There are many health care professionals, today, that still focus on treating disease once it is diagnosed. They're still not getting the big picture and miss 90% of silent disease. While early detection is key, prevention is equally important in guaranteeing a longer, healthier life. By focusing on preventive treatment, my patients don't experience unexpected illnesses or surprise deaths.
Preventing Heart Attack and Stroke
We can now conclusively predict who is most likely to become the victim of a stroke or heart attack, even though the majority of patients who die of a sudden heart attack have few or no symptoms. For example, a major study of 28,000 women at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital provided conclusive evidence that painless inflammation of heart and blood vessels is a major trigger of heart attacks - even more so than high cholesterol. Women with high levels of inflammation are twice as likely as those with high cholesterol to die from heart attacks and strokes.
The collective condition known as "cardiovascular disease" refers to disorders of the heart as well as the vascular system. Below are signs and symptoms that you want to be on the lookout for; and if they occur, talk to your doctor immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack
Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
A C-reactive protein blood test is one of the simplest ways to identify chronic inflammation that may be smoldering in your body. Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) is another useful technique for identifying heart disease.
The key to prolonging good heart health (and overall health) and continuing to lead a vibrant and active life is the ability to identify the aging parts of your body that may already be experiencing the ravages of silent disease.
Your Waistline Predicts Your Heart Health
You can never start a cardiovascular program soon enough. In assessing your heart attack risk, simply look at the notches on your belt. An increasing waistline is a reliable risk indicator of heart disease.
Potential heart disease patients may benefit from preventive hormone therapy, especially testosterone therapy (in men). Testosterone and other hormones strengthen the heart muscle, which will aid in heart contraction and improve the heart's pumping ability. DHEA may help protect against atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Contact our office for an appointment to discuss further hormone therapies.
Natural Supplements For a Younger Heart
Dietary Modifications For a Healthy Heart
By following a healthy lifestyle including exercise and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains, and plenty of low-fat protein (including eggs, which are a perfect protein source rich in amino acids), you may lose excess weight that can contribute to heart disease and stroke. You also need to eat foods that are low in sodium, which will naturally reduce internal swelling and water retention. For more information on my Braverman Protocol and Rainbow Diet, you can read my book, The Amazing Way to Reverse Heart Disease Naturally. But a yearly exam that includes early detection tests is a must.
At PATH Medical, we can help you with all of your health, dietary, and supplemental needs.
The anxiety pendulum - as your brain experiences larger and more frequent swings, whether it's from aging, stress, drug or alcohol abuse, or just burned-out GABA, you have engaged in the GABA deficiency. Beyond cortisol release, a GABA loss directly affects all body systems including heart, the immune system, sexual functioning, as well as the bones, muscles, and skin.
Typical symptoms of low levels of GABA include:
Choose a variety of foods that contain GABA nutrients that are high in Vitamin B. The following list contains foods that are high in glutamine, the amino acid that is a precursor to GABA. Bananas, broccoli, and brown rice are all packed with inositol, another B-complex vitamin that boosts GABA production.
For more help and information, contact my office at PATH Medical for a full check-up. We treat the body as a whole - checking every organ system. We all know that our entire body, from the top of our head to the soles of our feet, are intricately interconnected. Our internal organs do not function independently.
The Easiest Way to Become a Younger, Healthier, Thinner You
Sleep's Effect on Hunger
Have you ever had a restless night's sleep and felt famished in the morning? The cause of your hunger is actually too little sleep. Most of us have a sleep deficit (getting less than 7 hours per night or less than 49 hours per week). The result from being overtired is that your body and your brain are primed to make bad decisions.
When you wake up starving, you might reach for something easy and quick to eat, such as a breakfast of cereal, toast, or a bagel to provide an energy burst as well as satisfy your hunger. But literally feeding your energy needs this way will only slow you down. Your body will turn these directly into body fat. The next carb-heavy meal will do the same thing, and eventually you will train your body to store all carbs and never burn them. This leaves you more tired and ultimately heavier.
Sleep's Effect on Ghrelin and Leptin:
Poor sleep can also affect your internal chemistry. Sleep directly influences two key hormones that regulate satiety and hunger: ghrelin and leptin. Elevated levels of ghrelin increase feelings of hunger, while leptin acts to suppress appetite. Interestingly, serotonin is vital to regulating the brain's response to both of these hormones. When you suffer from sleep deprivation (or a sleep deficit), your body's levels of leptin and ghrelin fall, creating that "hungry but never satisfied" feeling.
To help balance your serotonin levels and regain your health, try my Younger (Thinner) You Diet. It's not necessarily a low-carb diet, but it does require you to choose more complex carbs that provide nutrition as well as the building blocks of serotonin. These carbs are slower to digest, so you feel full longer, and the body has more time to use them as fuel. That way, you're burning more and storing less. You are retraining your body, which will facilitate weight loss. And with more serotonin, you'll also get more sleep.
For more help, you can contact us to make an appointment or schedule a phone consultation.
Part 4 of the Series: Aging and the "Pauses of Life"
Cardiopause - a decline in pumping power, valves and blood flow
Vasculopause - a decline in blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body
Let’s look at the connection between your heart and your brain’s own age accelerators. Basically, when the brain breaks, the heart breaks. Now you have a broken heart and a broken brain. A lack of the following neurotransmitters can put you at risk for cardiopause:
Dopamine: A lack of this neurotransmitter may lead to obesity, which accelerates all forms of heart disease because it causes your blood vessels to become clogged with fat. Addictions (food, alcohol, smoking, cocaine, etc.) can all accelerate heart disease.
Acetylcholine: A lack of this can cause your brain and mind to deteriorate and heart disease can accelerate as a result.
GABA: A GABA deficiency typically begins as a loss of calm and a simultaneous increase in blood pressure. Anxiety and stress are well-known causes of heart disease.
Serotonin: A lack of this brain chemical may lead to depression, which often disrupts sleep patterns. Too little or too much sleep might increase your risk of developing heart disease. What’s more, coronary artery disease is often associated with depression.
When Vasculopause Strikes – vasculopause usually begins around age 50. It is the second limb of heart disease and is equally as important to detect and reverse as cardiopause. It refers to changes in your blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. The vascular system carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart through blood vessels, arteries, and tiny capillaries into the tissues, and back to the heart through your veins.
These are likely scenarios of vasculopause:
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is painless, symptomless, and often unexpected. It affects the middle-aged and elderly who are obese or heavy drinkers. It also affects women who are currently taking oral contraceptives or using recreational drugs.
Pain and emotional distress are certainly age accelerators leading to high blood pressure, and GABA deficiencies leading to pain and anxiety contribute to high blood pressure. If you can boost your GABA, you’ll watch your blood pressure drop.
Cardiopause and Vasculopause can be Reversed:
I have witnessed long-term improvement in patients - in some cases almost full reversals that last for years. These results are possible because we look at heart failure as a systemic issue. In other words, we treat the whole person, not just the pumping condition of the heart (although that’s obviously a key element of our program). This treatment includes making healthy lifestyle changes as well as introducing nutrients and supplements, bio-identical hormones, and medications if necessary that are designed to improve the heart’s and vascular system’s functions and prevent future problems without negative side effects.
My Rainbow Diet is a good place to start as a nutritional approach to controlling high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s an eating plan that is based on incorporating the seven major colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet – into the foods you eat. Fruits and vegetables of all colors are packed with disease-fighting nutrients.
We at PATH Medical can teach you how to use these nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as the addition of lean protein (especially fish), fiber-rich whole grains, legumes, healthy fats and oils, and lots of spices and herbs, to help you achieve your optimal weight, and to improve your blood pressure, cholesterol, and your overall cardiovascular health.
HEALTHY AGING HAPPENS when we can increase our brain functioning, which controls the health of the rest of the entire body.The most common ailments, including arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, loss of skin tone, and even back pain, are all age-related conditions that are affected by an increasingly aging brain.
Yet the brain can be taught to break the aging code and actually resurrect an aging body. By balancing the brain with nutrient supplements, proper diet, natural hormones, medications, and lifestyle changes, I help my patients delay the progression of many of these diseases so that their life can return to a more normal, age-appropriate state. It's a simple remedy: to restore your health, restore your brain chemistry. And the earlier you start, the better your chances of postponing or completely avoiding the ravages of the aging process.
There are plenty of things you can start today on your own: incorporate important vitamins and minerals into your diet, take supplements that your body needs that it may no longer be producing or getting from a typical diet, and adopt a Rainbow Diet. My diet is easy to remember: by eating meals that reflect the colors of the rainbow, you are guaranteeing that you are getting high doses of vitamin-rich foods. What's more, a diet that is high in colorful fruits and vegetables has been shown to provide many benefits to your overall health.
Try this colorful salad with fruits and vegetables that are abundant during the winter months. It's a Vitamin C, A, and Antioxidant-rich salad with the addition of healthy fats.
For further help, you can make an appointment or schedule a phone consultation, so that we can further assist you on your PATH to health and a Younger YOU.
Indian dishes are loaded with spices. There are so many spices in the Garam Masala that will enhance and boost all of your brain chemicals, and they will also effectively boost/rev your metabolism. The chicken is an excellent source of protein that will also enhance all of your brain chemicals. The yogurt is high in both calcium and protein, which together are known to raise metabolic rate and improve digestion and bowel health. It also supports your immune system, reduces overall inflammation, and lowers your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. That's why I consider this dish to be a Younger (Thinner) You superfood.
Study after study shows the benefits of spices. For example, the cinnamon (one ingredient of the garam masala), has tremendous blood sugar benefits.
Ginger can help to improve blood circulation and digestion, as well as lowering blood pressure.
Coriander alleviates indigestion, lowers serum cholesterol, increases HDL cholesterol levels, lowers LDL cholesterol levels, and facilitates the removal of aluminum, lead, and mercury from the body.
Cumin can lower elevated blood sugar, lower cholesterol and elevated triglycerides, and alleviate intestinal cramps.
Cloves may suppress some forms of bacteria, improve digestion, and alleviate pain.
Fennel can alleviate diarrhea and indigestion, improve kidney function, improve liver function, and improve brain metabolism.
Mustard seed may increase metabolism, alleviate bronchitis, and alleviate the common cold.
All of the spices in this recipe have potential health benefits and are brain chemical augmenters. Keep leftover Garam Masala in a container with a tight-fitting lid and use it to spice up any poultry, fish, or meat dish.
Along with spices, herbs, teas, water, yogurt, balanced foods, fiber-filled foods, colorful fruits and vegetables, it's important to include carefully chosen proteins on my Younger (Thinner) You Diet. Although chicken can be eaten every day, it can get boring looking at the same boneless, skinless chicken breast every night.
Wild-caught fish, on the other hand, offers a low-fat, healthy variety of choices that can be consumed on a regular basis. Fish oils can reduce your risk of heart disease, help prevent osteoporosis, and is considered the number one anti-inflammatory protein. On this diet, you can choose one fish meal per day.
This complete Younger (Thinner) You powerhouse meal supports all of your brain chemistry. Mackerel not only increases acetylcholine and serotonin, it can also help you beat a blue mood. Peas are dopamine and GABA precursors, and lemon supports GABA and dopamine. Each serving has 290 calories.
Other ways to prepare fish is to simply bake, broil, or steam it with a touch of olive oil and three of your favorite spices to create your own recipes. Fish (especially cold-water fish such as bluefish, cod, haddock, halibut, mackerel, salmon, sardines, snapper, and trout) are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two omega-3 fats that have been singled out for their powerful heart- and brain-protective properties.
Be sure to avoid all fried, salted and pickled fish, or fish packed in oil. Eat bass, tuna, swordfish, and shellfish infrequently as they contain high concentrations of pollutants such as heavy metals (particularly mercury) and PCBs.
circulation, and prevent and fight colds and viruses. Garlic reduces heart attack risk, improves blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, eliminates intestinal parasites, stimulates the immune system, and so much more.
Some herbs, such as basil, lemon balm, sage, and mint can help improve your brain speed as they stimulate acetylcholine receptors. So, go ahead and boost your brain speed and overall health. It's as simple as sprinkling herbs on every meal of the day.
Whatever your deficiencies may be, there’s one supplement that I highly recommend to become smarter. It’s the antioxidant resveratrol. This compound is naturally found in red wine and grape skins. Alcohol in general increases GABA levels, which make you feel more relaxed; and the consumption of red wine is linked to decreased heart disease.
Red wines also contain many polyphenols, which are the most abundant antioxidants in our food chain. They’re the ones responsible for giving fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors – specifically quercetin and catechins, which are linked to the prevention of heart attacks, cancer, and strokes.
Red wine is also a great source of the polyphenal resveratrol, which is considered to be in a class of polyphenols called sirtuin gene activators. These have been found to help directly repair genes and make them more resistant to change, thereby increasing human longevity by decreasing cellular death. These “super repair genes” are thought to slow down the aging process because they trick the body into a natural response similar to what occurs during calorie restriction.
When you restrict your calories, the body learns to modify its processes and becomes more efficient because it doesn’t have any resources to waste. A new chemical pathway called the sirtuin pathway is activated, which instructs the body to use less energy in all its functions. The result is that on the cellular level, the body produces less toxicity, and individual cells actually live longer.
Resveratrol is able to turn on the sirtuin pathway without calorie restriction, so that the brain and body can continue to operate at a rate that is best suited for optimal brain health (a vibrant brain needs more energy – not less). Better still, because they literally slow down aging, they reduce obesity and increase muscle mass; help protect the body from infection, inflammation, and cancer; and protect the heart and brain.
However, the amount of resveratrol found in red wine is relatively small. Because I can’t recommend more than two glasses, I would recommend a high quality resveratrol supplement (100 – 500 milligrams per day range) so that you have the benefits of red wine without the alcohol, or the calories.
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.