A month before a heart attack, your body will warn you with these 8 signs


Are you sure that your lifestyle is healthy enough to stave off a heart attack?

Here is a list of risk factors for heart attacks: smoking, unhealthy diet and obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol use, high blood pressure and diabetes.

If you are an average American, or an average world citizen for that matter, you probably sport one or more of these risk factors.

Why so many of us insist on neglecting out health and risking our lives unnecessarily remains a mystery, but fortunately the internet is a treasure chest of useful information that can save our lives if we don’t care too much to live more sensibly.

Over at Bright Side they have listed eight signs your body will give you a month before you get a heart attack. This will help you to recognize a heart attack a month before it happens.

8. Chest pain

This is the most obvious sign of an impending heart attack. If you have a blocked artery or are having a heart attack, you may feel pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest.

Men and women experience chest pains in different intensities and forms. In men, this symptom refers to the most important early signs of an impending heart attack that should not be ignored. On the other hand, it affects only 30% of women.

Description: Chest pain can expand to uncomfortable sensations in one or both arms (more often the left one), the lower jaw, neck, shoulders, or stomach. It may have a permanent or temporary character. People use different words to describe the sensation from saying it’s like an elephant is sitting on them or it’s like a pinching or burning.

7. Excessive perspiration

Unusual or excessive sweating is an early warning sign of a heart attack. It might occur at any time of the day or night. According to WebMD, breaking out in a cold sweat for no obvious reason could also signal a heart attack.

It’s more common for women to experience excessive sweating and it’s often confused with the hot flushes associated with menopause.

Description: Flu-like symptoms, clammy skin, or experiencing sweatiness regardless of air temperature or physical exertion. Sweating seems to be more excessive at night.

6. Irregular heartbeat

It’s normal for your heart rate to increase when you’re nervous or excited, but if you feel like your heart is beating out of time for more than just a few seconds, or if it happens often, it might be a sign that you’re heading for a heart attack.

“Skipped beats or arrhythmias are often accompanied by a panic attack and anxiety, especially among women. It appears unexpectedly and reveals itself differently: arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or tachycardia (increased heart rate). Physical exercises might give an extra stimulus to the increase of heart rate, especially in cases with atherosclerosis disease,” reports Bright Side.

Description: The irregular heartbeat lasts for 1-2 minutes. If it doesn’t fade, you might feel dizziness and extreme fatigue. Call the doctor right away.

5. Hair loss

Losing your hair is considered to be just another visible indicator of the risk of heart disease. Most commonly it affects men over 50, but some women may also be in the risk group. Baldness is also associated with an increased level of the hormone cortisol.

Description: Pay close attention to losing hair from the crown of your head.

4. Shortness of breath

Breathlessness, or dyspnoea, is a common symptom of several medical conditions, heart problems being one of them. If the heart muscle is not pumping effectively, pressure can build up within the lungs and the chambers of the heart, creating the sensation of breathlessness.

It often occurs among men and women for up to 6 months prior to having a heart attack.

Description: Feeling like you can’t get enough air, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

3. Insomnia

Insomnia is also associated with an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. A decrease in oxygen levels — caused by changes in the heart due to heart disease — may trigger subtle changes that lead to anxiety, insomnia, and agitation that can’t be explained by normal circumstances. People who’ve had a heart attack often realize afterwards they began to experience anxiety and sleep problems in the months before the attack. Could this be the body’s way of warning you that something’s not right?

Description: Symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying sleep, and waking up very early.

2. Abdominal pain

Abdominal pains, empty/full stomach nausea, feeling bloated, or an upset stomach are several of the most common symptoms. It’s easy to attribute these to indigestion problems instead of a heart problem. The symptoms are equally likely to occur among women and men.

Poor circulation and lack of oxygen circulating in the blood (caused by a weak heart or blocked arteries) can lead to ongoing nausea, indigestion, or vomiting, particularly in women or people over 60.

Description: Abdominal pains before a heart attack have an episodic nature, easing and then returning for short periods of time.

1. Fatigue

Unusual fatigue is one of the main symptoms that indicates an impending heart attack. Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of heart disease, especially for women.

Description: Physical or mental activity is not the reason for the fatigue, and it increases by the end of the day. This symptom is quite apparent and will not go unnoticed: sometimes it’s exhausting to perform simple tasks, like making a bed or taking a shower.

Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best: Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Heart disease remains one of the leading killers in the world.

With obesity levels on the rise and more people being diagnosed with medical conditions than ever before, the strain on our bodies continues to increase.

We are more stressed out than humans have ever been before. We work harder than we ever have before. Our jobs are more demanding and we spend less time at home than we ever did before.

No wonder people are suffering heart attacks all around us. People in their twenties are starting to have heart attacks now.

With anxiety, depression, and dwindling economic status, people are getting older before their time.

But if you know what to look for and you get help fast enough, you can come through a heart attack.

Not everyone survives, but not everyone dies either. There is hope. Here’s what to look for if you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack.

First Signs of a Heart Attack

Heart attacks don’t always come on suddenly and drop you to your knees.

In fact, many people have heart attacks and don’t even realize it, carrying on after a quick burst of pain in their back or neck, chest or shoulder.

You may have some symptoms that aren’t explained leading up to a heart attack, such as unexplained fatigue, anxiety, or fear of impending doom (as we mentioned above).

You may have nausea or vomiting that doesn’t seem to be related to anything. You might also experience shortness of breath off and on without cause.

For instance, if you are seated and suddenly feel out of breath, it could be a sign that a heart attack could occur.

Of course, symptoms can be related to any number of conditions or nothing at all, but if you experience anyone of these or several together, it might be worth looking into or at least keeping an eye on how you feel in the coming days.

Heart Attacks in Men

Did you know that men sometimes experience different symptoms than women do when they experience a heart attack?

Men tend to experience the classic heart attack symptoms that you might be familiar with including chest pain, shortness of breath, redness in the face, shoulder and neck pain, arm pain, and radiating pain.

Men often feel embarrassed when they are in pain and will try to say that their pain is related to something else, often citing indigestion or something they ate at lunch that was too spicy.

Spicy food doesn’t cause chest pain, so encourage people to seek medical help or if you believe they are having a heart attack, call for emergency medical services. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Heart Attacks in Women

Women often experience heart attacks in different ways than men.

For instance, it is not uncommon to hear a woman say she didn’t even know she was having a heart attack because she experienced back pain, or pain in another area that is not commonly associated with the heart, such as the stomach.

Most people think heart attacks cause chest pain, but everyone experiences pain differently and it’s important to note the differences so you can be prepared.

Women will feel tired and sick to their stomachs and feel confused or disoriented. This is true for men as well, but it often persists in women more than men.

Women tend to live high-stress lives and brush off physical symptoms of stress as fatigue, but it’s important to pay attention to signs that are new or symptoms that are not explained.

Even fatigue is something you should be paying attention to as it can lead to all kinds of other problems, including accidents.

Interesting enough, women are often surveyed about heart attacks and many say that they wouldn’t seek medical help for those symptoms, citing they are too busy to let pain stop them.

What Can You Do About a Heart Attack?

There is not much that can be done to help people overcome a heart attack.

Medical intervention is needed as soon as possible and machines are needed to help the heart survive a heart attack.

If you or someone you know experiences a heart attack, the most effective thing you can do is seek medical attention as soon as possible.

People are often embarrassed or feel ashamed when something is wrong with them, so encourage them to seek help so they can find out for sure if they are okay or not.

Wait with the person while medical help arrives and don’t try to give them anything to eat or drink.

If you call 911, or another emergency service in your area, follow the instructions the operator gives you.

If you have a family history of heart attacks and you think you might be having one or you have early symptoms of a heart attack, don’t ignore it.

Understand your risks to prevent a heart attack

Knowledge is power. And in the case of a heart attack, it can literally save your life.

Research has identified factors that increase a person’s risk for coronary heart disease and heart attack.

The more risk factors you have, the higher your chance of for developing coronary heart disease.

There are 3 different categories of risk factors you need to watch out for:

1. Major risk factors: These factors significantly increase the risk of heart disease.

2. Modifiable risk factors: These are risk factors that can be controlled with medication or lifestyle changes.

3. Contributing risk factors: These factors are correlated with an increase risked of heart disease, but their significance has not been studied yet.

So we’re going to go over each risk factor and what you can do to prevent it:

Major risk factors that you can’t change

Increasing age: The older you are, the more likely you are to have a heart attack. The largest age group who die of heart disease are 65 and over.

Male gender: More men have heart attacks than women.

Heredity: If a child’s parent has heart disease, then it’s more likely they’ll develop heart disease as well.

African-Americans have, on average, higher blood pressure and are at greater risk of heart disease.

Major risk factors you can control

Smoking: Research shows that smoking increases your risk of heart attack. In fact, even people who inhale second-hand smoke are an increased risk.

High blood cholesterol: Higher cholesterol score is correlated as having higher chances of heart attack.

A low-density-liporptein (LDL) is considered good for your heart health.

Keep in mind that a diet high in trans fats and saturated fats can increase your LDL cholesterol.

The other kind of cholesterol is high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol.

Higher levels are better. Low levels puts you at greater risk of heart disease.

Smoking and being overweight can result in lower HDL cholesterol.

Triglycerides: These are the most common type of fat in the body, and a high triglyceride level combined with a low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis.

High blood pressure: Having high blood pressure puts more pressure on the heart making it worker harder.

This can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.

Physical inactivity: An inactive lifesryle can be a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Regular, moderate exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Obesity and being overweight: Excess body weight means the heart works harder to push blood around the body.

This can often co-occur with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Diabetes: The risks are even greater if blood sugar is not well-controlled. At least 68 percent of people with diabetes over 65 years of age die of some fort of heart disease.

Other risk factors

Stress: This may be a contributing factor to heart disease. Why? Because people who experience more stress may overeat or start smoking – which are risk factors for heart disease.

Alcohol: Drinking alcohol increases blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. It can include increase triglycerides fats and affect the heart in different ways.

However, moderate alcohol consumptions is associated with some protect benefit.

If you are going to drink, limit yourself to 2 drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

Diet and nutrition: A healthy diet is important in reducing your risk of heart disease. What you eat can greatly affect your heart health. A diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and whole grains is crucial.

Preventing heart attacks

Healthy living is crucial to increasing your chance of avoiding heart disease. And you’re never too young to start being healthy. The earlier you begin living a lifestyle that’s healthy, the greater the benefit you’ll experience.

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A month before a heart attack, your body will warn you with these 8 signs


Are you sure that your lifestyle is healthy enough to stave off a heart attack?

Here is a list of risk factors for heart attacks: smoking, unhealthy diet and obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol use, high blood pressure and diabetes.

If you are an average American, or an average world citizen for that matter, you probably sport one or more of these risk factors.

Why so many of us insist on neglecting out health and risking our lives unnecessarily remains a mystery, but fortunately the internet is a treasure chest of useful information that can save our lives if we don’t care too much to live more sensibly.

Over at Bright Side they have listed eight signs your body will give you a month before you get a heart attack. This will help you to recognize a heart attack a month before it happens.

8. Chest pain

This is the most obvious sign of an impending heart attack. If you have a blocked artery or are having a heart attack, you may feel pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest.

Men and women experience chest pains in different intensities and forms. In men, this symptom refers to the most important early signs of an impending heart attack that should not be ignored. On the other hand, it affects only 30% of women.

Description: Chest pain can expand to uncomfortable sensations in one or both arms (more often the left one), the lower jaw, neck, shoulders, or stomach. It may have a permanent or temporary character. People use different words to describe the sensation from saying it’s like an elephant is sitting on them or it’s like a pinching or burning.

7. Excessive perspiration

Unusual or excessive sweating is an early warning sign of a heart attack. It might occur at any time of the day or night. According to WebMD, breaking out in a cold sweat for no obvious reason could also signal a heart attack.

It’s more common for women to experience excessive sweating and it’s often confused with the hot flushes associated with menopause.

Description: Flu-like symptoms, clammy skin, or experiencing sweatiness regardless of air temperature or physical exertion. Sweating seems to be more excessive at night.

6. Irregular heartbeat

It’s normal for your heart rate to increase when you’re nervous or excited, but if you feel like your heart is beating out of time for more than just a few seconds, or if it happens often, it might be a sign that you’re heading for a heart attack.

“Skipped beats or arrhythmias are often accompanied by a panic attack and anxiety, especially among women. It appears unexpectedly and reveals itself differently: arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or tachycardia (increased heart rate). Physical exercises might give an extra stimulus to the increase of heart rate, especially in cases with atherosclerosis disease,” reports Bright Side.

Description: The irregular heartbeat lasts for 1-2 minutes. If it doesn’t fade, you might feel dizziness and extreme fatigue. Call the doctor right away.

5. Hair loss

Losing your hair is considered to be just another visible indicator of the risk of heart disease. Most commonly it affects men over 50, but some women may also be in the risk group. Baldness is also associated with an increased level of the hormone cortisol.

Description: Pay close attention to losing hair from the crown of your head.

4. Shortness of breath

Breathlessness, or dyspnoea, is a common symptom of several medical conditions, heart problems being one of them. If the heart muscle is not pumping effectively, pressure can build up within the lungs and the chambers of the heart, creating the sensation of breathlessness.

It often occurs among men and women for up to 6 months prior to having a heart attack.

Description: Feeling like you can’t get enough air, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

3. Insomnia

Insomnia is also associated with an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. A decrease in oxygen levels — caused by changes in the heart due to heart disease — may trigger subtle changes that lead to anxiety, insomnia, and agitation that can’t be explained by normal circumstances. People who’ve had a heart attack often realize afterwards they began to experience anxiety and sleep problems in the months before the attack. Could this be the body’s way of warning you that something’s not right?

Description: Symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying sleep, and waking up very early.

2. Abdominal pain

Abdominal pains, empty/full stomach nausea, feeling bloated, or an upset stomach are several of the most common symptoms. It’s easy to attribute these to indigestion problems instead of a heart problem. The symptoms are equally likely to occur among women and men.

Poor circulation and lack of oxygen circulating in the blood (caused by a weak heart or blocked arteries) can lead to ongoing nausea, indigestion, or vomiting, particularly in women or people over 60.

Description: Abdominal pains before a heart attack have an episodic nature, easing and then returning for short periods of time.

1. Fatigue

Unusual fatigue is one of the main symptoms that indicates an impending heart attack. Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of heart disease, especially for women.

Description: Physical or mental activity is not the reason for the fatigue, and it increases by the end of the day. This symptom is quite apparent and will not go unnoticed: sometimes it’s exhausting to perform simple tasks, like making a bed or taking a shower.

Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best: Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Heart disease remains one of the leading killers in the world.

With obesity levels on the rise and more people being diagnosed with medical conditions than ever before, the strain on our bodies continues to increase.

We are more stressed out than humans have ever been before. We work harder than we ever have before. Our jobs are more demanding and we spend less time at home than we ever did before.

No wonder people are suffering heart attacks all around us. People in their twenties are starting to have heart attacks now.

With anxiety, depression, and dwindling economic status, people are getting older before their time.

But if you know what to look for and you get help fast enough, you can come through a heart attack.

Not everyone survives, but not everyone dies either. There is hope. Here’s what to look for if you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack.

First Signs of a Heart Attack

Heart attacks don’t always come on suddenly and drop you to your knees.

In fact, many people have heart attacks and don’t even realize it, carrying on after a quick burst of pain in their back or neck, chest or shoulder.

You may have some symptoms that aren’t explained leading up to a heart attack, such as unexplained fatigue, anxiety, or fear of impending doom (as we mentioned above).

You may have nausea or vomiting that doesn’t seem to be related to anything. You might also experience shortness of breath off and on without cause.

For instance, if you are seated and suddenly feel out of breath, it could be a sign that a heart attack could occur.

Of course, symptoms can be related to any number of conditions or nothing at all, but if you experience anyone of these or several together, it might be worth looking into or at least keeping an eye on how you feel in the coming days.

Heart Attacks in Men

Did you know that men sometimes experience different symptoms than women do when they experience a heart attack?

Men tend to experience the classic heart attack symptoms that you might be familiar with including chest pain, shortness of breath, redness in the face, shoulder and neck pain, arm pain, and radiating pain.

Men often feel embarrassed when they are in pain and will try to say that their pain is related to something else, often citing indigestion or something they ate at lunch that was too spicy.

Spicy food doesn’t cause chest pain, so encourage people to seek medical help or if you believe they are having a heart attack, call for emergency medical services. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Heart Attacks in Women

Women often experience heart attacks in different ways than men.

For instance, it is not uncommon to hear a woman say she didn’t even know she was having a heart attack because she experienced back pain, or pain in another area that is not commonly associated with the heart, such as the stomach.

Most people think heart attacks cause chest pain, but everyone experiences pain differently and it’s important to note the differences so you can be prepared.

Women will feel tired and sick to their stomachs and feel confused or disoriented. This is true for men as well, but it often persists in women more than men.

Women tend to live high-stress lives and brush off physical symptoms of stress as fatigue, but it’s important to pay attention to signs that are new or symptoms that are not explained.

Even fatigue is something you should be paying attention to as it can lead to all kinds of other problems, including accidents.

Interesting enough, women are often surveyed about heart attacks and many say that they wouldn’t seek medical help for those symptoms, citing they are too busy to let pain stop them.

What Can You Do About a Heart Attack?

There is not much that can be done to help people overcome a heart attack.

Medical intervention is needed as soon as possible and machines are needed to help the heart survive a heart attack.

If you or someone you know experiences a heart attack, the most effective thing you can do is seek medical attention as soon as possible.

People are often embarrassed or feel ashamed when something is wrong with them, so encourage them to seek help so they can find out for sure if they are okay or not.

Wait with the person while medical help arrives and don’t try to give them anything to eat or drink.

If you call 911, or another emergency service in your area, follow the instructions the operator gives you.

If you have a family history of heart attacks and you think you might be having one or you have early symptoms of a heart attack, don’t ignore it.

Understand your risks to prevent a heart attack

Knowledge is power. And in the case of a heart attack, it can literally save your life.

Research has identified factors that increase a person’s risk for coronary heart disease and heart attack.

The more risk factors you have, the higher your chance of for developing coronary heart disease.

There are 3 different categories of risk factors you need to watch out for:

1. Major risk factors: These factors significantly increase the risk of heart disease.

2. Modifiable risk factors: These are risk factors that can be controlled with medication or lifestyle changes.

3. Contributing risk factors: These factors are correlated with an increase risked of heart disease, but their significance has not been studied yet.

So we’re going to go over each risk factor and what you can do to prevent it:

Major risk factors that you can’t change

Increasing age: The older you are, the more likely you are to have a heart attack. The largest age group who die of heart disease are 65 and over.

Male gender: More men have heart attacks than women.

Heredity: If a child’s parent has heart disease, then it’s more likely they’ll develop heart disease as well.

African-Americans have, on average, higher blood pressure and are at greater risk of heart disease.

Major risk factors you can control

Smoking: Research shows that smoking increases your risk of heart attack. In fact, even people who inhale second-hand smoke are an increased risk.

High blood cholesterol: Higher cholesterol score is correlated as having higher chances of heart attack.

A low-density-liporptein (LDL) is considered good for your heart health.

Keep in mind that a diet high in trans fats and saturated fats can increase your LDL cholesterol.

The other kind of cholesterol is high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol.

Higher levels are better. Low levels puts you at greater risk of heart disease.

Smoking and being overweight can result in lower HDL cholesterol.

Triglycerides: These are the most common type of fat in the body, and a high triglyceride level combined with a low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis.

High blood pressure: Having high blood pressure puts more pressure on the heart making it worker harder.

This can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.

Physical inactivity: An inactive lifesryle can be a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Regular, moderate exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Obesity and being overweight: Excess body weight means the heart works harder to push blood around the body.

This can often co-occur with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Diabetes: The risks are even greater if blood sugar is not well-controlled. At least 68 percent of people with diabetes over 65 years of age die of some fort of heart disease.

Other risk factors

Stress: This may be a contributing factor to heart disease. Why? Because people who experience more stress may overeat or start smoking – which are risk factors for heart disease.

Alcohol: Drinking alcohol increases blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. It can include increase triglycerides fats and affect the heart in different ways.

However, moderate alcohol consumptions is associated with some protect benefit.

If you are going to drink, limit yourself to 2 drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

Diet and nutrition: A healthy diet is important in reducing your risk of heart disease. What you eat can greatly affect your heart health. A diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and whole grains is crucial.

Preventing heart attacks

Healthy living is crucial to increasing your chance of avoiding heart disease. And you’re never too young to start being healthy. The earlier you begin living a lifestyle that’s healthy, the greater the benefit you’ll experience.

6 Evidence-Based Ways To Burn Belly Fat AND Extend Your Life


Can These 5 Ways of Burning Belly Fat Also Save Your Life?

The ongoing battle of the bulge, while once considered primarily a matter of vanity, may actually be one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dying from a multitude of causes (i.e. all-cause mortality), but especially heart attack.[1]

Some studies have even revealed that abdominal obesity, known clinically as central obesity, and which is measured by the hip-to-waist ratio, may be more important than blood lipids, i.e. “cholesterol,” in determining heart attack risk. [2]

So, with this in mind, the following 6 “diet tips,” take on even greater relevance to your overall health.

Coconut Oil Burns Fat

  1. Coconut Oil –  Two human studies now exist showing that dietary coconut is safe and effective in reducing midsection fat in both women and men.  In the women’s study, the treatment group received two tablespoons of coconut oil (30 ml), daily, over a period of 12 weeks, resulting in both a reduction in waist circumference, as well as a boost in their “good” HDL cholesterol levels. [3]  In the male study, obese men received two tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day, taken in 3 divided doses, half an hour before each meal, for one month. The men experienced an average of over one inch (2.86 cm) reduction in their waist circumference, with no changes in their blood lipids.  You can read the full study here.

Green Tea Burns Fat

  1. Green Tea – Green tea has been called “the medicine which grew into a beverage.”  Indeed, our project has identified research on over 200 health conditions that may benefit from its use, with obesity on top of the list.[4]  In a 2009 study published in the journal Obesity, the consumption of catechin-rich green tea was found to be safe and effective in reducing weight in moderately overweight subjects, including an over two inch reduction in their waist circumference.[5]

Sunlight Burns Fat

  1. Sunlight –  A 2011 study in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed a remarkable fact of metabolism: The exposure of human skin to UV light results in increased subcutaneous fat metabolism. While subcutaneous fat, unlike visceral fat, is not considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it is known that a deficiency of one of sunlight’s best known beneficial byproducts, vitamin D, is associated with greater visceral fat.[6] Also, there is a solid body of research showing that vitamin D deficiency is linked to obesity, with 9 such studies on our obesity research page.  One of them, titled “Association of plasma vitamin D levels with adiposity in Hispanic and African Americans,” and which was published in the journal Anticancer Research in 2005, found that vitamin D levels were inversely associated with adiposity in Hispanics and African-Americans, including abdominal obesity.[7] The point? Exposure to UVB radiation, which is most abundant two hours on either side of solar noon and responsible for producing vitamin D, may be an essential strategy in burning midsection fat, the natural way.

Soy Burns Fat

  1. Soy Protein – While soy has become a punching bag of sorts, for rightful (GMO/non-organic/over-consumption/exclusively non-fermented) and wrongful reasons (disregarding the positive soy research), it does seem to have value as a medicinal food in addressing subcutaneous and total abdominal fat in postmenopausal women, likely because it does have hormone-modulating properties. [8] And for those who have now become convinced that soy’s phytoestrogenic properties are a breast cancer risk, we encourage you to look at the 12 studies on our breast cancer page, indicating quite oppositely that it has potent protective effects against breast cancer initiation and recurrence.  Certainly it’s not a one, or even two-dimensional issue, but it is important that we don’t shut down discussion altogether on the potential value of soy, or any food, for our health – at least not until we have familiarized ourselves with the depth of research extant on the topic.

Fast Food Fattens

  1. Dietary Challenges: While there are likely hundreds of other chemicals that may contribute to midsection weight gain, the 3 main problematic substances we have identified are (industrially produced) Fructose, Bisphenol A and MSG.  You can view the first-hand studies we have collected on the topic under the “Problem Substances” Quick Summary on our Abdominal Obesity Research page.  Additionally, a study published in 2011 and published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that weight cycling, i.e. the yo-yo diet, is associated with body weight excess and abdominal fat accumulation.[9]

Exercise To Burn Fat

  1. Exercise – This one is obvious to many, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that there is more to midsection weight loss than what you do and do not eat. In other words, move it, and you lose it.  One of the best ways to accelerate the reduction of belly fat through exercising is through increasing the intensity of your work outs.  A 2008 study in the journal of Medical & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that body composition changes are affected by the intensity of exercise training with high-intensity training (HIET) being most effective for total abdominal fat, subcutaneous fat, and abdominal visceral fat loss, at least in obese women with metabolic syndrome. [10]  There is also research that green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced abdominal fat loss, as well as soluble fiber intake.

References

[1] Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): case-control study. Lancet. 2004 Sep 11-17;364(9438):937-52. PMID: 15364185

A[2] Risk factors for acute myocardial infarction in Latin America: the INTERHEART Latin American study.  Circulation. 2007 Mar 6 ;115(9):1067-74. PMID: 17339564

[3] Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601. Epub 2009 May 13. PMID: 19437058

[4] GreenMedInfo.com, Green Tea Research

[5]  Effects of catechin enriched green tea on body composition. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Aug 13. Epub 2009 Aug 13. PMID: 19680234

[6] Association Between Visceral Obesity and Sarcopenia and Vitamin D Deficiency in Older Koreans: The Ansan Geriatric Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Feb 8. Epub 2012 Feb 8. PMID: 22316299

[7] Association of plasma vitamin D levels with adiposity in Hispanic and African Americans. Anticancer Res. 2005 Mar-Apr;25(2A):971-9. PMID: 19549738

[8] Effect of a daily supplement of soy protein on body composition and insulin secretion in postmenopausal women. Fertil Steril. 2007 Dec;88(6):1609-17. Epub 2007 Apr 6. PMID: 17412329

[9] Weight cycling is associated with body weight excess and abdominal fat accumulation: A cross-sectional study. Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul 15. Epub 2011 Jul 15. PMID: 21764186

[10] Effect of exercise training intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Nov;40(11):1863-72. PMID: 18845966

Link between flu and heart attack confirmed in new research


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/link-between-flu-and-heart-attack-confirmed-in-new-research/

Cheese does not increase risk of heart attack or strokes, find researchers


Review of 29 studies involving nearly a million participants finds saturated fats ‘do not increase risk of cardiovascular disease’

camembert.jpg

The belief that cheese is bad for you is wrong, researchers have said, after finding no link between eating dairy products and a heightened risk of heart attack and strokes.

Even full-fat cheese, milk and yoghurt, often avoided by the health-conscious due to their high saturated fat content, does not increase the risk of death or conditions such as coronary heart disease, according to a review of 29 different studies involving nearly a million participants.

“There’s quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but that’s a misconception,” said researcher Ian Givens, a nutrition professor at Reading University.

“While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that’s wrong,” he told The Guardian.

“There’s been a lot of publicity over the last five to 10 years about how saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a belief has grown up that they must increase the risk, but they don’t.”

NHS guidelines suggest people cut the amount of saturated fat they eat, because a diet high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Men are recommend to eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day, and women no more than 20g. This sounds like bad news for cheese lovers – if two people share a whole baked 250g camembert, for instance, they will both consume around 19g of saturated fat.

But overall levels of dairy consumption did not appear to be associated with an increased risk of circulatory conditions such as stroke and heart attacks, according to the study, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

The research analysed results from previous studies carried out over the last 35 years, using information on the health and diet of 938,465 participants.

cheese-board.jpg
Assorted cheeses

Scientists are divided on whether limiting saturated fats can improve overall health and lower the risk of heart disease.

A study published earlier this year in the British Medical Journal(BMJ) swapping even one per cent of your daily calorie intake from saturated fats like butter and meat to vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates or polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil and fish can improve heart health.

However, previous research from the University of Bergen in Norway found fatty foods such as cheese, butter and cream could in fact help protect people from heart disease when eaten as part of a diet where overall calorie intake is restricted.

Simon Dankel, who led the study, told The Independent in December the research showed the human body “can do perfectly well with fats as its main energy source.”

“People will say: ‘you can’t lose weight, you can’t go on any diets with saturated fats, no matter what’,” said Dr Dankel.

“But in this context, we see a very positive metabolic response. You can base your energy in your diet on either on carbohydrates or fat. It doesn’t make a big difference.”

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF)’s website, eating too much cheese “could lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease”, and the organisation recommends people “enjoy it sensibly”.

“Saturated fat can increase the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol in your blood which can cause fatty material to build up in your artery walls. The risk is particularly high if you have a high level of bad cholesterol and a low level of good cholesterol,” says the organisation.

 

Smoking Gun for Stomach Drugs


Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the most widely used medications in the U.S. This class of drug is used to treat chronic heartburn. Although the pain often happens in the lower to mid chest area, it is not related to heart disease or a heart attack.

Heartburn Treatment

Story at-a-glance

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), medications used to treat chronic heartburn, can cause more health problems than they fix
  • Research has linked PPIs to kidney disease, dementia, heart attack, overgrowth of bacteria, infections, bone fractures and the fastest growing type of esophageal cancer
  • There are several much safer and natural ways of dealing with your heartburn, including changes to your clothing, weight, foods, finding your triggers and adding acid to your meals

Instead, heartburn pain happens when acid refluxes up your esophagus, burning the tissue. The fluid in your stomach is highly acidic, necessary for digestion of your food, protection against bacteria and absorption of many nutrients.

A variety of different reasons can cause this acidic fluid to pass the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and burn your esophagus, but most cases of heartburn are due either to a hiatal hernia or Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.

Occasional heartburn is best treated with simple lifestyle changes, such as drinking a bit of apple cider vinegar in water right before or after your meals. Unfortunately, when you experience chronic pain over many weeks, your physician may prescribe a daily medication. PPIs are one class of those medications.

The top selling PPIs include Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid, all available both as a prescription and over-the-counter (OTC). However, your doctor’s orders may actually do more harm than good in this instance, as these drugs tend to make your situation worse rather than better.

Smoking Gun Points to PPIs

Your cells use a proton pump to produce acid. PPI medications are designed to inhibit the proton pump and reduce the amount of acid produced. PPIs do not specifically target the cells in your stomach, and stomach acid is usually not the primary trigger behind chronic heartburn.

This class of drug is not specific, and instead will inhibit any cell with a proton pump producing acid, whether those cells are in your stomach or not. Researchers from Stanford University and Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas believe this is the smoking gun behind the variety of dangerous side effects linked to PPIs.1

The production of acid in your cells is associated with a specific cleanup process. The cells use acid to clean out end products and garbage from metabolism and cell function. When the acid is not present, there is a buildup of these toxins in the cells, which may lead to the development of a variety of significant health conditions.2

Excess stomach acid is not often the cause for your heartburn. Quite the opposite is true. Low amounts of stomach acid and the subsequent overgrowth of bacteria changes the digestion of carbohydrates, producing gas. The gas increases the pressure on the LES, releasing acid into the esophagus, creating heartburn.

While you may experience speedy relief of heartburn from immediate acting acid neutralizing medications such as TUMS, long-acting medications such as PPIs may increase your risk of heartburn over time.3

When Acid Levels Change, It Damages Your Body’s Ability to Function Properly

When PPIs were first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they were designed to be taken for no more than six weeks. However, today it is not uncommon to find people who have been taking these drugs for more than 10 years.4 Long-term use has been associated with a number of different problems, including:

Bacterial Overgrowth

Long-term use of PPIs encourages overgrowth of bacteria in your digestive tract.5 Bacterial overgrowth leads to malabsorption of nutrients and has been linked to inflammation of the stomach wall.6

Reduced Absorption of Nutrients

One of the most common causes of impaired function of digestion and the absorption of nutrients is the reduction of stomach acid production.

This occurs in both the elderly and individuals on long-term antacid treatments, such as PPIs.7 Acid breaks down proteins, activates hormones and enzymes and protects your gut against overgrowth of bacteria.

Lack of acid results in iron and mineral deficiencies and incomplete digestion of proteins. This may also lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency.8 PPIs are also linked to a reduced absorption of magnesium. Low magnesium levels may lead to muscle spasms, heart palpitations and convulsions.9

Low Stomach Acid

PPIs reduce the amount of stomach acid. Symptoms include heartburn, indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, burping, burning and flatulence.10

Decreased Resistance to Infection

Your mouth, esophagus and intestines are home to a healthy growth of bacteria, but your stomach is relatively sterile. Stomach acid kills most of the bacteria coming from your food or liquids, protecting your stomach and your intestinal tract from abnormal bacterial growth.11

At the same time, the acid prevents the bacteria growing in your intestines from moving into your stomach or esophagus.

Reducing stomach acid changes the pH of your stomach and allows external bacteria to grow. PPIs may reduce acid between 90 and 95 percent, increasing your risk of salmonella, c. difficile, giardia and listeria infections.12,13

Other studies have linked the use of acid-reducing drugs to the development of pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB) and typhoid.14,15,16

The distortion of the gut microbiome affects your immune system and may increase your overall risk of infection. In vitro studies, those done on cells in test tubes, have found PPIs damage the function of white blood cells, responsible for fighting infection.17

Increased Risk of Bone Fractures

Lowering stomach acid production may also reduce the amount of calcium absorption, which in turn may lead to osteoporosis.

Researchers have linked long-term, dose-dependent use of PPIs with increased risk of hip fracture. The longer you take the medication and the more you take, the higher your risk of fracture.18

Antacids and Aspirin

In addition to the side effects listed above, researchers are discovering other health conditions associated with the use of PPIs and other acid reducing drugs.

Even while on PPI medication, you may experience occasional heartburn. Immediate acting antacids used to neutralize the acid in your esophagus may offer relief. Just be aware that this is really only adding insult to injury.

What’s worse, some antacids also contain aspirin, which may heighten your risk of adverse effects. In 2009, the FDA issued a warning about severe bleeding associated with the use of aspirin.

Since that time, the FDA has recorded eight cases of severe bleeding resulting from using over-the-counter antacids to neutralize heartburn.19 In some of those cases, the individual required a blood transfusion to stabilize their condition.

In a statement, Dr. Karen Murry Mahoney, deputy director of the division of nonprescription drug products, said:

“Take a close look at the Drug Facts label, and if the product has aspirin, consider choosing something else for your stomach symptoms.

Unless people read the Drug Facts label when they’re looking for stomach symptom relief, they might not even think about the possibility that a stomach medicine could contain aspirin.”20

What Barrett’s Esophagus Means to You

Long-term gastric reflux and heartburn may lead to Barrett’s Esophagus. This is a change in the cellular structure of the lining of your esophagus in response to chronic exposure to acid. Risk factors for Barrett’s Esophagus include:

Males Older age Tobacco use
Obesity Alcohol use Caucasian or African-American

The risk of developing cancer of the esophagus is significantly higher when you have Barrett’s Esophagus. In past years, the more common form of skin cancer has been squamous cell carcinoma. However, researchers have now discovered if you have taken PPIs for an extended period of time and have developed Barrett’s Esophagus, you have an increased risk of a more aggressive form called adenocarcinoma.

As recently as 1975, 75 percent of the esophageal cancers diagnosed were squamous cell carcinomas. More amenable to treatment and less aggressive then adenocarcinoma, the numbers have radically shifted in the past 30 years.21 The rate of squamous cell carcinoma has declined slightly, but the number of diagnosed adenocarcinoma of the esophagus has risen dramatically.

In 1975, 4 people per million were diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, and in 2001 it rose to 23 people per million, making it the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).22

Adenocarcinoma is now diagnosed in 80 percent of all esophageal cancers.23 Researchers theorized PPIs would protect people with Barrett’s Esophagus from adenocarcinoma, but found the reverse to be true. Not only did PPIs not protect the esophagus, but instead there was a dramatic increase in the risk of this deadly cancer, discovered in two separate studies.24,25

PPIs May Raise Your Risk for Dementia, Kidney Disease and Heart Attacks

PPIs affect all cells in your body, which may explain why they have been linked to such deadly conditions as kidney disease, heart attacks and dementia. In the past, PPIs were linked to acute interstitial nephritis, an inflammatory process in the kidneys. In a recent study of over 10,000 participants, researchers found another link to chronic kidney disease.26

The team found that those using PPIs to treat heartburn were more likely than other individuals on different heartburn medications to suffer chronic kidney disease or kidney failure over a five-year period.27

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, one of the researchers and a kidney specialist with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, said the findings illuminated a significant point: “I think people see these medications at the drug store and assume they’re completely safe. But there’s growing evidence they’re not as safe as we’ve thought.”28

PPIs have also been linked to dementia in people over age 75. In a study evaluating over 73,000 people over age 75 without any signs of dementia at the outset of the study, researchers made a startling connection. Of the individuals who developed dementia in the following seven years, those who regularly used PPIs had a significantly higher risk of the condition.29

A large data-mining study performed by researchers from Stanford University discovered PPIs were also associated with an increased risk of heart attack, while other long-term heartburn medications were not.30

What Can You Do to Prevent or Treat Heartburn?

In many cases, the root cause of heartburn is not linked to an overproduction of acid, but rather an underproduction. So before risking your health by using heartburn medications like antacids and PPIs, try these natural options:

Address Your Diet

The answer to heartburn and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. To do that, eat lots of vegetables and other high-quality, ideally organic, unprocessed foods, and make sure you’re getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet by regularly consuming fermented foods. This will help balance your bowel flora, which can help eliminate H. pylori bacteria — which is a very common cause of heartburn — naturally.

Add Acid

It might seem counterintuitive to add acid to an acidic environment, but as you’ve already discovered, many cases of heartburn are triggered by low acid production. One strategy is to take 3 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 6 to 8 ounces of fresh water before each meal.31 For a list of other alternatives that can help promote acid production, please see my previous article, “15 Natural Remedies for the Treatment of Acid Reflux.”

Work With Gravity

Heartburn tends to be worse at night, and/or after you lie down. Rather than lying down right after a meal, stay seated or standing for at least three hours, as food pressing on your LES will increase your risk of heartburn. Elevate the head of your bed using blocks sold for that purpose so your bed doesn’t slip and cause injury.32

Avoid stacking pillows to elevate your head, as this can increase pressure on your LES. High pillows also cause poor alignment of your neck and spine, increasing your risk for neck pain.

Ginger Root Tea

Ginger root has been traditionally used against gastric disturbances since ancient times. Its gastroprotective effect comes from blocking acid and suppressing H. pylori. To make your own tea, simmer three slices of raw ginger root in 2 cups of water for about 30 minutes. Drinking it 20 minutes before your meal can help prevent heartburn from developing.

Avoid Tight-Fitting Clothing

Tight clothing increases the pressure on your LES and increases the risk of an acid leak into your esophagus.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight around your middle places excess pressure on your LES. Even losing 15 pounds can make a positive difference in your symptoms.

Avoid Triggers

Track the foods that increase your risk of heartburn. It might take some time, but it is well worth the effort.

Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial, helping to reduce any overgrowth of bacteria in your stomach. It also helps to soothe your esophagus on the way down, and is a very healthy fat that is good for your overall health. Start with 1 teaspoon to see how your body responds. Common side effects are headache and slight nausea. Gradually work up to 3 tablespoons a day. You could also try adding 1 tablespoon to a cup of tea or coffee.

Wheat’s Cardiotoxicity: As Serious As A Heart Attack


Wheat Toxicity: As Serious As A Heart Attack

The “diseases of affluence,” as they are known, include diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and cancer, and are sometimes referred to as the “Western disease” paradigm.  They emerge largely in response to the type of overnourishment that occurs in relatively wealthy societies, and particularly the excessive consumption of certain evolutionarily incompatible foods that nonetheless have become the nutritional centerpiece of agrarian, grain-based cultures. (Consider that we have only been consuming the seeds of cereal grasses, i.e. grains, en massefor 10-20,000 years, which while ancient in cultural time, is but a nanosecond in biological time!)

While we have already spent considerable time indicting the credibility of wheat as a so-called health food, whose secular and religious glorification are unparalleled within the cereal grains, we have not delved deeply enough into the link between grain consumption, particularly wheat, and cardiovascular disease, the #1 cause of death in the Western world.

This link, of course, strikes literally to the heart of the seemingly indestructible myth that eating wheat, and more exactly whole wheat (which has more lectin than white, processed wheat flour), is a good thing for human health. Beyond the well over 200 adverse health effects linked to wheat consumption that now exist in the peer-reviewed biomedical literature, we hope to point out in the following article how cardiovascular health is better served by eliminating this uniquely problematic grain from the diet.

It was actually Loren Cordain, Ph.D., author of the Paleo Diet, who (to our knowledge) first pointed out the inherent cardiotoxicity of wheat. In the March 2008 edition of The Paleo Diet Newsletter, Cordain explains in an article titled, “Whole Wheat Heart Attack Part2: The Role of Dietary Lectins,” how dietary lectins, as found in wheat, promote the formation of fatty streaks and mature atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries.

First, he explains how dietary lectins, which we like to call “invisible thorns” within many commonly ingested plant foods, and which are designed to fend off microbial and animal predators (among other functions), are capable of gaining entry into the circulatory system:

In order for dietary lectins to be promoters of atherosclerosis, the following physical and physiological processes must occur: 1) must survive cooking and processing; 2) they must survive dig enzymatic degradation; 3) they must bind gut tissue; 4) they must cross gut tissue barrier; 5) they must resist immunological and hepatic (liver) disposal; 6) they must arrive in peripheral circulation intact in physiological concentrations; 7) they must interact with one or more mechanisms known to influence atherosclerosis. The six of these seven steps are known to transpire, as ingested lectins rapidly appear intact in the bloodstream of humans and animals and cross the intestinal barrier in human cultured tissue.

Second, he asks the question: “So, we know that dietary lectins can get into the bloodstream of humans and animals, and we know that chronic, low-level inflammation is essential for all facets of atherosclerosis. Is there any evidence that lectins are involved in the progression or acceleration of atherosclerosis? Further, is there any evidence that dietary lectins may promote chronic, low level inflammation in humans?”

In answer, he first discusses the well-known atherosclerosis-promoting effects of peanut lectin, as well as the intriguing fact that atherosclerosis almost always occurs, not just anywhere, but in a specific location of the arteries. Basically, at sites where arteries branch a protective glycocalyx (a wispy, hairy structure whose “slipperiness” reduces turbulent flow) prevents damage that might otherwise be caused by white blood cells attaching to adhesion molecules on the surface of the cells lining the arteries. The attachment of white blood cells and subsequent infiltration of the middle section of the artery — namely, the intima media — by them, is what leads to the formation of fatty streaks within the arteries, eventually leading to plaque formation which may obstruct the flow of blood within the narrowing lumen of the artery. Therefore, when the glycocalyx is disturbed, and/or excessive glycocalyx shedding there is induced — presumably by dietary lectins like wheat lectin — the resulting increased arterial wall shear stress and inflammation contributes to atherosclerosis.

For a more elaborate and technical explanation of the process, Cordain explains the process  below:

Plaques only form in turbulent flow areas along the artery, such as sites where arteries branch (Figure 1, below), but not where blood flow is smooth (laminar flow), such as in small arteries and at non-branching or non-curving sites. Until recently, the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon was poorly understood. Let’s again examine the artery cross-section shown in Figure 2 (below) and take a more detailed look at the true structure lining the inside of arteries, the glycocalyx. This wispy, hairy structure is composed of sugars and carbohydrate molecules that form a physical barrier between the red and white blood cells in circulation and the endothelial cell surface, thereby preventing white blood cells from attaching to adhesion molecules. In other words, one of the very first steps in atherosclerosis, the entry of monocytes into the intima, is blocked when the glycocalyx is fully intact17. Only when the glycocalyx mass is reduced can monocytes and T-cells bind adhesion molecules and find their way into the intima. Turbulent flow areas are more susceptible to atherosclerosis because the glycocalyx mass is reduced in these areas18. It is known that high-fat diets (which increase the rate of oxidized LDL formation) cause the glycocalyx size and mass to be reduced 18, as do inflammatory cytokines19. From a physiological perspective, reductions in glycocalyx size and mass in response to injury or inflammation make sense. Shedding of the glycocalyx allows the white blood cells entry to the inflamed tissue from circulation and therefore begins the healing process by first destroying and then taking up the foreign substance.

Common dietary lectins are potent stimulators of inflammatory cytokines in white blood cell cultures20,21. In Figure 3 you can see that lectins from lentils, kidney beans, peas and wheat potently increase the production of inflammatory cytokines (IL-12, IL-2, and INFγ). Wheat lectin (WGA) also stimulates production of two other inflammatory cytokines (TNFα and IL-1β)21 that promote the atherosclerotic process. Consequently, if dietary lectins reach circulation intact, which previous human and animal studies demonstrate1-5, they have a high probability of causing glycocalyx shedding, thereby increasing entry of monocytes into the intima and contributing to the formation of the fatty streak. Because of their potent inflammatory nature, dietary lectins have the potential to promote and accelerate atherosclerosis at all steps of this disease where inflammatory cytokines are operative. You will recall that one of the deadly steps involved in atherosclerosis is the rupturing of the fibrous cap and the formation of a blood clot. Enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), secreted by white blood cells and other cells  within the plaque, are known to cause collagen and elastic tissue within the fibrous cap to disintegrate.

Consequently, any dietary or environmental factor which facilitates synthesis of MMPs is not a good thing for cardiovascular disease patients. Well guess what? Lectins from wheat, WGA22, and lectins from kidney beans, PHA23, cause tissue cultures of white blood cells to increase their production of MMP.”

Laminar Flow Blood Pressure

                                                                                                                                          

Wheat lectin, also known as Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA), is highly selective in what it binds to (the word select and lectin share the same etymological root), and has such a high affinity with certain biomolecules that make up the glycocalyx – n-acetyl-glucosamine and sialic acid – that the problem with lectin-arterial glyocalyx distruption is clear as day.  Just as wheat lectins bind to the slippery mucous coat of the glycocalyx in the intestines, contributing to their well-known gastrointestinal toxicity, once they enter into systemic circulation, they may also bind to the slippery glycocalyx lining the arteries, resulting in the damage and subsequent inflammation associated with atherosclerosis.

According to Cordain, another way in which wheat germ agglutinin contributes to the final and fatal step in atherosclerosis, is through its agglutinating effect, i.e. “to cause to adhere, as with glue,” which is to say, forming a clot.  According to Cordain:

Integral to the formation of clots are platelet cells, which circulate in the bloodstream.Platelets are normally activated when they contact collagen from a damaged blood vessel. WGA directly causes the activation of platelets and potently increases their aggregation (clumping) 24. Hence, the consumption of whole wheat may be integral in the thinning and destruction of the fibrous cap as well as the formation of the fatal clot.

The ability of lectins to cause the clumping up of cells in the plasma is well known. The Eat Right For Your Blood Type system, for instance, is based upon ascertaining the agglutinizing effects of different foods on different blood types. If wheat lectin can contribute both to inflammation in the lining of the arteries, and cause clumping up and clotting of the blood, there is little doubt that it can also contribute to the #1 cause of death in the Western world. There is also the possibility that the immune system may respond to the presence of wheat proteins by producing antibodies that cross-react with cardiovascular tissue, causing myocardial inflammation, i.e. myocarditis. Myocardititis was in fact identified to be a potential cause of autoimmune myocardititis in a minority of celiac disease patients.1

Ultimately, the fundamental inflammatory properties of wheat, as well as the adverse endocrine changes associated with grain consumption as a whole, e.g. insulin elevation and resistance, leptin resistance, ghrelin dysregulation, make it unrealistic that wheat will have an overall beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. But, one should consider that many gluten-free alternatives contain potato and rice, both of which also contain lectins which have functional and structural properties resembling that of wheat lectin. These “chitin-binding” lectins, as they are known, are also found in tomato and barley. So what do we eat? A question like this is impossible to answer, generically, but if I were to take a stab at a good place to start, wheat-free is the best way to go, with grain-restricted, if not grain-free, the next best step.

Resources

1 Andrea Frustaci, Lucio Cuoco, Cristina Chimenti, Maurizio Pieroni, Giuseppina Fioravanti, Nicola Gentiloni, Attilio Maseri, Giovanni Gasbarrini. Celiac disease associated with autoimmune myocarditis. Circulation. 2002 Jun 4;105(22):2611-8. PMID: 12045166

Are You Trading Heartburn for a Heart Attack?


Are You Trading Heartburn for a Heart Attack?

A new study finds acid blocking drugs may calm heartburn at the price of a heart attack – or even death. 

The burning pain of acid reflux can be unbearable.  Most doctors offer a quick-fix in the form of drugs like Prevacid, Nexium, or Prilosec.  But a new study finds those drugs may calm heartburn at the price of a heart attack.

Researchers from Stanford University showed that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are linked to higher risks of myocardial infarction and death – even among people without heart disease.[i]

PPIs block acid production in the stomach to reduce or eliminate heartburn.  They are prescribed primarily for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

According to the Stanford researchers PPIs are among the most widely used drugs in the world with over 113 million PPI prescriptions filled globally every year. Add to that over-the-counter versions of the drugs, and worldwide sales top $13 billion.  In the U.S. alone about 21 million people use PPIs.

But they’ve been called one of the most dangerous and over-prescribed medications on the market.

The Stanford study published online in the journal PLoS One found that people taking PPIs were 16 percent to 21 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack and 122 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers reviewed health data contained in 16 million electronic records of 2.9 million patients.  The data came from Stanford medical facilities between 1994 and 2011, as well as from small practices around the country between 2007 and 2012.

They identified 297,000 people who suffered from acid reflux.  Then they compared the frequency of heart attacks among those taking six specific PPIs and those who didn’t take the drug.  The PPIs in the study included omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), esomeprazole (Nexium), rabeprazole (Aciphex), and dexlansoprazole (Dexilant).

The data revealed that GERD patients taking PPIs had a 16 percent to 21 percent increased risk of a heart attack.

The researchers also analyzed data from a separate prospective study called the Genetic Determinants of Peripheral Arterial Disease (GenePAD) cohort.  That study showed a shocking 122 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death among PPI users.

The data mining technique used by the researchers is similar to the analysis done on the drug Vioxx.  In 2004 that drug was pulled from the market when 1.4 million patient records revealed that heart attack and cardiac death rates were three times higher in people taking Vioxx compared to a rival drug.

 

Why do proton pump inhibitors increase risk of heart attack and death?

The researchers theorized that PPIs inhibit the enzyme activity of nitric oxide synthase in endothelial cells.  Low levels of nitric oxide activity are known to increase vascular resistance, and promote inflammation and thrombosis.

The Stanford researchers also examined histamine blockers (H2Bs) for a similar link to heart attacks but found no association.  They looked at cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), and ranitidine (Zantac).

But H2Bs have side effects like diarrhea, constipation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and hives. And like PPIs histamine blockers been linked to hip fractures.

Many natural remedies have been proven to be more effective than drugs for heartburn.  They include herbs like ginger, and a simple glass of water.

Married People Are 14% Less Likely To Die After A Heart Attack Than Singles, Finds Study


The benefits of marriage extend beyond social interaction and tax breaks to certain health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and a longer life. Now, new research presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester suggests that married people who suffer heart attacks may be more likely to survive and need fewer days in the hospital afterwards.

Researchers at institutions including Aston Medical School and the University of East Anglia found that married people were 14 percent less likely to die after a heart attack than single people. They are also more likely to be discharged from a hospital two days sooner than single people, which is a financial benefit.

“Our results should not be a cause for concern for single people who have had a heart attack.” Dr. Nicholas Gollop of the University of East Anglia said in a statement. “But they should certainly be a reminder to the medical community of the importance of considering the support a heart attack survivor will get once they’re discharged.”

For the study, researchers examined more than 25,000 patients diagnosed with heart attack between January 2000 and March 2013. Nearly 12,000 were married, 2,500 were single, more than 1,000 were divorced, 4,000 were widowed, and more than 5,000 were unmarried. It also included five people who had a common law relationship, 284 who were separated, and 241 people whose marriage or relationship status were unknown. Participants were on average age 67; 80 percent were white; and 64 percent male.

Thirty-eight percent of the heart attack patients died, and survivors stayed in the hospital for seven days on average. Widowed patients had the highest mortality rate at 62.9 percent, with unmarried, married, and divorced patients coming in at 35.3, 34.3 and 34.2 percent, respectively. Single patients only had a crude mortality of 29.7 percent. However, after accounting for age, sex, and gender, researchers found that married, widowed, and never-married patients had statistically lower mortality rates when compared to single people, or those who may have been married before. Based on the findings, researchers concluded that marital status has a clinically important impact on heart attack survival and length of hospital stay as single patients showed higher mortality rates and longer length of hospital stay compared to married patients.

They aren’t exactly sure why married people are more likely to survive heart attacks but it may have to do with the physical and emotional support they receive from spouses. In other words, married individuals have resources to help them cope that many single people may lack. This support may give them a better chance of recovering from a potentially life-threatening event.

“A heart attack can have both devastating physical and psychological effects — most of which are hidden from the outside world,” said Dr. Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation. “These findings suggest the support offered by a spouse can have a beneficial effect on heart attack survivors, perhaps helping to minimize the impact of a heart attack.”

Being discharged from the hospital sooner has its financial incentives, but it can also lower a patient’s risk of hospital-acquired infections such as bloodstream infection (BSI), pneumonia, and urinary tract infection.

The bottom line is doctors are wise to consider psychosocial and coping resources their heart attack patients may have available to them before discharging them, the researchers advise. “It is reasonable to suggest that these results may be due to reduced social support at home and this should be taken into account when considering the holistic care of [heart attack] patients,” researchers wrote.

The team’s next step is to examine longer-term outcomes and consider the impact being married has on other heart conditions, such as heart failure.

How to decrease your risk for a heart attack


Heart disease

Heart disease kills more than 600,000 Americans each year – making it the most deadly killer in the United States. But the good news is that there are many things you can do to decrease your risk of succumbing to this all too common killer. Written by Matthew Budoff, the book Enhancing Heart Health: Preventing a Heart Attack breaks down important need-to-know statistics regarding heart disease, while providing relatively easy ways to improve their heart health. Budoff writes:

CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) has claimed the lives of more females than males. And the gap between male and female deaths has increased dramatically … In addition, black females are more at risk than white females. According to the statistics, a woman dies of heart disease every minute, more than half a million each year. Annually, heart disease kills 10 times more women than breast cancer.

Men and women experience and react to heart disease differently. According to the Center for the Advancement of Health, women take significantly longer to seek care for their heart symptoms than men do.

Studies indicate that women usually wait more than six hours before seeking medical attention, while men wait five hours on average.

A marked difference is also apparent in the symptoms of women and men. Women typically describe their chest pain as sharp, rather than the “classic” male complaints of pressure, heaviness or tightness in the center or left side of the chest.

In addition, women are more likely to describe other symptoms that are not necessarily related to the chest pain. These symptoms include back pain, nausea, and indigestion. Thus, doctors are less likely to recognize a heart attack in women.

Improving Your Odds

High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and elevated homocysteine can increase your chances of developing heart disease or dying of a heart attack. But other controllable factors can also increase your risk of these three conditions.

• Overweight or obesity
• Lack of physical activity
• Cigarette smoking
• Diabetes
• Increased and uncontrolled stress and anxiety
• Poor diet

Fortunately, because these factors are controllable, you can increase your odds of avoiding heart disease by making better lifestyle choices. Even more promising, if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease or have had heart problems in the past, you can reverse that negative process by making positive changes. A comprehensive plan of attack is the most effective strategy.

Cigarette and tobacco smoke

  • Smokers’ risk of heart attack is more than twice that of nonsmokers.
  • Cigarette smoking is the biggest risk factor for sudden cardiac death: smokers have two to four times the risk of nonsmokers.
  • Smokers who have a heart attack are more likely to die and die suddenly (within an hour) than are nonsmokers.

High blood cholesterol levels

  • The risk of coronary heart disease rises as blood cholesterol levels increase.
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, causing the heart to enlarge and weaken over time.

Physical inactivity

  • Regular, moderate-to-vigorous exercise plays a significant role in preventing heart and blood vessel disease.
  • Exercise can help control blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity as well as help to lower blood pressure in some people.
  • Exercise is one of the best ways of raising HDL, or “good” cholesterol.

Obesity and overweight

  • People who have excess body fat are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if they have no other risk factors.
  • Being overweight is directly linked to coronary heart disease because it influences blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and increases the risk of diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus

  • Diabetes seriously increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • More than 80 percent of diabetics die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.