Whether it’s through personal experience or something you read in the news, most of us have been shocked by the story of a fit and health-conscious individual who died of an unexpected heart attack in their early 40’s.
Stories like these can be devastating for the deceased person’s loved ones, and they can also be highly alarming. How could someone who looked so healthy suddenly have a heart attack? And why didn’t this person’s doctor catch the signs sooner?
The truth is that many doctors today only consider heart disease as a possibility for people who fit into a tight little box of risk factors. However, heart disease is rampant even among those who don’t smoke, aren’t obese, and don’t have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. In fact, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death, and accounts for one in every four deaths in the United States, in spite of our abundance of sophisticated technology and cutting-edge pharmaceuticals.
The fact is, there is not a small box of risk factors that you can solely rely on. There are actually hundreds of risk factors that science has linked to the development of heart disease, many of which never get any attention at all.
That’s why it’s so important to arm yourself with the knowledge of how your cardiovascular system works, and how you can make smart lifestyle choices to minimize your risk. As with most chronic illnesses, your best weapon against CVD is to prevent it altogether. I created this two-part series to explore some of the mechanisms behind CVD, as well as the tests you may be interested in doing to evaluate your personal risk.
With February being American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day, I thought this would be the perfect time to give you a few tools to ensure your heart continues to beat strongly for many more years to come!
The Link Between Heart Disease and Autoimmune Disease
Since many of you have first-hand experience with autoimmunity, I thought this would be a great place to start. As a quick refresher for anyone who isn’t familiar, autoimmunity occurs when your immune system (which is designed to protect against foreign invaders) starts to attack your own tissues and cells. What does this have to do with cardiovascular health? More than you might think!
In fact, research suggests that people with certain autoimmune conditions have significantly higher rates of CVD than the average population. People with Lupus, for example, have been shown to have a 4-8 times greater chance of developing CVD. People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only have a reduced life expectancy, but CVD is their leading cause of death.
So why are autoimmune patients more likely to have heart disease?
One important factor is the medications used to treat the conditions, with steroids being at the top of the list. Chronic steroid use has been shown to induce obesity, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia (abnormally high levels of cholesterol or fat in your blood), hypertension, as well as direct endothelial damage (I’ll talk more about this in a minute), all of which can contribute to CVD.
This is not to say that, across the board, pharmaceuticals should never be used. I believe that, as with all chronic disease, it is important to not be an extremist at either end of the spectrum. I will be the first to admit that pharmaceuticals can be lifesaving and necessary at times for rescue relief. With that being said, I am a firm believer that for long term success, the most effective strategy for treating autoimmune disease is to address and correct the root cause of the disease.
Another key factor in the link between autoimmunity and CVD is that people with autoimmunity have high systemic inflammation and an overly sensitive defense system. As you know, chronic inflammation can be very damaging to the tissues in your body, and it often sets off a negative chain reaction that can do more harm than good. Let’s look at how those effects can trigger two physical causes of heart disease – endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress.
Understanding Endothelial Dysfunction
Endothelial dysfunction is a byproduct of chronic inflammation and is a major player in heart disease and strokes. So what is endothelial dysfunction and why is it important?
Your arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood and nutrients throughout your circulatory system, giving the cells in your body the fuel they need to function. Arteries are made up of several layers, each having their own function and purpose. The endothelium is the innermost layer of the artery, and is in direct contact with your blood as it flows through your body. The endothelium is extremely important to vascular health and plays a variety of vital roles, including regulating blood pressure, governing inflammatory responses at the artery level, providing a barrier between your blood and the other layers of your arteries, and it also plays a part in controlling clotting.
Despite the important role it plays, the endothelial is surprisingly very thin, measuring only one cell deep, which leaves it vulnerable to damage and dysfunction. Toxin exposure, inflammation, oxidative stress, and excessive pressure can all damage the endothelium.
Interestingly enough, the lining of your arteries and the lining of your gut have a lot in common. Many of you have probably heard the term “leaky gut” where your intestinal lining becomes compromised and allows unwanted substances to flow from the gut into the bloodstream. The same mechanism can happen to your endothelium, and it is called “leaky vessel”. When the endothelium becomes leaky or damaged (often because of the same factors that cause leaky gut) then problematic proteins, cholesterol particles, platelets, and inflammatory substances will accumulate below the vessel lining, forming a plaque.
This plaque buildup clogs your arteries, decreasing blood flow to your tissues. The plaque can also rupture suddenly, which then blocks the artery completely. Without adequate blood flow, tissues do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need, leading to tissue necrosis or death. If this happens in the arteries of the heart it is a heart attack, and if it happens in the brain it is called a stroke. The health of the endothelium is essential for preventing CVD, and monitoring endothelial dysfunction can be one of the best ways to detect the early stages of CVD.
Oxidative Stress Explained
I mentioned that oxidative stress can damage your endothelium, however, that term can be confusing. What exactly is oxidative stress? When you think of oxidative stress, picture jagged rusted particles floating around in your blood, bouncing against the vessel walls, tearing them up and triggering a cascade of inflammation.
The cells in our bodies are constantly utilizing oxygen to produce energy. A byproduct of this metabolic process is a highly reactive set of substances known as oxidative free radicals. A free radical is a molecule that is unstable due to the fact that it is missing an electron. In an attempt to replace the missing electron and become stable, free radicals will steal electrons from healthy cells in the body, leaving those cells damaged. These damaged cells are the rusty particles traveling through your bloodstream and causing inflammation.
Your immune system actually uses the negative effect of free radicals to its advantage by using them to destroy pathogens and other substances it has deemed dangerous. Toxins, poor diet, smoking, elevated blood sugar, excessive stress, and many other inflammatory triggers can all signal to your body to produce more free radicals. Ideally, your body will have plenty of antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, alpha-lipoic acid, CoQ10, and glutathione, which can all donate electrons to the unstable free radicals, stabilizing them and neutralizing their threat.
But, if you’re deficient in these antioxidant nutrients, or your free radical production is in overdrive because of chronic inflammation, an imbalance occurs. These excessive free radical species create what is called oxidative stress and this scenario is a major contributor to endothelial dysfunction and poor vascular health.
Multiple substances in the body can be damaged by oxidative stress including: tissues, proteins, DNA, and even lipids. As a matter of fact, when we look at cholesterol markers, oxidized LDL (an oxidized lipoprotein that carries cholesterol) is one of the best markers of oxidative damage to your circulatory system.
Oxidized LDL is one type of rusted particle that can cause destruction. It has been shown to promote inflammation in blood vessels and is a primary culprit of endothelial damage. New research also suggests that oxidized LDL might contribute to an autoimmune response to the endothelium lining, which in turn contributes to CVD.
If you are interested in knowing where your oxidative stress levels are, ask your doctor to run an oxidized-LDL level at your next blood draw. This test can now be processed through many standard laboratory companies, and in my opinion it’s one of the best markers to evaluate if oxidative stress is contributing to your risk of CVD. There are also many other laboratory markers I use to evaluate oxidative stress, which I will discuss in part two of this series.
I know, that was a lot of information! Clearly CVD is a complex issue, and there is no single solution to prevent or cure it. To truly prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce its complications, you must tackle it with a systems approach that considers multiple factors, including genetics, nutrition, physiology, inflammation, and a whole host of environmental factors.
In part two of this series I dig deeper into how other factors like sugar can contribute to CVD. I also break down the ever so popular topic of cholesterol, as well as the statistics behind statins. I will conclude next week’s post with some useful tests that you can have done to identify where you stand on the spectrum of CVD.
Reverse Autoimmunity in 6 Weeks
Discover how to reverse your autoimmune disease by overcoming its root causes in just six weeks. In 6 weeks of guided video lessons, 25+ downloadable checklists, quizzes, and guides, plus support from my members-only community, I will arm you with all of the tools you need to take back your health.
A quick note from our founder-
Over the past year, my friend Dave at PaleoHacks has been working on a secret cookbook with world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu chef Peter Servold.
Well, today this new this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE
That's right -- as a special launch promotion, we're offering our brand new Paleo fat loss cookbook to you for free (Chef Pete lost 60 lbs using these recipes!) -- All you have to do is just cover a small shipping cost (international shipping is a bit more).
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because we only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Help us create more awareness! Please SHARE this article...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!
To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
Shockingly, that nightmare is a reality for most:
64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
It's choking their organs, assaulting their metabolism and sucking their energy dry.
But here's the worst part:
For most, this bodyfat has become "calorie-resistant":
It's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
This zombie fat is essentially... "dead tissue".
That's important for those who have 10, 25 or 50 or more pounds to lose...
AND for those who aren't technically overweight, but have what's called "pocket obesity"...
...unsightly patches of fat that cling to specific places, like:
just above your hips, lower belly, where your butt and legs meet... and even arms, neck and face.
However, there's good news:
Obesity researchers have now discovered a "metabolic jumper cable":
It jolts dead bodyfat back to life.
This allows your metabolism to burn it as calories and re-energize your entire body.
First though, here's the #1 reason why bodyfat becomes calorie-resistant:
It lacks blood flow. This has 3 effects:
- Not enough oxygen or nutrients reach fat cells, so they become unresponsive..
- Released fat can't be sent to other tissues to be burned, so fat cells suck it back in...
- 3) Metabolic hormones carrying the "burn calories" message don't reach the fat cell...
All this means one thing:
Your body can't transform into energy, the 135,000+ of calories the average person stores as fat!
You become a metabolic zombie: NO energy to think. NO energy to move. NO energy to motivate.
Update: calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
The discovery of this "metabolic jumper cable" can now reverse this process:
- It wakes up un-responsive bodyfat with a powerful calorie-burning hormonal jolt....
- It pops open fat cells, sucks out the fat, sending it off before its yanked back in...
- It shuttles fat to your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys - even your bones - to be burned as energy.
Not only do those layers of "zombie fat" start coming off, but your entire body just works better.
Plus, as your whole body burns more calories, those patches of pocket obesity whittle away.
This "metabolic jumper cable" isn't any exercise, machine or pill.
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive.
It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know.
And on this next page, you'll find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
PS - Studies show that not only can healthy levels of this powerful calorie-burning hormone devour bodyfat and fortify soft muscle, but it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
If you haven't heard of Claude Davis yet do yourself a huge favor and watch this video. He's going to be the talk of 2016.
One of the smartest guys I ever had the pleasure of meeting, Claude set-up a unique system that changed his life forever.
I already tried it myself and let me tell... you I was completely blown away... His surprising tactics could make your life easier and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Don't just take my word for it... watch his short video and decide for yourself.
Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
Secret #1: Enjoy real food. Don’t fall for the lie that you have to deprive yourself to lose weight.
Secret #2: stop eating out. You will automatically eat less without even noticing.
Then start detoxing your body with tasty, nourishing smoothies that are just as easy on your wallet as they are easy to make.
Because a single day of enjoying Liz’ smoothies demonstrated the radical power of her superfood-packed red smoothies to make me feel incredibly good.
Now prepare yourself for one of the biggest weight loss secrets there is. A secret that, when you use it properly, can transform your body and your health.
You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
So that’s why I’m losing weight without going hungry.
Watch Liz’ free presentation. It’s packed with revolutionary weight loss information—information that works. Because it’s based on how nature.
Click the button only if you want to wear smaller clothes, breathe easier, move more freely and just plain feel better.
- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
- The “low-fat” foods that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
- And the superfoods that rescue your body from this assault by detoxing you…
Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
Because until now, the Red Smoothie Detox Factor has been available only to Liz’ private clients. But now that she’s perfected it to work for almost everyone, almost every time, Liz is sharing it with rest of us so we can feel better and look better.
Get Red Smoothie Detox Factor before the price goes back up.
Because Liz offers a ridiculously good guarantee. You have 60 days to decide you love the Red Smoothie Detox Factor. If you don’t love it—for any reason, or even no reason at all —Liz will refund your money. 100%. No questions asked.
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.