It’s always sad to unexpectedly lose a loved one to a heart attack. It’s even harder to understand when they were following all of their doctor’s orders. But it happens far more often than we realize.
Consider this: With all of the prescriptions written for cholesterol and other heart drugs, you’d think the number of deaths because of heart disease would be going down. But heart disease is still the leading cause of death for both men and women. And around the world, the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases increased by 41% between 1990 and 2013.
So, why aren’t the drugs having an impact on these statistics? The answer is simple.
Heart drugs are aimed at the wrong targets. They are designed to manage risks rather than promote the health of your arteries.
What most doctors don’t realize is that you can deal with risk factors far more effectively simply by keeping your arteries healthy. And the best way to keep your arteries healthy is by eating right, exercising, and taking supplements. But six supplements in particular can actually do everything the heart drugs do, but they also keep your arteries healthy. I’ll tell you more about these incredible supplements in a moment. But first, let’s see why drugs can’t prevent heart attacks.
Shocking Secret No Conventional Doctor Will Tell You
I’ve told you in the past that the real cause of heart attacks is not high cholesterol or high blood pressure. While those conditions are factors, they typically are just part of a combination of risk factors called metabolic syndrome X. In addition to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome also includes risk factors such as excess abdominal body weight, high triglyceride levels, and high blood sugar. To be diagnosed, you must have three or more of these factors present.
Metabolic syndrome X affects 40% of all adults in America. That’s over 50 million people! And if you tally up the rest of the folks who have only one or two of these risks, you’ll discover that the majority of Americans have heart disease quietly stealing their futures.
But here’s the shocking secret no conventional doctor is going to tell you. High cholesterol and high blood pressure don’t weaken your heart.
The only time cholesterol becomes a problem is when it becomes oxidized and starts to stick to the artery walls. Just because you have a lot of excess cholesterol doesn’t mean it’s hurting your heart. I know an 85-year-old woman who has a cholesterol level near 600 and she’s extremely healthy – and her heart is strong and healthy.
Likewise, high blood pressure is a symptom of an underlying problem. The high blood pressure isn’t causing the damage. The damage is usually already done and causing your blood pressure to go up. Usually, inflammation is the underlying cause of that damage. While there are other causes, such as obesity, smoking, and living a sedentary lifestyle, inflammation is at the root of many of them.
What Really Weakens Your Heart?
But if high cholesterol and blood pressure don’t weaken your heart, what does? Unfortunately, the drugs doctors prescribe to treat these conditions do weaken the heart or blood vessels. For instance, one study found that anti-inflammatory drugs can cause water retention, edema, and other types of inflammation, which increases blood pressure. And most people are now aware that statins cause your body to stop producing CoQ10, which will damage your heart and cause heart failure.
Every time someone taking drugs for heart-related issues has a heart attack, their doctor has only one explanation – the patient is genetically predisposed to heart disease. It runs in their family. That may be true. But the doctor is missing the boat on how to care for your heart.
Reduce Risk Factors – Live Longer
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you ignore the traditional risk factors for heart disease. They are very important, as they give us a way to evaluate the health of your arteries.
Just look at the difference between optimal heart disease risk factors and major risks for the disease. It becomes very clear how they affect your longevity.
In one study, researchers looked at how long people live based on their heart health at age 50. They defined optimal risk factors as a cholesterol level of 180 milligrams per deciliter or lower, blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg, a nonsmoker, and a non-diabetic. Patients who had diabetes, a cholesterol level of 240 milligrams per deciliter or more, blood pressure of 160/100 mm Hg or higher, and smoked were considered to have major risk factors.
This is what the research showed. Men with optimal risk factors at 50 years of age had only a 5.2% risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But men who had two or more major risk factors experienced a 68.9% risk. That’s a huge difference!
The gap is not as large for women but it’s still significant. For women with optimal risk factors, the risk of ever having heart disease was 8.2%. Those women with two major risk factors had a 50.2% risk of developing heart disease.
Longevity tells the real story here. The expected life span among men and women with fewer than two risk factors at age 50 was 89 years (another 39 years!). Compare that to an additional 28 years for men and 31 years for women with two or more major risk factors and you see just how important these factors are.
Two or more of the major risk factors present at age 50 shortened lives by eleven years in men and eight years in women. Clearly, you need to normalize your blood pressure, and keep your total cholesterol under control. It makes a difference!
So What Is the Best Way to Fight Heart Disease?
Instead of taking drugs that weaken your heart, you can fight heart disease much more effectively with natural treatments. You may already know that eating foods low on the glycemic index is the first place to start. And exercise and taking a good multivitamin are very important. But here are the five supplements that are especially powerful treatments for metabolic syndrome X.
(1) Grape seed extract — In a recent study at the University of California, Davis, researchers found that grape seed extract lowered the blood pressure of patients across the board. And what’s unique about this study is that it was the first to evaluate the effect of grape seed extract on people with metabolic syndrome X.
The one-month study involved 24 male and female patients. Doctors had diagnosed each of them with metabolic syndrome X. Researchers divided the patients into three groups of eight. The doctors gave the first group a placebo, while they gave the second and third groups 150 milligrams and 300 milligrams, respectively, of grape seed extract. Then they measured all the participants’ blood pressure and recorded it for 12 hours after they administered the supplement.
Participants in the two groups receiving grape seed extract experienced an equal degree of reduced blood pressure. The average drop in systolic pressure was 12 millimeters. The average drop in diastolic pressure was 8 millimeters. The group who took 300 milligrams of grape seed extract also had reduced LDL cholesterol levels.
Amazingly, the higher their LDL level was at the beginning of the study, the greater the drop by the end of the study. Three previous studies in animals by this research team showed that grape seed extract may also prevent atherosclerosis.
This is a no brainer – take 300 mg of grape seed extract daily.
(2) Niacin — I’ve told you how great niacin is for preventing strokes. And it works because it keeps your blood vessels healthy. Niacin is so effective for reducing LDL and raising HDL that it’s available by prescription. But don’t be tricked into paying extra. You can take over-the-counter niacin. Take 500 mg with three meals each day. And then take another 500 mg about an hour before bed (the flushing should be gone by the time you go to bed). Your cholesterol will plummet in about four to six weeks. Niacin may irritate the liver. So make sure you have your doctor monitor your liver enzymes. If you check your blood-work regularly, any trouble is easy to spot. Please be aware that the flush-free niacin (inositol hexaniacinate) does not reduce LDL.
(3) Policosanol — If niacin is not comfortable for you to use, or if you have a liver reaction, take policosanol instead. Policosanol is extracted from sugar cane. It’s a simple plant sterol. You’ll need 10 to 20 mg daily (use the higher dose if you weigh more than 160 lbs.). Policosanol effectively lowers both LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and it has no adverse effect on the liver. It outperforms statins in many people and is inexpensive.
(4) Fish oils — The American Heart Association recommends fish oils for all adults who are at risk for heart disease. And now you know that means all adults, period. Take 1,000 mg of EPA and DHA (500 mg each). If you have high triglyceride levels, I recommend you take 2,000 to 4,000 mg of fish oil. To correct hypertension or to improve blood-vessel health, raise HDL, and reduce C-reactive protein, lipoprotein A, and inflammation, you need to take at least 1,000 mg per day, maybe more. Everyone needs to be on fish oils.
(5) Lycopene — Lycopene, from tomatoes, reduces blood pressure and protects your heart by boosting antioxidant status. I recommend you take 10 mg daily for mild hypertension. And don’t forget that lycopene is a major prostate protector.
(6) Nattokinase – Nattokinase is fermented soy. It works by reinforcing the actions of plasmin, your body's own enzyme that breaks down the clotting agent called fibrin. When it does this, it prevents abnormal thickening of the blood and blood clots (which can cause strokes and heart attacks). We regularly see nattokinase reduce high blood pressure by up to 20 systolic points and 10 diastolic points.
I consider these six nutrients your best weapons in the fight against heart disease. They, along with diet and exercise, will reverse metabolic syndrome X and, thus, prevent heart attacks. Following this plan will greatly reduce your risk of ever having a heart attack. All without the deadly side effects of heart drugs. The best part of using natural approaches is that these side effects are absent. The side benefits, as I like to refer to them, are only additional health benefits, not risks.