking L-arginine is unlikely to present a risk and may provide benefits since L-arginine may help the body repair damage to blood vessels in the heart.

*****

I am certainly no apologist for Big Pharma, but I suspect that they are not likely to secretly spend any money on sponsoring research to discredit L-Arginine, whose sales are but a teeny tiny drop in the bucket among their "competition".

This isn't a simple matter of "drugs are bad, vitamin supplements are good". And it's not true that only pharmaceuticals are studied. The Mayo Clinic's Consumer Health section on Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a gold mine of useful and specific info at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alternative-medicine/SA00078

It's also important to remember that the vitamin/supplement biz is a completely unregulated industry, at least until sweeping regulatory laws go into effect next year - unless the powerful supplement industry lobbyists are successful in their fight against regulation.

XOXOXO

http://www.myheartsisters.org

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Kenna, My whole point exactly. There are tons and tons of research done on non- pharmaceuticals. Take your pick and Google Scholar . You will find hundreds and hundreds of studies supporting supplements for the heart.
http://scholar.google.com/schhp?hl=en&as_sdt=20000000
What I am saying is that Pharm reps are NOT going to go into a doctors office promoting Garlic.
Even the 'trusted' Mayo Clinic gives garlic a thumbs up for cholesterol . How many traditional Doctors have you ever heard of prescribing garlic for high cholesterol?
Now my holistic doctor would prescribe it. Either approach could be correct in my opinion. The body is so complex and no one has a monopoly on medicine or none of us would be suffering through this heart disease.

It just amazes me how people will gladly take a drug with 100 side effects-most of the cardiac drugs include Mi and strokes side effects- but will hesitate to take a supplement even when it has proven to help certain conditions.
Here is a wonderful website that Doctors go on to get alerts about certain medications. Consumers can also sign up. Once you start getting these alerts one might feel differently about the FDA approving all of these drugs.

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm

Bre

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Thanks to everyone for your comments!

Mary,
Thanks for all of your insights. Gives me a lot to think about & research as a lot of the issues you bring up are far beyond the scope of my understanding & research to date. This is all new to me.

Puddin,
I have great faith in my doctor. I don't believe I expressed any doubt about my doc. Doctors are swamped & are presented with lots of compelling info from drug companies. It would be ludicrous to believe that alternative therapies are marketed to docs in the same manner. Naturally, because of the exposure to pharma marketing, they are going to be geared towards using those therapies & very possibly have little knowlege of alternatives. Case in point: my parents were both in general practice, but viewed alternative therapies as unprofessional & silly. Why? Because they were barraged by drug reps promoting their products. Not that drugs are bad or evil, certainly not! Its just that maybe there are other things out there. As I kid I was put on oral antibiotics for everything. It wasn't til I got married that I learned of wonderful over the counter stuff like Neosporin.

BreBre- Geez!!! Now something else to research!! I didn't know that statins deplete the body of co-enzymes. So what do I do now?? I'm on a statin & God knows why? My lipids were always excellent & I never watched what I ate. Good genes. But it is considered "best practice" to put me on a statin anyway because I had an MI. I guess I will have to figure that one out!! There is just too much to know! I just started checking out Google scholar- too cool! Thanks! But I think I'm gonna need a medical dictionary!!!

Kennarina,
I have seen discussions on Arginine that reference that study, but non give specifics of the study. Perhaps I need to do more research on that specific study to satisfy my "inquiring mind". Do you know who did the study? I am always the skeptic & 1 study does not neccesarily convince me of the pros or cons.
Another thing I forgot to mention in the "why I don't buy it dept regarding cigs" is that I really attribute my MI to withdrawl from Effexor- which is another long story. I will probably start a discussion on Effexor in the near future.
Agreed! Not all alternatives are good, not all drugs are bad! No doubt this is an absolute truth. It is ashame that there isn;t more federal regulation of vitamins, etc. There is so much info out there on alternatives, it is hard to decipher. I will check out the Mayo clinic links- thanks!

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Dear Ball, and everyone, all docs subscribe to The New England Journal of Medicine, yes they interact with pharma salesmen. Is that supposed to be a bad thing? As for the "good old days" when we were using "smarter-natural supplements" with no side effects, Re: A book from a Cambridge University study, "A Global History from 1800 to 2000, the life expectancy in developed countries has increased , from birth, 30 years, to age 75. undeveloped countries 65 years. I truly believe pharma's drug Plavix is keeping me alive as I write this.

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Puddin, I think you are missing the point & only focusing on one part of the discussion here.

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I found the study in Jama. Although I am not medically literate enuf to interpret all of the data, from what I can glean the sampling was relatively small (<200 people) & what the subjects died from doesn't jive in my head with having a relationship to arginine's supposed attributes positive or negative. It isn't conclusive to me from a logical standpoint. Perhaps those of you out there with a better medical lingo understanding would have a more educated perspective on the study after reading it. Mary?
http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/295/1/58

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Doctors attribute everything from acne to impotence to smoking. I am sick of it. I quit smoking over a pack a day and a year later I was in the hospital twice with 2 stent operations. My dad smoked non-filtered Pall Malls for 60 years (2 packs a day) and drank a fifth of booze a day - never spent a day in the hospital and dropped dead at 83. He had a long, productive, fun life. My uncle on the other hand had my mother's side of the family heart problems, had 3 bypasses, and on the 4th said "no more". He died 6 months later very young. Genetics, family history, I believe, define who you are and what problems you will have.

I have 5 sisters and 1 brother. I am the only one with heart problems.

I have never read anything about arginine. But I do also believe that Big Pharma rules our country, and doctors don't look for natural remedies.

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Mary, not all evils are proliferated by drug companies, but drugs like statins are being pushed on people whether they need them or not. I don't know why the medical profession is so dependent or if payoffs are occuring. I know that once you are on a medication the chances of getting off are slim and none even though they have to keep testing your kidneys and liver for damage.

I don't respect the medical profession anymore. I've had too many quacks parading as doctors.

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I don't mean to be so pessimistic, but finding good diagnosticians is costly and time consuming, if you can find them. I wonder that healthcare has become such a large business, with the haves and have nots, and the new healthcare bill from the fed gov will make everything worse - there was a deal with huge pharma. Our drug costs will go up; insurance premiums will go up; jobs are being lost and I can't seem to have diagnosed clouds in my head.

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Spoke to my cardio doc yesterday & he said go ahead & try the arginine. I was impressed that he even knew of its "attributes". He told me altho he didn't think it would have an impact, to go ahead & give it a try. So I am going to try it for awhile. My BP is borderline, so he wasn't too worried & said I had some leeway.

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I am sorry I missed this before I posted about taking L-Arginine for MVD.... but somehow i did miss it. Lotsa interesting talk and info!!

I have been now taking the L-Arg for 2 weeks and I had gone off the CCB about 4 days prior to taking the L-Arg. Which was my choice for several reasons and I had NO CHANGE taking the CCB for a month but the L-Arg seems to be taking affect. It is slight but my O2 needs feel different. Less short of breath as often I think and I will have a follow up phone call (the doc is 6 hrs away) this coming week after Christmas to see if I should try upping my dose for more benefit. The chest pain is not different but never has been so I tolerate it for now. (I am cursed/blessed with very high pain tolerance) Maybe my local cardio doc will weigh in come January and I will add the CCB back in if it seems it will help the pain along with the L-Arginine. I did want to see L-Arg affect without another drug if possible and in my state I could do that. Everyone is different.

Would love to hear if B of C had any benefit????!!!

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Has anyone read another study that confirms the results of the JAMA study? I have not, therefore I am still taking my 4 gms of L-Arginine every day with my doctor's blessing, stopped my statin, and am doing great at age 80...Unless the above mentioned study is repeatedly tested I will not be concerned. I admire research for drugs that help, but I do resent tacics that some drug companies use that discourage the use of alternative substances because of financial reasons. I work with a holistic pharmacist who monitores all my alternative meds and that gives me a secure feeling. By now I know more about them then my doc, but she respects my knowledge. Keep up this wonderful discussion LADIES AND HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY, tRIXI

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TNorth,
Do you mind sharing who your holistic pharmacist is?

bre

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Arista,
This is very exciting news that Arginine is working for you. I wonder why your doctor was skeptical?

bre

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Artista, What is B of C? Sometimes I see the abbreviations here & am clueless- sorry! Ok here is my anecdotal evidence... last 3 weeks I have been taking total of 1 gr per day of the larginine & also magnesium. I do think my BP has decreased slightly overall. I am not taking any other BP meds. Keep in mind that my high at this point in time is only 140/80 on average & my lows are 120/70. But I am seeing less of the high numbers overall. I am gonna up my arginine a bit because I would like to see a consistently lower pressure. I also am seriously working out almost daily. But I had been exercising all along & hadn't seen any real changed til the arginine. The arginine may be giving me a bit of diarreah tho...

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Ball how much magnesium are you taking and what is the brand?

Bre

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