On the campaign trail, Senator Bernie Sanders had an attack of angina, so they rushed him to the hospital and found that he had two blocked coronary arteries which they stented. So, in other words, he has heart disease.

Without a doubt, he’s been getting the very best of medical care all along, right? We take care of our Senators, don’t we? And he’s a rich man otherwise, so, he was going to have access to top flight medical care.

So, what has he been doing medically up to now? Has he been taking a statin drug?  Has he been taking one or more blood pressure medicines? I don’t know, but I do know that rich men like him get the same medical advice that poor people get, which is to take those drugs. And a lot of people who take those drugs wind up having cardiovascular events. The drugs don’t prevent them.

But, the point is that if he can get heart disease, don’t you think you can? Don’t you think anybody can? The best thing, I think, is to just assume that we are all headed towards getting heart disease. And every morning that we wake up, we should be determined to do everything in our power to prevent it.

So, what does that entail?

1 Don’t ingest poisons that provoke heart disease, such as tobacco smoke, which is a powerful prgenator of heart disease. And the same is true of every kind of smoke, including marijuana smoke. Including the burning incense you may be breathing in at church. Including the smoke from your fireplace. Burning carbonaceous material releases toxic polycyclic hydrocarbons which trigger plaquing within the arteries. So, don’t breathe smoke

2 Don’t drink alcohol. I know you were told for years and decades that a little alcohol is good for your heart, but the latest research shows that it was all bull, that when you compare moderate drinkers, not to people who quit drinking and may have damaged themselves severely from it, but to lifelong abstainers, that lifelong abstainers have much less heart disease than moderate drinkers.  The only good thing you can say about moderate drinking is that it’s better than heavy drinking.

3 Eat a lot of whole, natural, unrefined plant foods. Those are the only foods that I can tell you, with certainty, do not cause heart disease, and everything else is suspect. Fresh fruits, leafy greens, steamed vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, and cooked beans and legumes are the best foods, and I recommend going light on meats and fish, if you wish to eat them, and to avoid dairy completely, since you certainly don’t need it and are better off without it.

4 Avoid oils except for a very high quality and reliable extra virgin olive oil used sparingly.

5 There are quite a few supplements which can potentially contribute to heart health.  How many you take depends on how comfortable you are taking supplements and of course, your income. But, the following supplements are worth considering: a good multi-vitamin/mineral formula, a good omega 3 supplement (either an excellent fish oil such as our Eicosamax, which I take, or, if you don’t like the idea of taking fish oil, take one of the algae DHA supplements) the ubiquinol form of Co10, green tea extract, pycnogenol from grape seed extract or French pine, Vitamin D3, the methylcobalamin form of Vitamin B12 taken sublingually, magnesium, resveratrol, and optimized turmeric. Those are the supplements that I am currently taking, and I feel very good about all of them, both from the standpoint of safety and making a meaningful contribution to my program. It may seem like a lot to take – and a lot of money; but realize that there is a lot that other people spend money on that I’m not spending. I spend zero on alcohol, drugs, and that includes over the counter drugs. I spend zero on doctor visits.  I am 68. I am 5’6”, 134 pounds without clothes first thing in the morning; my resting heart rate is 64, and my blood pressure (just taken) was 106/58.  And I really do feel good.

6 Limit your sodium intake to no more than 1500 mgs/ day, and if you know you have any heart or kidney problems, limit it to 1000.  And anyone who tells you that salt is harmless is not someone you should be taking health advice from. Realize that just about everybody consumes an excess of sodium, and the healthier you are, the more likely you can get away with it.  But, even if you are healthy, don’t push it. If you get 1500 mgs/day, even that is 3x as much as you need. You certainly don’t want to go above that.

7 Take care of your teeth and gums. Rotting teeth and inflamed, infected gums provoke heart disease. They provoke inflammation, and the inflammatory chemicals released provoke heart disease. So, take care of your teeth by practicing good nutrition, practicing good dental hygiene (brushing, flossing, water pic) and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. I don’t have a doctor (except me) but I do have a dentist. And I am diligent about taking care of my teeth, for their sake, and for the sake of my general health.

 

8 Exercise regularly and vigorously but not to an extreme. Obviously, exercise is important, but increasingly, the evidence shows that over-exercising takes a toll- even on the heart. Just recently, we got the news that  Mark Spitz has atrial fibrillation. Is it from years and decades of over-exercising? I certainly wouldn’t rule that out. And when you consider how vulnerable we are to injuries, especially as we get older, it certainly behooves us to be cautious about not overdoing it when it comes to exercise.

9. Consider taking anti-aging hormones. I take 25 mgs DHEA every morning and have been doing so for years, and it is known to be cardio-protective. And I take melatonin at night before bed- to aid with sleep and because it is cardio-protective. Milligram for milligram, melatonin is the most powerful antioxidant of them all. And speaking of hormones, everyone over the age of 50 should have a thyroid panel run at least every two years, and if there is any suspicion of thyroid problem, more often than that. Millions of people are destined to become hypothyroid, and the sooner you find out about it the better. If it happens, I favor the use of the natural desiccated thyroid over the synthetics.

10. And finally, I do make it a practice to have blood work done on myself every April. It costs me a few hundred dollars, but there are tests available today that are very specific for the heart and can tell a lot about the health of your arteries. I am referring to what is called VAP testing, includes things like the size of your LDL particles, and the larger they are the better. Another very efficient test is carotid artery ultrasound, which tells you about the condition of your carotid arteries, whether there are blockages. It does not involve ionizing radiation, and it’s not that expensive, usually a few hundred bucks. The coronary calcium test I would NOT do because that involves a tremendous amount of ionizing radiation.

All right, I’ll quit there since we reached 10. But, the main point is, and I’m very serious about this, is that you should wake up every morning of your life determined to do all you can that day to prevent heart disease from developing within your body. Because: you look around you at the number of people who succumb to it, including multi-millionaire Senators who are running for President. If he can get heart disease, you shouldn’t think you can’t.