Books about Drug-Free Alternatives to... - British Heart Fou...

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Books about Drug-Free Alternatives to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

Hi all - does anyone go along with the notions in books like this? The idea that low cholesterol and statins are not the answer to blocked arteries?

Heart Disease: Drug-Free Alternatives to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (What Doctors Don't Tell You) by Lynne McTaggart

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I have not read this book but believe it I soon off from a magazine called "What Doctors Don't Tell You". I brought a few copies but thought that whilst there were one or two useful snippets a lot was of no real value.

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I can’t see how doctors don’t break ranks more often if the whole cholesterol/statins thing is a lie. A few do but generally they don’t. My view is cardiologists and doctors see the impact of high cholesterol and statins every day and so on the ground they see it working. Am I just being naive? As a qualitative researcher I don’t blindly hold to the science paradigm but I don’t have much else to hold on to 😀🙏🏻😀

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There was an article in yesterday's Times 2 "The Top Heart Surgeon who eats Salt" . It is promoting his book but interestingly the journalist asks what causes heart disease he answers =Genes of course and getting old which you can do nothing about. Smoking and being overweight you can do something about. The surgeon has heart disease himself and works on exercise and diet. An interesting read as he goes on to break ranks about surgery.....

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He does have a particular view about keyhole surgery!

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I was avoiding mentioning that!

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thanks I'll have a look....

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And btw the maximum dose of statin is where everyone seems ot start off but on review over the year it tends to be lowered. In hospital the registrar gave me the reasoning behind this but it went past my brain at a speed - was too busy following why they hadn;t stented a second artery...

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Best bit of reading is right here

You will find lots of people who have tried to reverse plaque but in the end they have only really found a way to mimic the statins and keep Thier cholesterol low . I researched lots of journals and in the end I complemented the statins with a good diet and exercise . The superfood I found most intriguing and still do is the chokeberry ,I ended up growing this and eat the fruits when in season .

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How does it taste like?

Commonly found in "swamps and wet woods".

Perfect!

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Sounds like my garden :-)

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Mine is definitely that, too.

It has to be "fast-growing".

Little point of ordering a plant that takes years before bearing fruits.

In my age, anyway.

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Chokeberry? Wow never heard of it - I'll do some research :-)

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Aronia Viking is the best variety to grow in UK , you need the black / datker ones . The berry off the branch can be slightly tart but I find it ok , I took about 50ml for a year whilst I waited for my surgery , seemed to keep my BP nice and stable .

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You might find this article written in the Times about a Papworth Heart Surgeon with a lived experience of the heart surgery he performs himself.

He has written 2 books about his experiences and thoughts about the causes of heart disease and how it can be prevented.

thetimes.co.uk/article/the-...

Two quotes from the article which I feel are relevant to the discussion about lifestyle.

“There isn’t really that much evidence that links what you eat with heart disease."

"it is not certain that diet affects blood cholesterol (most cholesterol is generated by the liver). To be safe, however, if you have high blood cholesterol, take statins.

You can definitely reduce it a little bit by quite draconian diet changes, but you can reduce it a hell of a lot more by taking a tablet.”

The Angina Monologues: Stories of Surgery for Broken Hearts is published by Scribe written by Samer Nashef

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An extremely low fat plant based diet can dramatically lower cholesterol and potentially stop CAD progression, even possibly start to very slowly reverse it to some degree with extreme diet and lifestyle changes. I don't know of anyone in my walk of life that adheres to such a diet and lifestyle such as this, but I myself have practiced it for 15 years after having been diagnosed with heart disease and my health has improved greatly. I still take BP meds but no statins and my cholesterol is remarkably low. I know there are many naysayers that don't believe we are empowered to improve our heat health to this degree, but I am living proof that it can be done. We are more empowered to improve our health than many doctors will lead you to believe.

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I feel we will have to agree to disagree on this one!

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Understood. :)

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So you rarely eat any dessert or anything ie. food that gives you pleasure, only because you are afraid of the consequences? Or do you "indulge" or enjoy relaxing your dietary regime, occasionally? You avoid chicken/fish as well? Just curious.

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I enjoy the food that I eat immensly. If you wish to call the occassional egg white with a bit of non fat cheese indulging, then I am guilty as charged, however I never deviate from eating a very low fat diet, no foods with added sugar, virtually nothing with cholesterol with the exception of the afformentioned occasional non fat dairy, and I most always eat only whole foods and avoid the processed items. Usually fruit if I get a sweet tooth. Usually 4-5 hours exercise every week. Do I do all this for fear of the consequences should I do otherwise? Perhaps to a degree,but it's also about the fact that I feel so much better than before and I don't find it difficult to adhere to this lifestyle, and the fact that I want to live. Do I feel like I am depriving myself? Not at all when the reward is life. I realize this diet/lifestyle is not for most people, but for those inclined to adopt this lifestyle the reward is immense, at least it has been for me.

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Hi, ChicagoGirl1961

I'm sure there are far more to what you kindly outlined.

Thank you for sharing.

Have a very pleasant weekend. :)

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There are other ways we can empower ourselves to live as well as we can with our heart conditions.

I am glad you have found something that works for you.

However it would be considered too extreme a lifestyle for many and would set them up to fail.

It ultimately is about assessing the risks , making an informed choice to manage our conditions in a way that gives the best quality of life possible.

The only person who can make this judgement is the individual themselves.

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I agree that it is far to extreme for the vast majority of people. I think you need to have something about yourself that makes you inclined to adopt this lifestyle. I've had anxiety issues as long as I can remember, and adopting this lifestyle has helped greatly with virtually eliminating the anxiety I would surely have otherwise about my health. Dealing with anxiety has always been a problem for me, but it is one of the motivating factors that enables me to adhere to such a rigid lifestyle without finding it challenging to do so. I know that there are other ways to address heart disease and we all have to find our own way. I hope everyone finds a path that leads to good health and piece of mind.

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Thanks for this view. My first reaction to a diagnosis of CAD a month ago was to immediately do as you are and take statins. My daughter is a committed Vegan so I’ve learned from her and as a aged athlete of 62 I have for 30 years been careful about what I eat. I was a vegetarian for many years. I’ve never smoked. I’m 6’ 1” and 75k yet I still have the disease and now two stents. As a result I don’t have much confidence in diet alone but then I read stuff that scares me about statins and start to rethink my views. Anyway, it clearly works for you and I think is a wonderful thing.

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Whoops I'm not 621, I'm 62 haha. And what I mean above is that my diet has changed drastically since diagnosis AND I'm taking statins.

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I think for most of us the benefit of statins outweighs the risks if we have heart disease. Perhaps not for everyone, but statins can be remarkably effective.

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I actually don't take statins as lipids are very low with my diet although I would not be reluctant to take one if I thought it would benefit me. I do take blood pressure meds as I tend to get worked up easily. Before I went veggie my diet and lifestyle were awful, and I firmly believe my heart disease was self induced. Heart disease has got to be a hard pill to swallow with you having been an athlete for 30 years and also having watched what you eat. If I'm going in your shoes I would also take the statin and any other med that pointed me in the right direction. I have no aversion to taking meds and think they are an important part of living full and productive lives with heart disease. If there is one good thing about heart disease it is that if diagnosed before a catastrophic cardiac event there is usually much that can be done to manage the disease through medical intervention and lifestyle choices that may very well lead to living a full and normal lifespan. I know how devastating it is when initially diagnosed from a mental perspective. One way to look at it is that your diagnosis was timely and prevented you from at some point experiencing a major coronary event. In time you may come to look at it as a new lease on life. Wishing you good health and peace of mind COYW.

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Very helpful post - thank you 😊 🙏🏻😀

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Thanks those comments are sound. I’m on a big statin hit and psychologically it is really good for me haha because I can tell myself the badness is being controlled and luckily I seem to be fine with statins though only a month has passed. I really don’t want more stents and I want to bloody go cycling 😀 My confidence gets undermined though by books like the one I mentioned.

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I go to the RBH Cardiology team.

Except one (he was a young doctor from one of the EU countries where they are used to Med diet rich in antioxidants), all the other Cardiologists are far from healthy and are all in the dangerous Apple shape body type. In other words, they are just so fat/obese, well beyond, a litte chubby, or "shapely" zone.

They must be on several drugs themselves, treating each other or put themselves on drugs. . . Clearly, medical schools never taught them the importance of exercises and nutrition. I see that as a major problem. Drugs should be the last resort when you need it. It should not be used as something you know you can automatically rely on, whilst ignoring diet suggestions/lifestyle modification by BHF.

There was this "controversial" anti-statin Cardiologist, who advocated some dubious, misguided diet.

One thing he was right was: sugar consumption: many people would not think twice before putting them into their mouth. Hospitals are full of junk food from M & S, WHSmith etc. That part was quite convincing. They should speak out more. It's interesting, makes people think.

To add further, there were some people, who managed to succeed through diet on this hub. There was an article on Med diet guidelines published in the USA someone posted on this hub. Made me wonder if it was funded by Olive Oil Industry. I looked but could not find any sources of research funding, which are often pharma or food industry.

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Funny Autumnsonnet

All my Cardiologists in north London are as skinning as bean poles.

Some busy running marathons or long cycle rides to raise money for charity....

Very good point about medical students not being taught much about nutrition and exercise etc.

jamieoliver.com/features/me...

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It is an interesting idea to assess the shape of cardiologists :-) In Shanghai there's no pattern :-) The first thing they all say though is don't smoke and don't drink. I'm OK with the first one but the second fills me with horror :-)

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I would rate the first two cardiologists and the first surgeon as slightly overweight. The surgeon I transferred to and his assistant were slim. His view is don't smoke and drink within the guidelines (2 - 3 units a day with minimum of two dry days a week). He also advised "as you will not be drinking a lot stick to good quality wines"!

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Some nuts work just as well as statins. See these:

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

You could email these links to the doctor to back up your case.

"How Not To Die" by Dr Michael Greger is a book that turned my life around. Here is an introductory video: nutritionfacts.org/introduc...

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Everyone is different.

If you believe it works for everyone, you are bound to be in for some shock.

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This is a really key point and deserves amplifying.

The chief clinical consultant to the BHF has stated that wider and earlier genetic testing is key to combating heart disease. And he's not alone amongst cardiac experts in recognising the role of genetics. In fact the American equivalent of the BHF has now said that any diet recommendation for a heart disease sufferer should be made in the knowledge of their individual DNA profile.

In other words, exactly what Autumnsonnet is saying, we are all different and a diet that works like magic for one person could be actually damaging for another person.

This really shouldn't be a surprise. Just look at the enormous differences in how different people digest and metabolise food, it's blindingly obvious that fundamental differences exist between people. For example a huge percentage of Asia is lactose intolerant, where as most Europeans are happy consuming milk or diary foods.

Let's just take one gene, APO E. There are three main variants of this gene, APO E2, APO E3, and APO E4. Depending which version you have will have a profound influence on how different diets work for you as an individual. If you're an APO E4 for example even moderate quantities of alcohol will raise your LDL levels and reduce your HDL levels. But if you're APO E2 then your response to alcohol is the exact reverse.

Also APO E4 means a very low fat diet will significantly decrease your LDL and just as importantly decrease your small dense LDL. But APO E2 people will see their small dense LDL increase on a very low fat diet, they need a moderate fat diet to at least hold their small dense LDL levels stable.

I don't want to bore everyone with more of this, but suffice to say it's this critical impact of your genes that makes the BHF so passionate about genetic testing, and makes the American Heart Association say you really need to know someone's DNA profile before you can advise them on their optimum diet to assist their cardiac condition.

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Same could be said about how each individual responds to a particular medicine.

The BHF announced the Big Beat Challenge a £ 30 million award to be given to a team that hopefully will bring about a ground breaking transitional approach to heart and circulatory conditions.

blog.bhf.org.uk/its-time-fo...

It will be fascinating who gets the award and what their idea will be.

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This is what the British Heart Foundation has to say about reversing heart disease,

"The idea that a low-fat vegetarian or vegan diet could ‘reverse’ heart disease has been circulating for more than 20 years. This way of eating has become more popular in the last couple of years. It has lots of benefits, but the truth is more complex than headlines suggest.

We know that changing your diet and lifestyle, as well as taking prescribed medications, will help slow the progression of coronary heart disease, but reversal is another matter. Evidence for a plant-based diet originated in the 1980s, in a very small study of 22 people. It found that four participants had a reversal of the disease in their arteries after following a very strict plant-based diet. This is interesting, but the results needed to be confirmed in larger and longer-term studies.

A study published in 2014 looked at 198 patients to further investigate whether eating a strict plant-based diet could stop or reverse heart disease. It found of the 177 patients who stuck to the diet, the majority reported a reduction in symptoms and 22 per cent had disease reversal confirmed by test results. But that study didn’t just rule out animal products – it also cut out added oils, processed foods, sugar, refined carbohydrates, excess salt, fruit juice, avocado, and nuts. Physical activity was also encouraged and prescribed medication continued.

Participants in the 2014 study had all heard about the earlier study and wanted to follow a plant-based diet to reduce heart disease, so they were already motivated to change their diet. This is an important point, as the level of restriction required for this diet could make it difficult to stick to. They were also given information about suitable recipes, how to read food labels so they could choose foods that fit the diet, and how to make sure the diet met their nutritional needs.

This is still a small study – much larger numbers of people would be needed for official guidelines to be changed. We also don’t know what would have happened if they had followed a diet with a similar nutritional profile, but including animal products like low-fat milk, fish and lean meat. This means we can’t be sure whether cutting out animal products or the overall nutritional content of the diet was important, or what role was played by physical activity and weight loss (most participants lost significant amounts of weight)."

Incidentally, it isn't only adherents of plant based diets who claim to have reversed heart disease and/or plaque build up. i've seen similar claims made by advocates of Mediterranean Diets, Paleo Diets, and 5:2 Fasting Diets. However, despite all having some scale scale research or anecdotal evidence, no one has substantiated their claims with a substantial piece of peer reviewed research that satisfies even the most basic scientific evidentiary standards. So...lots of heat, but very little light!

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Wow chappychap you’ve done some serious reading on this 😀 thanks🙏🏻

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Hi, interesting to read all the comments on this forum about stopping and reversing heart disease with food and lifestyle changes which as previously stated depend grately on a person's adherence to the changes and also their genetics.

On the other hand you could take statins to reduce your cholestrol to below 50mg/dL or 1.3mmol/L approx as there are numerous studies that show that at these sort of levels you can halt the atherosclerosis progression or even slightly reverse it in some cases.

I'm sure that plenty of people on here will think that these studies are unreliable because they are mostly funded by drug companies but I'm choosing to take the drugs and the diet and exercise approach in the hope that something works!

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