Has anybody any direct experience of the diets prescribed by Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn to 'Reverse heart disease'?

I came across Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn on the internet, both have done extensive studies of diet on heart disease. I have just started their 'reverse heart disease diet' with intention of avoiding bypass surgery, however both my GP and cardiologist are very skeptical and believe I should have the bypass. I am in a quandary as to what to do as the evidence from the US studies is very compelling that the cause of atherosclerosis can be halted by adopting a strict plant based diet.

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  • Hello,

    Diet?, yes can help with a lot of problems.

    Bypass?, why?. Now you are in a specialist area!. My relation, who is 84 has been delaying treatment for valve replacement and now not sure.

    Please go for treatment as early as possible. good luck.

  • Vin | Club 150s


    Live to 150 years: Healthy, Fit, Drugs free ... Posted in Blogs | Tagged allergy, essential fats, flaxseed, hemp seed, immune system, long life, smoothie | Leave a ...

    This person started an Ornish based diet ten years ago when he was told have a triple by pass, he has not had a by pass and I keeping well. But it is a considered choice not for everyone, Vin will answer any questions you want to ask.

  • Agreed diet not for everyone. Sounds like you are the one person who has direct experience to avoid the bypass by this diet. Would love to talk to you.

  • I have not done the diet though I try aspects, I had to have a bypass this year, and seven moths later I am in hospital again due to post operative complications. in the same ten years Vin, he is my brother has done it totally by diet, and is very well, but he is very strict. You need to go on his web page and contact him!


  • Sorry to hear you had complications - as my consultant said you take the risks up front with a bypass or risk a cardiac event down the road. Presumably you had symptoms that were resolved successfully by the bypass. Will go to Vins site and send a message - I did see some good recipies. Thanks for responding.

  • Hi Bobaxford

    I have only read about the diets, but have noted the conclusion that you would probably need to be on the diet for a year before any major changes would have had time to take place. The blunt question must be: have you got a year to do this in?

    Good luck with whatever you choose.

  • Thanks, as I don't have any symptoms since on new diet I am sure I can benefit from the diet to arrest further buildup in my arteries, already my cholesterol is down to 3.2 and if I can keep it at this level that is the goal. My only concern is my LMS is about 60% blocked and if I get a blockage here it would be fatal- but I am aware of this and act accordingly. If it stays at this level with no symptoms then why do I need a bypass? If I had a bypass then these interventions may create problems - a dilemma , my preference is trust the diet and avoid bypass until symptoms become significant. Unfortunately I will be breaking new ground I think as nobody in UK seems to have expertise in what the diet achieves.

  • From what I have read the benefits of CABG are to relieve symptoms and if I have no significant symptoms I think it is an unnecessary step at this stage. Am I missing something?

  • All,

    Total Cholesterol and ratio:

    The total cholesterol/HDL ratio is more indicative of cardiovascular disease than TC (total cholesterol). The amount of HDL and LDL in the blood are added together, this number for all practical purposes, indicates the amount of total cholesterol. Therefore, if your HDL count is low the LDL count will account for the remainder of the total. For men an acceptable ratio of TC/HDL is 4.5 or below, and women is 4.0 or below.

    We all need cholesterol. How much of it?

    CVD vs Memory?

    Please take care.

  • I was very interesting to read your post Bob. I suffered an MI last year at age 45 with very little warning. I have had lupus for many years, which causes accelerated arterio sclerosis.

    Unfortunately I have been unable to tolerate most lupus meds, or any of those prescribed following an angioplasty. I therefore have no alternative but to try & control these illnesses through dietary changes.

    I have been recommended the portfolio diet by the cardiac re-hab team, & I am following an anti-inflammatory disease for the lupus.

    It is great to hear that there is research being done into diet for treating CVD, & I will take a look at the studies you mention.

    Very best wishes with your attempts to avoid or postpone by-pass surgery. How do your family feel about your alternative approach? I can imagine it must be difficult for them to comes to terms with any potential risks.

  • Hi Roobarb

    Sorry to hear about the lupus. Have you been checked for other autoimmune diseases such as coeliac disease? They sometimes go together.

  • Thanks Penel.

    You're right, auto-immune diseases often overlap. We call them BOGOF diseases in the lupus community, or BOG6F in my case. My own view is that they are all symptoms of the inflammatory response, rather than separate diseases.

    I was due to have a biopsy for coeliac disease last summer, but became very ill with lupus & needed an intense course of chemo. I never want to go through that again, so began researching the dietary approach & went GF along with other changes.

    That was 3 months ago & I am expecting it to take about a year to feel the full benefits, as you have already said. It's great to be able to read about other peoples experiences on here, & that there is so much in the news about the effects of sugar at the moment. Are you considering making dietary changes yourself?

  • Hi Roobarb

    Sorry to hear about BOG6F! That sounds really tough.

    I had to go gluten free about ten years ago and it made a fantastic difference to me, having been mistakenly treated for arthritis for several years. I sometimes wonder if gluten/grains should carry a health warning, as they can do really terrible damage to some people, without them realising. I avoid gluten free supermarket food because it is highly processed, full of additives and sugar.

    Although the Ornish diet seems to work for some people, it would be no good for me. My diet has moved towards Low carb/High fat, with lots of veg. All my test results are good.

    I do hope going gluten free will be of some help to you.

  • Thanks Penel, It's great to hear that it made such a difference for you. I got a lot of help from the GF guerrillas site on HU. Did you have a postive test for coeliac? That seems to be a contentious point, like so many other forms of testing when it comes to inflammatory diseases.

  • PS, sorry to hijack your post Bob. I'll PM you penel.

  • Have the bypass AND adopt the diet. They wouldn't be doing the bypass unless you are very seriously ill. You need the surgery

    Yes it's scary, but although I would never trust a "lipid specialist" I'd trust a heart surgeon, they're the good guys.

  • Yes, that would be the sensible solution - just seems drastic to have surgery at this stage when I feel fine and with stict diet can possibly tackle the root cause to prevent further plaque buildup! I am seeing the heart surgeon tomorrow so its crunch time to decide. Thanks to everyone for all the views and comments.

  • Just back from seeing the heart surgeon and looking at the angiogram again- the narrowing in the LMS is quite severe and this is the major concern. So back on the waiting list for the Op, but I am sticking with the new diet too.

  • Just watced the video, thanks. More good information, I had not come across Nathan Pritikin before.

  • Hi All - New to this world. Recently diagnosed with CAD. Age 47 fit (thought I was fit). Never smoked. Play soccer 2 -3 X per week ( vs 25 yr olds)Gym 2-3 Xs per week. Had physical 12/18. Abnormal ekg. Went to cardio - sent for calcium score. Score was 300. 98th percentile for age. Stress test abnormal. Had angiogram - 100% blockage in circumflex. 40% & 50% in 2 others. Angio showed body made collateral artery. Started dr. Ornish diet. Cholesterol dropped from 230 to 90 in 3 weeks. LDL 154 to 29. HDL 50 to 42. Also started statin 40 mg (cut to 20).

    Has anyone else seen such dramatic change. Cardio recommended no stent or surgery. Continue diet.

    Do any of you have insight on continuing training.

    Thanks for any input.