Book review: ‘Stop America’s #1 Killer’ proves origin of all coronary heart disease is arterial scurvy

David Lehnert  ·  Feb 01, 2016

Despite the massive amounts of funding and science devoted to combating heart disease, it remains the number one cause of death in America, accounting for a quarter of all deaths. Dr. Thomas Levy says that heart disease is a result of vitamin C depletion in the body, and that it is both preventable and reversible by maintaining optimal levels of vitamin C. In Stop America’s #1 Killer!, he explains the science behind heart disease and cites more than 650 scientific studies to support his claims. He also explains why modern medicine has missed the critical piece of the puzzle.

Many people have a simplistic understanding of heart disease: Fat we eat somehow gets deposited in our arteries and eventually leads to either a heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately, the science is much more complicated than that, and there are many competing theories within the medical field of how the biochemistry of heart disease works.

Scientists are still searching for a single ultimate cause, but within the medical profession there is a consensus that the focus needs to be on broad risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Dr. Levy says that we must find a way to do better than treating only the symptoms of people who are at risk for heart disease.

In the conventional model, it is assumed that high cholesterol in the blood causes clogged arteries. Dr. Levy says that plaque buildup comes only after vitamin C has been depleted in the arteries. He also says that all risk factors for heart disease are connected to vitamin C, and that each risk factor either depletes vitamin C or contributes to heart disease when vitamin C levels are depleted.

Dr. Levy explains that plaque buildup is a symptom of a long-term vitamin C deficiency. He cites studies which demonstrate that sufficient levels of vitamin C must be maintained in the arterial walls for collagen, a key component responsible for maintaining the integrity of the arterial wall, to be present in optimal quantity and quality.1, 2, 3 Without sufficient vitamin C, the walls become weak and watery, which allows irritants such as cholesterol, calcium, bacteria, and toxins to enter the wall, causing inflammation. Dr. Levy cites several studies which demonstrate that all arterial plaques contain inflammatory cells.4, 5 Inflammation is a protective process initiated by the body in response to an injury, and it walls off damaging substances in the body.

Dr. Levy says that as long as vitamin C levels remain low, the arteries will continue to narrow because of the stream of irritants that get in and the inflammation that occurs in response to the irritants. He cites two studies which suggest that inflammation appears to be the ultimate driving force behind the progression of atherosclerosis (the narrowing of an artery) and the eventual complete obstruction of an artery.6, 7

Dr. Levy reviews 22 major risk factors for heart disease, citing evidence for each that they contribute to heart disease by either depleting vitamin C or affecting our arteries when vitamin C levels are too low.

High blood pressure is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. Dr. Levy says that high blood pressure is only a risk factor when there is an accompanying vitamin C deficiency which has weakened the arterial wall. He writes that high blood pressure results in mechanical wear on arteries, especially coronary arteries due to their proximity to the heart, and that this wear can initiate and help increase atherosclerosis.8, 9 Dr. Levy again cites several studies which demonstrate that vitamin C, as either part of a regimen or on its own, is helpful in lowering high blood pressure.10, 11 A vitamin C deficiency compounds high blood pressure as a risk factor, as it both causes high blood pressure and weakens the arterial wall.12, 13, 14, 15

The next factor, cholesterol, is still focused on as a major risk factor in the medical field, but Dr. Levy says that cholesterol does not cause heart disease and that its involvement as a factor doesn’t necessarily depend on high blood levels of cholesterol.16 Dr. Levy states that cholesterol, much like blood pressure, increases atherosclerosis by contributing to the inflammation process only when there is a vitamin C deficiency. Dr. Levy also writes that cholesterol is capable of neutralizing a wide variety of toxins that are in the body and that a high serum level of cholesterol appears to be indicative of a large presence of toxins in the body.17, 18, 19, 20 Dr. Levy says that cholesterol levels will be elevated in response to toxins not being neutralized by vitamin C, and that in the absence of vitamin C, an elevated cholesterol level can contribute to the inflammation process in our arteries.

Diabetes is another well-known risk factor for heart disease. Dr. Levy says that hyperglycemia can induce a state of advanced vitamin C deficiency and that sugar and vitamin C have similar chemical structures and compete for getting into cells.21, 22 Dr. Levy says that based on this evidence, greater levels of sugar in the blood will always result in lower levels of vitamin C in a person’s cells, which means the body can’t use vitamin C to strengthen the arteries. This vulnerability sets the stage for unrestrained acceleration of the injury-inflammation cycle.

Another factor associated with diabetes is the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar. Insulin also plays a part in moving vitamin C into cells, and Dr. Levy says that this is due to the similar structure between glucose and vitamin C.23 He also says that vitamin C plays a critical role in the pancreas and helps to regulate the release of insulin.24 In people with diabetes, their bodies are trapped in a vicious cycle with a vitamin C deficiency at the heart of the issue.

Dr. Levy also includes a chapter on refined sugar in our diets. A hundred years ago, the average amount of sugar consumed annually per person was ten pounds. By 1994, it had increased to 150 pounds per person. Dr. Levy says that when you look at the huge increase in sugar consumption and the fact that sugar competes with vitamin C to get into cells, the rise in deaths from heart disease makes sense. Unless the vitamin C can get into cells to nourish them and promote the creation of new healthy cells, the arterial wall begins to break down. Dr. Levy also says that high blood sugar interferes with the ability of vitamin C to stimulate the creation of collagen.25

In a chapter on age and gender, Dr. Levy explains that it is much more common for a heart attack to occur when we are older, and that serum vitamin C levels are lower when we grow older due to a wide variety of stresses or chronic diseases.26, 27, 28 He says that this is an important reason for us to take vitamin C, especially as we grow older and experience a wide variety of conditions that deplete our vitamin C stores.

Gender is also an issue. Males tend to have lower levels of vitamin C than females.29 To compensate for this disadvantage, Dr. Levy recommends that males take about 25 percent more vitamin C than females.

In Dr. Levy’s conclusion he answers the question, “How do I protect myself from heart disease?” He outlines supplementation and diet plans that complement one another to maximize vitamin C stores in the body. Dr. Levy says that it is critical to take what he refers to as “optidoses” of vitamin C, ranging from 3 to 9 grams per day depending on your size, age, and gender.

Optimal dosing may be 100 times or more than typically recommended amounts. For example, it is important to realize that the Recommended Daily Intake guidelines only indicate the levels of nutrients needed to prevent full-blown chronic diseases. They don’t reflect nutrient levels that promote optimal health, merely the absence of major deficiency symptoms.30

Even more information about how to determine optimal dose, especially when facing viruses or bacterial infections, and how to use various forms of vitamin C—oral, intravenous, and liposomal—is available in Dr. Levy’s book Curing the Incurable, which was reviewed in the May 2015 newsletter.31

Dr. Levy also insists that a successful protocol for preventing and reversing heart disease must include a total dental revision, especially the removal of root canaled teeth, because infections in the teeth and mouth are the primary source of toxicity which can result in systemic disease. He has written a full-length book on that topic called Roots of Disease.32

Finally, Dr. Levy says research indicates that physical activity and reducing stress both have a positive impact on vitamin C levels.


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