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Blocked Arteries: Clean Them Out Naturally

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After a Heart Attack - Change Your Diet to Reduce Death Risk

Other research has produced findings that are relevant in showing the power of diet in reversing coronary artery disease. A 1992 report did not measure regression but examined an important issue: subsequent heart problems in heart attack survivors.42 Patients in the experimental group were given a specific intervention diet that moved them strongly in the direction of vegetarianism. Meat and eggs were not allowed. Their description of the dietary protocol sounds essentially vegetarian, being described as "containing fruits, vegetables, cereals, and nuts," although some fish was apparently allowed. Among the (over 400) heart attack victims in the study, those on the intervention diet experienced a dramatic decrease in total cardiac events. Within just six weeks, the near-vegetarians showed a significant 35 percent decrease in total cardiac occurrences that included fatal and non-fatal heart attacks as well as sudden cardiac death.

The report suggests that diet changes are superior to medication for someone who has had a recent heart attack, which is astonishing to the medical community. One of the most widely touted groups of medications in this regard are beta blockers and ACE inhibitors. They demonstrate only half of the effectiveness of the vegetarian diet, with an average reduction in total mortality of only about 20 percent.43, 44

Drawbacks of Drug Medications for High Cholesterol or Triglycerides

There are numerous medications now available to assist in lowering LDL cholesterol and in some cases lowering triglycerides or raising HDL cholesterol. One of the most popular groups of drugs is known as the "statins" and include prescription medications such as Zocor, Pravachol, Mevacor, and Lescol. These medications can significantly lower LDL cholesterol while slightly raising HDL cholesterol but only when used in conjunction with a good low cholesterol, low saturated fat diet. Statins can infrequently cause severe liver inflammation and destruction as well as death of voluntary muscles of the body.

Another popular agent used to lower both cholesterol and triglycerides is a very high dosage of the B vitamin, niacin. When used in the high doses necessary to achieve significantly lower cholesterol and triglycerides, niacin should be considered a drug because it can infrequently cause life-threatening side effects. These side effects include destruction of the liver and internal bleeding from severe inflammation of the stomach; other common annoying side effects are hot flashes and flushing of the skin.

I prefer to reserve these medications for the approximately 1 in 400 people with a hereditary disorder that causes the liver to greatly overproduce cholesterol or triglycerides. I also use them in heart patients who have failed to achieve the desired serum levels of cholesterol with diet alone and who are willing to pay the high costs. The costs consist of medications (a year's supply of a popular cholesterol-lowering drug costs $1308),45 frequent doctor visits, and lab work necessary to monitor for and possibly prevent serious side effects. The good news is that the majority of people with high cholesterol can bring it down to an ideal level with an ideal diet and lifestyle program that includes regular exercise without the use of drug medications.

42 Singh RB, Rastogi SS, et al. An Indian experiment with nutritional modulation in acute myocardial infarction. Am J Cardiol 1992 Apr 1;69(9):879-985.

43 Yusuf S, Peto R, et al. Beta blockade during and after myocardial infarction: an overview of the randomized trials. Prog Cardiovasc Dis 1985 Mar-Apr;27(5):335-371.

44 Cody RJ. Comparing angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor trial results in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Archives of Internal Medicine 1994 September 26. 154(18): 2029-2036

45 Walmart Pharmacy retail price, Ardmore, Oklahoma obtained February 9, 1997 for Zocor (20 mg daily).

Notice of Credit
The article above is compliments of the Uchee Pines Institute, Seale, Alabama, a teaching and treatment facility devoted to natural remedies. For mor information, call 334-855-4781,e-mail:, or visit their Website:

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