Functional Medicine for Your Heart ❤️

February is National Heart Health Month, and of course smack in the middle of the month is a holiday that features hearts (and flowers, and chocolate…), so of course this newsletter is about cardiovascular health! 🌹🍫 ❤️

Heart disease is still the number one cause of death among adult women and men in the US (and globally), and that statistic has sadly held steady for several decades. Part of the issue is that the traditional medical world still approaches cardiovascular disease in a reactive way: wait until something is broken, then attempt to fix it. In functional medicine, we know that a proactive, personalized, preventative approach makes more sense. In this newsletter, Dr. Alicia McCubbins and Dr. Tiffany Mullen, both Vytal Health physicians, sit down to talk about all things ticker-related. And spoiler alert: Dr. McCubbins brought some interesting (and educational!) props to the discussion…

Announcements

⚠️ We’re including this new section in every newsletter to keep you updated on important changes at Vytal Health. Reach out to us if you have any questions! 🤗

Supplements are now through Fullscript:

 As many of you already know, we are no longer shipping supplements from our headquarters and are instead using an ordering and shipping platform called FullScript. They carry the same high-quality, physician-grade supplements that Vytal Health clinicians recommend. If you haven’t used this platform yet, we can easily enroll you so you can continue to order your supplements (and your membership discounts apply here, too!).

Booking your appointment just got a whole lot easier:

You’ll now easily find your membership plan and number in the portal in your demographics section. No more searching through your emails to locate this! 🙌

We also added a new feature to make booking appointments easier! To book an appointment with any of your Vytal Health team (physician, nutritionist, or health coach), click on the orange “BOOK APPT” button on your home page. Your membership information is automatically entered, so you don’t need to remember your membership number! Here’s what it looks like:

But do I have to pay again?

If you still have time on your plan, your visits will be paid for with your membership code. You do not have to pay again. 💃

Red Yeast Rice Extract

Many of us have problems with difficult-to-modify risks for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol, high LDL (so-called “bad cholesterol”) or elevated lipid carrier proteins Many of these issues are hereditary, and therefore not easily (or completely) solved with lifestyle changes. Over the years, statin medications have been viewed with suspicion by patients because of their high side effect profiles (muscle pain being the most common). Thankfully, there is a natural way to lower cholesterol using Red Yeast Rice extract.🌱

Red Yeast Rice extract is the product of yeast (Monascus purpureus) grown on white rice. This supplement contains compounds that lower cholesterol levels. One of the compounds is monacolin K, the same ingredient that is in the prescription cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin (Mevacor), although at a much lower potency. If used regularly, studies have shown that it can reduce LDL cholesterol 15-25%. It also appears to have an anti-inflammatory effect, similar to prescription statin medications. Since inflammation is a strong driver of cardiovascular disease, this is an important benefit. Most patients start at 600-1200 mg daily and can increase up to 2400 mg daily if needed. Potential side effects include:

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Heartburn
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

CardioMetabolic Profile

Testing your cholesterol and other cardiovascular risks can easily be done at home.🏡 The CardioMetabolic Profile uses a fingerstick blood sample to evaluate several markers of risk, including a full cholesterol panel (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, VLDL and triglycerides), as well as a high-sensitivity c-reactive protein (hsCRP, a marker of inflammation), and several tests for diabetes. This is a convenient way to get a snapshot of your risks. Depending on your results and your personal health and family history, a deeper dive evaluation can be carried out with additional blood work as needed.

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