Preventing Heart Disease Naturally

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 03/28/2014

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in this country, and for many people a heart attack is the first symptom of the disease. The good news is you can absolutely prevent heart disease, even if you’re at high risk—and you don’t need powerful prescription drugs or surgery for cardiovascular disease prevention.

Preventing Heart Disease Naturally

  1. If You Have High Cholesterol: Get regular physical exercise, which helps to raise your protective HDL cholesterol, preventing heart disease. A half-hour four or five days a week is ideal. I also recommend high doses of niacin (vitamin B3), which has been shown to both decrease LDL and increase HDL levels.

    I usually start patients with 500 mg twice a day, and work up to a total of 1,500–2,000 mg a day. Talk to your doctor before taking daily doses higher than 1,000–1,500 mg—high-dose niacin can impact blood sugar control, and shouldn’t be used by people with liver disease.

  2. Eat a Low-Fat Diet: Numerous studies have shown that a low-fat diet can not only help in preventing heart disease, but can also help reverse it. I recommend a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains—as well as skinless chicken and fish. Avoid overly processed foods, red meat, refined sugars, margarine and excess salt. 

  3. Keep Your Homocysteine in Check: High homocysteine is a primary contributor to heart disease. It can easily be brought down with a multinutrient containing adequate amounts of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Food does not deliver these nutrients in amounts necessary to lower homocysteine— you must take these B-complex vitamins in supplement form for cardiovascular disease prevention. In addition to B vitamins, you can also add trimethylglycine (TMG) to your supplement regimen. The recommended dose is 1,000 mg daily. Check for it in your local health-food store.

  4. Avoid Vitamin C Deficiencies: The late Dr. Linus Pauling discovered a link between vitamin C deficiency and heart disease. I suggest building up to a daily intake of 3,000 to 6,000 mg, divided into two or three doses for preventing heart disease.

  5. Protect Your Arteries from Free Radical Damage: Vitamin E helps protect your arteries from free radical damage—including free radicals from cholesterol particles. To significantly reduce your risk of heart attack, I recommend taking 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E daily. 

  6. Reduce Stress on Your Heart: Magnesium has many functions, one of the most important being that it relaxes the muscles of the artery walls and reduces stress on the myocardium, or heart muscle. To prevent a magnesium deficiency, you need 800 mg to 1,000 mg per day. 

Now it’s your turn: Do you have a secret for keeping your heart healthy and preventing heart disease?

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