“Physicians have plateaued in their understanding of heart disease by limiting themselves to only five risk factors.” Mark C. Houston, MD, MS.
My younger sister is sixty-two years young. Recently, I was shocked when she rang me from the cardiac ward of my local hospital. In a weak voice, she briefly explained that two days earlier she had collapsed in her kitchen; her husband found her, and she was rushed by medevac to the hospital.
The cause of her collapse remained unknown. However, her cardiologist did determine one problem: Namely, that her right coronary artery was 80 percent occluded (closed), and he proceeded to install a medicated stent to hold open the collapsing artery.
In a pleading voice, she asked me why this brush with death had happened to her. She explained that she had taken every possible precaution in leading a healthy lifestyle, including exercising daily, consuming healthy food, and not smoking. Indeed, I knew that she lived on a small farm in rural America, exercised regularly, and ate fresh fish and vegetables daily.
“How could this happen to me?” she pleaded.
Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney take center stage
Recent research in leading medical journals has revealed that CVD can be detected early and reversed!
I explained that her problems are similar to those of Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney. President Clinton received a bypass in 2004; after following a strict healthy diet similar to my younger sisters, his major arteries closed again in 2010, necessitating the insertion of two medicated stents to allow blood to flow to the heart. Unfortunately, in 2007, The New England Journal of Medicine reported that this very expensive stent procedure does not minimize heart attack risk and coronary mortality (1).
Indeed, mainstream cardiologists are often quoted in the media stating that CVD (cardiovascular disease) patients usually need reopening of the major arteries every four or five years. Bill Clinton’s cardiologist offered little comfort when he was quoted as saying there is no cure for this condition, only excellent treatments. A similar story can be told about Dick Cheney and his cardiologists. Namely, Cheney took statin drugs (e.g. Crestor® and Lipitor®) for more than two decades and still suffered five heart attacks, which led to a recent heart transplant. Furthermore, all of Cheney’s and Clinton’s cardiologists adamantly state that CVD cannot be prevented or reversed.
Unknown to these cardiologists, Merck reported in two internal lab memos in 1999 that statin drugs deplete and block CoQ10 production, and CoQ10 is absolutely critical for normal heart and vascular health! Recent research has revealed that CoQ10 and selenium supplements are essential to cardiac function and longevity in seniors (2). Also, recent research from leading medical journals such as NEJM has disclosed that CVD can be detected early and reversed (3-8) by employing advanced testing and treatment.
Early detection of CVD
C-reactive protein is an even more important risk factor for CVD than well-known high cholesterol.
Armed with recent knowledge from other prominent medical journals such as Lancet and JAMA, I asked my younger sister a few basic questions. For example, during the last ten years at her annual physicals, did her doctor test her blood for C-reactive protein, homocysteine, fibrinogen, and heavy metals? Did he test for hormone imbalances? Did her doctor refer her to a cardiologist for a routine stress EKG test?
To all these questions she unfortunately answered, “No.” I patiently explained that if her doctor had routinely tested for these six factors, her clogging arteries would have revealed themselves years earlier, and she could have taken steps to stop the plaque damage and reverse the clogging of her arteries. Indeed, published research indicates that physicians should pay particular attention to blood levels of homocysteine because heart patients with homocysteine levels above 15 nmol/L have 500 percent more heart attacks (8)! Other important studies (references 3-7) reveal that C-reactive protein is a more important risk factor for CVD than well-known high cholesterol.
C-reactive protein testing is much preferred to cholesterol testing because it reveals chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is apparent in renowned actors Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mickey Rourke. Their physical appearances are caused by edema (puffiness) despite their obviously robust and muscular bodies. If these fine actors were tested for C-reactive protein, their tests would reveal excessive amounts of an inflammatory factor called ‘interleukin 6’ or ‘Il 6’ that is made in the liver or originated from consumption of red meat. In other words, someone could appear as healthy as these three muscular men, but appearances are deceiving, and clogged arteries may be lurking even in apparently healthy bodies.
Last, I later realized that ultrasound tests had not been done on my sister’s carotid and femoral arteries. These basic tests would have disclosed heart and arterial dysfunction including plaque building upon the walls of her neck and leg arteries. A pity, because a similar but cheaper testing device, Bio-CUFF™ measures arterial elasticity, is now available. I strongly recommend the home version of this device for regular measurement of arterial elasticity and arterial health.
I mused to myself that many general practitioners had not kept up with developments in antiaging medicine described in references two through eight and in my book, Stay 40 (10). Instead, they took their fees and relied upon their outdated medical educations acquired decades ago—educations based upon only testing for lipid profiles (cholesterol) and prescribing statin drugs. This caused tragedy for Americans who wished to avoid one of the most common diseases of aging. Please remember that Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney took statin drugs for many years, yet they still suffered heart attacks!
Alternatively, scientists have now proven that fish oil (11), high-dose vitamin C, niacin, and healthier eating work as well as the statin drugs (9). It’s too bad the FDA and drug companies neglected to disclose that more than half of all cardiovascular mishaps will occur with these drugs! Also forgotten is the basic fact that one out of three Americans will incur heart attacks or stroke if they remain untested as described above.
Chinese medicine has employed preventative remedies since 1025 A.D.
Obviously, the preceding paragraphs explain a situation all too common in the United States today; namely, preventative medical care exists only sporadically. However, I believe that some changes will occur in future health care. Case-in-point: If you have Medicare, try making an appointment with your doctor for the aforementioned eight CVD tests, and you will discover that most of the doctor’s fee will not be covered by Medicare. Paying only lip service to preventative medicine is a significant American tragedy that I hope will change in coming years.
However, Chinese medicine has employed preventative remedies since 1025 A.D. (10). Starting in 1025, Chinese emperors used completely natural bio-identical hormones as a hedge against the diseases of aging. Especially important are the natural bio-identical hormones Armour® thyroid and oxytocin (Oxy-Pro™), which regulate blood pressure.
Harvard Medical School endorses bio-identical hormone replacement therapy
Also critical to cardiovascular health is the essential hormone testosterone (Andro-Pro™). In 2010, the faculty of the Harvard Medical School published a book titled ‘Testosterone for Life’ (12) recommending natural testosterone as essential to the health of men and women, even those with active cancer. This fine book confirms the benefits of testosterone as practiced by Chinese royalty for nearly a millennium. Second, I encourage everyone to read in detail about ancient Chinese and current preventative medicine (10).
In modern medical care in the United States, it is your responsibility to insure preventative health care. Perhaps this means paying out of your own pocket for these eight CVD tests and remedies that reverse CVD. Contrary to what conventional cardiologists may say, it is possible to reverse CVD.
Reversing cardiovascular disease
The life you save may be your own or that of a loved one.
I strongly recommend a host of natural remedies to reverse the clinical markers of CVD. A typical protocol practiced by knowledgeable antiaging physicians begins with heavy metal analysis and chelation/ elimination of undesirable metals such as lead and mercury. For example, my younger sister measured three times the normal mercury in a recent test. (Note that autopsies of people with advanced heart disease often show thousands of times the level of mercury in their heart tissue compared to that found in normal young adults.)
Second, scientists have discovered that aerobic exercise can positively reduce inflammation and cardiovascular disease. The key is to exercise at least four times weekly for one hour daily. Each hour should be divided into forty minutes of high intensity resistance or strength training, followed by twenty minutes of moderate aerobic activity.
In addition, inflammation can be significantly reduced if one daily consumes Nitric Pro™, curcumin (turmeric), ubiquinol (CoQ10), vitamins C and K, fish (11) or borage oil, N-acetyl-l-carnitine, isoflavones, theaflavins, and fiber (Beyond Fiber™). I consume daily the first half of this list as supplements and the second half as part of my food intake. Note that two to three grams daily of fresh curcumin significantly normalizes cholesterol.
For improving heart and cardiovascular function, it’s absolutely critical to take daily 5000 units of vitamin D3 (D3-Pro™) and 100 mg of ubiquinol (CoQ10).
Third, one should reduce general stress by trying to live a quieter, more meditative lifestyle. If this is not possible, you definitely need to consume a full-spectrum antioxidant such as my patented formula, ACF 228™, along with a cardio-nutritional supplement such as Cardio-Pro™. For improving general heart and cardiovascular function, it’s absolutely critical to supplement daily 5000 units of vitamin D3 (D3-Pro™) and 100mg of ubiquinol (CoQ10). (100 mg daily allows blood levels of CoQ10 to rise to approximately 2mg/dL, an especially optimal level for this critical mitochondrial enhancer.)
I also recommend daily consumption of pomegranate juice if one suffers from stress-induced angina. In clinical studies, angina is known to be reduced by 50% versus controls (13). Pomegranate reverses carotid intima-media thickness by about 35% (13)! Pomegranate augments protection of arterial walls (endothelial cells) by increasing nitric oxide. Nitric oxide may also increase by consuming Nitric-Pro™, or Neo40® lozenges. It helps vascular-smooth muscle to relax, thus relieving stress and increasing blood flow through your veins and arteries.
You can now also regularly measure nitric oxide with Neo40® test strips which are available on this website.
Hormones are also important for cardiovascular health
Hormone balancing is essential for cardiovascular health and guess what? Most people over the age of fifty have multiple hormone deficiencies! These deficiencies significantly impact stress upon your body, especially in your cardiovascular system. For example, if the stress hormone cortisol remains higher than the normal reference range of 30 to 170 (micrograms per 24 hours urine testing), the body becomes stressed, the immune system weakened, and the resulting insomnia will hamper repair of the body during sleeping hours.
I prefer to carefully suppress excessive cortisol by balancing anabolic hormones such as DHEA, testosterone, estradiol, IGF-1, and growth hormone. Balancing and adjusting these five critical anabolics to more youthful levels will insure a more modulated output from the adrenal glands, especially regarding the stress hormone cortisol and its four metabolites.
Try to achieve physiologic blood levels of hormones for improved cardiovascular health
For more optimal health during aging, I try to optimize blood levels of the aforementioned hormones, especially the previously named anabolics. By optimize, I mean correct the blood levels to those of typical twenty- or thirty-year-olds. I recommend restoring hormones if you wish to feel like a twenty- or thirty-year-old again, and at the same time, keep your body free from inflammation and consequent CVD.
Medical researchers are currently experimenting with stem cells and their seven growth factors (HGH, IGF-1, etc.) for improved heart function and cardiac regeneration. I look to a rosy future when stem cells combined with their growth factors will help to regenerate our damaged hearts and cardiovascular systems.
Mainstream cardiology has a strong economic incentive in deceiving the American public into believing that expensive products and procedures such as stents, bypass surgery, and synthetic drugs are the only remedies for cardiovascular disease. Knowledgeable physicians and patients should look beyond the droning TV ads of the conventional medical establishment and adopt remedies that truly reverse CVD.
As Oscar Wilde once said, “We are all lying in the gutter, but some of us manage to look up at the stars!”
- Boden WE, O’Rourke RA, Teo KK, et al. 2007. “Optimal Medical Therapy with or without PCI for Stable Coronary Disease.” New England Journal of Medicine. April 12; 356(15):1503–16.
- Alehagen U et al, 2012. “Cardiolvascular mortality and N-terminal proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation: A 5-year prospective randominzed double-blind placebo-controlled trail among elderly Swedish citizens.” Int J Cardiol. May 22, Epub ahead of print.
- Ornish D, Brown SE, Scherwitz, LW, et al. 1990 “Can Lifestyle Changes Reverse Coronary Heart Disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial.” Lancet. July 21; 336(8708):129–33.
- Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, et al. 1998. “Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease.”JAMA. December 16; 280(23):2001-7.
- Esselstyn CB Jr, Ellis SG, Medendorp SV, Crowe TD. 1995. “A Strategy to Arrest and Reverse Coronary Artery Disease: A 5-year Longitudinal Study of a Single Physician’s Practice.” J Fam Pract. December; 41(6):560–8.
- Sdringola S, Nakagawa K, Nakagawa Y, et al. 2003. “Combined intense lifestyle and pharmacologic lipid treatment further reduce coronary events and myocardial perfusion abnormalities compared with usual-care cholesterol-lowering drugs in coronary artery disease.” J Am College Cardiol. January 15; 41(2):263–72.
- Ridker PM, 2002. “Comparison of C-reactive protein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in the prediction of first cardiovascular events”. New England Journal of Medicine. Nov. 14; 347(20):1557-65.
- Jarosz A, Nowicka G. 2008. “C-reactive Protein and Homocysteine as Risk Factors of Atherosclerosis.” Przegl, Lek. 65(6):268–72.
- Block G, Jensen CD, Dalvi TB, et al. 2009. “Vitamin C Treatment Reduces Elevated C-reactive Protein.” Free Radical Biol Med. Jan 1; 46(1):70–7.
- Lippman, Richard. 2009. Stay 40. Denver: Outskirts Press Inc.
- Hu FB, et. al. 2002. “Fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake and risk of coronary heart disease in women.” JAMA. Apr 10;287(14): 1815-21.
- Morgentaler, Abraham. 2010. Testosterone for Life. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
- Sumner MD, Elliott-Eller M, Weidner G, et al. 2005. “Effects of Pomegranate Juice Consumption on Myocardial Perfusion in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease.” American Journal of Cardiology. September 15; 96(6): 810-4.
I am very grateful for the wonderful advice of Ward Dean, M.D. and John Henrickson Jr., M.D. used in the preparation of this article.