Plus, my 8-step plan to keep your heart healthy without drugs
I have a long-standing conviction that cardiology is one of the worst and least scientific medical specialties out there—all while trying to treat the number one cause of disease and death, especially as you get older. As a result, it’s ultimately the most dangerous.
After all, cardiologists still insist on pushing deadly statin drugs. And, as I wrote in the June issue of Insiders’ Cures, new research shows that only a paltry 7.9 percent of cardiologists’ recommendations are supported by data from multiple randomized, controlled clinical trials, which are mostly subsidized by your tax dollars.
This is particularly apparent when it comes to how cardiologists tackle high blood pressure.
You may recall that high blood pressure—not cholesterol—is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. And the real science endorses natural and nutritional approaches for preventing and reversing both high blood pressure and heart disease—through supporting the cardiac muscle, reducing inflammation, and stimulating healthy arteries and blood circulation.
Yet none of these scientific findings are included in the crony-corporatist cardiology recommendations. Instead, cardiologists persistently prescribe blood-pressure drugs—and disregard sensible lifestyle modifications, botanical and nutritional remedies, and natural approaches.
These drugs have dangerous side effects, and they may not even work for the people who need them most.
Through the years, it’s been revealed that the costly clinical trials designed to push new heart drugs onto the market are performed on carefully selected younger adults. Meaning these studies typically don’t include data about how or if such medications would work for older patients—you know, the people with heart disease who actually need safe and effective treatment options!
Why I’m rethinking my blood pressure drug recommendations
These faulty studies are the reason why I’ve advised taking older, generic blood pressure medications in the past, as needed, to keep your blood pressure normal and under control. (Though, recent research reveals different definitions of “normal” for older adults, as I’ll discuss in a moment.)
These drugs have been around for many years, so we have a good understanding of their safety and side effects through “post-marketing surveillance.” Plus, they’re affordable.
But some new developments have made me reconsider that stance…
I’ve recently been barraged by letters warning doctors that popular blood pressure medications, like generic Losartan and related angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), are contaminated with carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer). Pharmacists in three different states have attempted to reassure us of their safety, but my own personal physician of 30 years says he no longer knows what to think about these drugs.
Which leads me to this question: By taking any blood pressure drug—even a supposedly “safe” generic one—are you trading one deadly condition (high blood pressure) for another (cancer)?
Plus, the drugs that do work carry terrible side effects. New research even shows they increase the risk of chronic lung diseases—which isn’t surprising when you know how they work. For instance, ACE inhibitors like Lisinopril can cause a chronic dry cough. And recent research shows they may be contributing to the epidemic of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Other generic blood pressure drugs can cause dizziness and an upset stomach, just to name a few potential hazards.
Not to mention, post-marketing surveillance of drug safety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Even supposed “tried-and-true” generic drugs have side effects. Meanwhile, naturopathic physicians (now licensed in many states) don’t use any drugs, yet still manage to help thousands of patients with high blood pressure and heart disease.
My personal experience with blood pressure readings
Along with making healthy lifestyle choices, I had personally been managing my own blood pressure with Losartan—before all of the non-stop cancer warnings. But in light of these new concerns, I felt more comfortable discontinuing all blood pressure drugs. So, I began continually taking my blood pressure readings at home.
For three weeks, my “in-house” blood pressure readings remained “normal” for my age, at around 130/90. Which made me wonder why they’re always higher in the doctor’s office…
But then I realized that I’m usually not able to sit and rest for the recommended 15 minutes before any blood pressure reading is taken.
And for many years, I’ve been gearing up for disagreements with nurses and doctors about cholesterol measurements, flu shots, and assorted nonsense. (You may know it as “white coat syndrome”—the stress and hassle of visiting the doctor’s office, which can raise anyone’s blood pressure.)
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, there’s the ridiculous insistence by cardiologists that everyone must achieve an artificially “normal” (for a 20-year-old) blood pressure reading of 120 systolic over 80 diastolic. But this arbitrary number actually becomes somewhat less relevant as we age.
We shouldn’t be treated like 20-year-olds
I conducted original research on blood pressure as a medical and graduate student in the late 1970s (and received the annual student research award from the American Heart Association [AHA] for my work). So I’m well aware that there are many years of observational data showing that blood pressure increases with age.
During the mid-20th century, this was called the “asymptomatic rate of rise”—and “normal” blood pressure (at least statistically speaking) was considered to be 100 plus your age. So at age 20, you started out with 120 (systolic). By age 70, that number could “normally” rise up to 170.
These kinds of increases in blood pressure were labeled “asymptomatic” because they didn’t appear to cause any health problems. (Although people with systolic blood pressure in the 200s were always considered to need medical attention.)
But then big pharma began inventing expensive blood pressure drugs. And suddenly cardiologists wanted everyone to continue to have readings at 120—like a 20-year-old! Soon, there was an ever-increasing population taking blood pressure drugs. And the goal became clear: Keep blood pressures as low as possible as people got older.
However, as I’ve reported before, newer studies are showing that higher blood pressure readings of 130 or 140 in older adults are actually associated with lower rates of dementia, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.
In fact, researchers are discovering that slightly higher blood pressure helps older people’s circulatory systems to deliver more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the tissues—which, of course, helps prevent and treat disease.
Plus, several studies show how doctors fail to reduce patients’ blood pressure medication doses, or stop prescribing the drugs altogether, as they get older and require less blood pressure treatments. (The same goes for diabetes drugs for high blood sugar.) Which means a lot of older adults continue taking these prescription medications for no reason at all—all while big pharma continues racking in the dough.
Science shows you can lower blood pressure without dangerous drugs
All of this new evidence, and continual warnings, leads me to believe that the safest choice is to avoid every type of blood pressure drug, including the older, generic ones. But, of course, that doesn’t mean letting your blood pressure soar out of control as a result.
Now that I’m off my prescription meds, here’s what I do to keep my blood pressure at healthy levels—based on the latest science…
Eat like you’re from the Mediterranean. Of course, diet is fundamental for good health. But when it comes to blood pressure management, there’s all kinds of confusing nonsense about sodium and nutrients.
All you really need to do is this: Follow a balanced diet. The Mediterranean-style diet is the healthiest on the planet, particularly for heart health and blood pressure management.
This diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, beans (legumes), grass-fed and free-range meat, wild-caught fish, and full-fat, organic dairy (such as butter, eggs, cheese, and yogurt) at every meal. And don’t forget the olives and olive oil!
Add some beets. While they’re not a staple of Mediterranean diets, beets have many health benefits—especially for the heart.
One interesting new study of men and women ages 18 to 30 and 50 to 70 demonstrated that drinking 150 milliliters (mL) a day of beetroot juice significantly reduced diastolic blood pressure in the older group of people.1
Supplement with fish oil and omega-3s. Although fish are part of the Mediterranean diet, it’s difficult to get optimal amounts of fish oil’s heart-healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids unless you eat seafood every day. And, sadly, most Americans don’t eat any fish at all.
That’s why I recommend supplementing with high-quality fish oil daily, depending on your seafood intake.
If you eat fatty fish or seafood almost every day (about three to five times per week), I recommend supplementing with 1 to 3 grams of fish oil daily. If you eat it two to three times per week, then I recommend 4 to 5 grams of fish oil daily. But if you don’t eat any fatty fish or seafood at all, then start supplementing with 6 grams daily.
For my own personal recommendations on high-quality fish oil, head over to my website and browse the “Shop” tab: www.DrMicozzi.com.
Spice up your life with garlic. A variety of studies show that garlic lowers high blood pressure by a significant percentage. In fact, a recent study of 88 people with hypertension showed that taking 1.2 grams of aged garlic extract daily for 12 weeks lowered both systolic (9.6 to 13.4 mmHg) and diastolic (5.2 to 7.4 mmHg) blood pressure readings.2
Lucky for you, there’s plenty of fresh garlic in the Mediterranean diet to get these optimal effects. So don’t hold back when you’re cooking!
Go cuckoo for CoQ10. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another supplement that’s key for heart health—particularly if you take statins. Statin drugs actually deplete your body’s stores of CoQ10 and poison its mitochondrial energy factories.
I usually recommend 200 mg of CoQ10 daily. But a meta-analysis of 12 different clinical trials showed that just 60 to 100 mg per day reduces blood pressure by 17 points. That alone can make the difference between your doctor needing to prescribe a drug or not.
Try hawthorn supplements. This herb has been a European folk remedy for heart health for nearly 2,000 years. Hawthorn’s antioxidant flavonoids are thought to dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow, which helps lower blood pressure.
One study of people with diabetes and hypertension showed that taking 1200 mg of hawthorn daily for 40 weeks significantly lowered diastolic blood pressure.4
Get moderate exercise weekly. You don’t have to sweat or breathe hard to lower your blood pressure. In fact, getting up and walking around for five minutes each hour can add up to 40 minutes of activity over the course of the typical eight-hour workday.
You can also significantly improve your blood pressure by swimming, gardening, or even doing housework. I recommend around 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. Studies show your moderate exercise should add up to a total of about 140 minutes per week—meaning you actually don’t need to exercise every day to get benefits.
Meditate. Even the AHA, which seems to have never met a blood pressure drug it didn’t like, has released a statement saying that meditation is effective for lowering blood pressure. Among other things, meditation reduces levels of the stress hormone adrenalin that causes blood pressure to rise.5
To learn more about meditation and how to fit it into your busy life, check out my book with Don McCown, New World Mindfulness. Head over to my website (www.DrMicozzi.com) and browse the “Books” tab to order a copy today!
And for more detailed, step-by-step instructions on the above recommendations—as well as even more drug-free, science-based recommendations for preventing and reversing heart disease—check out my Heart Attack Prevention & Repair Protocol.
To learn more, or to enroll today, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3VA00.