The Defy Aging Newsletter
Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness
a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.
December 6, 2007 Number 177
Preventing Heart Disease
ACTION TO TAKE
Develop and act upon a more sophisticated view of heart disease.
American medicine has given the public the impression that the key to preventing heart attacks is controlling cholesterol. How did this happen? Follow the money. There is more money to be made by selling prescription drugs to lower cholesterol than in healthier eating or generic supplements.
I think the best information on cardiovascular health comes from the Life Extension Foundation. I receive no consideration for recommending them. I do so because I find their research high quality and cutting edge. What they recommend usually becomes mainstream medicine a decade later. /p>
Cardiologists have focused on increasing HDLs and decreasing LDLs and triglyceride fats. They often prescribe statin medications to reduce LDLs and to some extent raise HDLs though these medications tax the liver and often have side effects like muscle weakness. Research finds they lower the risk of death from a heart attack but increase the risk of death from other causes.
The Life Extension Foundation presents a much more complex picture with 14 factors that play a major role in heart disease:
- low levels of EPA/DHA (fish oil)
- elevated C-reactive protein
- excess LDL
- excess insulin
- low HDL
- high glucose
- insufficient nitrous oxide
- excess triglycerides
- low free testosterone
- excess fibrinogen (making the blood too likely to clot)
- excess homocystine (a metabolism byproduct)
- low vitamin K
- excess cholesterol
Extreme problems with any of these can be fatal. Typically several of the factors have a cumulative effect in compromising cardiovascular health. LEF is has increasingly been emphasizing that with age the endothelial linings of blood vessels become damaged and less elastic. Rigid blood vessels and inflammation become the recipe for a stroke or heart attack.
Much of the loss of elasticity in blood vessels is due to lower levels of nitrous oxide. This may ring a bell as Viagra acts by increasing nitrous oxide, causing blood to engorge the penis. While there are numerous supplements that can help with preventing or lessening atherosclerosis ("hardening" of the arteries), three are emerging as perhaps the most helpful for blood vessel health. All three help raise nitrous oxide levels:
- pomegranate (from the fruit--also inhibits LDL oxidations and cancers)
- cocoa (dark chocolate--also helps lower blood pressure)
- superoxide dismutase (With age our bodies produce far less of the antioxidant enzyme SOD. SOD's also combats free radical damage and inflammation.)
To give an example of research finding, here is a quote form the Life Extension magazine: A second human study showed that after only three weeks of consuming dark chocolate, est subjects showed a 11.4% increase in HDL levels. In the group receiving dark chocolate enriched with cocoa polyphenols, a 13.7% increase in artery protecting HDL was observed. The white chocolate group did not show these beneficial increases in HDL, but all three groups did show a decrease of LDL oxidation by 11.9%.
Pomegranate is available as a juice or supplement. Cocoa is available in dark chocolate (it only takes modest quantities for the benefit). SOD would have to be consumed as a supplement. All three, pomegranate, cocoa, and SOD are available as supplements.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away--but doesn't make any money for the doctor, the pharmaceutical companies, or CVS.
Don't you think it's unnerving that doctors call what they do "Practice?"
The doctor took his patient into his office and said, "I have some good news and some bad news." The patient said, "Give me the good news." The doctor said, "They're going to name a disease after you."
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"Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include: Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit www.NotAging.com for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips."