on December 16, 2006
It's too bad this book won't be read by every primary care physician and every cardiologist and every patient with heart disease, but it should be. The collaboration of two leading edge cardiologists has resulted in a book full of the latest approaches to managing plaques and heart disease. This book moves beyond Dr. Sinatra's first classic, The Sinatra Solution, and focuses on the problem of plaque build-up in your arteries. The latest theory of inflammation as the cause of hardening of the arteries, as well as many other chronic illnesses is addressed here with dietary changes, supplements, and medications. For example, when to use statins alongside the natural supplements for reducing cholesterol and other risk factors for plaque formation is clearly discussed. It's wonderful to read what these two doctors do for their patients outside the box set by the FDA in defining the indications for prescription medications. From my own experience their approaches do work for many people. I will be recommending this book to many patients and featuring it on my website.
Bob Sager, MD, DABFM
on December 5, 2007
I have been reading alternative & conventional texts for years and what I found is that when I had lots of health problems the conventional medicine only works to get you out of immediate danger but does not address underlying problems or corrections, and treats symptoms only.
After turning 50 I decided I needed to read this book and found it to be a wealth of information. Thanks to this book I went out and found an "intergrative" doctor who did these extra tests and found my LPa's were >300, Normal is below 30 (even though other cholesterol numbers were good). This means I'm a walking time bomb for blood clots to brain or heart. By using L-lysine, curcumin and natkonise my numbers are 45 after 2 months. Conventional doctors don't do these extra tests because there are no drugs to fix LPa's. By reading this book, going to find an intergrative doctor, (one trained as MD & then gets extra training in alternative medicine)I believe I will live longer,(survival rates are low for blood clots to brain or heart). My new doctor has also helped me with numerous other ailments an I feel better than I did 10 years ago.
Thank you Dr. Sinatra. If I had not read your book I would never have known about the LPa's. You saved my life!
on June 25, 2009
Even when I was in great shape, riding a bike 130 miles a week, my HDL was dangerously low and my HDL/LDL ratio was awful--it runs in the family. More recently, when the side-effects of statins forced me to quit taking them, my ratio got even worse. One of the websites I consulted about statin side-effects mentioned Dr. Sinatra, and after reading what he had to say about CoQ10 and statins, I bought this book about a month ago.
It's too soon to know if the recommended diet and supplements, combined with the exercise I was already doing, will help, but so far, it looks good. Niacin can double HDL, but when I tried it before, it made my skin so dry it bled. That hasn't happened this time, presumably because of the other supplements, like fish oil, recommended by the book. My family doctor had recommended niacin, but not fish oil, CoQ10, or the other supplements that Dr. Sinatra uses. But when I asked my doctor about CoQ10, he admitted it might be helpful when taking statins. And when I've asked the two MDs in the family about things I've read in the book--CRP, Lp(a), corony calcium testing, etc.,--they always confirm what Dr. Sinatra wrote.
I can't imagine this book won't be helpful to almost anyone concerned with cardiovascular health.
Follow-up report: Last week I met with a local cardiologist to discuss bloodwork done the week before. Two months after reading this book and acting on its recommendations, and without taking statins, my HDL was up 41%, my LDL down 27%, and my total cholesterol/HDL ratio down 40%. The local cardiologist also reviewed the dozen or so supplements I'm taking based on the book, and apart from switching me to the prescription form of niacin, also recommended by Dr. Sinatra, he saw no reason to change anything I was taking. This is a great book.
on April 10, 2007
In the final chapter of the book, the authors set out what they call the "four pillars of healing." These are:
1. A healthy diet to help you achieve a healthy body weight.
2. Appropriate over-the-counter supplements and prescription medications for your condition.
4. Use of mind/body techniques to control unhealthy moods, attitudes, and behaviors.
The main text of the book, however, does not give equal emphasis to these four "pillars." The authors use 2 chapters and 71 pages to discuss over-the-counter supplements. They discuss prescription medications in one 17 page chapter. They discuss diet in an 11 page chapter. They discuss exercise in one short 5 page chapter. They discuss stress management in one 10 page chapter. Supplements get much more coverage than all other treatments combined. The authors acknowledge that heart disease (plaque build up in your arteries) is a lifestyle disease (p.217). They recommend lifestyle changes, but the overwhelming impression you get from the book is that over-the-counter supplements are the most essential treatment for heart disease/plaque build up in your arteries.
The authors are so enamoured with supplements, that they give you a full regimen with estimated costs. They estimate the cost to follow their supplement recommendations at from $100 to $500 a month. You will take a handful of pills daily if you follow their supplement recommendations. For many, this prospect may be just as unappealing as taking a handful of prescription medications.
One major weakness in the book is that the authors don't provide any footnote references in their text. They provide an extensive list of books and articles at the end of the book, but there is no realistic way to see whether these actually support the many claims of the authors throughout the book.
The authors also describe a surprising number of obscure techniques for testing for heart disease - many of which your doctor will never have heard of and won't know how to interpret. Given the pervasiveness of heart disease in our society, we don't need more sophisticated testing techniques. Just assume that you need to act to prevent or treat it. The most effective techniques for preventing and treating heart disease are lifestyle changes that we should all adopt anyway.
The authors claim to practice integrative medicine. I was still surprised to see that they have a 9-page chapter in which they support the use of intravenous and oral chelation therapy. And yet they also at times recommend bypass surgery and angioplasty. I was not surprised that neither surgery nor chelation made it onto their "four pillars" list. Yet, for these authors, integrative medicine seems to mean that "anything goes."
Throughout the book the authors rely heavily on their own clinical experience in treating heart patients. They discuss success stories with patients who had even very severe problems. The authors are refreshingly optimistic that even severely afflicted heart patients can achieve symptom relief and a fairly normal life. That is certainly one of the valuable messages of this book.
This book provides a lot of interesting information about a whole lot of methods for diagnosing and treating heart disease. Notwithstanding the usefulness of the "four pillars," the book is weak in describing a plan of action for you. Too much emphasis is placed on over-the-counter supplements. We know heart disease is treatable, but there is no magic bullet treatment. Give yourself the best chance by also incorporating ALL of the other "pillars" into your prevention or treatment program.
on July 3, 2009
I have read over a half dozen books on heart disease and this is one of my favorites. Included is references to the current theories related to the cause of heart disease and treatment plans. You will find most of the information available in most books in this book.
However, if you want a broad input of infomation on dealing with heart disease, particularly in a holistic dietary manner other than supplements, any of Joel Fuhrman's books, will give you a little more insight and offer contrasting views related to reversing heart disease through a change in diet. Also, I think another book of great value is 'Track Your Plaque'. In in he suggests lipid tests to target and treat where your problem may be, and a CT scan to easily, accurately, and non-invasively quantify heart disease. Most people are developing heart disease and don't even know it as symptoms don't usually occur until you have a 70% blockage of plaque in your arteries. The CT scan uses the calcium deposits as an accurate indicator of the build up of plaque in your arteries.,
From reading several books, it seems to me that not giving your body what it evolved to have which is unprocessed, unrefined, whole foods is the main cause of heart disease. Processed carbohydrates, sugar, and high levels of saturated/hydrogenated/animal fat are main contributers. Also, it doesn't take a great leap in logic to realize that dairy which is high in both sugars and fat, is probably a main contributer to heart disease. After all, it is fat and calcium that is in plaque and dairy provides both. Also, one old timer told me how he would temporarily repair a flat tire by putting milk in it to stop up the hole. Stopping up arteries may also be part of what dairly does.
Personally, I think most of the authors are missing a major contributer to heart disease when do not give 'stress' levels higher prominance in contributing to heart disease - and overlook how much it can contribute when it occurs in association with the accepted common building blocks of heart disease such as: obesity, refined excessive carbohydrates and sugar, excessive dairy, hydrogenated/saturated fats, excessive animal protein, and limited fresh vegetables, greens, fruits, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
In my view, any successful heart disease reversal plan should include stress reduction techniques such as exercise, regular sleep, yoga, meditation, etc, and perhaps, supplements aimed at reversing the effects of stress induced hormones, such as high cortisol levels, etc. And if you must have dairy, low fat fermented dairy which has most of the fat and sugars reduced (such as non-fat cheese and cottage cheese) is naturally preferred.
Not to be confused with the current #1 best-seller, "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" by Esselstyn, "Reverse Heart Disease Now" by Sinatra et. al. is also selling at a brisk pace as is "No More Heart Disease" by Ignarro. (Ornish's "Program for Reversing Heart Disease" is perhaps perceived as dated, but may be the best all-around, well-considered book of the bunch.) Of the aforementioned books, "Reverse Heart Disease Now" is the most informative, with much scientific-medical information that can quickly overwhelm the layman (though I suspect many readers leaf through the contents until arriving at "pill recommendations"). Sinatra represents the "new cardiology" which, he maintains, explains and demonstrates, goes beyond the old school that fixes on cholesterol and lipid panels at the expense of many other factors that contribute to heart disease. The problem is, most readers will find it difficult, perhaps virtually impossible, to locate practitioners of the new cardiologists who will prescribe many of the tests that Sinatra recommends in addition to lipid panels. As a result, while this book can be recommended, it certainly should not be the only book, perhaps not even the first book, for the layman to examine. Perhaps the best initial book is "The China Study" by Campbell.
Both Sinatra and Ignarro satisfy some readers' need for pill recommendations; Esselstyn instead offers an extreme vegan solution (even fish oil is excluded); Ornish offers, in addition to diet and supplements, advice about attitude and life-style changes. Still, after reading Sinatra's recommendations (prepare to become a full-time swallower), Esselstyn's food-based approach seems less extreme or radical than Sinatra's belief in the power of vitamins--lots of them. At the same time, Esselstyn's book is somewhat short on details and specifics, yielding much of the space to recipes. It did not adequately prepare me more the role of triclycerides and blood sugar counts with its near-exclusive emphasis on 150 dl or less cholesterol counts. (True, following a complex carbohydrate diet, as recommended, should in itself address the sugar count problem, but some would could consider it a sufficiently important issue to merit fuller attention, perhaps a chapter in itself.)
Here's the supplement cocktail constituting the "essence" of Sinatra's recommendations: 1. CoQ10 (the marquee player, but 200 mg. required for therapeutic cases); 2. Magnesium (no less than 400 mg); 3. D-Ribose (10 grams), 4. L-Carnitine: (1 gram). Ignarro's required regimen, you will notice, is somewhat different: 1. L-Arginine (the quintessential supplement, no less than 4 grams daily); 2. L-Citrulline (necessary to activate the beneficial activity of arginine, no less than 200 mg per day); 3. Vitamin C (500 mg); 4. Vitamin E (200 IU); 5. Folic Acid (400 mcg); 6. Alpha lipoic acid (10 mg). Both authors recommend numerous other supplements, frequently overlapping with one another, but the aforementioned two combinations are their respective "essential" therapy kits along with fat restriction, exercise, etc.
Some of these recommendations are not only for products intended for healthy athletes but for doses 20-40 times greater than the doses recommended by the manufacturer (L-Ribose). There's also the assumption, clearly not espoused by the manufacturers, that these amounts are no problem for compromised hearts and won't interact problematically with prescribed medications. Readers who follow the recommendations to the letter will require courage, commitment and faith.
And money. Sinatra breaks down the costs of his recommended program--for those who are sufficiently well-heeled, several hundred monthly; for comparative paupers, a blue-plate special of minimal medications that'll set you back a mere hundred per month. The author acknowledges (but that's about all) the difficulty of swallowing (very literally) all of his advice, but it's somewhat distressing that there's so little literature about the drain on the system that is experienced by some people who commit to these megadose regimens, telling themselves they must be feeling better while there tired bodies are meanwhile screaming out for relief from the constant onslaught of non-nutrient substances.
I know several doctors who characterize these books, and most of the genre, as primarily about making money. Perhaps they're envious about not writing their own book (along with a mail-order vitamin business), but I also know that medical students are frequently taught, contrary to the recommendations here, that augmentation of a substance that is part of the body's own make-up is often as misguided as some traditional Asian medicinal practices that recommend eating the gonads of a tiger as a cure for impotency. The benefits of CoQ10, for example, can be severely compromised if not nullified if the ingestion of the substance is insufficient to penetrate the "cellular membrane" present at the level of the mitochondria where the body manufactures and stores it.
I frankly am inclined to take seriously many of these books' recommendations, since the authors are highly qualified as physician-scientists not to mention experienced in actual practice with cardiac patients. But readers considering purchase of the books, especially some who have difficulty with side-effects from even non-prescription products--or with the swallowing and digestion of numerous supplements and vitamin products--should know what to expect. Moreover, there are other books (e.g. Dr. Esselstyne's) that promise the same results without the pills but with a commitment to a vegan diet--which for some may suddenly appear less stringent than originally thought.
on January 1, 2010
I had a mild heart attack in 1993 and had to remain firm in not undergoing the typical invasive techniques that cardiologists at the time recommended. Too many people with mild heart attacks got bi-pass surgery or stents that almost always are limited in effectiveness and by their very nature cause problems. My father died of heart disease at 54 years of age so I did take my heart attack very seriously. I balked at first at taking medication but have been faithful to the usual drugs that are prescribed since that attack. I was also a firm adherent to the radical no meat, no fish, no oil, no seeds, no nuts diet that Dr Ornish prescribed at the time. I see that he is not as much of an enemy towards fats in general now, but only 'bad' fats. I felt very healthy with this original diet but any lowering of cholesterol was temporary. After three years, I dropped this diet, mostly because it was so difficult to follow it when going out to eat and it really limited my food choices. And it did not work in lowering my cholesterol which was my hope in following it.
I did do a lot of reading about heart disease over the years and added many supplements that had claims to be effective against heart disease. Now 17 years later, my cholesterol is usually around 160 (It used to be between 220 and 300) and I don't have any of the symptoms that indicate advancing heart disease. My doctor is great! At first he was upset with me not going the usual route, but 10 years after, said - "George, you were right." There are studies now that show non-invasive techniques are just as effective as the surgeries that happen. The non-invasive techniques all depend on medications, supplements, exercise, diet, and stress reduction. And they don't cause the problems that surgeries many times do.
Now comes this wonderful book that has all of the information in one place that I had to seek out in so many sources. I was happy to discover that I am already taking most of the supplements that are recommended in the lists on pages 208 and 209, but I now have better information on dosage and the reasons why they are effective. Since heart disease is a progressive one, my current techniques will always need changing and tweaking. This book is a great resource for me and I expect it will remain so for many years.
I do want to mention that from my point of view, there are so many books that advise us adequately about diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, and surgery but not too many out there focusing on supplements in so helpful a way.
Also, my decision to forgo invasive techniques was based on the fact that my heart attack was a mild one. Like the authors, I do feel that I would use surgery if my circumstances changed and my disease demanded a more radical approach. But believe me, I have heard so many stories of people getting surgery with symptoms that could have just as easily been handled by medication and other non-invasive techniques. I'm a big believer in traditional medications and non-traditional supplements. This has worked so well for me that I plan on reading and re-reading each chapter and seeing how I could modify my current approach to my disease with the help of this book. I feel that what I am now doing is reinforced by the information presented. Great job guys!
on May 27, 2009
I'm 46 years old, I'm 35 pounds over weight, rarely excercise and don't drink & don't smoke. However, I like cheesy, fatty, & fried foods. I'm a pretty typical middle aged American man. That being said, my wife is constantly on me about my health. She is in great shape, excercises & eats right. I didn't tell her, but I started having tightness in my chest. So, I bought a couple books. This one made the most sense. I've read it twice and I learn a little more each time.
Other reviewers complained that the vitamin program was too extensive. However, from the information, I put together a simple version of the vitamin plan that I felt was appropriate for me. The tightness in my chest is gone, my blood pressure is down, and I feel good enough that I've now been able to work on my lifestyle.
A little more activity each week, fewer fatty foods, and more vegetables. Feeling good from the vitamin supplement program first, gave me the motivation to work on my other problem habits. Not a drastic change, but steps in the right direction. I've now lost 14 pounds & feeling better every day. I keep up the supplement program because if I'm off for more than 4 days, I start to feel it in my chest.
I highly recommend this book. In fact I've bought 3 more & given them to friends and family that I knew could benefit. It worked for me.
on November 16, 2007
I was recently diagnosed at the age of 41 with congestive heart failure. It came on fast, and I was not prepared for it. I have been researching on the internet the procedures, drugs, and supplements that might be effective in treating my condition, but the information is all over the place and difficult to bring together. In "Reverse Heart Disease Now", there is a lot of information on suppplements as well as conventional therapy, with excellent suggestions on dosages and what benefits might be expected. I read the book all of the way through and gained a better understanding of my own condition. In these days of fast and prepared food, stress, polution, etc. having this knowledge is a must even if there are no symptoms. I wish that I had come across this book 5 years earlier!
on November 10, 2008
Having been on his program for 3 months I have normal numbers! I had been told that there was nothing more that they could do. I had 4 heart attacks with bypass surgery and stents put in to save my life. I went from an A1C of 12 down to 7.1 in three months with strick diet and many many supplements but it's working.I had been taking every diabetic pill and insulin known to man to no avail. My heart related tests are normal after being over by hundreds. They gave great advise you have to be in charge of your own health what works and doesn't. I am thankful and highly recommend the book.