Heart Health

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Dr. Weil's Heart Health

dr weil yoga ART

Millions of people have learned to take better care of their hearts from Dr. Weil. How does he care for his own?

It's my understanding that you have some genetic susceptibility when it comes to heart disease, is that right?
Yes, my father had a mild first heart attack in the fall of 1961, when he was 49 years old. Later on, he had two coronary bypass operations, and was able to live until he was 81. My father was a smoker and his diet was not at all good by my standards, but I think there was a genetic propensity, because my grandfather on that side had died of a heart attack at age 50. Also, his wife - my grandmother - had coronary artery disease and angina.

So you have had this knowledge all your life.
I have. And personally, early in life, I had a benign arrhythmia - technically, it's called paroxysmal superventricular tachycardia. It's brief episodes of rapid heartbeat. There are natural ways to mitigate that condition and I almost never get those anymore, but it made me somewhat anxious about my heart health. Also, I had a tendency toward high blood pressure. One of my motivations for becoming a vegetarian, exercising daily and adopting a healthy lifestyle was I knew my family history and I saw the potential for problems. As you know, I eat fish now, but other than that am still basically vegetarian.

Do you believe that coronary artery disease is mainly an inflammatory condition?
I think it is a mulitfactorial condition, but yes, the root cause is chronic inflammation, which is one reason I so strongly emphasis the anti-inflammatory diet. The other risk factors, such as high blood fats and high cholesterol, follow from that.

On this Web site, there is specific advice for helping to prevent or lessen coronary artery disease, so rather than repeat that, let's talk about some laboratory tests that can serve to provide early warning for coronary concerns.

What about homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood, it's a byproduct of protein metabolism. High levels are an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease. It's easy to get the levels down through supplementing with folic acid and vitamin B6. I think it's worth getting tested for.

And how about C-reactive protein?
This is an indicator of inflammation. Blood level of C-reactive protein is not as specific an indicator as we would like it to be for coronary artery disease, but I think it makes sense to get tested for it, particularly if you are at high risk. It can be brought under control with an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle, and also with low-dose aspirin and statin drugs.

You swim daily and practice stress reduction. Aside from that, what's your personal supplement and medication regimen for heart health?
I have genetically low HDL cholesterol. There are really no reliable pharmaceutical methods for raising that. Given that, my physician and I thought it would be better to bring my LDL lower. I used Cholestin [a proprietary supplement] when it was still made from red rice yeast, and had excellent results, but it was ordered off the market after pressure was put on the FDA, so I have been on the lowest dose of Lipitor, 10 milligrams, for 2 or 3 years. I have had no ill effects from it. I also take coenzyme Q10 as general protection against oxidative stress and to offset the side effects of the statin, and I take two low-dose aspirins per day. I also take two grams of fish oil per day, and I eat fish two or three times per week.

And I assume you get regular checkups?
I do, including a cardiogram and a lipid profile. I'm happy to say, it all looks very good.

By Brad Lemley, News

Read more articles and information on heart health.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here