Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The True Cause of Heart Disease – Part Two

"Dr. Dwight Lundell is on the front line fighting a health war. His mission is to find a cure for heart disease. And he believes he has done just that."

Read the full article at Total Health Breakthroughs

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's Those Statins Again !

Good article from

Ten Commandments for Avoiding CHD

Not a particularly new article but one I just re-read by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD. It appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2001.

The following excerpt appears well into the article and is a good 'cut-to-the-chase' list to summarize what to do about this scourge. I encourage all who are interested to read the full article found here.


Ten Commandments for Avoiding CHD

  1. Don't smoke. If you find it impossible to quit, at least try to cut back and smoke only additive-free cigarettes. Smokers should avoid polyunsaturated oils at all costs. Saturated fats and vitamins A and D are particularly protective of the lungs.
  2. Exercise regularly but you needn't overdo. A brisk daily walk, 10 minutes on the trampoline, swimming, and sports are all appropriate.
  3. Avoid overweight by eating nutrient-dense foods and keeping sweets to a minimum, but avoid crash dieting.
  4. Don't work too hard. Counteract stress by doing something that you love to do everyday. During periods of unavoidable hardship or loss, increase consumption of foods rich in protective nutrients.
  5. As much as possible, avoid exposure to fumes, chemicals, pollutants and pesticides.
  6. Avoid all processed foods labeled "lowfat" or that contain polyunsaturated vegetable oils, hydrogenated fats, white flour, refined sugar and additives.
  7. Consume high-quality animal products including a variety of seafood and milk, butter, cheese, eggs, meat, fats and organ meats from animals raised on green pasture.
  8. Consume a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, preferably organically grown.
  9. Ensure sufficient mineral intake by using whole dairy products; bone broths; and whole grains, legumes and nuts that have been properly prepared to reduce phytic acid and other factors that block mineral absorption.41
  10. Supplement the diet with foods rich in protective factors including small amounts of cod liver oil (vitamins A and D); wheat germ oil (vitamin E); flax oil (omega-3 fatty acids); kelp (iodine); brewers yeast (B vitamins); desiccated liver (vitamin B12); rose hip or acerola powder (vitamin C); and coconut oil (antimicrobial fatty acids).
Again, please read and learn from the full article.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dr. Dwight Lundell on omega-3s and CLA

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dr. Dwight Lundell on omega-3s and CLA

An interview with Dr. Dwight Lundell, cardiac surgeon and author of the new book, "The Cure for Heart Disease."

Dr. Lundell comes to us with a unique pedigree. He is a cardiothoracic surgeon practicing in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Despite having performed thousands of coronary bypass operations, including numerous "off-pump" procedures earning him a place in the Beating Heart Hall of Fame and a listing in Phoenix Magazine’s Top Doctors for 10 years, more recently Dr. Lundell has turned his attentions away from traditional surgical treatment and towards prevention of heart disease and.

In particular, Dr. Lundell is a vocal advocate for omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA.

When I heard about Dr. Lundell’s unique perspectives, I asked him if he’d like to tell us a little more about his ideas. Here follows a brief interview with Dr. Lundell.

You’re a vocal advocate of the role of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil in heart disease prevention. Can you tell us how you use it?

In my book, I recommend 3 g of fish oil daily. This would normally yield about 1000 mg of EPA and DHA depending on the concentration of the supplement. This is approximately the dose that reduced sudden cardiac death by 50%, and all cause death, by 25% in patients with previous heart attack.

In patients with signs of chronic inflammation such as heart disease, obesity, arthritis, metabolic syndrome or depression or in those patients with elevation of CRP, I would recommend higher doses, 2000 to 3000 mg per day of EPA and DHA. The FDA has approved up to 3400 mg for treating patients with severely elevated triglycerides.

I personally take a 2000 mg EPA and DHA per day because I have calcium in my coronary arteries.

Of course, in the Track Your Plaque program we track coronary calcium scores. Do you track any measures of atherosclerosis in your patients to chart progression or regression?

Carotid ultrasound with measurement of IMT [intimal-medial thickness] has been shown to be a good surrogate marker for coronary disease, as has vascular reactivity in the arm. CT scanning with calcium scoring is a direct marker of coronary disease. CT does not differentiate between stable or unstable plaque but there is no good noninvasive way of doing this.

The dramatic value of CT scan calcium scoring is to demonstrate to people that they actually do have coronary disease and to motivate them to make the necessary lifestyle and nutritional changes to reduce it. CT scan with calcium scoring is a direct way to measure the progression or regression of coronary artery disease. If there is a choice between a direct measurement and indirect measurement, always choose the direct method.

Every patient treated with CLA in my clinic, experienced significant reductions in C-reactive protein. These patients were also on a weight-loss program, so I can't prove whether it was the CLA or the weight-loss that improved their inflammatory markers. In the animal model for arteriosclerosis, CLA has a dramatic effect of reducing and preventing plaque. This has not yet been proven in humans.

Normally, when people lose weight 20% or more of the loss is lean body mass (muscle) this lowers the metabolic rate and frustrates further weight-loss. My patient, from teenagers to retirees, lost no lean body mass and continued to have satisfactory weight-loss when CLA was used as part of the plan.

In reading your book, your use of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as a principal ingredient struck me. Can you elaborate on why you choose to have your patients take CLA?

My enthusiasm for CLA is based on:

1) Safety―this is of paramount importance. Animal toxicity studies have been done, as well as multiple parameters measured in human studies, both of these are well reviewed recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004:79(suppl)1132s). CLA, a naturally-occurring substance, is not toxic or harmful to animals or humans. The only negative report is by Riserus in Circulation (2002), where he found an elevated c- reactive protein; however, he used a preparation that is not commercially available and not found in nature as a single isomer.

2) Effectiveness―also critically important. A recent meta-analysis [a reanalysis of compiled data] in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007; 85:1203-1211) demonstrated the effectiveness of CLA in causing loss of body fat in humans. The study also reconfirmed the safety of CLA.

Since we now know that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disorder, any strategy that reduces low-grade inflammation without significant side effects would seem to be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis. CLA not only has antioxidant properties, but it modulates inflammatory cascade at multiple points. CLA reduces PGE2 (in much the same way as omega-3) CLA also has been shown to reduce IL-2, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and Cox–2. It reduces platelet deposition and macrophage accumulation in plaques. It also has some beneficial effect in the PPAR [peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, important for lipid and inflammatory-mediator metabolism] area.

Part of the effect of CLA may be because it reduces fat mass and thus the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by fat cells.

I reiterate and fully admit that CLA has not been shown to have any effect on atherosclerosis in human beings. However, the results in the standard animal models for atherosclerosis (rabbits, hamsters,APO-E knockout mice) are very dramatic.

From all I know, it appears that the effective dose for weight loss and the animal studies in atherosclerosis would be equal to about 3 g of CLA per day. The anti-inflammatory properties of CLA seem to work better in the presence of adequate blood levels of omega-3.

I’m curious how and why a busy cardiothoracic surgeon would transform his practice so dramatically. Was there a specific event that triggered your change?

The transition from a very busy surgical practice to writing and speaking about the prevention of coronary disease has not been particularly easy, but it has been very interesting. I can't really point to any specific epiphany, it was a general feeling of frustration that we were not making any progress in curing heart disease, which is what I thought I was doing when I began my medical career.

Of course, I enjoyed the technical advances, the dramatic life-saving things that you do and I did on a daily basis. American medicine is spectacularly good at managing crises and spectacularly horrible at preventing those crises.

The lipid hypothesis is old and tired, even the most aggressive statin therapy reduces risk of heart attack by about 30% in a relatively small subset of people. It's interesting that we're now looking at statins as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Thanks, Dr. Lundell. We look forward to future conversations as your experience with CLA and heart disease prevention and reversal develops!

More about Dr. Lundell's book, The Cure for Heart Disease can be found at http://www.thecureforheartdisease.net.

The True Cause of Heart Disease

via Total Health Breakthroughs by Ian Robinson on 7/14/10

Conventional wisdom tells us that high cholesterol is the cause of heart disease. But Dr. Dwight Lundell is fighting to expose this dangerous mainstream myth.

Dr. Lundell is a pioneer and leading expert in this field. He has enjoyed a long and a distinguished career, leading his peers to new breakthroughs.. He spent 25 years as a cardiovascular surgeon and performed over 5,000 heart surgeries.

His experience in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery includes certification by the American Board of Surgery, the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He was a pioneer in “Off-Pump” heart surgery, reducing surgical complications and recovery times. He’s in the “Beating Heart Hall of Fame” and has been listed in Phoenix Magazine’s “Top Doctors” for 10 years.

He has been recognized by his peers as a leader and has served as Chief resident at the University of Arizona and Yale University Hospitals. He later served as Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery.

He was also one of the founding partners of the Lutheran Heart Hospital which became the second largest heart hospital in the U.S.

Dr. Lundell recently agreed to grant us an in-depth and revealing interview about the pioneering work he is currently conducting. It’s our privilege and pleasure to share part one of that exclusive interview with you today.

THB: You are the author of a controversial heart-health book called The Great Cholesterol Lie. The book challenges conventional wisdom and accepted medical theories. What’s been the response to this book?

Dr. Lundell: The response to the book has been overwhelming. I regularly correspond with people from around the world who are enjoying better health from the new understandings they gained from learning about inflammation and heart disease.

THB: That’s good to hear. It’s a seminal book that charts your professional journey as a cardiac surgeon. And, more importantly, reveals your gradual discovery of the true cause of heart disease.

If you could go back in time to when you were a young cardiac surgeon… what would you tell yourself and would you take a different path?

Dr. Lundell: I was dedicated to treating heart disease and passionate about saving lives. It was my responsibility to provide patients with a second chance.

As a young cardiac surgeon in the 1980s coronary bypass operation was the only effective treatment for people afflicted with severe coronary artery disease. So, as you can imagine, this was a very exciting time. Our ability to help people increased and the risks of surgery decreased as techniques and technology improved.

The scientific consensus at that time was elevated cholesterol levels in the blood cause a gradual deposition of cholesterol in the lumen of the blood vessel so two treatment forces were obvious: lower the levels of cholesterol in the blood or do an operation to detour the blood around the accumulated plaque thus restoring flow and heart function.

Rather than looking at more effective ways to lower blood cholesterol, there was relatively little research going on as to what was causing plaque. Everyone settled on the idea that it was as simple as controlling fat and cholesterol.

Then new research was in part driven by industry and not basic science. As balloon angioplasty emerged as an alternative to open heart surgery, the companies that produce the balloons became concerned by high rates of re-stenosis. They began funding studies to understand exactly what was happening biologically to cause the re-stenosis. (Re-stenosis means a re-narrowing of the artery after angioplasty or a stent has been inserted.)

This stimulated a lot of research and culminated in the seminal article published in 1999 in the New England Journal of Medicine announcing that “atherosclerosis [is] an inflammatory disease.”

THB: How did you discover that the true cause of heart disease was inflammation?

Dr. Lundell: I was excited to understand this new research because in the operating room I had observed the classic signs of inflammation around the coronary artery and was very disappointed that surgery, although effective at relieving symptoms and extending life, was not a cure for heart disease.

Many brilliant scientists and university centers continued to do more research that confirmed the basis for coronary disease was chronic inflammation. Sadly the attention was all directed at finding a therapy rather than looking at the cause of chronic inflammation.

Research is hugely expensive and was largely funded by drug companies who were making billions of dollars from the prescriptions for statin drugs.

One of the many side effects of statin drugs is that they seem to have a mild anti- inflammatory effect. Because of the size of the industry and how entrenched the cholesterol theory had become, the focus continues to be on treating everyone with statin drugs rather than understanding the cause and the ability to control chronic inflammation.

The makers of statin drugs have been so skillful at influencing science and controlling public policy that prescribing statins is the standard of care. Anyone questioning or disagreeing with these policies is labeled as a heretic and disregarded.

THB: Why were you so convinced inflammation was the culprit? You were so convinced that you made a major life – and career – change based on that conviction.

Dr. Lundell: I knew that I did not have enough influence to change any of the policies or practices from inside mainstream medicine. Taking a lesson from the drug makers with their direct to consumer advertising I decided to write the book and hopefully people would learn and make the changes needed to truly prevent and cure heart disease.

THB: You describe inflammation very powerfully in your book as a battleground. Can you give our readers an overview of what inflammation is?

Dr. Lundell: Inflammation truly is a battleground. For most of human history we died because of infection and trauma. Our immune system and our inflammatory systems are designed to aggressively respond to these two challenges.

If we get invaded by bacteria or injured in some way, our immune system recognizes the challenge and marshals all of the body’s resources to respond to defeat the invader and heal the wound.

We all have experienced the classic signs of inflammation: warmth, swelling, redness, and pain. Acute inflammation is the response to acute injuries. Chronic inflammation is the response to chronic smaller injuries and so we do not always get the four classic signs.

THB: You’ve taken the bold step to speak out against statin medications. But playing devil’s advocate for a moment… surely there are some situations when statin medications are effective?

Dr. Lundell: Statin medications have proven to be somewhat beneficial to a small group of people; that is a middle aged man with a previous heart attack. They have never been documented to benefit any woman of any age with any condition. They have not been documented to help people who have not had a previous heart attack of any age or gender.

There may be some people who would take great offense at the previous paragraph – especially the makers of Crestor and cardiologists who support treating almost everyone with statin drugs.

They might quote the Jupiter study which was touted as proving Crestor would reduce heart attack rates by almost 50% in otherwise healthy people. Happily, this month in The Archives of Internal Medicine, four peer reviewed articles gave a scathing rebuke to the Jupiter study – the methodology, the conflict of interest by most of the authors, the early termination of the study which almost always provides false results, and the conclusion that statin drugs were beneficial in this population of patients. At last I am getting reinforcements!

THB: That’s a good point to make - and you make it well. So, if statin meds aren’t effective, why are they so dangerous?

Dr. Lundell: Statin drugs are dangerous not necessarily because of the side effects which can be disabling or fatal, but because they divert our attention from understanding and preventing heart disease and merely treat it with statins, allowing us to think that this is beneficial.

Even some of the foremost cardiologists in the country who have written extensively about inflammation as the true cause of heart disease offer no solutions except taking statin drugs. $30,000,000,000 in worldwide sales of statin drugs has a lot to do with it.

In part two of our revealing interview, Dr. Lundell tells us why inflammation is the true cause of heart disease and offers critical solutions to prevent it. We also discover the four most common lifestyle factors that injure heart health and get expert guidance on how to improve it. All this and more in next Wednesday’s edition of Undercover.

About Dr. Lundell: Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital, Mesa, AZ. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation and Chief Medical Advisor for Asantae. In 2003, Dr. Lundell made the most difficult decision of his 25 year surgical career. As traditional medicine continued to chase the cholesterol theory of heart disease, Dr. Lundell closed his surgical practice. He then devoted the rest of his life to speaking the truth that inflammation causes heart disease. By lowering inflammation, heart disease has a cure.

Dr. Lundell is the author of the world-wide bestselling book, The Great Cholesterol Lie. This book is a revealing look at heart disease and the faulty theories of low-fat diets and cholesterol. He also reveals his clinically-tested recommendations for lowering inflammation that can prevent and reverse heart disease.

To your health,

Ian Robinson,
Managing Editor, Total Health Breakthroughs