110_healthconditions_arteries

Atherosclerosis, also known as “hardening of the arteries,” occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard structures called plaques. Over time, these plaques can block the arteries and cause problems throughout the body.

Hardening of the arteries begins with an injury to the endothelium, the lining, of artery walls. The injury is due to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, eating too much sugar and flour, smoking, free radicals produced by bodily processes and many other factors.

In response to the injury, white blood cells, along with lipids (fats), begin to accumulate along the inner layer of the artery. These fats and white blood cells begin to oxidize (become rancid) and build up in the artery walls, forming plaques. These plaques begin to harden and bulge inward, and then grow larger. Even then, there are no symptoms until the narrowing reaches 70 percent. If the plaque is disturbed or bursts, blood platelets can accumulate at the site and form a clot, which can grow until it completely blocks an artery and cuts off the oxygen supply to the heart, brain, or other body part.


Pieces of plaque can also break off and move to smaller blood vessels, blocking them. If the clot completely blocks the blood and oxygen supply to a major artery leading to the heart, the tissue begins to die within minutes. A heart attack ensues. If an artery to the brain is blocked the result is a stroke. Atherosclerosis that affects the arteries in the arms, legs or pelvis is called peripheral artery disease.

Healthy blood vessels are elastic and flexible, accommodating changes in physical activity and stress levels. But in atherosclerosis, blood vessels stiffen and reduce blood flow by 15 percent or more. Your heart has to work harder to make up the difference.

Atherosclerosis is responsible for coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in the US. It is responsible for at least 43 percent of all deaths in the US. The only countries beating us in heart disease deaths are India (#1 at 1.5 million deaths yearly), China (#2 at 700,000 deaths yearly), and Russia (#3 at 670,000 deaths yearly). The US has 500,000 deaths yearly. There are 2002 statistics. Worldwide, heart disease is running rampant as our deadly diet is reaching the corners of the globe.

Symptoms

Atherosclerosis is often called the silent killer, as the first sign for many is a fatal heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis doesn’t cause any symptoms until narrowing of an artery reaches 70 percent or becomes completely blocked. In blockage of heart arteries, symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain (angina). Angina feels like pressure or squeezing in the chest. It results from reduced blood supply to the heart muscle, an increased demand for oxygen by the heart, or emotional stress. It can also manifest as pain in the shoulders, arms, back, neck or jaw. Angina typically worsens with activity and is relieved with rest.
  • Shortness of breath. This is your heart or body gasping for oxygen that is not being delivered due to blocked arteries.
  • Indigestion. This can be a result of angina or a heart attack.
  • Arrhythmias. An abnormal heartbeat can be too slow or too fast.

Narrowing or blockage of an artery in or leading to the brain can result in a stroke. The following signs could be clues that you are having a stroke:

  • Trouble with walking. You may stumble or fall after experiencing sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
  • Trouble with speaking and understanding. You may experience confusion. You may slur your words or have difficulty understanding speech.
  • Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg. You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of your body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Similarly, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes. You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or you may see double.
  • Headache. A sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness.

The symptoms of peripheral artery disease, where arteries are beginning to harden in the legs and arms, include numbness, tingling, pain, and infections.

Causes

If you are older than 20, and have been eating a typical diet, chances are atherosclerosis has already begun. Risk factors include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance, Prediabetes, or Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stress
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol

Inflammation is the underlying cause of atherosclerosis and many other serious diseases. High blood levels of a protein called C-reactive protein indicate inflammation. Though modern medicine seems to blame high cholesterol for the disease, other parameters like fibrinogen and homocysteine levels are far more dangerous and indicative of atherosclerosis.

In the past, a diet high in cholesterol was viewed as a cause of high cholesterol, but this view is too simplistic. The body does not simply ingest cholesterol and then deposit it into the arteries. Cholesterol from food has no effect whatsoever on the level of our blood cholesterol. Cholesterol is only dangerous when it has been oxidized (by smoking, alcohol, bad diet, and not exercising). Many studies show that the damage caused by high blood sugar — from eating too much sugar and grains — scars the insides of the arteries, leading to damage. The liver then produces cholesterol to repair the damage. Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for repair of the arteries. Without it (when you take statins), you’re left with no way to repair the damage your diet and lifestyle are causing.

Heavy metal toxicity plays a role in atherosclerosis. Zinc deficiency, copper deficiency, or cadmium toxicity, weaken arterial walls and as a compensatory measure, the body deposits calcium or fatty substances to reinforce arterial strength. Imbalance in the calcium/magnesium ratio or an elevated calcium level may be associated with deposits of calcium in arteries. This response to toxicity and nutrient deficiencies hardens the arteries.

Many other toxins screw up cholesterol chemistry and contribute to hardening of the arteries. Phthalates in soft plastics and water bottles leach out into food and water that then sit in your cells and damage their ability to properly metabolize cholesterol. Teflon from your frying pan or mercury from fish and dental fillings also damage your cholesterol chemistry. There are thousands of industrial chemicals working synergistically to destroy your body and its ability to protect itself. The only answer is to educate yourself on toxic substances, avoid them and detox your body of these poisons. You can read more about how to avoid common toxins in my blog post Reduce Your Exposure to Cancer Causing Agents.

Diagnosis

An examination with a stethoscope, where your doctor is listening for a whooshing or blowing sound, can indicate atherosclerosis. High cholesterol levels that show up on blood tests suggest an increased risk for atherosclerosis. The following tests can also help diagnose atherosclerosis:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): A test to record the heart’s electrical activity. It shows how fast the heart is beating, its rhythm, and can reveal signs of heart damage caused by coronary artery disease and signs of a past or present heart attack.
  • Echocardiogram: This test uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. It also yields information about the size and shape of the heart and how well the heart’s chambers and valves are working. Echocardiography can also reveal areas of poor blood flow to the heart, areas of the heart that aren’t contracting normally and previous injury to the heart muscle caused by poor blood flow.
  • Computed Tomography (CT Scan): With this test you get computer-generated pictures of the heart, brain or other areas of the body. In the case of the heart, it can show narrowing of large arteries and reveal calcium build-ups in coronary artery walls.
  • Stress Test: This is a test to show how long you can continue to walk on a treadmill as the speed increases and how fast your heart rate returns to normal after 30 minutes or less of exercise. A stress test can also reveal abnormal changes in heart rate or blood pressure, shortness of breath or chest pains and abnormal changes in your heart’s rhythm or electrical activity.
  • Angiography: A flexible tube (catheter) is put in a blood vessel of the arm, groin or neck and dye that can be seen on an x-ray is injected through the catheter to the arteries. Then x-rays show whether plaque or a clot is blocking an artery, how severe the blockage is and the blood flow through the arteries.
  • Ankle/Brachial Index: This test for peripheral artery disease compares blood pressure in the ankle with blood pressure in the arm to reflect how well blood is flowing.
  • Doppler Test. These use ultrasound or sound waves. It can show how well blood is moving through the arteries.
  • Magnetic Resonance Arteriography (MRA). This is a special type of magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scan that can show how well blood is moving through the arteries.

Conventional Treatment

If hard science and patient benefit were central factors in determining treatment, these conventional procedures would be a rarity. But invasive cardiology has nothing to do with science. It has nothing to do with saving lives or improving quality of life. It has to do with money. These procedures generate more than $120 billion a year, a windfall that makes up approximately 45 percent of the total revenue of most hospitals! That’s why angioplasty and bypass remain popular, despite dozens of studies — not one of them showing that either of these procedures prevents heart attacks or premature death for the overwhelming majority of people. Even if you get one of these procedures, half of patients are clogging up their ‘new or improved’ vessels within six months of the operation.

The following medical treatments and procedures are likely to be recommended by your cardiologist:

  • Angioplasty. This is done to open blocked or narrowed coronary arteries, improve blood flow and relieve angina. It may include installation of a stent (a small mesh tube) to keep the artery open after the procedure. According to findings from the COURAGE trial—the definitive study on elective angioplasty— eight of 10 patients who undergo this procedure are inappropriate candidates who would be better served by more conservative therapy. Even when the angioplasty procedure is performed without problems, the artery can narrow again months afterward. For instance, my father has this procedure done, but it did not hold and needed to be redone. It ultimately did nothing for his heart health. Narrowing of the artery post-angioplasty can be caused by blood clots occurring at or near the site of the treatment. Aspirin, heparin, coumadin, warfarin or combinations of anti-clotting drugs are generally used before and after the procedures to try and prevent this. Warfarin and coumadin were originally and still are used as rat poison. Oh, but it thins your blood so you should take it if you have heart problems.
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting.  A surgical procedure that involves taking blood vessels from other areas of your body to “bypass” narrowed areas of coronary arteries in order to improve blood flow to the heart, relieve chest pain and, possibly, prevent a heart attack. This same procedure may be used to bypass narrowed or blocked arteries in the leg. This surgery is invasive and unnecessary. Simple dietary and lifestyle measures can completely reverse blocked arteries. My grandfather and uncle both had this procedure. It involved months of recovery with both speaking of never feeling the same again. The both entered into a slow, steady decline following the surgery. Studies show that you’re more than twice as likely to die from this surgery as you are from heart disease.
  • Carotid endarterectomy. Surgery to remove built-up plaque from the carotid arteries in order to restore blood flow to the brain in an effort to prevent a stroke. This surgery can result in bleeding, infection, blood clots, brain damage, stroke or heart attack.
  • Aspirin. Fire your doctor if he recommends taking aspirin to prevent heart attack. High cholesterol and heart disease is not caused by a deficiency of aspirin. Two decades ago it was shown in the Journal of the American Medical Association that aspirin provides no protective benefit. Eight other studies have shown aspirin more than doubles your chance of having a stroke. Aspirin also promotes age related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in seniors. So, why is this treatment recommended? A 1992 Lancet study funded by the Bayer Corporation (oh, the maker of aspirin!) concluded that aspirin reduced the risk of heart attack. The reason this study showed such great results is because Bayer provided the study with Bufferin, which contains magnesium oxide. Magnesium deficiency is rampant in our society, contributing to all kinds of health problems, including heart disease. It was actually the magnesium, rather than the aspirin, that showed such promising results.
  • Low Cholesterol Diet. As soon as high cholesterol is diagnosed, you’re told by your doctor to go on a low cholesterol diet. Eeeeh. Wrong. This is dangerous advice. Without sufficient cholesterol, we cannot make our hormones or the membranes of our brain, heart, and other cells. Our brain is 25% cholesterol. It needs cholesterol to function. Without sufficient dietary cholesterol, you are more vulnerable to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. This is useless advice because the liver can make three times as much cholesterol in a day as you could eat. It makes 80% of our cholesterol regardless of dietary intake of cholesterol. The dietary staple shown to increase cholesterol is sugar, flour, and refined grains.

Wendy’s Recommendations for Natural Treatment

Modern medicine says that hardening of the arteries cannot be reversed once it has occurred. This is not true. With commitment to alternative treatments and changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can reclaim your health. On the flip side, I realize there are some people unwilling to make these lifestyle changes. It takes work and dedication — or they can’t afford treatments their insurance won’t cover. In these cases, conventional treatment may be the only answer to extend their life. I recommend making the following natural treatments to both lower the risk of atherosclerosis and reduce symptoms once it has manifested.

Lifestyle

  • Exercise. Regular exercise helps maintain the health of the vessels leading to the heart. Exercise also can strengthen the heart muscle itself. Walking after meals, even just for 10 minutes, can reduce blood sugar after meals, and prevent further damage to the blood vessels.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking oxidizes cholesterol, causing it to deposit in your blood vessels and contribute to atherosclerosis. This is the single most important change you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. A great program is 14andout.com.
  • Control blood pressure. While I don’t recommend controlling blood pressure by taking blood pressure medication, I do recommend all the suggestions in the brilliant book The Blood Pressure Hoax by Sherry Rogers.
  • Control cholesterol. The standard tests for cholesterol are outdated. The standard cutoff for high cholesterol is 200, but healthy levels are different for many people. You don’t want your cholesterol levels too low either. Low cholesterol levels below 150 are associated with premature death and many, many health problems. The body needs some cholesterol. You want to look at the size of your cholesterol particles, not just the total cholesterol number. Most doctors do not look at this parameter, even though it is the only meaningful way to evaluate cholesterol numbers. You can have LDL cholesterol that looks normal, say 100, but you may have over 1,000 small LDL particles which are very dangerous. On the other hand, you can have the same LDL number of 100, and it may be made up of 400 large particles which cause no real health risk. HDL cholesterol is very protective — it cleans up oxidized LDL. LDL cholesterol is the culprit causing hardened and blocked arteries. It’s fine as long as it’s not oxidized, but it becomes oxidized with smoking, lack of physical activity, stress, industrial chemicals and a toxic diet. For more information on how to control your cholesterol and get to the root cause of the issue, listen to my podcast with Jimmy Moore, author of Cholesterol Clarity.
  • Control diabetes. High blood sugar contributes to hardening of the arteries. Note that current research shows that statins (cholesterol-lowering medications) may, in fact, contribute to diabetes. I beg you to reconsider when your doctor advises you to take toxic medications like statins or insulin. You’ll be taking meds to control your high cholesterol, which cause diabetes, which in turn causes hardening of the arteries! Medications make people sicker quicker. Diabetes can be cured. See Diabetes, Natural Approaches by Dr. Lawrence Wilson. You can also listen to this podcast I did on how to Heal Diabetes Naturally. 
  • Maintain good dental health. In a new study published in the British Medical Journal researchers found that people with poor oral hygiene had a 70 percent increased likelihood of developing heart disease compared to those who brushed regularly. Because gum disease can cause atherosclerosis, it is vital to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Flossing breaks up bacteria colonies in the gums that can get into the blood stream and cause infection and inflammation in other parts of your body. Most importantly, be sure to have regular dental checkups and get your teeth cleaned every six months to remove plaque buildup. If this is not removed, you are very likely to get periodontal disease, which contributes to heart disease.

Alternative Treatments

Start a Nut Bal Program SMALL
  • Nutritional Balancing with Hair Mineral Analysis. This program tests for mineral levels and heavy metals, allowing you to do targeted remineralization of your body – imperative for your health and detoxification. The underlying cause of most disease and health conditions are chemical and heavy metal toxicity. Hardened arteries are in part due to zinc deficiency. The body is then forced to patch the arteries with cadmium, a toxic heavy metal, that makes the arteries hardened and brittle. Eliminating heavy metals and industrial chemicals, built up in your system over your lifetime that are aggravating or causing this condition, will no doubt help atherosclerosis. In the process, you will greatly increase your overall health and prevent future diseases from developing. I offer extensive information on this site on how to detox from heavy metals and chemicals. For more information see Start a Nutritional Balancing Program.
  • Infrared Saunas. Infrared Saunas are imperative to sweat out the hundreds of industrial chemicals we ingest every day. These chemicals not only contribute to hardening of the arteries, but so many other diseases and health conditions. Read more about them in my blog about Infrared Saunas.
  • Enhanced External Counterpulsation. EECP is a nonsurgical therapy with incredible benefits for the cardiovascular system. It stimulates the formation of collateral circulation, or new blood vessels around clogged arteries. This is like a natural heart bypass! It’s much cheaper than open heart surgery, which will run you $100,000. EECP can be performed every day for 30-45 days at $200 a session. The overwhelming majority of people who do this therapy do not end up having to undergo bypass surgery.
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) restores blood flow and helps build collateral circulation. HBOT forces oxygen into your cells, oxygenating your tissues and clearing out toxins.
  • Hippocrates Health Institute. If you need serious intervention to improve your health look no further than the Hippocrates Health Institute. This amazing institution has rejuvenated patients, very much alive today, after their doctor told them there was nothing more to be done and to go home to die.
  • The Whittaker Wellness Institute. Whittaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, Ca is one of the largest alternative medical centers in the US. Want to truly cure your atherosclerosis? Go here instead of your conventional doctor.

Supplements

I recommend purchasing supplements from a website like Pureformulas.com that sells only the highest quality supplements. I also have very high quality supplements on the Live to 110 Store.

  • Multivitamin. I offer a list of good multivitamins on my blog The Best Multivitamins. I also have a great multi called Megapan in the Liveto110 Store.
  • Fish oil. 2–8 g daily. EPA and DHA, fish oil’s primary omega-3 fatty acids, reduce inflammation, lower blood lipids (especially triglycerides), improve blood viscosity, and normalize heart rhythms. Taking these supplements can reduce cardiovascular mortality by as much as 45 percent. Reduce the suggested amount if you eat fish three times per week.  A great EPA-DHA from small fish can be found in the Liveto110 Store.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). 200–600 mg daily. This antioxidant helps protect LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from oxidation, maintain healthy blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and can support optimal functioning of the heart muscle. You MUST take this if you have ever been or are currently on statins (high cholesterol medication). If you doctor did not recommend this supplement when prescribing statins, he is acting irresponsibly and shows a lack of scientific knowledge of the drug he is prescribing. When you go on statins, it prevents your liver from producing protective cholesterol and CoQ10, which you need to protect your arteries from further damage. I like Integrative Therapeutics UBHQ CoQ10. Their other CoQ10 supplements are good, too.
  • Niacin. 500–2,000 mg daily. Results from a clinical trial published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine proved that this supplement actually reverses blockages in the carotid arteries! A great brand is NiacinTime from Carlson. It does not have the same negative side effects (redness, itching) that some niacin supplements can have.
  • Magnesium. 400–1,000 mg daily. This mineral relaxes the smooth muscle tissues that dilate the arteries and reduce blood pressure. Heart medications and blood pressure medications cause magnesium deficiencies, making you sicker. Magnesium, as with any mineral, should only be taken in chelated form. Large amounts of magnesium can cause diarrhea so build up your dose gradually. A great magnesium supplement that is paired with calcium is Paramin, available  in the Liveto110 Store.
  • TMG (Trimethylglycine).  TMG is a vitamin-like substance that does a great job of lowering homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that, in excess, is irritating to the arteries and is strongly associated with inflammation and hardening of the arteries. Homocysteine level is a much more reliable indicator of heart disease than cholesterol levels. To lower homocysteine, most doctors suggest a combination of supplementary vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid rather than TMG, although TMG may work better and is recommended for inherited homocysteinuria. For more information on TMG, see Trimethylglycine or TMG by Lawrence Wilson, MD.
  • L-Arginine. 1g, 3 times daily. Arginine is an amino acid that is the precursor to nitric oxide, which is a primary regulator of blood pressure. Nitric oxide signals the smooth muscle cells of the arteries to relax. This increases their diameter and allows blood to flow more freely with less pressure against arterial walls, thus lowering blood pressure. The recommended starting dose of arginine is one gram three times a day, although some people require double that dose to notice benefits, and doses up to 20 grams are sometimes used. An easier option is time-release arginine.
  • R-Lipoic Acid. 300mg daily. In a recent study at the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, researchers reported that 300 mg of R-lipoic acid improved endothelial function by almost 50 percent, and the antioxidant also enhanced the benefits of a drug used to treat heart disease. I prefer R-lipoic acid to the more popular alpha-lipoic acid because R-lipoic acid is all natural, making it more effective, while alpha-lipoic acid is a combination of natural and synthetic lipoic acid.
  • Plant Sterols. 1,800 to 2,600 mg daily. Sterols (also called phytosterols) are natural fatty substances found in all plants. Similar in structure to cholesterol, plant sterols and stanols (saturated sterols) have unique health benefits—and none of cholesterol’s negative effects. In one study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, daily intake of 1,800 to 2,600 mg of sterols decreased total cholesterol by 10.2 percent and LDL cholesterol by 14.1 percent.

Food

  • Follow a low-glycemic diet. You must remove sugar, flour, and refined grains from your diet. Ideally, ALL grains, including whole grains, should be removed. The consumption of these foods raises blood sugar, which damages blood vessels. Consequently, your liver produces cholesterol to go in and repair the damage caused by these foods. This is one of the main causes of atherosclerosis.
  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. The Modern Paleo Diet is the perfect diet to reduce inflammation, a major cause of atherosclerosis. It is also low-glycemic.
  • Omega-3. Atherosclerosis is associated with a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. Eat more oily fish, fish oil supplements, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and flax seed. Grass fed, organic meats have significantly more omega-3 than conventionally raised factory-farmed meats. Factory-farmed meats are very high in omega-6, which block the absorption of omega-3 even if you eat sufficient quantities and take fish oil.
  • Garlic. Long revered for its health benefits, garlic is rich in antioxidants and increases nitric oxide production. In a study of 15 men with coronary heart disease, researchers found that 2.4 grams of aged garlic extract reduced endothelial dysfunction by 44 percent. You can eat either raw garlic, aged (fermented) garlic, or take Kyolic aged garlic extract.
  • Flaxseed. Mix a quarter cup of ground flaxseed in juice and drink it once a day, an hour before your main meal. Flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber. Soluble fiber binds to bile acids in the intestinal tract and interferes with the reabsorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. In addition, flaxseed is nature’s richest plant source of protective omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Because the oils in ground flaxseed can quickly become rancid, I recommend using whole flaxseed, rather than pre-ground seeds. Whole flaxseeds are extremely shelf-stable and can be stored for years. Organic golden flax seeds are the best. These tiny golden or brown seeds have a rich, nutty flavor and can be sprinkled on cereal and salads or mixed in water or a protein drink (stir and drink quickly, as it thickens as it sits). Simply grind them in a food mill or coffee grinder before serving. Ground flax seeds can be kept fresh in the fridge for two months.
  • Avoid Trans Fats. These deadly fats raise cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease more than any other food. They are in almost all processed foods and ALL fast foods. If trans fats were eliminated from the food supply, heart disease would be reduced by 50%! Avoid any foods with partially hydrogenated oils or interesterified fats on the ingredient label.
  • Avoid Fried Foods and Vegetable Oils. Research on endothelial function has clearly shown that eating deep-fried foods can have a disastrous effect on your blood vessel tone. Vegetable oils are touted as healthy by the food industry because they are so profitable, but they are actually highly inflammatory. The only exception is healthy olive oil.
  • Avoid Wheat. Wheat is known to cause inflammation and other health problems in most people, not just those with gluten sensitivity. There are typically no symptoms, unless you are gluten intolerant. Gluten is the protein in wheat. Repeated exposure to wheat accelerates glycation (a type of chemical reaction that happens when sugar molecules attack proteins or lipid fats) in the lining of your arteries, contributing to hardening. Read more about why wheat is bad for you in Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. For more information, you can also read my blog Gluten Sensitivity Affects 1 in 3.
  • Avoid Sugar. Blood sugar must be controlled in order to stop and reverse the onset of atherosclerosis. This means avoiding sugar and anything else that will raise blood sugar, like most refined grains. Sugar acts like shards of glass in the arteries. It cuts the insides of the arteries, causing scar tissue. This scar tissue builds up and hardens the arteries. Sugar and other refined carbohydrates elevate insulin levels. Increased insulin levels are associated with increased cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and death from cardiovascular disease.

I hope this article spares your life and a lot of pain. I believe it clarifies the fact that you can overcome heart disease with natural treatments and completely sidestep conventional treatment. Of course, there are always exceptions – some cases are resistant to natural treatment. Western medicine only offers medication and surgery, which I believe should be last resort treatment options for atherosclerosis and heart disease or in an emergency such as a heart attack. I watched my father choke down over 10 medications a day, endure two angioplasties, and undergo countless heart tests. None of it did any good. He did tons of research on his own and seemed to be incredibly informed in his decisions. He mistakenly didn’t consider anything outside of western medicine. He died at the young age of 68. This does not have to be you.

Have I left anything out of this article? Do you have a story about how conventional medicine made you sicker or how natural treatments cured you? Please leave a comment below. I want to hear your story!


References
1. Analytical Research Labs. Metabolic Aspects of Hypertension.
http://www.arltma.com/Articles/HypertensionDoc.htm
2. Campbell-McBride, Natasha, MD. Put Your Heart in Your Mouth. Medinform Publishing, 2007.
3. Cleveland Clinic. Carotid endarterectomy.
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/endarterectomy/vs_carotid_endarterectomy_overview.aspx
4. Davis, Williams, MD. Wheat Belly. Rodale, 2011.
5. Ehealthmed.com. Angioplasty. March 16, 2012.
http://ehealthmd.com/content/risks-and-possible-complications#axzz2Mozuj3eX
6. Hyman, Mark, MD. Seven Tips to Fix Your Cholesterol Without Medication. January 28, 2011.
http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/01/28/seven-tips-to-fix-your-cholesterol-without-medication/
7. Louis, PF. Taking Aspirin Regularly Causes Severe Degenerative Eye Disorders.
March 1, 2013.
http://www.naturalnews.com/039305_aspirin_eye_disease_long_term_side_effects.html
8. Mass Genomics. A Formula for Dosing Humans with Rat Poison.
http://massgenomics.org/2010/05/rat-poison-saves-live.html
9. Murray, Michael, ND. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Atria Books, 2005.
10. Rogers, Sherry. The Cholesterol Hoax. Prestige Publishing, 2008.
11. Sola S, Mir MQ, Cheema FA, et al. Irbesartan and Lipoic Acid Improve Endothelial Function and Reduce Markers of Inflammation in Metabolic Syndrome. Circulation, 2005;111:343-348.
12. Weil, Andrew. Atherosclerosis. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03421/Atherosclerosis.html
13. Williams MJ, Sutherland WH, McCormick MP, et al. Aged garlic Extract Improves Endothelial Function in Men with Coronary Artery Disease.
Phytotherapy Research, 2005;19:314-319.
14. Whittaker, Julian. Magnesium for Heart Disease… and More. http://www.whitakerwellness.com/health-concerns/treatments-for-heart-disease/magnesium-supplements/
15. Whittaker, Julian. Naturally Reduce your Risk of Heart Disease. June 10, 2011.
http://www.whitakerwellness.com/2011/06/risk-factors-for-heart-disease/
16. World Health Organization. Cardiovascular Disease World Data Table.
http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/en/cvd_atlas_29_world_data_table.pdf

This material is for educational purposes only. The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

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Filed in: Alternative Medicine, Blog and Podcast, Health Conditions, Survive

Wendy Myers, CHHC, is a certified holistic health and nutrition coach and founder of Live to 110. Her passions include getting you healthy, Paleo, converting vegetarians, retoxing and detoxing. Look for her new book coming soon, The Modern Paleo Survival Guide.

     

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  1. Random Avatar
    Evan Brand March 10, 2013

    Wendy that was an incredible article. It’s actually a sigh of relief for me, there’s so many things that can go wrong with the human body..

    It’s amazing how far people have been led in the wrong direction.

    The best sentence in this entire article could be that we are not suffering from an aspirin deficiency

    Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Wendy Myers March 10, 2013

    I’m glad you liked that line! So many modes of conventional treatment offer medications to cover up symptoms. But their illness did not arise as a deficiency of statins or heart medication. The cure is reversing the diet and lifestyle that got a patient in their health crisis in the first place!

    Reply
  3. Random Avatar
    Darlene Patrick March 10, 2013

    You might also consider the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego. They offer the same services (in fact I think they were the first ones to offer this ) as the Hippocrates Health institute. They are also considerably less expensive

    Reply
  4. Wendy Myers March 10, 2013

    Thank you for that suggestion. I didnt realize the Optimum Health institute was more reasonable. thats a very goid point. I was considering adding more natural healing institutions for people to consider but there are so many! Tried to keep it simple :)

    Reply
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  10. Random Avatar
    Jodi Higgins August 23, 2013

    I have CAD and had a heart attack 14 months ago. Not to go into huge detail but I was eating pretty clean, exercising & had my BP under control & did not have high cholesterol.

    I am also a recent graduate of IIN, and while I do most of the things you recommend by way of eating, lifestyle & supplements. I can’t believe you are advising me and everyone to NOT follow the advice of our cardiologist – “take your advice instead”. And “throw away our statin drugs”, as well as our blood pressure medication. I’m listening to you tell me that flax (which I have 2T daily) is a natural statin and so I don’t have to take my statin meds anymore.

    There are other reasons for statins after a heart attack when you already have CAD like stabilize your plaque so you don’t have a stroke. It is very nice that you are giving other alternatives . While I agree with many of the things you said – I have to say as I was having my heart attack due to a 98% blockage in a major artery I was very grateful for my cardiologist, and the stent he inserted. I would really listen to yourself again after reading our scope of practice recommendations.

    Reply
  11. Wendy Myers August 25, 2013

    Statins are shown to help people who have had heartattack. However, they are not shown to prevent heart attacks in people who have never had a heart attack. Statins do tremendous damage to people. My whole point with the article is to get people thinking about alternatives rather than just blindly taking meds that doctors prescribe like candy that have very, very serious side effects. I watched my father get so weak on them he could barely walk to the bathroom.A fairly common side effect is muscle wasting. I also watched my brilliant father develop major depression and brain fog – caused by statins – for which he was prescribed anti-depressants. We need cholesterol to function. The brain needs cholesterol to function, seeing that it’s 25% cholesterol. Taking a cholesterol-lowering medication is playing russian roulette with your health. It does not address the root cause of why do you have high cholesterol. Cholesterol is just the messenger. It is usually grain and sugar consumption, but can also frequently be caused by poor thyroid funciton, which is ALWAYS the case in overweight people. However, statins can be warranted in people who refuse to change their lifestyle or do not respond to lifestyle changes. their side effects are better than dying of a heart attack. But be warned, they sound like a good idea now, but I’d pay close attention to the side effects that are coming your way if you stay on them long-term like most people do.

    My father had a stent, too, but they typically only hold five years. His kept popping out of place. And then they had to put in another one in a different artery. Again, this is for people who are so far gone that they don’t have time for lifestyle changes to take affect.

    I’m not knocking doctors. Doctors do miraculous things. They save lives. Case closed. But they are not so great at managing chronic diseases and are way too quick to whip out the prescription bad. It takes too much time to hold a patient’s hand and convince them to change their lifestyle. this is where I come in. i have seen so many cardiac patients on 5+ meds. This is the quickest way to an early grave.

    In all, I would recommend for you to do a nutritional balancing program. One of the reasons for plaques is cadmium toxicity. You can read more about it here.

    http://www.drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/HEART%20ATTACKS.htm

    http://drlwilson.com/Articles/CARDIOVASCULAR%20DIS.htm

    Nutritional Balancing Science was developed by a physician. Your cardiologist will think it’s a joke only because he’s never heard of it. But You will have a far better chance of beating another heart attack and recovering your former functioning than taking a bunch of toxic meds that will only control your symptoms. they aill not heal you. Modern medicine is not a healing modality, but it does a good job of covering up symptoms so you can function. Good luck :)

    Reply
  12. Random Avatar
    Steve Deck November 11, 2013

    Would like to learn more about the heart

    Reply
  13. Wendy Myers November 11, 2013

    I will try to arrange that! You can start with my blog post Red Meat does not cause disease. It talks a bit about the heart and the fact that cholesterol and saturated fat are not necessarily bad for you. It’s a bit more complicated than meets the eye.

    Reply
  14. Random Avatar
    Hamid Shadaram December 17, 2013

    its work very good

    Reply
  15. Random Avatar
    Muhammad Akhlaq December 21, 2013

    Really an informative and well described article.

    Reply
  16. Random Avatar
    Nadine December 27, 2013

    Love this article and agree with all of it! I’ve done extensive reading on the cause of high cholesterol. If only I could get my husband to believe it! He thinks low fat/lo carb is the way to go and is basically starving (well, not quite) himself. He had a heart attack a month ago and had a stent placed as he had 99% blockage in the right coronary artery and there was no choice at the time. I just keep praying that he’ll see the light.

    Reply
  17. Wendy Myers December 28, 2013

    I’m very sorry to hear that. I highly recommend you try to get him to listen to my podcast with Jimmy Moore: http://www.liveto110.com/cholesterol-clarity-with-jimmy-moore/ It’s really informative about the best diet for health and the devastating effects of statins. My father, who had two stents, probably would not have listened to me either – he was so in awe of his doctors – who frankly, killed him. Perhaps now you will have some leverage when speaking to him that if his diet and dr recommendations were working that he should not have had a heart attack. Keep chipping away. Your efforts will pay off! I’m happy to do a free consult with him if he’s willing!

    Reply
  18. Random Avatar
    Elize January 29, 2014

    Excellent article. I feel sorry for the older people that have to undergo these invasive procedures unnecessary. Here in South Africa its also becoming an everyday occurance. . Wish there was a like button for this.

    Reply
  19. Wendy Myers January 29, 2014

    thank you so much!! You can certainly share it on your social media!!

    Reply
  20. Random Avatar
    Theresa January 30, 2014

    In list of supplements to take, should also include K2. This helps ensure that calcium goes into bones rather than calcification and plaque. Have a number of friends who have started taking this and had significant results in removing painful calcification from joints. One had a mild heart attack, and when they investigated, could find no plaque at all. Concluded that the problem was in an artery so small that they couldn’t access it.

    Reply
  21. Wendy Myers January 30, 2014

    That’s a good suggestion to include K2. One can also get plenty of K2 from eating raw dairy and cheeses, especially brie. Pasteurizing milk destroys K2. I agree calcifications of the tissues is an issue. The program I use to decalcify my body is Nutritional Balancing. Works wonders.

    Reply
  22. Random Avatar
    russell February 2, 2014

    Hello Wendy,

    I recently quit smoking (over 30 years). If I follow the program carefully, how long could I expect for my arteries to reverse (to that of a non-smoker) from smoking induced atherosclerosis? Im not looking for a guarantee, just a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you.

    Russell

    Reply
  23. Wendy Myers February 2, 2014

    If you’re referring to a Nutritional Balancing program, you could be looking at 2-3 years, perhaps more. You have to think in terms of that fact that it took decades to get your health in the predicament you’re now in. You’re not going to do something for a few months or pop a pill and expect miracles to happen. I only offer reality. A nutritional Balancing program will detox all the metals and chemicals from the cigarettes, the most concerning one of which is cadmium.

    Cadmium is used to repair the arterial walls, but leaves them hardened and brittle, increasing the risk of plaque ruptures. Cadmium accumulates if you smoke cigarettes or have a lack of dietary zinc, which if you’ve been following the American Heart Association’s bogus dietary recommendations, you’ve probably excluded zinc-rich red meat from your diet for a long time resulting in a zinc deficiency. My plan encourages red meat consumption within the context of a healthy diet, plus supplements (including zinc) you need to nourish the body and lifestyle and detox recommendations. All of these things will repair your arteries in time. A nutritional Balancing program basically rebuilds the entire body by simply giving it the nutrients it needs and removing toxins blocking proper function. Learn more at http://www.liveto110.com/start-a-nutritional-balancing-program/

    Reply
  24. Random Avatar
    Ken Neal February 4, 2014

    Hi I was getting a cardo cath in last two days to find I havs a artery at the apex of my heart clogged and is dead.Heart has done a natural bypass called Collaterl over and long period of time..I want to reverse all plaque to that artery by using Nitious oxide along with LArginine/vitamine C also L Citruline along with oter vitamins to see if I can reduce and get rid of this plaque aling with diet change.Other arteries are fine just this one.I have moderat isceamia of that .I prefer to go the natural way ..Is this a good plan and will it work.I work out 5 days a week 3 1/2 hours each day..Let me know if this sounds good as Im using other vitamins as well like Niacin COQ10..Id appreciate your help in this matter…Ken

    Reply
  25. Wendy Myers February 5, 2014

    If it were me, I’d do a strict Paleo diet with no sugar and very little to no grains for 6 months and get checked at that time to see what your full cholesterol panel looks like and check the blockage. However, diet along is not likely going to cut it. You need to heal your entire body, most likely your adrenals and thyroid as well.

    Working out 3 1/2 hours a day is waaaaaay too much. People mistakenly think that exercise is always healthy in any amount. But you are only depleting your body of minerals, fatiguing your adrenals and destroying your thyroid. You will eventually become sicker by putting your body through this stressor. I would keep it to one hour four days a week. When you work out too much, it depletes your body of minerals and stresses out the adrenals. I just had a friend that worked out that same amount, even if he hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before. At 48 he was diagnosed with colon cancer. his body was completely depleted. It’s not worth your health to overexercise!

    More than anything you need rest to heal your body. Whenever you have a health condition, the most important thing to do it REST. At the very least, be sure to sleep 8-10 hours per night.

    All the supplements you mention sound good, especially the coQ10. However, those alone are not going to reverse the plaque. If it were me, i would do a nutritional balancing program. This program gives you the nutrients and minerals your body requires to heal itself. Your body will eventually clear the plaque. Cholesterol is a sign of a damaged artery and of chronic infections of the body and thyroid dysfunction. Damaged arteries can be caused by cadmium toxicity, which is caused by a zinc deficiency (from not eating red meat). Plaques can be caused by mercury toxicity. It can be caused my many, many things. It’s best to be on a program to heal the whole body rather than symptomatically attempt to treat this one blocked vein, etc. Nutritional Balancing will take care of all these potential causes. It remineralizes while detoxifies the body. Find out more about my program: http://www.liveto110.com/start-a-nutritional-balancing-program/

    Here are some good articles on this subject.
    http://drlwilson.com/Articles/CHOLESTEROL.htm
    http://drlwilson.com/Articles/CARDIOVASCULAR%20DIS.htm
    http://www.drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/HEART%20ATTACKS.htm

    Reply
  26. Random Avatar
    rollinterryreed February 14, 2014

    Very interesting. I really believe with a deep passion that preventive medicine is the real key to preventing clogging of the arteries. I dropped my cholesterol 60 points in 5 1/2 weeks. I used a combination of Metamucil, apple cider vinegar, exercise, eating an apple each day, and still eating an egg (removing 1/2 the yolk), and reading the Bible regularly. Other preventive measures were applied, but not enough time to discuss. Also, I am running more efficiently at age 66.

    Reply
  27. Wendy Myers February 14, 2014

    Good for you! I might avoid that apple a day. There actually is a study where eating an apple a day actually raised cholesterol and triglycerides. It’s because of their high sugar content. Sugar in any form raises cholesterol. I’m sure all your other measures are working beautifully! Congrats!

    Reply
  28. Random Avatar
    Wendy February 15, 2014

    Thank you Wendy, this is one of the best articles I have read on this subject. I refused to take cholesterol medication and have reduced LDL cholesterol by reducing sugar and processed carbs from my diet. I have also lost weight by doing this.
    You are one of the few people who have stated that dietary sources of cholesterol do not affect cholesterol levels. I wish more people knew this. There is so much bad information out there.

    Reply
  29. Wendy Myers February 15, 2014

    Same name and on the same page!

    Reply
  30. Random Avatar
    Caroline Leclercq February 16, 2014

    The water we drink is very hard, full of limescale and it is difficult to obtain bottled water. Does the hard tap water increase atherosclerosis? Many thanks for your reply. A most interesting & helpful article.

    Reply
  31. Wendy Myers February 16, 2014

    It can contribute to is if it contains cadmium, which is likely. Cadmium displaces zinc in the body and the body then uses it to patch arteries where there are damages. Cadmium is very brittle and does a poor job of repair. Over time the arteries become brittle and hardened and more likely to rupture or cause high blood pressure. There are also so many horrible things in tap water its hard to even describe – medications (which are not checked for or filtered), chlorine and fluoride which block thyroid hormones production, heavy metals, etc. the list goes on and on. You can learn more about it in this blog post: http://www.liveto110.com/what-kind-of-water-should-i-drink/

    Reply
  32. Random Avatar
    Patty February 24, 2014

    Well I wish I had some of the right answers to all of this. I do not believe in most pill pushers and lost my dad and a few uncles at very young ages. Myself 50 and working out and trying to eat right, Now, Yea I know should have yrs age. In good shape now and work out mostly every day and take natural supplements that have read our good. Doing Juice diet, detox ect. Will it work, not sure if I will ever Know.

    Reply
  33. Wendy Myers February 24, 2014

    I think juicing is good in moderation. I’m not really into juice fasts as most are already so nutrient deficient that doing extended juice fasts leaves them more depleted. Even though juice is nutrient dense, meat and cooked vegetables are FAR more nutrient dense. If we go too long without them it just leaves you even more out of balance. Keep doing juicing, but limit it to one juice per day. The most effective method of detox is Nutritional Balancing – it is comprehensive and addresses all concerns at the root of health issues.

    Reply
  34. Random Avatar
    David March 9, 2014

    Excellent article Wendy. Have you heard anything about Vitamin K2 reversing calcium in the arteries? If so, do you prefer MK4 or MK7?

    Reply
  35. Wendy Myers March 10, 2014

    I’m not a big fan of singling out a single vitamin as the magic bullet to reverse calcification of the arteries. But one needs to get K2 in their diet if they plan to have healthy arteries and bones. I think the best way to reverse hardened arteries is to do a complete nutritional balancing program that contains all the nutrients for arterial health. I’ve been supplementing bioavailable calcium but all the while my calcium levels on my hair mineral analysis have been coming down! So, to reverse calcifications of the arteries one also needs to supplement bioavailable chelated calcium citrate, even though this may be counterintuitive. You can get Vitamin K2 from raw dairy, raw cheese. Pasteurization destroys the K2. If you don’t do dairy you can also supplement with K2. This is a very interesting article about calcium: http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/calcium.htm

    Reply
  36. Random Avatar
    Jitesh Jain April 2, 2014

    Another approach to natural healing is through Ayurveda, there are several Ayurvedic herbs that are clinically proven to reduce cholesterol levels and keep the heart healthy. Terminalia Arjuna (Arjun), Emblica Officinalis (Amla), and Tribulus terrestris (Gokhru) to name a few of them. These have been tested and found to be extremely beneficial in reducing cholesterols, controlling blood pressure and strengthening heart muscles.

    Reply
  37. Wendy Myers April 2, 2014

    My only issue with Ayurvedic herbs is that herbs contain heavy metals and I would never recommend them for long term use. Short term would be fine, however. Heavy metal toxicity is one of the main factors in heart disease and hardened arteries. Unfortunately this is a reality today and we must exclude use of food or herbs that are toxic with heavy metals, even though they may benefit us to some degree in other ways. Herbs have an affinity for pulling metals out of the soil. So, I generally recommend avoiding ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbs.

    Reply
  38. Random Avatar
    Diana April 11, 2014

    Hi, I am 33 ,smoke for over 15 years,on the 12th of last month I was diagnosed with bilateral arterial stenosis 60% blockage in my legs, I’ve had high blood pressure for over 2 years in which I was never treated for also in the past 2 years I’ve had an extremely high amount of stress, I’ve stopped smoking but have been using the vapo oil electronic cigg…my Dr now has me on 1 children’s aspirin a day, 1 lisinopril 5mg a day for high BP, simvastatin 10 mg at bed time due to high cholesterol and then cilostazol 100mg twice a day to supposedly expand my arteries for easier blood flow & less pain, I’ve always ate a lot of fruits and vegetables, as well as remained a very active person,the they tell me I will never be able to bring that 60% down only prevent it from getting worse, I’ve changed my eating habits tremendously by cutting out all types of salt, sugars and grease, I also try to walk atleast 45 minutes a day occasionally skipping a day from time to time, I’ve only found all this out on the 11th of last month after complaining about the pain, sores on feet and toes always freezing as well as turning dark purple since October 2013, I go to a vascular specialist next week, could you tell me your opinion on my situation and how you would go about treating it? Thanks so much in advance, seeing it being said this can be reversed gives me even more hope,and i would be 100% willing to do whatever it takes to get this started… Diana

    Reply
  39. Wendy Myers April 11, 2014

    HI Diana! I’m sorry you’re in such a state. Undoubtably, you have heavy metal toxicity that is contributing to your health issues. Smoking gives you cadmium toxicity, which is used to repair your arteries, hardening them and this results in high blood pressure and vascular issues. You must detox this cadmium, among other toxins to reverse your health issues.

    Here is a good article to read about healing the cardiovascular system: http://drlwilson.com/Articles/CARDIOVASCULAR%20DIS.htm

    Here’s an excerpt from the article:
    TOXIC METALS

    Toxic levels of certain minerals are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Toxic metals harm the body by displacing vital minerals in enzyme binding sites.

    Cadmium replaces zinc in the arterial walls, causing increased brittleness and hardening of the arteries. Cadmium in the kidneys causes congestion that can raise blood pressure, placing extra stress on the entire cardiovascular system.

    Iron. Toxic levels of iron can infiltrate the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure. Iron is also an extremely inflammatory mineral that can inflame the arteries and other structures of the heart. Diseases such as hemochromatosis and hemosiderosis involve a buildup of iron in and around the heart.

    Mercury, lead and other toxic metals can contribute to calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper deficiencies and thereby increase blood pressure and increase the risk of other cardiovascular symptoms. Mercury is also involved in some heart rhythm problems and other heart diseases. Mercury can affect the heart’s pacemaker, leading to arrhythmias and other disorders.

    I would always recommend someone do a nutritional balancing program to reverse their hardened arteries and heal their cardiovascular system. It is the best detox and healing program I have encountered. Medicine is not a healing modality and only serves to cover up symptoms to make the patient more comfortable.

    Reply
  40. Random Avatar
    WILLIAM DARTER April 13, 2014

    My circle of health care experts are recommending Magnesium Chloride as best-uptaken form of Magnesium. Any thoughts?

    As I have significant carotid blockage, I want to thank you for the heads-up on the New England Journal of Medicine article. Which I haven’t found yet. Got a reference?

    Reply
  41. Wendy Myers April 13, 2014

    Magnesium chloride is good but I personally take magnesium citrate, specifically Magnesium (from magnesium hydrolyzed rice protein chelate and magnesium citrate). You want chelated magnesium for it to be the most absorbable.

    Reply


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