How I Conquered Heart-Disease and What... - Cholesterol Support

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How I Conquered Heart-Disease and What I Have Learned in the Process

sos007
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34 Replies

Before I relay the story, please read this first:

What is the nature of your diet? Do you consume:

- soft drinks, alcohol or fruit juices? If so, how often?

- pasta, rice, bread, pizza, potatoes?

- potato chips (crisps), pretzels, crackers?

- fried foods (including fried eggs)? French fries?

- cookies, cakes and other desserts?

- dairy?

- red meat, processed meats like cold cuts, bacon or sausages?

- packaged food from the grocery store?

- sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, or other sweeteners?

All of the above are 'inflammatory foods' for the body and trigger the body's immune system including, among others, LDL cholesterol production.

Do you consume, daily, any of these ANTI-Inflammatory foods?:

An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:

- tomatoes.

- olive oil.

- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards.

- nuts like almonds and walnuts.

- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.

- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.

Source: health.harvard.edu/staying-...

Heart disease, diabetes and many other chronic diseases are all related in that they can result, in most cases, from an inflammatory diet and lifestyle.

Info: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1...

Info: who.int/chp/chronic_disease...

Info: cdc.gov/media/releases/2014...

Half of all heart attacks and strokes occur to people with normal cholesterol levels. Blood clots are the cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Source: health.harvard.edu/heart-he...

To avoid blood clots:

Consider supplements such as Folic acid (vitamin B9) along with Omega 3 fish oil pills, B6 and B12.

Or you can eat wild-caught salmon or trout, or arctic char, 2-3 times per week, use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, and eat one of these 3 greens DAILY:

- arugula, kale, or broccoli.

Get yourself a good Mediterranean Diet cookbook, but focus on low-carb meals. You can have healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and nut butters (organic, unsweetened, unsalted), MCT (medium chain triglycerides) foods such as goat and sheep dairy products, and MCT oil, among others.

Monitor your fibrinogen and homocysteine values in your blood tests regularly which measure blood platelet aggregation. Read this:

lifeextension.com/Protocols...

A couple of good sources for recipe ideas are:

- pritikin.com/pritikin-at-ho...

- ricardocuisine.com/en/recip...

Legumes should become a staple of your diet going forward.

----------------------------------------------------------------

THIS, is my story...

I had a triple bypass 4 years ago (March 2015) and subsequently required 4 additional stents.

My medication regimen was metoprolol, ramapril, clopidogrel (plavix), and 5 mg of the statin, Crestor, plus a daily baby aspirin of 80 mg.

I am a male, at that time 53 years of age, 5' 10" (178 cm), and was at that time 195 lbs (88.5 kg);

The surgery itself resulted in sleepless nights due to anxiety, but in time (a long time) that subsided.

In follow up visits with my cardiologist he adjusted my statin (Crestor) and increased it initially to 10 mg, then 20 and finally 30 mg. He said I had FH (familial hypercholesterolemia).

I was compliant but noticed an elevated level of anxiety throughout the day for months. I became very pessimistic and saw the world through dark clouds. I had this impending feeling of imminent doom. Nights were awful and I dreaded going to sleep.

I was always an upbeat, optimistic person and recognized that this was out of nature for me. I kept using 'self-talk' as a technique to counter these negative feelings.

By November 2015, my left shoulder began to hurt and stiffen up. By late December, my left shoulder was immobile and was throbbing with pain to the point that I couldn't sleep.

I initially thought it was a rotator cuff injury from summer golfing.

However, one sleepless night around Christmas 2015 I started looking up the side-effects of all the medications I was taking.

Needless to say once you look up the side-effects of statins (atorvastatin, crestor and others) there is an endless volume of information. Those from the medical community believe its the best drug for heart disease, while those who have taken it write about all of their side-effects.

I made the decision that night to slowly wean myself off of the Crestor. I wanted to know how to lower cholesterol naturally.

To make a long story short I radically changed my diet, and became a vegetarian but still ate fish and dairy products (mostly goat and sheep cheese). I completely stopped having sugar, and simple carbohydrates and all of the inflammatory foods I listed above - this resulted in a 3-week period of withdrawal symptoms, as refined carbohydrates and sugar are addictive. I was in a foul mood, short-tempered and full of self-pity throughout the 3 weeks that I could no longer eat such foods. Once I passed this point, my mood improved and I noticed that I had more energy, was more relaxed, tolerant, and was very slow to anger. In short, I my personality improved.

Watch this video:

- TV program 60 Minutes (13 min. episode)

I also cut the Crestor dosage from 30 to 25 mg without permission from my cardiologist to see the impact.

Additionally, I systematically walked daily, progressing gradually to 90 minutes per day, and then supplementing with resistance training at the gym 3 days per week. I also play hockey once per week.

This resulted in weight-loss at a rate of 1-2 lbs per week (early on it was 2 lbs/week). As the weight came off I ran blood tests every 6 weeks to monitor LDL-C and the rest of my blood bio-markers.

My LDL-C continued to decline even though I began to wean off Crestor at a rate of 5 mg every 6 weeks. Concurrently I began getting dizzy spells - my blood pressure was too low. I spoke with my GP and he said to cut the ramipril in half. I did so, but continued to have low blood pressure as my weight continued to come off. By the summer of 2016, I completely stopped the ramapril as my blood pressure, without it, was normal.

The clopidogrel (plavix) therapy along with baby aspirin is a standard,12-month, post-surgical protocol. This ended in May of 2016 for me on the 12-month anniversary of my last angioplasty (stenting). By summer's end of 2016 I was only taking metoprolol and 5 mg of Crestor.

I saw my cardiologist for a routine follow up and he was very pleased with my progress. By this point my weight was down to about 165 lbs. (75 kg). He told me that I wouldn't be able to go below 5 mg of Crestor as my LDL, which had fallen to about 1.7 mmol/l, would likely go back up to levels he said were sub-optimal for my condition.

I also questioned the need for metoprolol as this was a beta-blocker that slowed down my heart rate and lowered blood pressure. I looked up the drug and saw that it was designed for those with a heart attack (I didn't have one), atrial fibrillation and other heart problems, none of which I experienced. Thus I decided I was going to wean off of this drug as well.

I continued to experience anxiety throughout this period as my decision to eliminate all pharmaceuticals was contrary to conventional medical guidance.

By this point my knowledge base on cholesterol and cardiovascular disease had increased significantly as I read 2-3 medical studies every evening and a litany of other medical literature.

When I began weaning off of the metoprolol, my anxiety went through the roof even though the cardiologist said weaning wasn't necessary, I could just stop. By October 2016 I took my last metoprolol and last dosage of Crestor, then ran a blood test.

All blood markers were excellent, EXCEPT the LDL-C, which doubled to over 3 mmol/l.

My GP called immediately and said 'what are you thinking?!'

I told him that it was likely the 'rebound effect' of stopping Crestor. He didn't know about the rebound effect of stopping medications. This was when I realized my knowledge base about cholesterol and cardiovascular disease was beyond the scope of a general family doctor. I also realized the medical system in general was subject to potential conflict of interests due to the influence of the large pharmaceutical firms.

Since my cholesterol ratios were still good even after my LDL-C popped up, my GP agreed to go along with me and wait for the next blood test.

6 weeks later, my next blood test showed my LDL-C began to drop again albeit not to the sub 2.0 mmol/l recommended by my cardiologist.

My anxiety began to slowly dissipate and my left shoulder problems completely resolved and I regained full mobility again and was pain-free. My weight by the end of 2016 had leveled-off at 155 lbs (70.3 kg). My waist size went from a high of 42" (106.7 cm) down to 31" (78.7 cm).

I then began to learn about vitamins and supplements and the importance especially of vitamin C.

Humans cannot synthesize collagen which is critical in the repair of human tissues. This is especially important for people who exercise a great deal as exercise, in spite of its significant benefits, still triggers inflammation. In the absence of collagen, the body produces more cholesterol. Furthermore, I learned that when the body has more vitamin C and increases collagen production, cholesterol production drops.

I began to take 2,000 mg per day of vitamin C and noticed a nearly 20% drop in my LDL-C.

I have been tinkering with my diet and supplement routine since then.

This is the Vitamin C I take now: livonlabs.com/

Today, I have small portions of lean grilled chicken breast twice per week. I eat red meat only 4 times per year on special occasions, again in very small quantities (2-3 ounces).

I can tell you that changing medication dosages as well as vitamin and supplement dosages will trigger anxiety (yes even supplements). Therefore always change dosing gradually and recognize that you might get a temporary bout of anxiety.

When my supplement dosing is steady and unchanging, I do not have any anxiety.

I have reduced my baby aspirin to once every other day. I read a study that said the potentially efficacy of baby aspirin is not materially reduced with this schedule.

This week, a new study was released questioning baby aspirin therapy for primary prevention although it did not mention anything about secondary prevention for those with established heart-disease.

I am considering a food supplement called 'fruit flow' as a replacement for the aspirin.

In the meantime, to help your RA and inflammation in general, consider these supplements:

- curcumin (active compound in tumeric)

- 1 teaspoon daily of Ceylon (true) Cinnamon (I put it in my breakfast tea).

Here are 7 anti-inflammatory spices:

Turmeric.

Cayenne.

Ginger.

Cinnamon.

Cloves.

Sage.

Rosemary.

Source: blog.bulletproof.com/best-a...

One last thing, LDL-C is not the best indicator of cardiovascular disease risk. Instead the measure of LDL-P (particle number) is. You need to get a blood test called 'NMR Lipoprofile' which will provide you with this, and other, very important values. If your LDL-P is low and your LDL-C is high, the LDL-P value is more important:

Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

If your LDL-P is also high then you have to address it through dietary and lifestyle changes.

If you wish to ask me any questions you can messages me privately.

I hope this helps you with your health issues.

Good luck.

P.S. I do not have Familial Hypercholesterolemia. My current blood metrics prove it and the diagnosis was not based on a specific test but simply on my elevated cholesterol that met a guideline value used by the medical system. Do not accept all advice from doctors at face value. Do your own research and seek second opinions including those from a high quality naturopathic doctor.

34 Replies
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Marz

This post should be a Pinned Post for easier access. 😊

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Marz

Thanks very much. I will ask how Pinning is done.

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Paul12

Have you ever made lipsomal vitamin C? Recipe is on YouTube. Have you read the work of Esselstyn in particular what he says about nuts? Have you also read about the starch solution (McDougall) ? Have you had a calcium score? Thank you

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Paul12

I have never made Liposomal vitamin C, I buy it online. I'm still working full time so I'm happy buying someone else's expertise. I have read Esselstyn and what he says about nuts. Considering I eat 1/3 of a cup of nuts on a daily basis in addition to having 2 tablespoons of Almond Butter on one slice of multigrain bread daily - I clearly disagree.

My LDL-P results and other detailed metrics from the NMR Lipoprofile show that my cardiovascular risk is now, extremely low. Esselstyn still focuses on LDL-C, not LDL-P, the science has moved on from LDL-C, yet most doctors are still stuck on this old metric.

I encourage you to listen to this podcast and read the show notes:

peterattiamd.com/?s=ldl-p Dr. Peter Attia and Dr. Thomas Dayspring - Part 2 of 5

also listen to this:

podcastnotes.org/2018/09/11...

I have not read the Starch Solution by McDougall, but I read the synopsis. I also saw the foods that he advocates for one's diet. There's a lot of overlap between what I eat and what McDougall advocates in his book - probably 90%. The principle difference is that I don't eat white potatoes - I only eat sweet potatoes and have virtually no sugar in my diet - I noticed he uses maple syrup in some recipes.

Beans are considered a starch and he recommends them. Beans are a staple in my diet.

I'm constantly tinkering with minor revisions to my diet and then I test my blood work. So far the 2 days per week that I consume 3 oz of lean white chicken breast have not negatively impacted my blood bio-markers.

My reading on longevity and health-span indicates that people need to minimize frequency and magnitude of insulin spikes and so I avoid simple carbs such as maple syrup, sugar, (very minimal honey - 1/4 teaspoon or less, per day).

Since I've already lost all of my excess weight and hit my biomarker targets I'm happy with my current regimen and follow Dr. Peter Attia and Dr. Robert Lustig's work very closely.

I have never had calcium score done, but I had a scan of my carotid arteries and they were totally clean and free of plaque.

I don't see the need for a calcium score, as I don't think it will alter my diet or lifestyle. What it may do is confirm that my diet and lifestyle may have reduced my acccumulated plaque. However I don't want the radiation exposure if it isn't necessary.

If another method for scanning arteries becomes feasible such as a cardiac MRI, then I will consider that for assessing the state of my arteries.

I appreciate your feedback.

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bobaxford

A great post, thank you for your story and lots of very useful information for others. It’s always good to read positive posts on what we can do ourselves to manage our conditions.

I have followed a very similar path, although your research and knowledge is way more than mine, and coming up to my 5 year anniversary of my single bypass I feel I am in control even though I still have doubts and misgivings about some aspects of my diet and still tinker with mine taking what I consider the optimum of a WFPB and LCHF diet.

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to bobaxford

Glad to hear you're doing well Bob. Here's a podcast with notes that you should listen to. It is very informative:

podcastnotes.org/2018/09/11...

Reply

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sos007
sos007Ambassador

Glad to hear you're doing well Bob. Here's a podcast with notes that you should listen to. It is very informative:

podcastnotes.org/2018/09/11...

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Marz
Marz
in reply to sos007

bobaxford will not have received your response as you missed pressing the Reply button 😊 I know - easily done ! I have now tagged him so he can pick up your message ..

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Marz

Thanks Marz. I can't find my response to him - did he get it?

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Marz
Marz
in reply to sos007

Your response is there as a reply to yourself rather than to Bob 😊 Just above mine !

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Marz

Thanks again Marz.

1 like
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Markl60

Great post and I agree with everything in it including nuts which I eat a handful of every morning. One good way to get some of those spices is to make a morning drink of

glass of warm water containing

Half a squeezed lemon

T spoon of Cayenne pepper

T spoon of turmeric

pinch of black pepper

Table spoon of apple cider vinegar

T spoon of raw honey

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sos007
sos007Ambassador

Thanks Mark for the recipe.

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Wizen

Thanks for that informative list sos007, you’ve done do well. Your info on how to approach reading of lipids is really helpful. My cholesterol Is now at 5 having been 6.4 a year ago. I refused statins as after two days on them I couldn’t walk! I have been paying attention to my diet, but your recommendations give me hope I can reduce it further.

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Wizen

Glad to hear you're doing well. Keep it up!

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Red18

Morning. Can I ask do you in incorporate fresh fruit in your diet? Many thanks

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Red18

Fruit is fine because it has fiber. Best fruits are berries (organic), apples and oranges among others.

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Red18
Red18
in reply to sos007

Thankyou. In your opinion then sugar is the true evil and not fat?

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Red18

I am a layman and do not have a professional opinion. My nutritional knowledge is all self-taught and accumulated over the last 4 years following my by-pass surgery. I rely upon the empirical evidence that is summarized in both medical studies and medical professionals who are up to date on current research. I also rely on the various dietary and exercise experiments I have conducted on myself with the resulting blood metrics.

The evidence is clear that the body's insulin response to sugar, simple carbohydrates and processed foods which lack fiber, initiate the cascade of the body's immune response that results in damage to the endothelium and the accumulation of plaque.

Healthy fats - from nuts, olives, avocado and cold-water fish are very beneficial to the body. From what I have read, a diet that fuels the body with fat instead of carbohydrates (ketogenic diet) has been used for a century to cure or treat depression, schizophrenia, seizures, anxiety and various forms of mental illness.

That said, a ketogenic diet is very difficult to adhere to, so the Mediterranean Diet which approximates, or leans toward, a ketogenic diet, is my preferred choice.

I am not confident in the ingestion of saturated fats from animal sources and so have intentionally minimized those in my own diet.

I do have cheese sourced from sheep and goat, which have a preferred fatty acid profile (medium chain fatty acids vs long-chain fatty acids), as well as Scandinavian cheeses high in vitamin K2, such as gouda, and Jarlesberg, in moderation.

From my reading, fat from animals that are pasture-raised or grass fed may not be harmful, but I don't yet know enough to consume much of that. I still buy extra-lean cuts of ground grass-fed beef on the few days per month I consume red meat.

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Red18
Red18
in reply to sos007

Thankyou so much for all the formation you have passed on. Very very informative.

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Red18

My pleasure!

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Red18

Hellooooo sos007. Can I ask you if my LDL levels are going down and my HDL increasing is my plaque in my arteries becoming less and less?

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sandybrown
sandybrown
in reply to Red18

I found a report that there is no link between cholesterol and heat problems.!

nhs.uk/news/heart-and-lungs...

Possible answer to your question , read the information in this link:

health.harvard.edu/heart-he...

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to sandybrown

Premature conclusions Sandybrown - at the bottom of the first link you provided is this...

"These types of stories are often based on a selective view of evidence, rather than a comprehensive systematic review. There is currently no comprehensive body of evidence that contradicts current official advice on saturated fat consumption – which recommends no more than 30g of saturated fat a day for men and 20g for women.

"

Analysis by Bazian

Edited by NHS Website

-------------------------

In the first paragraph that appears in the second link that you have provided is this quote:

"Making plaque disappear is not possible, but we can shrink and stabilize it," says cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cannon, a Harvard Medical School professor.

--------------------------

Unfortunately, there is no conclusive evidence, yet, to suggest that plaques can be reversed. However, I remain hopeful through diet and daily exercise that this in fact IS possible and that at some point in the future, somebody will be able to prove it.

In the meantime, anybody wishing to improve their cardiovascular health should follow the Mediterranean Diet and exercise daily.

Good luck to all.

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Markl60
Markl60
in reply to sos007

How about the work of Dr Dean Ornish showing reversed heart disease/plaque and published in the Lancet in 1991

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Markl60

I'm familiar with the study and it certainly provides hope. The general criticism of the study is that it was a very small sample size. Logically, I think plaque regression with dietary and lifestyle change is likely possible. It would be nice to see a trial with a much larger sample size. In my case, I am banking on this natural process as I do not take any medications at all. I am now 4 years past my surgery and 2.5 years without medications - I also stopped the baby aspirin several months ago. So far so good, but I'm not willing to risk an angiogram to see the results of my dietary and lifestyle changes. I wish there were a non-invasive process that did not involve radiation either to assess the coronary arteries.

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sos007
sos007Ambassador

I wish I knew the answer to that question. That is certainly one theory out there. Short of an invasive angiogram there's no other way to know definitively. What is likely though is that your plaques may have stabilized. There's a simple blood test called a PLAC or LpPLA2 that measures the stability of arterial plaques. If you are so inclined you may even try a non-invasive cardiac MRI but that is not necessarily as definitive as the angiogram.

More important than your LDL-C is your LDL-P. The NMR Lipoprofile test will let you know your LDL-P particle number. If that is below 1,000 then LDL-C is of no concern regardless of its value.

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Adaboo

Great post!

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Red18

Hellooooo sos007. Please may I ask do you take vitamin k2 (mk7) and if so what quantity and do you take vitamin d3 and if so what quantity? So many brands on the internet... thankyou

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Red18

Hello Red18, I do not take vitamin K2, I try and eat foods that contain it. Aged cheeses of the Gouda, Jarlesberg and Swiss Emmental variety. I have also changed my consumption patter for chicken, which I eat once per week. I now choose dark meat instead of white meat due to its higher content of K2 and I have recently purchased some goose pate which is very high in K2. I eat that once per week at this point and only a small portion.

I take 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily in tablet form. I live in Canada and buy Jamieson Vitamin for the D3.

I hope that helps.

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Red18
Red18
in reply to sos007

Evening. Many thanks it does help... I already take like yourself the vitamin d3. The vitamin k2 mk7 I think I will purchase as I do not eat any cheeses or any fermented products. I am also tinkering with the idea of taking vitamin C too??

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Red18

I take 4,000 mg of vitamin C daily.

Half of that is in the form of liposomal vitamin C which does not get metabolized like the pill form, and is absorbed 100%.

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Red18
Red18
in reply to sos007

Thankyou so much for info. Have a lovely evening. Take care. Many thanks.

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sos007
sos007Ambassador
in reply to Red18

My pleasure:)

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