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Blocked Arteries: Clean Them Out Naturally

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Failures of The Standard Heart Disease Diet

Let us see what The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet, by itself, has done for people. In a study called the Cholesterol Lowering Atherosclerosis Study (CLAS), individuals with coronary artery disease were treated with diet or diet plus medications. The diet used was one that the researchers apparently thought was strict: no more than 250 mg of dietary cholesterol per day, and less than 26 percent of calories from fat.16 Notice that the CLAS diet was actually quite similar to the National Cholesterol Education Program's recommendations and was more fat-restrictive than the average American diet. After four years on this program, the participants' heart arteries were re-evaluated by coronary angiograms. Those on the special diet without medication had a meager decrease in their total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. The results of the angiography (special x-ray pictures of the heart arteries) before and after the four year period, along with the cholesterol levels, are shown in Figure 2: Results of 26% Fat and 250mg Cholesterol Diet.

These are very discouraging results. Notice that the vast majority, almost four out of five, had worse blockages than they did before they went on the diet. Only six percent experienced an improvement. Clearly, these dietary changes and the resulting six percent drop in total cholesterol and LDL is not enough for the average person with coronary artery disease. The results are not unique. Similar studies have been performed in different settings and the results are always similar and equally disappointing.

Another study that illustrates this point was called the "Program on the Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias."17 This study examined the results of an intestinal surgery that interrupts the recycling of cholesterol through the digestive tract. They demonstrated that this surgery, called a "partial ileal bypass," could reduce cholesterol levels. This procedure came on the scene over 20 years ago; now, however, we recognize there are much better ways to deal with elevated blood fats. Consequently, my interest is not in the group that was surgically treated. It is rather in another group that was studied at the same time, those that served as the "controls." At the beginning of the program they randomly assigned enrollees to one of the two groups. The controls did not have the intestinal surgery but were placed on a special diet instead. Specifically, they were given a diet that was as restrictive, if not more restrictive, than the study shown in Figure 2: Results of 26% Fat and 250mg Cholesterol Diet. It contained 25 percent fat and 200 to 250 mg of dietary cholesterol.

The subjects were observed for a period of ten years. Those on the diet program lowered their total cholesterol and LDL. In one year their average LDL cholesterol went down slightly, from 178 to 174. By five years on the program that average was down even more, to 167, and by 7 years it was 159. Even at 10 years, participants still maintained a lower average cholesterol level than when they started, although the LDL value had risen back to 167. Despite the modest improvement in cholesterol numbers, blockages in their heart arteries became progressively worse, as shown in Figure 3: Results of 25% Fat and 200 - 250mg Cholesterol Diet.

Notice that they steadily became worse throughout the 10-year period. At the 10-year point, fully 85 percent showed disease progression.

Is it any wonder that so many bypass patients must undergo a repeat surgery 10 years later? Although a few individuals improve on a diet like that recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program, most do not improve. Sporadic success stories are simply not good enough. Imagine your disappointment and frustration if you had heart disease and perfectly followed your doctor's diet instructions for years only to find that your heart blood vessels became significantly worse. Your frustration would likely further increase if you then learned that almost everyone else who perfectly followed the same diet also became worse. Frustration would become complete when you learned that the diet had already been tested and found to be inadequate. It is obvious that something better is needed.

16 Cashin-Hemphill L, Mack WJ, et al. Beneficial effects of colestipol-niacin on coronary atherosclerosis. A 4-year follow-up. JAMA 1990 Dec 19;264(23):3013-3017.

17 Buchwald H, Varco RL, et al. Effect of partial ileal bypass surgery on mortality and morbidity from coronary heart disease in patients with hypercholesterolemia. Report of the Program on the Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias (POSCH). N Engl J Med 1990 Oct 4;323(14):946-955.

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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