Constitutional Health Network:
Heart Disease and Prevention

In a recent edition of Waking Lionheart, I talked about chelation therapy and how medicine is refusing to acknowledge a study showing it cuts the risk of death from heart disease . Chelation therapy, if you’ve never heard of it, uses the chemical EDTA to bind heavy metals—and possibly other pollutants—and remove them from your body. It’s been used for decades as a treatment for heavy metal poisoning, and alternative practitioners have been offering it as a treatment for heart disease for almost as long.   The study in question backed up that practice. It found that chelation lowered the number of deaths from heart disease significantly—as much as 43% in people with diabetes. Unfortunately Big Medicine is busy trying to make this study go away rather than asking why chelation appears to help. If they did, they might find the answer in one simple phrase: air pollution. The American Heart Association has been warning about air pollution ...

It’s been around for some 60 years. Medicine uses it to treat heavy metal poisoning. But mainstream medicine has laughed at the idea that “chelation therapy” could be useful for anything else.    Alternative medical practitioners, on the other hand, have been offering the treatment—which involves using the chemical EDTA to “bind” various minerals in the blood so your body can get rid of them—for decades. They claim it can treat a huge variety of conditions from heart disease to autism and even Alzheimer’s.    Some of the claims appear outlandish. Others, not so much.   Regardless, medicine hasn’t been interested. Science has looked down its arrogant nose with the same disdain it would give the idea of bloodletting or leeches. But the practice has continued. And enough people have claimed to benefit that at last the NIH decided to fund a trial that would settle the argument once and ...

Anyone who’s truly health-conscious knows by now about the dangers of sugar and the high-carb diet we were told to eat for decades. And some of you—especially regular readers—may know that science has been aware of these dangers since the mid-1900s. In the 1950s and 60s there were two competing theories. One said that heart disease was primarily caused by fat. The other, which had more evidence to back it up, pointed the finger directly at sugar.   The main voice of the anti-sugar movement was a man named John Yudkin. Now Yudkin wasn’t a nobody. He wasn’t some fringe scientist or snake oil salesman. He was a respected professional—the founder of the nutrition department at London’s prestigious Queen Elizabeth College. Like Dr. Robert Lustig today, Yudkin warned that sugar, not fat, was at the root of heart disease and other chronic ills. Unlike Dr. Lustig, Yudkin’s research was buried and his career destroyed because of ...

The internet is loaded with advice about heart attacks. You’ll find hundreds of thousands of articles on how to survive a heart attack. Millions on how to prevent one. Dozens of millions on recognizing the symptoms. What you won’t find nearly so much of is advice on healing after you’ve already had one. And while knowing how to recognize a heart attack and what to do while you’re having one may save your life, what you do post heart attack will affect your quality of life for the rest of your life.   That’s what I want to talk about today Here’s what actually happens when you have a heart attack When you have a heart attack, blood flow to part of your heart is cut off. This means oxygen is also cut off. The oxygen-starved heart muscle begins to die.    How serious the heart attack is depends on how much of your heart is deprived of oxygen and for how long. Once blood flow is restored no new cell death occurs. ...

Pain medicine pioneer Dr. Norman Shealy claims “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency.” While I wouldn’t go that far, I must say that it really is an incredibly important mineral. And I can heartily agree with the second part of his statement. Magnesium, he says, is “the missing cure to many diseases.” Magnesium is a macro mineral. That means it’s a mineral we need to eat in milligrams rather than micrograms. It’s used by every organ. It’s present in cells throughout our bodies. It’s necessary for hundreds of different physiological processes. And a lack of it can start a cascade of health problems that become progressively more serious the more deficient we are. It’s estimated that less than a quarter of us get the recommended daily allowance of magnesium—310-320 mg for women and 400-420 for men. And the RDA is far from the optimal amount. The RDA is just the smallest amount necessary ...

You’ve probably see the TV commercials. A full minute of warning you that every ache and pain in your legs could be peripheral artery disease (PAD), followed by a plug for the latest drug and a high-speed listing of all the horrible side effects. They dominated night-time television at one point.   In case you’ve been lucky enough to miss these ads, peripheral artery disease is a narrowing of the arteries in your extremities. It decreases or even cuts off blood flow and is most likely to affect your feet and legs. And the bad news is this: in spite of my distaste for drug ads, it really is a problem, especially for diabetics. And as the country gets heavier and more people develop diabetes it’s becoming increasingly common.   At its mildest, PAD causes cold feet due to poor circulation. A moderate case may cause chronic pain and slower wound healing. At its most serious, it can lead to amputation. And no matter what Big Pharma has told you ...

If you believe the most common sign that you’re having a heart attack is chest pain, you’re not alone. The stereotypical picture of a heart attack includes chest pain and pain in the left arm—but it’s not a very accurate picture. Because although chest pain is quite common, a large number of heart attack victims never experience it. In fact, nearly half of all heart attacks cause no symptoms at all, or symptoms so mild that the victim doesn’t realize what’s happening. These are what are commonly called “silent heart attacks.”   A study published this year in the journal Circulation found that a shocking 45% of all heart attacks are of the “silent” variety. Till now, the official estimate had been that only some 20% to 30% of heart attacks were “silent,” so this study shakes things up a little. The study also found that having a silent heart attack increases your risk of dying from heart disease by ...

A recent study from the UK's Cardiff University and British supplement maker Cultech Ltd. highlights a new trend in the healthcare world—medical supplements. The United States doesn't allow dietary supplements such as vitamins or herbs to make health claims on their labels—to do this, they would have to go through FDA drug approval process. However, some other nations do—if the science backs up the claims. And this could be a very rich vein of revenue to be mined for those willing to undertake the science.    The study in question looks at the effect of a combination of omega-3 fatty acids, flavanols, and phytosterols on atherosclerosis. As it turns out, they appear to be an effective treatment. But you don't need to buy a supplement to get them.  Do "superfoods" make for a "super supplement" that can treat heart disease? Atherosclerosis is the most common type of cardiovascular disease. It's a ...

Heart surgeries are some of the most common inpatient surgeries — that is, surgeries requiring a hospital stay afterward. In 2010 alone, 395,000 people had a coronary artery bypass graft. Half a million people had a balloon angioplasty of a coronary artery. And 454,000 had a stent inserted in a coronary artery. However, just because these procedures have become routine doesn’t mean they don’t carry serious risks. The surest way to reduce these risks is to avoid needing surgery in the first place. What these surgeries are, in plain English Medicine has its own language. I like to call it “medicalese.” Medicalese is a very handy thing for doctors — it lets them put a lot of information into a few words. This is great when you’re making notes on patient’s charts or talking to other doctors, but for the average person it can be confusing. Confusion isn’t good. You should be fully informed and crystal-clear about your ...

If you have diabetes, your doctor might just be over-treating you. According to a recent study in the medical journal BMJ, more than half of those with diabetes are getting way too many tests. And as we know, too many tests usually leads to too many — or too strong — medications.   The study looked at how often diabetics were given a hemoglobin A1C test. This is a test designed to look at how well your blood sugar has been controlled in the past three months. It’s intended to be done only once or possibly twice per year if your sugar is well-controlled. The study found that, far from once per year, a whopping 55% of people were tested three to four times. And 6% were tested five times or more.   But when did Big Medicine let a guideline stand in the way of profit?   More frequent testing isn’t just a hassle, or an extra expense. Like so many other “routine” tests, more frequent hemoglobin A1C tests are ...

The “liver cleanse” has been a fad for a while now, but a new study suggests that instead of “cleansing” your liver, you might need to put it on a low-cal diet instead. The study came from researchers at Pierre and Marie Curie University in France and was published in the American Journal of Hepatology.   It concluded that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease—a condition which often goes hand in hand with obesity and diabetes—raises your risk of cardiovascular disease significantly. The study in question found that people with NAFLD were much more likely to develop fatty deposits in their carotid arteries, the major arteries of the neck which supply blood to the brain. This disease was unheard of before the 1980s—here’s why Whether so-called “nonalcoholic fatty liver disease” is really a disease in and of itself is debatable. As the name implies, people with this condition have too much fat in their livers, ...

Something shocking is happening in the world of “healthcare” right now. There’s the medical equivalent of a catfight going on among “experts,” and it’s all centered on who should be put on blood pressure drugs. That there’s an argument over who’s right going on is no surprise—this happens all the time. Many medical “guidelines” are something that doctors viciously disagree about. “Guidelines” are often created by the most vocal “leaders” in the field, and often these leaders have an axe to grind. No. That there’s a catfight isn’t surprising. What is unheard of is that this one is happening in open sight of the public. So how high is YOUR blood pressure? Are you on medication? Has your doctor piled on more and more drugs in an effort to get it “low enough”? Do you feel like you were pushed into treatment? This post is a handy guide to the argument going on ...

If you’re a regular reader of Constitutional Health, you already know my take on cholesterol-lowering statin drug use. If you’re a new reader, this is my view in a nutshell: I believe that statins are one of the biggest money-making schemes in history. In fact, they might even be the biggest.   Until their patents ran out, statins were the most profitable class of drugs in history. Pharma companies raked in untold billions once they hit the market, even though they were initially prescribed somewhat cautiously. As the money began to roll in, Big Pharma saw a Big Opportunity and pushed to get more people taking them. The “guidelines” for prescribing statins grew wider and wider. In the beginning, they were prescribed for people who had already had a heart attack or stroke. But as the net grew wider, they were prescribed for people with fewer and fewer “risk factors” for heart disease.   Today one person in four who’s ...

The guidelines on what “healthy” blood pressure is are all over the place. For decades, “normal” blood pressure was accepted as whatever your age was plus 100. So a twenty-year old was expected to have a BP no higher than 120/80. A forty-year old, 140/90. And if you were 60, a top number of 160 was considered perfectly acceptable. But medicine changes its mind more often than most of us change our socks, and today some doctors are trying to push blood pressure lower and lower. Many consider a BP of 140 “high” and prescribe drugs no matter what your age. And a growing number want to “aggressively” treat anything higher than 120/80, often using three or more drugs in the effort. This is not a good thing. Not only is there no evidence showing that aggressive treatment like this lowers your risk for heart disease, the side effects from the drugs can be profound. And here’s what no one is telling you: most people can lower ...

If you spend a lot of time reading health news, it’s easy to get the idea that Americans are dropping like flies. There’s an aura of panic that runs through most health-related journalism, from pure “sky is falling” fearmongering to quieter but just as fear-filled stories on new drugs and treatments. They all have one thing in common: they’re designed to make us scared. To make us think we’re in danger of imminent death if we don’t do what we’re told. To get us to put our faith in Big Pharma and Big Medicine. And one of the biggest, scariest topics the media likes to focus on is heart disease. To hear the media tell it, if we make it past 65 without having a heart attack or heart surgery, it’s a miracle. If we’re not taking twenty different drugs and spending our life savings on “health” insurance and prescriptions, we’re just plain stupid. And if we’re audacious enough to take our health ...

If you’ve read even one article here at Constitutional Health, you know that I’m about as anti-establishment as it’s possible to be. I’ll never advise a drug if there’s a non-drug treatment or remedy available. I’ll never advise surgery if there’s any way around it. I’ll tell you that if you’re going to do one good thing for your health it’s to ask hard questions and don’t give up till you get answers. I think the average person is much too quick to jump on the medical bandwagon and swallow whatever their doctor recommends without asking any questions. On the other hand, there are plenty of “alternative” treatments, products, and theories that I just can’t get behind. I’m a “show me the science” kind of guy and many facets of alternative medicine are backed by either shoddy science or no science at all. Others fly directly in the face of scientific fact. And as much as I like to ...

Those foods could turn our body into a breeding ground for Diabetes and Heart Disease "Pure, White, and Deadly.” It sounds like a euphemism for cocaine, the high-rolling, Wall Street-loving drug that American crop dusters have attempted to eradicate since 1994, spraying Columbian coca crops with glyphosate. "Pure, White, and Deadly” is the name of a 1972 book by John Yudkin, a British professor of nutrition. And no, it’s not a euphemism for cocaine, nor is it referring to glyphosate, which according to WHO causes skin rashes, respiratory problems, and miscarriages. John Yudkin is talking about sugar. He was the first nutritionist to sound the alarm on sugar, calling it the single greatest danger to our health. Too bad nobody listened... What Are The 5 Worst Foods for Diabetes and Heart Disease ? 1. Foods with Added Sugar John Yudkin was scientifically ahead of his time. But 14 years after he floated the hypothesis that sugar was a ...

When you hear the phrase “heart disease,” what springs to mind is probably coronary artery disease—plaque buildup in the arteries of your heart. In reality, “heart disease” isn’t any single disease but a catch-all term that includes a lot of different conditions from coronary artery disease to congestive heart failure and more. Most of us know that chest pain and pain down one arm might mean we’re having a heart attack. We probably know that sudden weakness on one side of the body could indicate a stroke. But the signs and symptoms of many types of heart problems can be much more subtle. Some are easily overlooked. Some can be mistaken for other conditions. The issues below fall into this category. They might not be anything to worry about. But depending on the state of your health—and especially if you’re suffering from more than one of them—they just might be a sign that something is going on with your ...

The concept of Body Mass Index or BMI carries entirely too much weight in the medical world. We’re judged on and according to BMI in many cases, whether that judgement is warranted or not. And far too often that same judgement can have a real effect on our health. Those of us with a BMI above the “normal” range are more likely to be subjected to tests and offered “treatments” we may or may not actually need. And of course we already know that the more tests you’re given the more likely you are to end up with drugs you don’t need, or injuries or illness stemming from the testing itself. Medicine’s mandate is to find something wrong with us and sell us a treatment no matter how hard it may have to work to find a problem. Meanwhile, people in the “normal” range are given a pass and assumed to be “healthy” merely because their BMI number is more acceptable. Nevermind the fact that the BMI scale was ...

You’ve probably heard something about the benefits of an alkaline diet—especially if you’re a television or movie fan. It seems like every other celebrity out there is promoting an alkaline diet right now, and there’s a good reason for that. Following the guidelines for an alkaline diet, provided you do it sensibly (more on that later) really does promote good health. Eating an alkaline diet (again, provided you do it sensibly) can help your body fight many of the ills of the modern world including inflammation, diabetes, heart disease, and even brittle bones. It may sound a little “out there,” but there’s actually some valid science behind the idea of eating for alkalinity. However, there’s a lot of misinformation out there too. Too many self-styled health gurus push the alkaline agenda without really understanding the science behind it. So today I’d like to explain just what an alkaline diet is (and isn’t) plus the ...

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