The Real Way to Reduce Heart Disease: The “Power 5”

While we’re on the topic of “good signs” in the mainstream media, I was somewhat encouraged by a recent story on heart disease in the Feb 15, 2010 issue of Newsweek magazine. Four top cardiologists had a panel discussion on how to better prevent heart disease.

I was heartened to note that not one of them mentioned cholesterol.

For example: Dr. Clyde Yancy, president of the American Heart Association, was adamant about being more careful to check high blood pressure (now that’s a real risk factor!) Dr. Paul Ridker, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said prevention was all about “going to the gym, exercising regularly, throwing out the cigarettes and changing lifestyle”. Dr. Elizabeth Nadel, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital talked about economic incentives for behavior change.

Sure, if you scratched the surface a bit, you’d probably find that all these docs still believe cholesterol is an important piece of the puzzle, but the fact that it wasn’t mentioned once in the entire article seems to me a good sign.

These cardiologists seemed more interested in reducing what I consider the “real” risks for heart disease than they were in simply treating cholesterol numbers.

One of the most dramatic statistics I’ve ever come across- and I quote it all the time so forgive me if you’ve heard it already- is that you can reduce the risk of heart disease by 82% by simply following five behavioral strategies. At least that’s what happened in the long-running Nurses Health Study. When they analyzed the data- which involves over 100,000 people over 30 years- they found that adherence to five simple strategies lowered the risk for heart disease by the amazing figure of 82%.

Here are the five strategies. (See if you can find “lowering cholesterol” among them.)

1)    Eat a Mediterranean type die (fish twice a week)

2)    Maintain a healthy weight

3)    Drink only in moderation (1 drink a day for women, 2 for men, tops)

4)    Don’t smoke

5)    Exercise on a regular basis.

To that I’d add a few supplements just for insurance. Certainly a multiple vitamin, fish oil- which I take every single day of my life- and vitamin D at the barest minimum.

Special Health Alert

If you’re doctor does have you on a statin drug, for goodness sake, please supplement with Coenzyme Q10 . Many of the side effects associated with statins (like muscle weakness and fatigue) are due to the fact that statins completely deplete the body (and the heart) of this incredibly valuable nutrient. I take CoQ10 every day even though I’m not on a statin. It’s a great fuel for your heart- and a terrific antioxidant to boot!

Take A Stand Against Heart Disease!

In celebration of the American Heart Association’s National Start Walking Day on April 7, I am offering 15% off key nutrients to help nourish the body in it’s fight against heart disease. You can purchase a package of my favorite fish oil, vitamin D and Coenzyme Q10 . Just use the coupon code “HEART” when ordering.