FOOD AS MEDICINE IN PREVENTING HEART ATTACKS

FRESH VEGGIES

FRESH VEGGIES

BOTTOM LINE FOR SECONDARY PREVENTION

I thought I would simply give you the summary of statin therapy in the prevention of a second cardiac event in those who have heart disease which is termed secondary prevention. For primary prevention the last several articles demonstrated that statins confer no demonstrable decrease in all-cause mortality. In other words statins are of no use for those who do not have heart disease and wish to prevent a heart attack and live longer.  With secondary prevention, under the best of circumstances statins confer a decrease in cardiac mortality by between 20 and 30%. These percentages refer to the relative risk reduction (RRR) not the absolute risk reduction (ABR) in select populations. Translated into working mans numbers it requires about 40-60 patients taking a statin every day for 4-5 years to prevent a single cardiac event much like we saw in primary prevention. Furthermore, this only applies to a select patient population: middle aged males. Women and the elderly need not apply.

FOOD AS MEDICINE IN SECONDARY PREVENTION

With that in mind let’s see what the science tells us about food as medicine. Once again we see that simply increasing your intake of fruits and veggies can drop your risk by 22%. That exceeds the average effect of statins in some studies and lands squarely in the best category of secondary prevention met-analysis percentages. Several studies such as the famous Lyon Heart study showed that if you simply dump the cheap seed oils you normally use in cooking and instead use olive oil and eat more fish your risk of dying from a cardiac event drops by about 70% and all-cause mortality drops by about 40% (that’s deaths from any cause). Take your pick. Chronically swallowing a toxic drug which, over time, may cripple you in several significant ways which I will get to in a separate article. Or simply eat more fresh, tasty, fruits and veggies within the context of a Mediterranean diet for a more powerful health promoting effect. I don’t know, that’s a tough one.

  1. In secondary prevention studies, statins will reduce cardiovascular mortality by up to 30 percent in some people who already have established heart disease (but remember the number needed to treat (NNT) concept). But if you really want to reduce the likelihood of dying from existing heart disease (by 70 percent), then you not only have to have the patients increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, but also remove much of the omega-6 fatty acids from the diet and replace them with omega-3 fats.[1]
  1. The European Heart Journal published a massive prospective cohort study (with more than 300,000 subjects and based upon an average of eight years of follow-up) that suggested if you ate more fruits and vegetables, your likelihood of dying of heart disease was reduced by 22 percent.[2] How much is more fruits and vegetables? It is about eight servings per day, and it appeared to be a dose-response effect. For each serving of fruits or vegetables, the risk of death from heart disease goes down by 4 percent. Bottom line, the more fruits and vegetables you eat, the greater the reduction in cardiovascular death.[3]
  1. Now let’s rephrase number 1 & 2 into a commercially positive series of sound bites as in the ASTEROID study (not shown-just try to picture a nice press release for the NY Times where I have replaced the word statin with FAV’s). Drum roll please?

“The results were shockingly positive” for every serving of fruits and vegetables (FAV) taken CVD mortality decreased by 4%! Eliminating omega 6 oils and replacing them with omega 3 fats leads to a 70% reduction in CVD mortality! Substantial benefits even for those high-risk patients with low or normal cholesterol levels. Irrespective of blood cholesterol levels FAV’s should be considered for anybody at increased risk for either heart attack or stroke. FAV’s are effective for the over 70 age group as well as middle age. FAV’s work just as well for women too.

I’ve never heard a more honest, direct and powerful statement than the fictitious press release published above Let’s hear it for FAV’s!

If you follow my Super Mediterranean Diet (not covered yet in any detail see below) you will slash overall mortality, CHD risk, sudden death and heart attack risk just like we found with the Lyon Heart study, the PREDIMED and reconfirmed with the findings on increased FAV intake from the European Heart Journal.

We already know from the Lyon Heart study and the PREDIMED trial that you would benefit far more from my Super Mediterranean Diet which is the lower carb version of the traditional Mediterranean incorporating supplemental high-dose, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil instead of taking a statin. Start an exercise program, follow my suggestions on the use of key supplements, bio-identical hormones especially thyroid, and complete stress reduction even if that means you have to quit your job, and you will fare much, much better.

This in fact is what I did and serves as living proof of what you can accomplish by following in my footsteps: this way you alter your course away from statin induced accelerated aging and infirmity while correcting the root causes of your condition which is-yes Timmy you got it-inflammation.

GRASS FED BEEF POTROAST-NEW YEARS DINNER FOR ME AND FRIENDS

GRASS FED BEEF POTROAST-NEW YEARS DINNER FOR ME AND FRIENDS

Discuss this with your doctor of course. If for some reason she begrudgingly insists on a statin and shuns these blogs as so much tripe, then she may be suffering from Invincible Ignorance, an incurable condition. Obtain a new model, dispose of the old.

IN SUMMARY

Greater decreases in cardiac mortality can occur painlessly by simply replacing your caloric intake from grains, sugars and starches to more fresh fruits and veggies. This alone will significantly decrease fasting insulin levels which reduces your risk of heart attack while melting off pounds of excess body fat. In addition, getting plenty of exercise, increasing omega 3 FA intake and abolishing omega 6 oils from the diet will drop your risk of a cardiac event by 70%. As seen in the trials Lyon and PREDIMED. The effects of simple dietary changes are beyond powerful, they verge on miraculous. This is the foundation for an anti-inflammatory diet. Starting with this type of dietary approach is of course how I was able to reverse my heart disease and regain my health. There is much more to it than that however which I detail in my book. You might ask yourself why isn’t this approach incorporated into the USDA Food Pyramid and used in the AHA prescribed diets? You might then ask yourself what a Conflict of Interest means in the context of food policy, the AHA and statin makers.

For those who are still not convinced let’s examine whether these statins are safe to take regardless of any possible benefit. Let’s venture into the strange world of statins and the problems that develop when you start to deprive your body of the most important molecule it has: cholesterol.

Now let us turn to Dr Seneff and see what she has to say about cholesterol and statin toxicity shall we? That gentle reader is for another post……



[1] de Lorgeril M, Renaud S, Mamelle N, “Mediterranean alpha-linolenic acid-rich diet in secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.” Lancet 343: 1454-1459 (1994) Taken from Dr Barry Sears blog: Another good reason to eat your fruits and vegetables http://www.zonediet.com/blog/2011/01/another-good-reason-to-eat-your-fruits-and-vegetables/

[2] IBID.p.2  From Another good reason to eat your fruits and vegetables

Crowe FL, Roddam AW, Key TJ, et al. “Fruit and vegetable intake and mortality form ischaemic heart disease.” Eur Heart J. 2011 May; 32(10):1235-43.

[3] IBID  p.1 Original source:  Eur Heart J. 2011 May;32(10):1235-43

 

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Category: STATINS

About the Author ()

Dr. Christopher Rasmussen (aka Reality Renegade) is the author of his upcoming book, "InflaNATION: Industrial Diners & A Doc In The Box." By deliberately avoiding harmful industrial foods and the Commercial Sick Care System with its Pills and Procedures paradigm, Dr Rasmussen cured himself of a deadly disease-which became the reason for writing this book. In the book, he provides the facts you must know and the solutions to regain your health, maintain wellness, and outlive your parents' generation in an extraordinarily toxic world.

Comments (6)

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  1. danny lyons says:

    Excellent information as usual.

    • Christopher Rasmussen MD, MS (aka "Reality Renegade") says:

      Thank you. If you are not familiar with my other site I have several blogs out which deal with more clinical matters for acupuncturists and other healthcare workers. Today’s blog is on what to do if your patient loses consciousness. Always a fun topic (yikes!). Go to http://www.adaptiveTCM.com.
      Cheers!

  2. Allison says:

    Great article, + really looking forward to your book! Can you clarify about taking pharm. grade fish oil? I had read that fish oil capsules aren’t effective because the omega 3’s are very fragile, not refrigerated, & have been sitting on store shelves for who knows how long. (I don’t recall if this info was via Chris Kresser or Paul Jaminet).
    The conclusion had been to get your omega 3’s only from food, such as wild caught salmon. While It makes sense to me that food Is the best source of nutrients, I still like the idea of being able to supplement with an effective fish oil. (My young adult son’s won’t cook, so they only get w.c. salmon when they visit home). My husband’s story is So similar to yours, w/ tia’s but luckily no heart attack. Last July we went “paleo-keto”, & he has lost 40 lbs. (~40 to go). He is no longer type 2 diabetic, LDL’s are now predominant fluffy pattern A, Way improved Triglycerides, & he decided on his own to quit statins last Oct. His HDL is still too low (~32) so I’m really pushing him to exercise more (especially weights & sprints). I know you understand how incredibly scary this journey has been, since he was a heart attack waiting to happen, & we are not out of the woods yet. Lowering his (& my) stress levels has been the biggest challenge, because of worries about our kids: One is clinically depressed (very intelligent, not employed & living back @ home) & the other son has asperger’s syndrome. I do think that eating paleo has helped the depressed son, but the “kid stress” is unfortunately not something as simple as changing jobs. Hmm, Interesting how I have veered from the fish oil question to additional worrisome topics… It’s because I really value your experience/ expertise & you have so often, so graciously responded to peoples questions on your own site + others, like Dr. Eades. I So appreciate any & all info you can give. Thanks!!!

    • Christopher Rasmussen MD, MS (aka "Reality Renegade") says:

      Hi Allison,
      That’s like saying you can get all of your vitamins and minerals from food-nonsense. The single biggest change for me in reducing my chronic angina and from there to the path of reversing my atherosclerosis was pharmaceutical grade fish oil and lots of it. I take 12 capsules of ZoneLabs OmegaRx fish oil per day (one T of the liquid-store in freezer). (Zoneliving.com)
      For anyone with a history of heart disease or a big risk for it or thrombotic stroke you need to be taking it AND decreasing your risk from a lifestyle approach. How much for your husband? That depends but in general Sears recommends at least 8 caps of HIS brand if you have heart disease/atherosclerosis (that includes the carotid arteries). I mention his brand because of the higher concentration and purity which you need to do in order for this to work. Make absolutely sure that whatever brand you use that it is IFOS five star rated. Go to the IFOS website for a list of 5 star brands-look also for identical concentration as Zone brand.
      I have been using Zone for 17 years as has my whole family and I have proof of reversal of plaque. The high concentration allows it to be used medically. Fish oil will decrease triglycerides in a dose dependent fashion.
      My TG’s were very high and a very low HDL at one time so the higher dose of fish oil got those pesky TG’s to around 75 mg/dl. The most important lab to look at is not the LDL but the TG/HDL ratio. The goal is to get it to 1 or less than 1. You can drop TG’s both by fish oil and by keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels low (no sugars and grains mostly but anything high glycemic).
      Consider SloNiacin from Walgreen’s OTC or the prescription Niaspan for raising your HDL. Higher doses also lowers TG’s and LDL. Eliminating non-fibrous carbs can raise HDL too. Look at this ratio as an indicator of carbohydrate toxicity.
      I’d recommend reading Dr Sears’ books on fish oil: The Antiinflammation zone and I think the other is called the Omega Zone to get a good feel for the reasoning behind it and the dosing. Most docs have no idea on how to use this material.
      Now if you are on corticosteroids, blood thinners like Plavix, aspirin, coumadin you can still use fish oil but increase slowly and look for bruising, bloody nose, etc and back off on the dose if this occurs. Make sure your doc is informed as well. The extra fish oil has never been shown to cause bleeding in the brain or elsewhere, not at the doses we talk about here. Another to consider is the Triple Marker test which is an oxLDL, hsCRP and HDL. All three give valuable info. The LDL is nearly worthless but the oxLDL is a good thing to know.
      Also the most valuable of all is the Heart Scan which you can get without a docs order (without contrast). It provides the best and most accurate information there is, better than any blood test, outside of an angiocath.
      Of course, exercise and normalizing your blood pressure are the two most reliable things to do to prevent stroke. Statins are not the answer for stroke prevention. Cholesterol IS NOT A RISK FACTOR FOR STROKE. Lastly, more fresh fruits and veggies, esp. raw, organic, cacao powder. Consider fish oil for depression. Certain forms respond very, very well to increased Omega 3 PUFA’s. Sounds like you are doing the proper diet. Get your depressed son on it too and dump all the garbage he’s eating that we call food nowadays.
      If at all possible DO NOT USE ANTIDEPRESSANTS (OR ANTIPSYCHOTICS). THEY WORK NO BETTER THAN A SUGAR PILL AND CHRONIC USE CAUSES DEPRESSION, CALLED TARDIVE DYSPHORIA. Read Peter Breggin MD Toxic Psychiatry, Medication Madness, The SSRI Handbook. If you head down the medication madness highway your son may become another victim. I just lost a brother to medication madness.
      Take care,
      Chris

  3. robert says:

    Hi Dr. Have enjoyed reading and studying your blogs many more to read still. Thank you for sharing. I have a question:
    Background: I had been on statin + blood pressure meds and was obese for 20 years. Feb 2014 started lchf. Last Dec cardi dropped my statin + blood pressure meds as measures showed very good numbers and weight almost BMI 25. Purpose to check if these stayed good 4 months later. He uses old measures (low LDL level) and is anti lchf (= he is testing me I think).
    Question: What happens to the repair process? Is all the bad stuff from taking statins and eating refined carbs etc corrected? Or are the established damages from years of abuse merely stopped from getting worse? If it is repaired, generally how long?
    Thanks

    • Christopher Rasmussen MD, MS (aka "Reality Renegade") says:

      Hello Robert,
      I also answered another of your questions this AM on another blog. I think the answer has to be a matter of degree. In other words, if you do everything correct and eliminate all Irritating Agents that cause atherosclerosis, then you will reverse the disease process over time. To do that you’d need to get several heart scans to asses your progress. Now, that does not include the damage from glycation and other things like free radical damage from all of the sugar and the inflammatory medium your body was bathing in for many years. BUT it will go a long way toward making you whole again.

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