Dr. Dean C. Bellavia



Reducing Your Heart's Effort

Friday, 20 February 2015 11:08
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Are you getting the nutrients you need to keep your heart healthy?  Do you know how to determine whether your heart is working as efficiently as possible?  Maybe this pearl can help.


Your heart uses two methods to supply the blood that nourishes your body’s cells:

1)  By deciding to pump faster or slower (your pulse rate)

2)  By deciding to pump more or less harder (your Systolic Pressure)

Your heart pumps harder and/or faster if you physically or emotionally exert yourself and pumps less harder or slower if you are physically or emotionally relaxed.  That’s the way it is; your heart puts forth an effort to keep you alive, oscillating between these two methods.


Thus, if you multiple the Systolic Pressure by the Pulse Rate you get what I call the "Heart Effort" required to run your body.  And the lower your heart effort, the less stress you put on your heart.


Unfortunately, most physicians ignore your pulse rate (and thus your heart effort) and only rely on systolic and diastolic pressure to determine the health of your heart; they also recommend lower sodium levels.  Every day since 1996 I have been keeping track of every nutrient I ingest using a computer program.  Every day since 2008, I have been keeping track of my systolic, diastolic and pulse rate.  After over 2,500 days of data-taking and hundreds of hours of analysis, I have come to the following conclusions about heart health:

1) Systolic pressure increases with age

2) Pulse rate decreases with age

3) Diastolic pressure slightly increases with age

4) Heart effort (systolic x pulse) increases very slightly with age

5) Heart effort decreases significantly with potassium increase (but only for potassium naturally found in foods)

6) Heart effort decreases slightly with sodium increase (but only for sodium naturally found in foods)

7) Systolic pressure and Heart Effort increases significantly with sodium derived from table salt


Thus, if you increase your potassium to an average of about 4,000 mg/day, you can reduce your heart effort no matter what your age.  It also helps to do aerobic exercises a few times a week.


See the attached Excel spreadsheet to keep track of your potassium intake and heart effort.

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