Five better-than-statin ways to lower heart disease risk
By Michael Cutler, M.D.
If you were among those prescribed a statin prescription by your doctor, I’ll bet you weren’t given better and safer alternatives to help prevent cardiovascular disease. Let me share those with you here.
First eliminate the more dangerous risk factors
Let’s put the risk factors for heart disease into proper perspective. Before you even consider worrying about your cholesterol levels, first eliminate the risk factors that are the more dangerous. These include:
• persistent uncontrolled hypertension
• uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
• tobacco smoking
• excessive visceral adipose tissue (VAT), a.k.a. belly fat
Each one of these play a direct role to worsen endothelial damage (where atherosclerosis begins) and makes cholesterol become oxidized (sticky). When it is not oxidized, cholesterol is a very valuable molecule in your body.
Lower your heart disease risk without taking a statin drug
Long before you even consider taking a statin drug, there are at least 5 “better-thanstatin” interventions I’ll tell you about.
First, and foremost, there are nutrient-rich foods. This alone is far more powerful than any statin drug will ever be.
Nutrient rich foods
I previously discussed on a Zoom meeting about a 17 yearlong observational study of 10,771 healthy subjects 1 reported in a 1996 British Medical Journal. Researchers found that those who routinely consumed vegetarian foods, whole grain bread, bran cereal, nuts or dried fruit, fresh fruit and raw salad were found to have half the death rate from all causes compared to the age-matched general population. In particular, the daily consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a most significantly reduced death rate from heart disease and stroke (atherosclerosis).
Consume anti-inflammatory oils including plant-based saturated fats such as coconut and avocado oils, and eliminate processed vegetable oils such as canola, soybean and corn oil.
Overweight and obesity conditions go hand-in-hand with low mood and stress; and both are risk factors for heart disease. Obesity correlates with increased insulin production (which is inflammatory, part of metabolic syndrome) and increases inflammatory chemicals known to promote heart disease, called cytokines. 2
Of the 84,129 healthy women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study starting in 1980 and followed for 14 years, those who exercised 30 minutes daily, did not smoke, and who adhered to a diet high in cereal fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, but low in trans-fat, and low in refined sugar had one-sixth the heart attack rate compared to those who did not do these things. 3
Even exercise alone has the power to reduce your stroke risk 44% by brisk walking just 10 minutes daily, six days a week—which provided as much or more reduction in stroke (which is cardiovascular disease just as heart disease is) as taking the statin drug Atorvastatin (Lipitor). 4
Likewise, stress management is vital to heart health. You know the personality types A, B, and C (outwardly pleasant, avoids conflict, but suppresses feelings). Type D is the distressed person who exhibits anxiety, irritability, hopelessness and lack of self-assurance. This type D personality correlates with poor heart health.
In a 2001 study reported in Circulation, researchers treated emotional distress in 150 men with heart disease. The men 5
in this study who underwent emotional rehabilitation and worked at warding off distress were four times less likely to die after nine years compared to matched controls.
Furthermore, a January 2006 Netherlands study followed 875 patients after coronary 6 artery surgery for heart attack rate. Those who scored highest for type D personality traits (call the “distress score”) had four times more heart attacks or death compared to those who scored low on this questionnaire.
Think of this: what is stopping you from being peaceful and content all the time? It is likely your habits of thinking the worst when circumstances veer unexpectedly, which keep you from seeing the good news and opportunity in all of your life experiences! Consider this:
• a Yale University study revealed that those who felt the most loved had much less coronary artery blockage.
• Researchers at Case Western Reserve University studied almost 10,000 married men and found that those who said “yes” to the question “Does your wife show her love?” had significantly less chest pain (angina) than those who said “no.”
• Duke University researchers found on a survey of men and women with heart disease that the death rate after five years was three times higher with those who were single or lacked a trusted relationship.
Optimize your gut microbiota
It is well established that unhealthy intestinal bacteria and yeast (a.k.a. microbiota dysbiosis) of your distal small intestine and large intestine directly causes “leaky gut” and systematic chronic inflammation, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The best way to keep your 7 intestinal gut bacteria healthy is with the addition of prebiotics, probiotics, and phages. Let share some of my favorites.
Fructooligosacharide (FOS) is a prebiotic—a functional food for gut microflora; treats yeast infections; promote calcium absorption in the gut. 8
Human milk oligosaccharide (HMOs) are prebiotics shown to fortify a healthy gut microbiome composition, enhance production of short chain fatty acids, bind directly to pathogens and boost the immune system. 9
The best probiotics (actual healthy bacteria) include the lactobacilli and bifidobacterial such as: Lactobacillus acidophilus, L casei, L plantarum, L. salivarius, L. rhamnosus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, B. infantis, B. longum, and B. breve.
Then there are the very important bacteriophages (“phages”). These dominate the human gut microbiome and play a crucial role in shaping microbial composition and bacterial diversity. For example, PreforPro contains the following bacteriophages (“phages”): LH01–Myoviridae, LL5–Syphoviridae, T4D–Myoviridae, LL12-Myoviridae which rapidly (2-7 days) kill off unhealthy gut bacteria causing a “weeding out” effect, while sparing healthy gut bacteria and human cells—producing effective colonization by gut-friendly bacteria and reversal of leaky gut and chronic inflammation in your body. 10 These phages also effectively increase butyrate-producing bacteria; butyrate is known to strengthen the gut barrier function. These phages also improved cholesterol levels 11 and immune response, and significantly decreased allergy-inducing interleukin 4 (IL-4) cytokines in non-published studies.
Thyroid gland functional balance
In 1895, a group of prominent Austrian physicians removed the thyroid glands from sheep and goats (which rarely get arterial disease) and all of the animals subsequently developed severe diffuse arteriosclerosis and heart disease. 12 To confirm their conclusion, fifteen years later other Austrian physicians removed thyroid glands from sheep and goats but to this group they gave hormone replacement from thyroid extract and none of these animals developed arteriosclerosis. 13
Also, consider the clinical experience of Dr. Broda Barnes and the generations of the Hertoghe family of endocrine physicians from Belgium. These physician pioneers have estimated that thyroid deficiency is actually the leading cause of heart disease. 14 Dr. Barnes reported in 1976 that when his thyroid deficient patients were properly treated with natural thyroid hormone, there was a 94% protection rate against heart attacks. 15