Heart disease claims the lives of over 836,000 Americas each year. 23,000 Americans die each day, averaging one death every 38 seconds - and my dad could have easily been another number in that statistic.
My dad, like most men, is stubborn. He claimed to have "the right" to eat and drink whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. For the majority of his life, he did not go to regular doctors checkups, take supplements or eat well. Although I have to give him kudos for exercising occasionally. This lifestyle eventually caught up to him, in his mid to late 50's, he started slowing down, feeling fatigued and gaining a lot of weight.
After he turned 57, my mother and I started becoming more concerned about his health. I had been trying to "lead the horse to the water", but he was not drinking! In February of 2016, I was advocating Heart Health Month and encouraging my patients to get a heart CT scan. I pressed the importance upon my dad, and through conversation learned that he had been experiencing symptoms of heart disease for a few months. This was news to my mother and me, as he had not shared with us that he had stopped exercising due to shortness of breath and tightening feeling in his chest. He also had tingling in his left shoulder and arm.
Long story short, we made him get that CT scan! His calcium score came back elevated, indicating plaque build up. We then took him to a functional minded cardiologist, Dr. Reddy, who then preformed a stress test. He was unable to even finish the exercise, the results detected that 2 of his arteries were about 99% blocked and he was rushed to the hospital for an emergency stint.
It was predicted that he was likely minutes away from a heart attack.
Once the surgeon got started implanting the stints, it was a bigger mess than expected. The intention was to put one stint in each of the 2 clogged arteries, however, the plaque build up was so bad, it took 3 stints to open up just one artery and this was all they could accomplish at that time, leaving the second artery still 99% blocked.
The plan was to schedule the second stint implant a month later, well... this is where I intervened!
We told the surgeon to give us 6 months to reverse the plaque naturally before scheduling another surgery. He literally laughed at me.
With the help of his cardiologist, we convinced my dad to adopt a very strict whole food plant-based diet, take specifically targeted supplements and change his lifestyle. I strongly believe, through my studies and clinical experience, that we could reverse the plaque in the other blocked artery naturally.
My dad's whole food plant-based diet also included no soy or grains, limiting fruit, and implementing fasting! Studies show fasting plays a HUGE role in reversing chronic conditions. While there are several different ways to effectively fast, my father chose to fast for 36 hours, once a week, for 6 weeks. Then after 6 weeks, he fasted for 36 hours twice a month for the remainder of the 6 month period. He was diligent in taking his supplements daily, I included them below.
After 6 months, he went back to his cardiologist, he did a nuclear stress test, ultrasound, and an EKG. His cardiologist told him that when looking at his test results, any cardiologist would say that you have no heart issues and never did.
There was no detection of a blocked artery, leading his doctor to agree that his heart disease had been completely reversed. How about that!
As you can see in the photo below, my dad lost a few lbs.! My dad's experience was also eye-opening for my little brother. I helped guide my brother on his own journey to improve his health naturally so that he can likely avoid being in the same spot my father was in 3 years ago.
In my line of work, we are not "allowed" to claim that nutrition can heal or reverse disease and chronic conditions, but my dad has a powerful testimony to help you form your own opinion on the power of food as medicine, so I will let you be the judge!
I am so blessed to have the opportunity to improve the health of others, naturally. Words can not explain how proud I am of my father and how grateful I am that he is thriving and will be with us for decades to come!
My TOP 10 Heart Healthy Supplements
1. Magnesium is shown to regulate blood pressure and improve atrial fibrillation in addition to reguating over 300 different biochemical functions in the body.
2. Vitamin D3 + K2 may improve blood pressure and lessen chances or coronary artery disease while also improving mood, bone health, and immune function. K2 should be taken with D3 and has been shown to help move calcium deposits from other areas in the body and place them into the bones where they belong.
3. CoQ10 becomes crucial after age 50 when our natural production declines and is critical for those taking a statin drug. CoQ10 is needed to provide energy to the heart and vital organs for proper function.
4. Fish Oil is known as one of the best supplements that you can take to regulate cholesterol levels and triglycerides while also improving inflammation that can lead to heart disease.
5. Vitamin C may be one of the most important vitamins to take for immune support and heart health. Vitamin C has been linked to improving cholesterol and blood pressure while helping with critical collagen production and lowering inflammation in the arteries.
6. Niacin is a B vitamin that has been found to help regulate cholesterol naturally and raise your HDL cholesterol while also boosting brain function.
7. D-Ribose has been shown to assist in reversing heart failure, increasing cardiac surgery recovery and restoring that internal energy known as ATP that the heart needs to function properly.
8. Nitric Oxide improves circulation in the body and expands blood vessels which increase blood flow. This is beneficial to the heart by decreasing plaque buildup and blood clotting.
9. Annatto E is a superior form of vitamin E that has been shown to greatly improve cholesterol by up to 20% in 3 months while also lowering triglycerides.
10. L-Carnitine is a fat-transporting compound that is essential for heart function. It has been shown to improve triglycerides, blood flow, cholesterol, and arrhythmias while also improving energy levels.
Note: while I consider all of these wonderful supplements to be extremely beneficial for your heart, they ARE NOT a replacement for a healthy diet! They work beautifully alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle!