Dr. Pincott what are some of your easy tips for optimal heart health?
Dr. P: Naturopathic physicians have talked about healthy fats in their care programs for the last 30 years! When I was going to naturopathic medical school trans fats were still a fad, but we were telling our patients to avoid trans fats and stick with purified fish oils rich in omega 3’s essential fats DHA and EPA. These essential fats are not found in plants so taking flaxoil will not provide this in the quantities required for optimal heart health. Eating fish such as sardines, herring and salmon is recommended three times per week but I am concerned about the PCB’s, dioxins and mercury found in larger fish, hence the recommendation of purified fish oils. Other heart healthy fats include olive oil and coconut oil.
I want to prevent a stroke and not end up in a nursing home, how can I do this?
Dr. P: It is always best to measure your heart attack and stroke risk. One of the ways is with specialized testing such as Pla2 (plaque) testing or MPO inflammatory marker testing done at heart health labs in the United States. MSP does NOT pay for prevention so you will have to ask your MD or ND for these tests and you will have to pay for them. I use Atherotech in Alabama. By measuring these risk factors along with others such as the size of the cholesterols (HDL’s and LDL’s) as well as homocysteine and CRP, naturopathic physicians can provide an individualized program to help lower your risk.
Why can’t I just get my MD to measure cholesterol here in Canada?
Dr. P: The cholesterol testing routinely done is a calculation and not an actual measurement of your cholesterols and it is the sizes of your cholesterols that matter the most and how much inflammation they are causing in your arteries.
Do you recommend eating eggs?
Dr. P: Well the medical profession “used to think” that a low fat high carbohydrate diet was the way to prevent heart disease and stroke. What they are coming to know now is that a high carbohydrate diet touted in the 70’ and 80’s actually leads to insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome which is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. When the body metabolizes more carbohydrates than it needs they are stored as fat and may lead to inflammation and eventually diabetes. With the use of artificial sweeteners as well as a so-called healthy high –fiber, low fat diet our populations in developed countries including Canada, US, Japan and China, are seeing the incidence of diabetes at an all time high. By eating 12 free range farm fresh eggs per week, you are avoiding a high starch breakfast, getting one of the best absorbed forms of protein on the planet and a healthy dose of phosphatidylcholine, one of natures best brain foods.
I am 63 years old and I have just been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. I have heard Vancouver Island has a very high rate per capita of A. Fib. Why is this?
Dr. P: Well I don’t have an answer to this. What I do have are recommendations for optimal heart function to reduce the risk of stroke and further heart disease. First of all the so called blood thinners your doctor’s have you discontinue before any surgery, I recommend daily: ginkgo, mixed tocopherol vitamin E, fish oils and garlic. Our society is exposed to a lot of EMF electromagnetic frequencies that may affect the electrical activity of your heart, so get them out of the bedroom, and turn your WIFI off at night!
I have heart palpitations, will this lead to heart disease?
Dr. P: One of the most common causes of heart palpitations is a lack of magnesium. There are many other causes including anxiety and hormone imbalances. What I always encourage my patients to look at is what is missing in their lives that they love to do, and make sure they take time and get this “love” back into their lives. “Grounding” such as walking by the seashore, or in the trees, or in the mountains, provides a much needed rest from this world, make sure you get grounded three times per week!