By Michael Furci
Since the middle of the 20th century, the government, doctors, and the media have told Americans to eat less saturated fat, eat less red meat, use vegetable oils, consume more carbs, and take statins and blood pressure medications to lower the incidence of cardiovascular disease. These recommendations couldn’t have been more detrimental to the population’s health. During this time, heart disease went from a relatively rare occurrence to becoming the number one killer; the following statistics will give you an idea of how bad things have gotten.
· Over 126.9 million people, or almost 50 percent of the U.S. adult population, have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (Virani et al., 2021).
· More than 2400 Americans will die of CVD daily, equating to one person every 36 seconds (CDC, 2018).
· Each year approximately 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack (Fryar, 2012).
· According to a recent market study, the number of cardiac surgical procedures is predicted to increase at approximately 5% per year, reaching over 1.3 million annual procedures in 2026.
It’s safe to say that CVD is an enormous problem, especially considering CVD has been the number one cause of death for over six decades. And as other countries consume the same foods and products as the U.S., diseases like CVD are becoming more prevalent around the world.
Below you’ll find ten things you can do to help prevent CVD. However, before you read on, forget what you learned about decreasing your risk of CVD from conventional (allopathic) medicine, the media, or any other source that touts lowering cholesterol, statins, not eating saturated fat, and increasing your consumption of vegetable oils. Some of my suggestions will be familiar and logical, while others fly in the face of all you’ve heard.
1. Do not Smoke. Smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 preventable deaths annually and remains the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S. (CDC, 2020). There is no safe amount of smoking, and research has demonstrated a substantial decrease in CVD mortality for former smokers compared with continuing smokers. A smoker's average life expectancy is a minimum of 10 years shorter than a nonsmoker's (Jha et al, 2013). If one quits smoking before the age of 40, they reduce their risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90% (Jha et al, 2013). If you smoke, quit.
2. Do not become overweight or obese. 41.9 percent of adults 20 years of age and over are obese (CDC, 2022). To say obesity is an epidemic is an understatement. It’s the number two preventable cause of death in the U.S. and has a linear relationship with heart disease risk, meaning the heavier one gets, the higher the risk (West Virginia, n.d.). Obesity has now reached the number one spot for causes of disability (Virani, 2021), making a case for obesity to be classified as a national emergency.
3. Exercise. The relationship between physical fitness and cardiovascular health has long been established. The more fit an individual is the less risk of CVD; if it does develop it tends to occur at a later age (Myers, 2003). Get to a fitness center and get moving.
4. Don’t worry, be happy. Stress in and of itself is not a killer. However, how we handle stress significantly impacts the circulatory system, and it plays a considerable role in the risk of cardiovascular diseases (Esch et al., 2022). One of the best modifications you can make in your life is to learn how to handle stress more appropriately.
5. Don’t consume trans fats. Products that contain vegetable oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or shortening listed as one of the ingredients contain trans fat. A government study confirmed that trans fat is directly related to heart disease. Because of that, the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, declared there is no safe amount of trans fat in the diet. Read food labels and choose where you dine wisely.
6. Increase your consumption of whole natural animal products. The only negative claim that could be made against animal products is they contain saturated fat, and that saturated fat raises cholesterol levels. And for that claim to be negative, one must mistakenly believe higher cholesterol levels are a health risk.
One of the most nutritious foods one can eat.
Anthony Colpo states in “LDL Cholesterol: Bad Cholesterol, or Bad Science”: “The concept that LDL is ‘bad cholesterol’ is a simplistic and scientifically untenable hypothesis. Independent thinking practitioners must look at the readily available evidence for themselves, instead of relying on the continual stream of anti-cholesterol propaganda emanating from ‘health authorities.’ By doing so, they will quickly realize that the LDL hypothesis is aggressively promoted for reasons other than public health.” (8)
The scientific data of the past and present does not support the assertion that saturated fats cause heart disease. More than 20 studies have shown that people who have had a heart attack haven’t eaten more saturated fat than others. (Ravnskov, 2014)
Animal products, the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, have nourished societies worldwide for tens of thousands of years. As whole indigenous animal products are replaced with processed foods, it has shown an increase in the prevalence of disease results (Price, 2009).
7. Avoid vegetable oils. We've been told relentlessly that polyunsaturated fats are good for our health and to increase our consumption. Unfortunately, polyunsaturated fats cause many health problems, including heart disease. One of the biggest reasons polyunsaturated fats are so unhealthy is they are very susceptible to becoming oxidized or rancid when exposed to heat and light. Because of the extraction process, the polyunsaturated oils you buy in grocery stores are already rancid. Throughout the process, oils are exposed to oxygen, repeated heating to over 200 degrees, chemical solvents, and deodorizers. And finally, because Americans love that golden color, most oils are bleached for eye appeal. Yummy!
Now, you go to the store to purchase vegetable oil, which has been touted as super healthy, not knowing that you're buying a free-radical cocktail that causes serious health problems over time. Free radicals, or "chemical marauders," as some scientists refer to them, wreak havoc on our bodies.
Free radicals, if not kept in check, can damage an artery's inner lining (intima), causing a lesion. Injury causes inflammation, and the body responds by producing raised plaques to heal the vascular lesions. This is known as the Response to Injury Hypothesis presented by Russell Ross and John Glomset in 1976 (Ross & Glomset, 1976).
8. Stop consuming sugar. Unless you live in a cave, you know that sugar has a direct association with being overweight, obesity, diabetes, and elevated triglycerides. All of which are risk factors for CVD. So, if sugar is a major cause of several risk factors, it’s correct to say it’s indirectly associated with increased risk of CVD. But, is sugar consumption directly associated with CVD? Unfortunately, for everyone with a sweet tooth, there is a growing amount of evidence that consuming sugar in food or drinks is directly detrimental to cardiovascular health. Here’s one large study to ponder:
Researchers from the Harvard school of public health followed 42,883 men over 22 years. The purpose of the study was to define the association between sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverage intake and coronary heart disease (CHD). The results showed that for every additional serving per day of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption there was a 19% to 25% increase in CHD. Artificially sweetened beverages were found not to be associated with increased risk. (De Koning et al, 2012)
9. Do not take Statins. Statin use is associated with a long list of adverse side effects, including muscle damage, decreased cognition, diabetes, cancer, hypothyroidism, liver issues, pancreatitis, peripheral neuropathy, lupus, asthma, reduced lung function, neurodegenerative diseases, depression, suicide, and impotence (Evans, 2015). I know what you’re thinking. Because you’ve been brainwashed into believing cholesterol causes heart disease, the trade-off is worth the protection against having a heart attack. Evans (2015) cites thirty-two studies showing that statins will not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. They are associated with an increased risk of severe adverse cardiovascular events, increased cardiac mortality, higher adverse events and death in those undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty patients have a higher risk of death, increased risk of heart failure, and a 200 percent increased risk of death in patients with coronary artery disease.
10. Take fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish have been found to be very effective in preventing cardiovascular events and deaths. A study of 768 acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients and 768 healthy controls matched for age, sex, and race, found that those with an Omega-3 Index greater than 8% were 70% less likely to be an acute coronary syndrome patient than those with an Omega-3 Index less than 4% (Block et al. 2008). A retrospective study reviewed 102 Japanese ACS patients whose serum levels of EPA and DHA were evaluated on admission. A correlation analysis showed that early ACS onset was associated with low EPA and DHA levels (Yagi et al, 2015).
Supplements that support the cardiovascular system:
Natto kinase is a powerful enzyme used to support normal blood flow, circulation, and blood pressure levels.
A formula backed by extensive clinical research designed to address several factors associated with ideal cardiometabolic health.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant found in the mitochondrial of every cell in the body. Heart cells contain more mitochondria than any other cell. CoQ10 plays an vital role in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule of chemical energy upon which all cellular functions depend.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential foundations of human nutrition and health including cardiovascular health. They are classified as "essential" because our bodies cannot manufacture them so they need to consumed. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential foundations of human nutrition and health including
Michael Furci is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center. To schedule a free consultation or make an appointment call (440)239-3438.
Block, C. B., et al. (2008). EPA and DHA in blood cell membranes from acute coronary syndrome patients and controls. Atherosclerosis,197(2), 821-828.
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Fryar, C. D., Chen, T., & Li, X. (2012). Prevalence of uncontrolled risk factors for cardiovascular disease: United States, 1999–2010. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db103.pdf
Esch, et al. (2022) Stress in Cardiovascular Disease. Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research 8(5):RA93-RA101. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11359375_Stress_in_cardiovascular_disease
Evans, D. (2015). Statins Toxic Side Effects: Evidence From 500 Scientific Papers. Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd.
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Price, W. A. (2009). Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Price-Pottinger Nutrition Foundation.
Ravnskov, U. (2014). The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease. Pragmatic Press.
Ross, R. & Glomset, (1976). The Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis. New England Journal Medicine, 295:369-377. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM197608122950707
Virani, S. S., et al. (2021). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2021 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 143(8), e254-e743. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000950
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