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In this episode, you will learn about Integrative Cardiology.
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About My Guest
My guest for this episode is Dr. Jack Wolfson. Jack Wolfson, DO, FACC is a board-certified cardiologist and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He has emerged as one of the world’s leading holistic natural cardiologists and was a Natural Choice Award Winner in the Holistic MD category from Natural Awakenings Magazine. His ideas have been featured by NBC and CNN and covered in publications like USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. Prior to opening Wolfson Integrative Cardiology, Dr. Jack was Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Paradise Valley Hospital in Arizona. He was also a partner in Arizona’s largest cardiology practice. As a trusted leader in heart health and natural heart health, Dr. Jack has taught more than 10,000 physicians his natural heart health best practices. His book, The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health, was an Amazon #1 best seller. He is an in-demand lecturer about natural healthy living without Big Pharma pills and invasive procedures.
- Why is cholesterol not the cardiovascular risk factor once thought to be?
- How might one mitigate the impact of statin medications?
- How important is LDL particle size and LP(a)?
- What is the role of sugar in higher levels of cholesterol?
- Should salt be avoided?
- Is aspirin beneficial for minimizing heart attacks and strokes?
- Can supplemental calcium lead to systemic calcification?
- How might the Carnivore diet be helpful?
- Might reverse osmosis or distilled water be a healthy option?
- What is the role of food allergy in systemic inflammation?
- What are the primary causes of high blood pressure?
- Is POTS a cardiovascular problem or an autonomic nervous system problem?
- What is the role of nitric oxide in optimizing circulation?
- Does poor dentition contribute to cardiovascular issues?
- What infections or toxicants may contribute to heart issues?
- Can EMFs impact the electrical system of the heart?
- What are some tools that can be helpful in supporting optimal cardiovascular health?
Connect With My Guest
January 5, 2022
Transcript Disclaimer: Transcripts are intended to provide optimized access to information contained in the podcast. They are not a full replacement for the discussion. Timestamps are provided to facilitate finding portions of the conversation. Errors and omissions may be present as the transcript is not created by someone familiar with the topics being discussed. Please Contact Me with any corrections.
[00:00:01.22] Welcome to BetterHealthGuy Blogcasts, empowering your better health. And now, here's Scott, your Better Health Guy.
[00:00:14.09] The content of this show is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness or medical condition. Nothing in today's discussion is meant to serve as medical advice or as information to facilitate self-treatment. As always, please discuss any potential health-related decisions with your own personal medical authority.
[00:00:35.23] Scott: Hello everyone, and welcome to episode number 159 of the BetterHealthGuy Blogcasts series. Today's guest is Dr. Jack Wolfson, and the topic of the show is Integrative Cardiology. Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist and a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.
He has emerged as one of the world's leading holistic natural cardiologists and was a Natural Choice award winner in the Holistic MD category from Natural Awakenings magazine. His ideas have been featured by NBC and CNN and covered in publications like USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Prior to opening Wolfson Integrative Cardiology, Dr. Jack was Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Paradise Valley Hospital in Arizona. He was also a partner in Arizona's largest cardiology practice.
As a trusted leader in heart health and natural heart health, Dr. Jack has taught more than 10,000 physicians his Natural Heart Health best practices. His book, “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 bestseller. He is an in-demand lecturer about natural healthy living without big pharma pills and invasive procedures. Now, my interview with Dr. Jack Wolfson.
I had the great honor to be interviewed by Dr. Wolfson for his podcast, the Healthy Heart Show, and I'm even more honored to have him here today to talk about integrative cardiology. Thanks so much for being here, Dr. Wolfson.
[00:02:11.26] Dr. Wolfson: Thanks so much for having me on. Yes, we had a great episode interviewing you, and just picking your brain on kind of all these different things, certainly as it relates to overall health and wellness and really identifying all these different factors in our lives that impact that.
Of course, the whole conversation is different from mainstream medical, where it's all just about surgical approaches and pharmaceutical, band-aid attempts. Unfortunately, that's why so many, millions of people are sick.
[00:02:38.14] Scott: So that's a good segue into my first question, which is how did you personally shift from that conventional medical paradigm to a more integrated one? What was your personal experience that led you to going against the grain, so to speak?
[00:02:51.19] Dr. Wolfson: Well, I was three years into practice as a cardiologist, hospital-based cardiologist in the biggest group in the state of Arizona, and doing angiograms and pacemakers and seeing the sickest of the sick in the hospitals. Around that time, my father really was in kind of the middle of his illness that was similar to Parkinson's.
Eventually, we would take my father over to the Mayo Clinic, and they would diagnose him with something called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, something similar to Parkinson's. But Mayo said we have no idea what caused this, we have no treatment, and candidly, he'll be dead within three years. At that time, again, seeing what was going on with my father, he's dying in his early 60s, and the Mayo Clinic has no idea why, and I see sickness all around me in the hospitals.
Again, we really don't address the cause of that. I meet a woman, and this woman would tell me, hey, I'll tell you exactly why your father's sick and dying, again, the way he eats, the way he lives, environmental toxins, so on and so forth really just kind of outlining 10-15 different things that again, what was leading to my father's demise when the Mayo Clinic had none.
That woman is a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), as she says DC Doctor of Cause, and that opened up my eyes to really to the health and wellness paradigm, and she pulled me out of the medical matrix, if you will. Then fast forward years later, we are married, and we have four children and continuing to try and pull everybody else outside of the medical matrix as well.
[00:04:26.13] Scott: Wow, that's a definite pain to purpose story. So it's amazing that you're able to help so many people now based on your experience with your dad. We know that the average person today is not healthy, so where would you say cardiovascular health currently stands in terms of being a contributor to chronic illness, but also then as an ultimate cause of death?
[00:04:46.08] Dr. Wolfson: Well, cardiovascular disease is well recognized as the number one killer worldwide with cancer number two. Cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes and then everything else you can wrap into that, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, whatever else medical doctors want to give a label to it.
But again as people like yourself now, that it's all about what is causing the illness, and again the medical doctors can label somebody with something, but again, if we can kind of break down what the cause is.
But ultimately, we're trying to get to all these people that are suffering from heart attacks or cardiac death, or we're talking to people right now who may be listening, who lost a parent or a sibling or a child, even to cardiovascular disease. So what can we do to help these people? That's what we're really trying to go after.
[00:05:36.18] Scott: For so many years, there's been such a focus on lowering cholesterol as a way to improve cardiovascular health. Statins are probably the top prescribed medications. I personally tend to be more concerned when someone's cholesterol is low, rather than high, particularly given that the cholesterol is the building block for so many things like hormones that we really need.
So wondering what your thoughts are on cholesterol being such a focus in conventional medicine, and then rather than relying on drugs and medications, are there some things we should think about to maintain healthy lipid balance? What are some of your thoughts on the underlying root causes that maybe we need to explore in those with high cholesterol?
[00:06:16.10] Dr. Wolfson: Cholesterol is certainly a big one, you made that great point. I'm definitely more concerned when I see that really low cholesterol coming in, because that can be more challenging to try and help that particular person. But we want to really highlight just like you said, how important cholesterol is, why does the human body make it? Why do all animals on planet earth make cholesterol? Why does a chicken's egg contain cholesterol? Why does a mother's breast milk have cholesterol? I mean, that's just how, we need to fuel our bodies, give our body the nutrients that it needs and then ultimately like you said, hormones.
Vitamin D comes from cholesterol, so again cholesterol is coursing through the blood vessels of the skin, inside of particles such as LDL particles. The sunshine hits that turns it into vitamin D, and of course, vitamin D does hundreds if not thousands of different functions. Every cell in the body has vitamin D receptors. So as it pertains to our digestion, right? Our liver makes cholesterol, puts it into our gallbladder as bile, and then helps to emulsify fats so we can digest our food.
In fact, if we think about the brain of the cell, the cell membrane is the brain of the cell; it's not the nucleus, that's where genetic material resides. But the actual brain is the cell membrane, and that's all loaded with cholesterol number two. Number one, and one of the major things that a cell membrane is loaded with is omega-3 fats, particularly from seafood; that's why we kind of push that angle as well.
But Scott, it's a great point again as we look to find, we want to find the perfect total cholesterol level for each individual. But then, as a measurement and prognostically, what we know from the MRFIT trials in the 1970s is that there's a sweet spot of total cholesterol between 160 and 260.
Above 260 as total cholesterol, total mortality goes up, heart attack risk goes up. But as you alluded to, below 160 also total mortality goes up, so we need to figure out why those people have low cholesterol. Again, support the body's endeavors to find the perfect level for each individual person.
[00:08:35.10] Scott: So, based on what you said, we understand that moderately elevated cholesterol may not be the risk factor that we once thought in terms of cardiovascular disease. If someone is using statins, though, we then have the potential impact to the mitochondria, and so wondering what impact these medications from a mitochondrial perspective might have on the heart? And how might we then mitigate any potential downsides if someone does need to use them?
[00:09:02.11] Dr. Wolfson: Well, me personally, I'm 100% against the use of statin drugs. I wasn't always that way, but now, I just don't see any purpose for it. Statins, sometimes we can use pharmaceutical drugs to help people with symptoms. So somebody, for example, that has heart skipping or palpitations or even somebody with high blood pressure, sometimes we got to reach into the pharmaceutical prescription arena, and go there with the idea that we always are going to look to stop the pharmaceutical at some point down the road.
As it pertains to statin drugs, the benefits of the statin drugs are highly exaggerated, and the risks are certainly minimized. But if we take a look at some of the statin data that's out there, there's a lot of statin data. Number one, statins markedly reduce cholesterol; they stop the production of cholesterol in the liver by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase.
Actually, that inhibitor came from the mold industry and the Citrinin mycotoxin, and we could talk about that a little bit later on. But the original statin, therefore, coming from there. But again, let me say this, again when you take a statin drug, your numbers will drop precipitously. But that doesn't matter to us about low numbers; we want to know, if I take a pharmaceutical, does it lower my risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or dying? That's ultimately why we take the drug.
We don't get any awards like congratulations, Scott; your total cholesterol is now 90; you get this free book of the month club, like that doesn't matter to us. We want to know does the pharmaceutical, and this is true of any pharmaceutical, right? We want to know, does this help me live longer? Is that chemotherapy, blood pressure, statins, whatever it may be.
So if we look at the all the statin data cumulatively, if we look at it for people with primary prevention being okay, I'm just a 51-year-old male living on planet earth with a total cholesterol of 210. If I take a statin drug, what does that do? Well, for the majority of people for primary prevention it doesn't do anything, and in fact, some studies show an increased mortality from taking the statin drug.
In some studies, again, we can lower the risk of having a heart attack from five percent to four percent over several years. So again, the benefits are highly exaggerated, and then I'll kind of wrap up this because we could talk about statins all day long, and I love talking about statins and bashing them.
But if you look at the ALLHAT trial from 2017, which was published in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association, obviously, widely acclaimed it as one of the biggest medical journals in the world. The ALLHAT-LLT trial showed that people who used statin drugs over the age of 65 had an 18 percent higher risk of dying.
Now, you're not going to find this; your mainstream television is not talking about this, and again, because they are supported by their pharmaceutical masters, and the advertising. So if you look at that particular trial, if you were 75 and older, you had a 34% higher risk of dying, overall mortality, if you took a statin drug for primary prevention.
So again, you're 75 years old, you've never had a cardiac event, you've never had a heart attack, you've never had a stent or bypass surgery. You're just a 75-year-old person who was told they had high cholesterol told to take the drug, 34% higher risk of being dead, that's a problem, it's a problem.
[00:12:52.24] Scott: Yes, that's a big problem. I remember once I had a colleague who was maybe 40s, was put on a statin medication. I was commenting, this was before I was in the health arena. I was commenting about some side effects of statins to watch for, and he acknowledged that he was having muscle issues and cognitive issues and things like that.
So his cholesterol had gotten down to 124, and when I said well, that hopefully is a good thing, that then you don't need to continue it, and he said no, the doctor said it's working so well I should continue taking it, so 124 cholesterol.
[00:13:28.00] Dr. Wolfson: I mean, I think back to part of that question too, is that what it's doing a mitochondrial health? Again, cholesterol is part of the mitochondrial membrane as well. So this is really important, so when you impact statins and statins reduce cholesterol all over the body including the mitochondria, statins are also well known to inhibit the production of CoQ10 by as much as 40%, according to an article from the journal of internal medicine from several years back.
Because again when you inhibit that enzyme that we talked about the HMG-CoA reductase, when you inhibit that enzyme, well now you'll limit the production of cholesterol downstream, but there's other things that are there downstream like CoQ10, like something called Dolocol. Dolocol is a unique steroid-like hormone that is actually found in the substantia nigra of the brain, which is where Parkinson's and other movement disorders, where abnormalities there lead to the symptoms of Parkinson's.
Again, I think that my father, as a statin user, as a cardiologist that he was, I think that inhibited the Dolocol production.
Another thing real quick that that damages Dolocol production is alcohol, so my father was a drinker as well. But again, when you play with mother nature, right? When you inhibit something that the body is trying to accomplish, you're going to suffer the consequences.
[00:15:01.05] Scott: If we go with the concept that LDL particle size might matter, where the smaller damaged LDL particles maybe are more of a risk for cardiovascular disease than the larger particles. Are there some integrative herbal supplement type interventions that maybe can more specifically help to shift and get rid of those smaller LDL particles, and kind of shift us more to the healthier larger particles?
[00:15:26.24] Dr. Wolfson: Yes, it's very uncommon for someone to produce too much cholesterol. Actually, it's very rare. The problem becomes again, as the cholesterol is stored inside of an LDL particle, let's call that a bus. Now, the LDL bus takes off from the liver to deliver its passengers all around the body. One of the passengers on the LDL bus like I said is cholesterol.
Well, as that LDL circulates around the body, when it's done with its job, it has to be cleared from the circulation by the liver. When the LDL particle is not cleared by the liver, it continues to circulate around, and now, the bus becomes smaller, it becomes more damaged, and now it's targeted by the immune system for processing.
Well, a lot of that unfortunately resides inside of the blood vessels, where a lot of that problem is occurring, and now we've got things like oxidized LDL particles, these small, dense, damaged LDL particles that are again problematic.
So there's a lot of different things that again we can do, fundamentally from nutrition and the healthy lifestyle. But if you're asking about one particular supplement that can be beneficial in this arena, that would be Berberine. Now berberine has been studied by the Chinese for 75 years. Whenever I hear about someone's medical problem, or I hear about some new thing going on worldwide. I'll Google or get into the medical literature Pubmed.gov and I'll search berberine and blank.
Well, one of the things that berberine does is that it increases the number of LDL receptors or those catcher’s mitts on the liver, to pull the old LDL particles out of circulation. So berberine is proven to do that through a variety of different mechanisms. Now the pharmaceutical companies of course know this, so they invent a pharmaceutical, and the trade name and the brand name on that is called Repatha. Repatha is an injectable pharmaceutical that costs fifteen thousand dollars a month, that actually again, increases, through a variety of mechanisms, increases the number of LDL receptors on the liver. But berberine does the same thing, now albeit not quite as strongly or probably as dangerously, you don't see the precipitous drops.
But if you're looking for a good kind of natural remedy, love what berberine can do. Berberine is actually very good also for blood sugar control. It appears to be antiviral, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-aging. Helps actually with amyloid black deposition in the brain, which is a contributing factor to Alzheimer's. So pretty cool supplement.
[00:18:18.25] Scott: In your book, you talk about lipoprotein little A, which can be a risk factor for heart disease, and also plays a role in hypercoagulation. So what is LP(a), what tools might you explore to reduce it and to promote healthy blood viscosity?
[00:18:33.19] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. LP(a) is really something that most people haven't heard of, and even if they've had a cardiovascular event, and they come to see me for another opinion, I quickly point out they were never checked. So you need to get checked for LP(a), specifically if you've already had a heart attack or angioplasty stent bypass surgery, because you need to know that particular number. So again, that is a particular type of LDL particle.
But I call it like an LDL particle with razor blades, there's about 20% of the population has that particular gene, so it is a genetic issue. I'm not a big believer in bad genetics, only how we live our lives and how the environment triggers our genetics into action. But the LP(a), about 20% of the population, but it may be responsible for up to 50% of heart attacks, is that as a contributing factor.
I found a lot of that to be true, because it's just, again, such a dangerous particle for what it is. What it does really is that it interferes with the normal clot busting system of the body. So the body again makes blood clots, and it also gets rid of blood clots, and that balance is ultimately critical. Unfortunately, LP(a) offsets that balance, and so you need to get tested for LP(a).
If you have a number that's above 75 for example, that would put you at much higher risk. But what we do find is that when people live the right lifestyle, when they eat the right foods, when they address the environmental toxins, that alone is often enough to really drive down the LP(a). I've seen people with reductions of 65 to 70% with those methodologies that we mentioned.
Now the number one supplement that has been proven to help lower LP(a) is time-release niacin. So time-release niacin 500 milligrams one cap with dinner, it's typically a good starting place. You could go higher, but I often don't find that's really necessary. I think it's also an opportunity to put people, if they're looking for additional supplemental support, for kind of these natural anticoagulants or natural blood thinners, those are things like nano kinase, lumbrokinase, also a big fan of another product called Arterosil.
Arterosil makes the inside of blood vessels look like the outside of a fish or feel like the outside of a fish. Nothing is going to stick to the outside of a fish. Then ultimately Scott, of course, the pharmaceutical companies, they're on board with this as well and they're looking again at all these different technologies including mRNA targeted inhibition of that particular protein, that LP(a), and the studies show that they are able to markedly reduce the LP(a).
But again, we need to know a little bit more about the outcomes. We know that people do well when they take time-release niacin. We've known for 40 years coronary drug project we know that niacin makes people live longer, to B vitamin. But if we look at again some of these novel pharmaceuticals, they really have to prove that they can do much more than just lower a number down, they got to show that they could save lives.
[00:21:58.25] Scott: I love that you mentioned Arterosil, so that was actually one of the things I was going to ask you about. It's one that I've been interested in as well, and how it helps support I believe it's the glycocalyx, right? In terms of supporting the cardiovascular health. So that's certainly something I'm interested in also.
Continuing on with the lipid or fat discussion, how important is healthy fat in our diet and supplement program? So many people kind of swung for a while to that low-fat diet craze, which seems to me like it could actually be more harmful than helpful in terms of cardiovascular health. What is the guidance that you would give your patients in terms of how to optimize their consumption of oils and fats?
[00:22:37.11] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. Unfortunately, there's so much debate in the dietary industry. I tell people first and foremost, go organic, just always eat organic food, get the pesticides and chemicals out of your food; let's all agree on that before we can get into low fat, high-fat protein amounts. Do we go vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, carnivore? Where are we? I think whenever you eat real food; I think you're always in a good place.
So again, when you get those fats from free-range grass-fed meats, from wild seafood nuts, seeds, eggs, avocados, coconuts, olives, that's all beneficial. The body needs fats; that's all there is to it; the body needs fat and a lot of it. But what the body doesn't need is carbs, the body does not need carbohydrates to survive, but it does need the fats in order to do so. So we talked to people again, limiting their carbohydrate intake as much as possible.
But again, even if you're eating ice cream or cookies or cupcakes, make it all organic, and you're good to go. When people go into low-fat diets, again, I think it's just a starvation. Can you improve the health of someone who does eat McDonald's cookies and cupcakes by going low fat and changing up their diet? Certainly can. But I think it's a mistake.
The literature also supports for example, when they look at things like we were just talking about the endothelial health, the glycocalyx, when you look at again markers of endothelial health and blood vessel reactivity, we see that people on high fat, again, when it's a quality high fat diet. Quality high fats, not talking about hydrogenated oils and a lot of that cottonseed and canola oils, so again, when you do high-quality fat diet versus low-fat diet, vascular reactivity is actually better.
[00:24:24.29] Scott: One of the things that I don't think people think about is that sugar intake can actually drive excess production of cholesterol, and you talk about that in your book. So in those with high cholesterol, do you recommend reducing sugar? Is that more refined sugars? Or do we also need to think about things like fruit or raw honey or maple syrup, for example?
[00:24:44.24] Dr. Wolfson: Yes, that's another great question. Certainly, what we need to do certainly is to try something, right? To understand that okay, if we have abnormalities in our blood work, and I'm a huge fan of test, don't guess, so get the most advanced blood testing in the world.
So again, as you find these abnormalities, now what we need to do is make some changes and then re-test three months down the road and see how we did. But invariably, like we said, yes, when you consume sugar in any form, insulin goes up, and insulin helps to increase the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme, actually helps to increase the transcription of that enzyme. So now that would make us more prone to produce more cholesterol, if you will.
So again, it's driving that abnormally, so when we reduce our insulin levels, that's always something that's very important. Me personally, again, I try and limit the refined sugar. We do fruit; we do raw honey; we use occasional maple syrup, again, everything's all organic. Again, I understand that food for most people is like their vice, right?
They're not maybe alcoholics, which I think is a sugar addiction. But we're not cocaine addicts or meth addicts, and we're not smoking cigarettes; we're addicted to sugar. If we can number one, just make sure everything you do is organic; I think that's a huge factor. I think that people that try and do certainly the artificial sweeteners, if you will, aspartame, acesulfame, those are a death sentence, so we need to really get rid of those.
Then some of the other ones, some of the kind of like sugar substitutes. I'm okay with monk fruit extract; I'm not a huge fan of stevia; I'm not sure what your thoughts are, erythritol, xylitol. Me personally, Scott, I think at this point it's like I would tell someone if you want to sweeten up something, go ahead and use raw honey. Maybe again like coconut water is a good thing to add to something. But again, I don't think that there's much room for some of these artificial or even some of the more natural sweeteners.
[00:27:03.21] Scott: I just got done scolding a supplement company for having a really great product until they sweetened it with sucralose or Splenda, and for me, that kind of ruined it. I tossed it in the garbage.
So I want to get into a couple of other myths; we are taught that salt is bad from a heart cardiovascular perspective, and yet, the right salt can actually be good. So, what type of salt do you recommend for your patients? When might we need to be concerned about sodium in packaged and processed foods, for example?
[00:27:33.00] Dr. Wolfson: I think for most people, again, sodium consumption in the form of healthy Himalayan salts, Celtic Sea salts, Redmond Sea salt, for example, I think it's good. I think what the problem may be in a lot of people that have high blood pressure, it's shown that the consumption of sodium in those people, again, is probably too high and by reducing the sodium consumption, really getting into something a manageable level and I'm not sure again what that, probably something around half a teaspoon a day of added sodium I think is probably okay for most people with hypertension.
People with congestive heart failure, so obviously, I see a lot of people with congestive heart failure, and they're very salt-sensitive when they consume salt. Invariably yes, it's going to be worse when it's fast food, Morton's table salt that I grew up with, and I grew up in Chicago, as well. So seeing the Morton salt factory on the side of the highway that clearly is a problem.
But I think that if we look at our paleolithic ancestors, our hunter-gatherer ancestors, they didn't have a lot of salt consumption in their diet; they just didn't. So I'm one of those people who fall into okay. I get salt if I eat a jar of anchovies, and if I'm making salad dressing out of anchovies, or a can of sardines. But otherwise, I personally don't do much salting of my food.
[00:29:10.13] Scott: Let's talk a bit about those people that feel that aspirin minimizes their chances of heart attacks and strokes. Are there potential benefits to low-dose daily aspirin? Or do the risks outweigh the potential benefits for most people?
[00:29:23.02] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. I think for most of the listeners, you can imagine at this point that I'm going to say that I'm 100% against aspirin; that is true. The only situation I see for aspirin right now is somebody who had a stent procedure, and in order to keep the stent open inside of their heart, it's usually a combination of blood thinners that are used.
Aspirin and another form of antiplatelet therapy typically for about three to six months after a stent is placed. For everybody else, and certainly, for people for primary prevention, aspirin is absolute poison. It is just a myth that has been propagated by big corporations in bed with big pharma and in the medical industry.
Aspirin leads to stomach ulceration in just about every single person who consumes it. At any dose, obviously, a higher dose means higher risk. There's a risk to the kidneys from aspirin; there's bleeding risks from it. Again, we are not deficient in aspirin; that's not how we're born, that's not why we have health problems because of an aspirin deficiency.
Then to wrap up this point is that the studies that came out in new England journal of medicine back in 2018 showed that again, people who use aspirin for primary prevention age 70 or greater have a higher risk of dying, than those who don't use the aspirin, that's a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial, showed that again there was a higher risk of dying in the aspirin group. So, let's get rid of the aspirin.
[00:30:54.05] Scott: I knew this conversation was going to be super fun. So let's talk a little bit now about calcification in cardiovascular disease. So is it potentially a concern to take calcium supplementation? Might that lead to more calcification? How do you recommend supporting structural integrity like our bones, while not calcifying our arteries and potentially developing atherosclerosis?
[00:31:18.10] Dr. Wolfson: Well, just for years, again, it's been talked about specifically for women, to take a lot of calcium, calcium added to milk, calcium fortifying other products, and then, of course, taking calcium tablets.
Then all of a sudden, we found that these women had a higher risk of having a stroke from a carotid occlusive disease and also advanced cardiovascular disease. The problem typically is not one of calcium consumption; we typically have plenty of calcium consumption. It also has to do with vitamin D, but even then, a lot of people take vitamin D supplements.
It's really it's a vitamin K strategy. So if we increase our vitamin K intake, K1, and K2, that's really the ultimate thing where vitamin K keeps calcium in the bones and out of the arteries. There's actually some literature that shows that vitamin K supplementation can lead to coronary artery disease, reversal, plaque reversal, calcification reversal; this is probably one of the reasons why the Japanese live much longer on average than we do in the United States, because they are consumers of a product called Natto, which comes from fermented soy.
Natto as a food is very high in vitamin K2, and again, that will lead to coronary artery disease prevention, plaque reversal. Again, when you eat those foods, that's how you build strong bones. But again, there's other micronutrients that go into bones as well, boron and strontium come to mind as far as that's concerned, and then again it goes back to food, it goes back to sleep and sunshine and physical activity and avoidance of environmental toxins and pollutants, mold mycotoxins. As we really unpack everything that can put somebody at risk for disease, and as we start to undress or address all those things, then we're going to find answers for people.
[00:33:08.12] Scott: You talked about diet should be organic, that we should minimize or avoid sugars, artificial anything. In the book, you also suggest avoiding things like wheat and gluten, soy, corn and dairy for many people. I want to talk a little bit about the Carnivore diet, which there's arguments on both sides of that one. So is there a place for the carnivore diet in supporting heart health, and can you talk about the idea that meat does or does not contain enough nutrients to support health?
[00:33:37.11] Dr. Wolfson: Right. So Carnivore I think is certainly very interesting, and Carnivore, essentially, when we're referring to animals, is any animal that eats 70% or more of its diet is animal-based. So of course, that would be lions and tigers and hyenas.
Can we as humans adapt to something similar, and yes, what would that mean for us? So over the last couple years, we've actually taken people through Carnivore challenges, and some people have done seven days, some people have done a month, some people have adhered to it for quite a long period of time, and most people do very well when they stick to it.
So the Carnivore diet is an animal-based diet, again, where you're eating meat, you're eating seafood and you're eating eggs. I think the main problem with some of this kind of medical authorities are some of the leading people in the Carnivore movement is they don't push the seafood story, they talk about eating nose to tail animal, and I'm all in favor of that.
So again, this is not about go to Burger King have a double whopper and hold the bun, it's not that. It's about eating only free-range, grass-fed, grass-finished animal products, and I never ever cheat. You and I both know this Scott, there's so many people out there, right? They talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk, and there's too many people like that in our industry which is unfortunate.
But nonetheless, the free-range grass-fed meats, and again, the liver is the healthiest food on the planet, there's nothing healthier than a free-range grass-fed liver and kidney, and heart and some of the other things that are involved in the whole nose-to-tail eating way, that's the way our ancestors have done it for millions of years.
But again, I want to push the seafood thing. So when I kind of come up with my Carnivore pyramid, the bottom area of the pyramid half of it is nose-to-tail meat, the other part is seafood. Wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, shellfish, whole seafood, whole anchovies, whole sardines when you can get that kind of stuff, because now you're eating the brains and the eyeballs and the heart and the liver and all the guts and everything that is inside of a fish.
That is the penultimate. I mean, how about like a fish egg? A fish egg, just like a chicken egg, contains everything that a fish needs to come to life. There's no amount of kale or chard or broccoli or almonds or oatmeal you're going to get right to compete with that, you're not going to.
So I do like Carnivore, but again, we are hunter-gatherers, so I think there's always room for the gathering parts. I think that it could be seasonal as well, so maybe in the winter time we go much more Carnivore, in the summertime we embrace a lot of the fruits and fruits in-season. Raw honey is a treat, fruit is a seasonal thing.
Now, of course, you can go to any grocery store and you can get oranges 365 days a year, it's not supposed to be that way. So I think there's kind of seasonal representation of that. But I think for those people that are interested in carnivore, and you do it the right way, you got my cardiology blessings for that.
[00:37:02.22] Scott: So it sounds like I need to learn to enjoy caviar a bit more than in my diet based on what you were talking about there. In the book, you talk about reverse osmosis water that you don't see concerns from a lack of mineral perspective that we really should be getting our minerals from our food and possibly from some supplements.
Would you feel equally comfortable with drinking distilled water, which might be even less toxic, but also has fewer minerals?
[00:37:30.01] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. Again, like my book has some tremendous points, but the book came out back in 2015. In the book for example, I was pretty anti-coffee, but I've come back to coffee and now I'm a huge coffee fan again. Because I grew up drinking coffee and then I got away from it, now of course we drink the best of the best just like everything else.
As it pertains to water, I think the most important thing Scott is that you just want to drink as clean a water as possible. Water is so polluted, so toxic. There are birth control pills in the water. There was a report that came out that again as a society, our cholesterol levels are going down. Well, of course, they are, because everybody's taking Lipitor whenever you take a sip of water out of your tap, you're taking somebody else's pharmaceutical supply.
So to that, and again, reverse osmosis, distilled water would be the penultimate. I know a lot of people are big into the benefits of distilled water, and then maybe adding some quality minerals back to that. I think again, clean water is really the key. Then again, if we can add some of the good stuff back to it, then that would be beneficial. I'm also a huge fan of Pellegrino.
There are other waters that I think are medicinal. What's cool about Pellegrino is the single highest liquid source of sulfur, and sulfur as you know, that helps to crank up glutathione and our detoxification and accident mechanisms. So ultimately, again, I think quality water is important, and I do believe we need to continue to talk about the distilled water possibilities.
[00:39:07.25] Scott: When we look at inflammation as a cardiovascular risk factor, how important is exploring food allergy or food sensitivity? People can be eating what they think is healthy and yet still be eating things that they're reactive to. So is that something that you look at in your cardiovascular patients?
[00:39:25.10] Dr. Wolfson: So as it pertains to food sensitivities, when I started in 2012, I was doing a lot of food sensitivity testing at that time. But as we kind of move along, we start getting into the whole idea of leaky gut. Well, if somebody has a leaky gut, from a whole variety of mechanisms, and whether it's gluten, for example, or it's mold mycotoxins or environmental toxins, that damage the integrity of the gut lining.
Now, we get these molecules that leak into the body, and therefore and they don't belong in the body, and now the immune system kicks in. Then all of a sudden, we would start seeing these people with food sensitivity panels. It's like okay, they're sensitive to garlic, almonds, cucumbers. Again, like all these whole variety of foods and even like whether it's dairy or meat or beef or some of these people it was like you didn't even know what they could possibly eat, because their immune system was so hyperactive.
So I'm not a big fan at this point of checking food sensitivity panels. I'm more into okay, do they have leaky guts? If we can heal up the leaky gut, that tends to resolve a lot of those issues. Then again, if we eat an organic healthy paleo hunter-gatherer diet, I think that's a fantastic strategy.
But if we're looking to stop inflammation right in its tracks as soon as possible, that's where I think a carnivore dive could be very good. Because those animal foods, those seafoods, they don't have things that really inflame the body. Plants do, because plants actually, they don't produce their, what we would call phytonutrients, they don't produce it for the benefit of the human, they produce these as chemical bombs to kill off predators and we as humans, of course, are one of them.
[00:41:20.28] Scott: So the oxalates, the lectins, those types of things, absolutely. When you look at your patients that have high blood pressure, what are some of the common themes or common contributors? What can we do to normalize it without reliance on long-term pharmaceuticals?
[00:41:35.05] Dr. Wolfson: Well, I mean certainly, the first thing I check is sleep. Sleep is probably the most important thing. Sleep cycles, of course, have been around for billions of years, no matter what kind of, I guess, it depends on what version of the story people believe in. But again, whether it's the biblical story or the evolutionary story that the planet's been here for four billion years.
There was darkness and there was light, there was darkness and there was light, and then we came later on. So these sleep cycles are very important, and humans are built to go to sleep with the sundown and awake with the sunrise. So again as we do that, that's absolutely critical when it comes to blood pressure control.
So if somebody's got high blood pressure, you want to make sure again, they're getting appropriate sleep. Then now, when you wake up in the morning, preferably you would go watch the sunrise, and then our ancestors would spend the day in and out of the sun. In doing so, that sunshine does many different things, one of which increases vitamin D production.
Of course, everybody knows that the highest levels of vitamin D equal the lowest risk of high blood pressure for example. Also, sunshine increases nitric oxide, so it releases the stored nitrates in the skin and releases that as nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, opens up blood vessels, lowers blood pressure.
So again, sleep, sunshine, seafood, seafood is the number one food for us to consume, and when we do that again, people with the highest levels of omega-3 have the lowest levels of blood pressure, have the lowest levels of everything else. Then again back to things that can lead to high blood pressure as you know Scott, all the environmental toxins all interfere with the body's ability to regulate normal blood pressure.
Stress, major factor when it comes to blood pressure that's a whole other story. Pain is another thing that raises blood pressure. I'm also a big fan of chiropractic, not only because I married a chiropractor, but also because it's proven to work. Chiropractic is proven to lower blood pressure 17 over 10 in a study of hypertensive patients. So make sure you see your chiropractor, get adjusted.
[00:43:45.20] Scott: Yes. Absolutely, every three weeks right here, and wouldn't miss it. Let's talk a little more about the nitric oxide conversation in terms of optimizing circulation. When is supporting nitric oxide potentially healthy, versus when might it create more problems? Increasing peroxynitrite for example. What are some of the ways that maybe we can support nitric oxide production without potential risks?
[00:44:10.07] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. That's a fantastic point as well, and a great question, because I think in most people's quest to load up on things that would increase nitric oxide, we forget about some of the risk associated with that, and everything has to be done in balance. To remind everybody this whole nitric oxide thing, if you remember watching on TV or maybe you had a relative that would take a nitroglycerin tablet under their tongue.
Well, the munitions industry and then ultimately the fertilizer industry, found that these men who were working around sources of nitrates would be prone to wild swings and blood pressure, but most commonly low blood pressure. That of course would be developed into a pharmaceutical nitroglycerin, which you put under your tongue and then your body can burst it into nitric oxide and leads to blood vessel dilation. So again, that balance is really key.
So if you take again the average McDonald's cookie and cupcake eater, and you give that person some kind of product like Neo40 or organic beetroot powder. I mean, in general, it's probably a good thing. But yes, if you don't make sure that there is a good balance of other antioxidants in the person, then you run the risk of yes, those nitric oxide molecules being put down into another pathway and turning into free radicals as you mentioned like peroxinitrite, hydrogen peroxide and other dangerous free radicals. So I think really again, it's kind of the whole picture. When you're eating the right foods, living the right lifestyle, getting rid of the environmental toxins, treating with holistic practitioners, good dental health.
Then you supplement, then that's where you're going to be good to go. Of course, you just want to test as well. So I guess if you were doing a heavy nitric oxide supplementation program and you found that your inflammation went up, you better find out why.
[00:46:10.29] Scott: A lot of our listeners are dealing with chronic Lyme disease, pots, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome is not uncommon in this population. Some think that infections like Bartonella and Babesia or co-infections of Lyme disease can drive it.
Do you think of POTS as more of a cardiovascular problem? More of an autonomic nervous system problem? A dysautonomia? How do you explore the potential contributors to pots in a patient? What are some tools that you can use to help move them past it?
[00:46:42.11] Dr. Wolfson: Yes, I definitely think it's a dysautonomia condition. I've seen pots in people over the years many times, and sometimes, there was a clear inciting factor, sometimes there's not. The mayo clinic has a report about 33 patients that in women, after the HPV vaccine, who subsequently develop POTS.
So I think as we look at all these environmental toxins, and how they lead to that dysautonomia, I think again, it's a problem and then certainly addressing Lyme and co-infections and mold mycotoxicity. That's what practitioners like you, and I do, right, Scott? Is that we go we do a deep dive and we try and figure out all the why.
Now the problem is these people typically don't come to people like us; they go to see a cardiologist because they have passing out episodes.
So the doctor you go to see typically when you have a passing-out episode is a cardiologist, the cardiologist does their thing, and one of the things I used to do very often was a tilt table test, where you would try and get someone to pass out. That was the purpose of that test, and I did hundreds of those. So I've seen so many people pass out or have a common faint or a syncopal event, and a lot of those people with POTS as well. I think we can be very successful as we help them address the cause of it. It's just a scenario where again, they go on pharmaceutical after pharmaceutical, which often makes these people worse.
What may be even more scary again is that they talk about pacemakers and certain pacemaker therapies on these people, or they use dangerous pharmaceuticals to artificially prop up blood pressure. It's just another thing that we're talking about, where it's just sad. That the vast majority, whatever percentage that is, they just do not hear the message that you and I are here to convey. But that's why hopefully, again, people like you and I continue to speak out and share the message.
[00:48:48.28] Scott: So let's look then at heart palpitations and arrhythmias and irregular heartbeats, things of that nature. What are some of the reasons that people might experience some of those abnormal heartbeats?
[00:49:00.00] Dr. Wolfson: Well, abnormal heartbeats are things like PACs, PVCs, premature atrial and ventricular complexes, respectively. They can have sinus tachycardia, they can have obviously atrial fibrillation and other more complex heart rate abnormalities, and we just always have to go back and just try and figure out why.
What's irritating the heart? What is getting in the way of normal heart function? One of my favorite things when we do leaky gut testing on people, and we look for elevated levels of zonulin, for example, as a marker of leaky gut. Another one is the anti-actin antibody. So, of course, antibodies have really become front and center over the last a couple of years as people talk about antibodies to what's circulating around the globe. We can also test for these anti-actin antibodies.
So what we're testing for is that we're looking for immunoreactivity against the actin protein, which is found in all muscular tissue. So if you've got autoimmune attack going on against your cardiac tissue, it's going to lead to heart rhythm problems. The good news is that if you can reverse that autoimmune situation, then people's symptoms often resolve.
PACs, PVCs those were once thought to be a benign issue. But PACs, these premature atrial complexes not always necessarily, not always contractions, so it is more correct to say the PACs or premature atrial complexes, they increase the risk of atrial fibrillation down the road. So if you've got PACs, it behooves you to figure out why.
[00:50:44.05] Scott: We're going to get more into infections, environmental toxicants and come back to the autoimmune conversation in just a couple minutes. But I wanted to get your thoughts on the role of poor dentition in heart and cardiovascular issues.
Poor oral microbiome, root canals, how often do you see systemic inflammation driven up from poor dentition or just the oral microbiome itself being a contributor to systemic cardiovascular health?
[00:51:10.21] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. I think we've known this for just hundreds of years, and really, the dentists have been talking about this for so many years. Weston A. Price, of course, the dentist who traveled around the world with his wife by boat and looking at native cultures and those who ate their native culture foods, their health was extraordinary.
Those who veered into the white man's food, if you will, of course, their health suffered. But as you pointed out again, a periodontal disease, for example, has been the most studied of the oral diseases and its connection with cardiovascular. So anybody with periodontal disease, gum inflammation, things like that, they certainly have a much higher risk of cardiovascular illness.
People that have, of course, metal amalgams, mercury amalgams, that represents a problem, and then ultimately, the root canal tooth. So a root canal is a tooth that has died, it has become infected, and it has died, and then the endodontist goes in there and kills the nerve supply and the artery and the vein to that tooth. Now the dead tooth remains in the body, but unfortunately, for that person, the infected tooth again remains, and there's no way to sterilize a dead tooth.
So that continues to be a source of these bacteria, these dangerous bacteria that now translocate into the bloodstream and circulate around, leading to inflammation, leading to endothelial damage, and potentially leading to endocarditis or a deadly cardiovascular heart infection. So it's definitely a problem. We know from the data again that the more teeth a person has lost is just another risk factor for cardiac death.
I think one lesson we're trying to tell is really for the children is to say hey listen, you got to take care of your teeth, you got to eat healthy. Give your body what it needs, take away what it doesn't. Then ultimately, whatever kind of strategies we can use to maintain good oral health and good probiotic intake, and all that stuff tends to be beneficial.
[00:53:29.00] Scott: I want to dig a bit more into chronic infections. Again, many listeners dealing with chronic Lyme disease, we know we can have potential heart complications with Borrelia infection. How often do you think that chronic infections play a role in heart-related health issues?
What are some of the top chronic infections that you think about that can impact the heart? Do you explore that with lab testing? And then what are some of the interventions may be that you might consider for reducing the microbial body burden that might be impacting the heart?
[00:53:58.18] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. When I was a medical student, when I was a cardiology trainee and stuff like that, I was in Chicago, and we saw several cases of acute Lyme carditis. So typical story, right? 20-year-old boy, he's camping up in Wisconsin, and then a week later he comes back, and he's living his life and all of a sudden he feels light-headed, dizzy.
Someone checks his pulse; his pulse is 20, they bring him to the emergency room, and he's in complete heart block, that was acute Lyme carditis. So the question is, I mean, again, like what happens to people in the long term when they have Borrelia, as you mentioned before, Babesia, Bartonella, and these other co-infections. I think, as far as I'm concerned, that it's nice when they're identified.
I think when you do advanced testing, and obviously, there's a lot of different companies that perform that kind of testing, to see what our kind of toxic parasitic or infectious burden is. Then putting them on some kind of protocol to reduce that burden, I think, can be helpful for people, certainly with blood pressure, heart rhythm issues.
A lot of times, especially in women, they've got these strange chest pains that again they go to the cardiologist, and the cardiologist knows that it's not a blockage, for example. They know it's not cardiac pain in the classical sense, and of course, they may run a whole battery of tests to try and prove that to the individual person.
But I'm certainly open to the idea that it is from either Lyme or some of these co-infections that generate some of these strange symptoms, and they're probably have to do more like a musculoskeletal type of symptom than it is actually a problem with the heart muscle itself. Again, I mean putting people on protocols to help and again, there's a variety of companies that that do that, and a lot of people get relief.
[00:56:00.03] Scott: It's interesting in preparing for this conversation, like things like Chlamydia pneumonia for example, I think there's a lot that suggests that can be a contributor to cardiovascular issues. There's a whole list of viruses, like I don't think people think about oh maybe the heart issue is from a Coxsackievirus or a Parvovirus or a Herpes virus. So do you see these viral contributors as well to heart related issues?
[00:56:23.16] Dr. Wolfson: Well, I think what I would like to say of course is that if somebody has a problem with a virus or a bacteria or a parasite, we have to try and figure out why.
Why is the body not clearing that? Why is the body not getting rid of these viruses or bacteria or parasites? We should be built with an immune system to be able to conquer that? I think again, that's where you and I agree where the mold mycotoxicity, EMF, other kind of outside toxins destroy our immune system's ability to clear out these infectious materials that could be potentially pathogenic.
As you mentioned, Chlamydia for example, so Chlamydia pneumonia, it was recognized certainly that people with coronary artery disease had high titers of Chlamydia, for example. Unfortunately, the only thing that the medical community ever looked at was antibiotics for that endeavor. Although they were able to clear Chlamydia out of the system with antibiotics very often, it didn't lead to a decrease in cardiovascular events.
So if you looked at those people who, again, and they did this research on thousands of people with coronary artery disease, and they loaded them up with antibiotics. What they found is again, that just as many people had heart attacks, if not more, in the antibiotic group. So that kind of quickly fell out of favor, and that's probably, that probably goes back to the early 2000s.
[00:57:57.00] Scott: I think in many cases of chronic illness, the bug itself is not always the cause of the disease. But to your earlier point about autoimmunity, that sometimes the immune response, this hyper-vigilance of the immune system, the mast cells, the microglia can drive inflammation, that can then create symptoms or chronic illness.
So is there a role in this conversation for creating more immune tolerance with tools like Low-Dose Immunotherapy or homeopathy? Then extending on that immune tolerance conversation, how commonly do you think autoimmunity is involved in cardiovascular disease?
[00:58:31.15] Dr. Wolfson: Well, I mean to answer the second part of the question first, I think that again, and sometimes, maybe like autoimmunity may not be the right terminology to use. Although, it has been something we've discussed, and it's in our lexicon for so many years. It really is, it's like that. As much as we said like dysautonomia, again, it's like immunodysfunction, it's just the immune system is just not functioning appropriately.
Therefore, again, or again it may be a functioning appropriately, it's just because if we present these different antigens to the body, the immune system kicks in. What happens is that when the molecule of gluten looks like a protein in the heart, that becomes a problem. So if you're attacking gluten for example, and now, cross-reactivity, molecular mimicry, you start to attack cardiovascular tissue, that's how you wind up with disease.
I think again, there's just a lot of opportunity to improve the health of the individual person, to address that issue. Regarding things like again, homeopathy or immune system priming, I can't say I've got a lot of experience with those areas. But I think one of the most important things we can do as a society right now is to embrace everything, and question everything, and study everything and continue to look for possibilities to be able to help people.
I think that the closed-minded physician is exactly what people do not want to see, that's not the person they want to see right now or it's the 1970s. Hey Scott, good to see you, buddy. Take your statin, take an aspirin, get your shot on the way out the door and you're good to go, no questions asked. You're like wait a second, no.
Now, we've got this thing that most people have heard of, it's called the internet, and the internet allows you to research a whole heck of a lot of things. Your fingertips, very exciting to be able to do so. So now you question your doctor, like hey, what about homeopathy as a means to restore my immune abnormalities. Again, I mean I think it's a time to question everything.
[01:00:39.20] Scott: Let's talk a little bit about the environmental toxicants, the heavy metals, the chemicals, the pesticides, the world that we live in now is probably more toxic than ever in history. What role do these environmental toxicants play on cardiovascular health? What are some of the top detoxification interventions that you use in your clinical practice?
[01:00:59.20] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. Again, as we all become doctors of cause and we look at these environmental toxins that you mentioned, pesticides of course are at the top of the list. Pesticides, pollutants from air pollution. Air pollution, the data is effusive about how that leads to cardiovascular and of course, lung disease and cancer and brain disease. It's just something that's never addressed by the medical community.
So again, trying to live in as clean air as possible, and using air purifiers and keeping your indoor air as healthy as the outdoor or healthier, the outdoor air if possible. So again, everything you bring into your house is it toxic or not? Is it emitting dangerous VOCs or not? Get tested for all those things. Plastics, phthalates, parabens, all those VOCs, all of it really adds up, and it just interferes with the body's ability to get the job done.
Whether it's causing leaky gut or it's leaky lung or it's leaky heart, leaky brain. Again, all these things are just so pro-inflammatory they decrease the production of glutathione. I mean you and I can just go on and on and on forever, and again, it's all in the medical literature, it's just the medical doctors are not reading that material. They are unfortunately, and obviously to a fault, they're just addicted to the pharmaceutical model.
They see somebody, and they're thinking how do I get this person out of my office as quickly as possible, and oftentimes, that's just, again just writing script after script after script, test after test after test, just the way that the system's built and it's a shame. Then again, to the detoxification and again, avoidance is number one. So again, like decreasing your exposure, doing those things to clear the toxins out, again, and that goes air purifiers.
Big fan of everybody having air purifiers running in their home. Then again, there's sauna, there's a million other detoxification strategies to do. Again, just cranking up levels of glutathione, phase one, phase two liver detoxification, phase three a binding in the gut, as a way to usher these poisons out of the body, and people invariably do well when you when you do all those things.
[01:03:17.17] Scott: Many of our listeners are dealing with mold illness, water damaged building related issues, chronic inflammatory response syndrome. These biotoxins that are found in water damaged buildings, you touched on this earlier with the comment about the mycotoxin citrinin.
So do you find that mold associated illness, and it goes beyond mold, but really water damage building associated illness. Do you find that over months and years and decades that then is a contributor to heart and cardiovascular health?
[01:03:48.14] Dr. Wolfson: Yes, 100%. Another area of course that is not addressed by the medical community. I know obviously you deal with a lot of people from all over. One person actually, she's in her mid-50s, she came to see me several years ago from the Bahamas, and she's got a mechanical heart valve. We were able to tune her up and do some great things with her, and her health is doing very well now at this point.
But then six months ago she called up and she was like oh, I've been having, something's wrong. I got brain fog, I got this, I got that, I got these rashes, something's the matter. I'm like okay, we got to test you for mold mycotoxins, these environmental toxins. Her mold mycotoxins, all the mycotoxins related to Stachybotrys, they were all sky high.
Then I was quizzing her, and I said tell me about your housing situation, she was like well, you know a few months ago, my partner and I bought an Airbnb down here in Sarasota, Florida. I'm like oh, tell me about it? Oh, it's a ten-bedroom Airbnb. The home was built in 1910, it's a historical landmark. I said can you imagine how many hurricanes that structure has been through?
So the water damage building of what that is? So I mean, as you know Scott, water damage building is just ubiquitous in our society, it's just everywhere, it's a 21st century crisis. Then I think when you add in all the other health ailments of people, or again when you stack in all the other stuff right? You stack in, because we could all say, hey listen, mold in our dwellings has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, totally true.
But when you throw in the mold micro toxicity and that exposure, or the water damage building, obviously, I mean the materials are 100 percent of course different now than what they were then. But then also just all the other environmental toxins and pollutants, all stacked on to the water damaged building, on top of a lousy diet and lousy lifestyle and again, poor sleep and poor sunshine and poor physical activity, and mental stress, it's a recipe for disaster, it really is.
[01:06:06.16] Scott: We know that the heart has an electrical system, a conduction system. I'm wondering what the impact of man-made frequencies, the exponential increase of electromagnetic fields EMFs, EMR might that have some impact on our cardiovascular system?
[01:06:23.25] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. Again, the powers that be tell us that it's safe, but unfortunately, they're all controlled by industry. There's plenty of data, including researchers like Dr. Martin Pall, PhD, up in Washington state. Again, he's done several research papers showing about the cardiovascular effects of man-made, non-native EMF.
Again, we can look for all the studies we want, but it's just like common sense. If you take an electrical device, and you have it near your heart, which is all electrical. Our body is all electrical, but we can understand that if we do an EKG on someone, we are measuring the electrical system of the heart. If we do an EEG, we're measuring the electrical system of the brain. EMG, the electrical system of the neuromuscular interface.
So if we understand that our body is electric, and our heart is generated by electric impulses to cause cardiac contraction, myocardial contractility, I mean, how could we not think that again, all of this man-made electromagnetic fields don't represent a problem, and to some people more than others.
But again, I think it's a crisis that we need to address. I mean one of my biggest, I can't say it's like a pet peeve, but it's something that I will stop anybody anywhere and say something as if somebody has their cell phone up in like their front pocket, like so many men are walking around or even they'll come into my office, and they got their cell phone tucked in here. I said it's right on top of your heart; it's not good. Women sometimes, in some of these athletic bras and stuff like that, they'll kind of tuck it in over there; it's a problem; we got to get rid of that.
[01:08:06.18] Scott: Absolutely agree. Given the current world situation, we're sadly hearing more and more in the news media about myocarditis in young children, young males primarily. What is myocarditis? How serious is it? Can one recover from it? Is there something in the integrative realm that can be helpful for supporting these young people that are now dealing with myocarditis?
[01:08:30.16] Dr. Wolfson: So, I mean myocarditis literally means heart muscle inflammation, and it doesn't tell us why. It doesn't tell us if it's from a virus or a bacteria or a parasite or a pharmaceutical or from EMF or whatever it may be.
So understanding that again, it is in the published medical literature that there is an increased risk of myocarditis from the COVID shots. Now, there is apparently a risk from people getting whatever COVID is, and they are having symptoms; from that, there is a risk of myocarditis again naturally in these people as well.
But nonetheless, when people carry that diagnosis, then how do we look to lower down that inflammation? Again, it goes back to nutrition lifestyle. For those people, I do like red light therapy. Red light therapy directed at the heart, whether you do so with something like an Erchonia laser or again, which I think would be the most direct way to impact the heart. But then also, whether it's some of these other Mito red or somebody Juve or these other lights that people use for that particular endeavor, could be helpful.
Then again, a lot of nutrients help to support the blood vessels themselves. In myocarditis, a lot of different things we can do in that arena; there may be some natural anti-inflammatories that people can use, and again eating seafood is good. Another one I think that's kind of an unsung hero is copper; copper is very beneficial as an antioxidant and in some of our mechanisms to produce glutathione, blood vessel reactivity.
So sometimes again, increasing our copper intake could be beneficial for those people as they look to recover. But then also to your point is that, again, the medical community like oh yes, well myocarditis, it's not that big of a deal, most people recover. But again, what about the long term? What does it mean for a 13-year-old that myocarditis are artificially caused by an artificial stimuli because of an injection?
So now you've got this 13-year-old recovering from myocarditis, and maybe they recover 100% in the short term in the sense of okay, they're back to playing basketball and swimming and going to school and doing their thing.
But what happens when they're 40, 50, 60, 70? Is there an increased risk of heart attack? Is there an increased risk of atrial fibrillation? Is there an increased risk of cardiomyopathy? We have no idea. So we'll see what happens 30, 40 years down the road, when we retrospectively look at all the people that took this experiment.
[01:11:26.22] Scott: You talked about red light therapy. We know that each heart cell can have five to eight thousand or more mitochondria. I think a red-light therapy is something that can be really helpful for supporting mitochondria.
How important is supporting mitochondria to improve heart and cardiovascular health? Are there tools besides red-light therapy that you explore for mitochondrial optimization?
[01:11:49.18] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. I mean, of course. I mean, and Scott, I appreciate the questions; they're so fantastic and just giving people so many great answers, at least I'm trying to. The red-light therapy again, as it pertains to the mitochondria, mitochondria, of course, is the source of all energy; it's the source of so much, again, it source of someone's disease when the mitochondria are dysfunctional.
So there's a lot of people who believe that at all kind of chronic disease is from mitochondrial dysfunction, and I'm not going to disagree. So can we improve the health of the mitochondria, again, 100%, and we give the body the right foods. Again, the sunshine really, if we think about red light therapy, I mean the original source of red light is the sun.
So when you get your body, especially your skin, out into the sun, and especially the skin on top of the heart. If the sunlight comes in and directly enters in to the heart. I think that's really just one of my super strategies of what I tell people. Listen fundamentally, what is the skin? Like what is the purpose of our skin? Is it just make us look good? Does it hold together a bag of bones? Is it to put skin cream on? Is it to be a source of skin cancer? It's a solar panel.
Our skin is a solar panel. So we need to get that out into the sun as much as possible, and again, that's what supercharges up the mitochondria. Of course, there are all different other nutrients that can be used for mitochondrial energy production. But, I think most importantly is just getting the poison out of the mitochondria; that's the key.
[01:13:28.00] Scott: Given that we're talking so much about circulation, circulatory system. Do you find pulsed electromagnetic field therapies or PEMF devices helpful in improving microcirculation and oxygen and nutrient delivery?
[01:13:43.03] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. I'm not certainly an expert on PEMF as much as anybody is an expert in PEMF. I will say this, that obviously there is a very popular device that's out there called the Bemer. The Bemer, was kind of shown to me, and they showed me these before and after videos of like there's no flow circulatory-wise in the capillaries, and then they go on the Bemer, and now it's like a wide-open river.
I don't know, I guess in that sense, I'm a little bit critical that something could cause such dramatic changes in a person. I think, unfortunately also, it's just a little hard to measure again in the average person whether or not some kind of therapy like that works.
I think for me personally, I don't really like anything that's artificially electrically generated. So grounding mats, as you know we're like super popular 10 to 15 years ago, and the idea again of a grounding mat. Now you've got this mat in your, you plug it into your wall, and now, again it reaches the ground outside. But the problem is the ground outside is all dirty electricity, it's all electrically charged. So unless you're on the beach house somewhere, grounding may not be beneficial for your body at all.
So I guess that's all I would probably say about that. I mean, I think also Scott too is that the Bemer is so expensive that for me to kind of recommend a six-thousand-dollar device. I could sell those all day long. I could recommend it to my patients, I can recommend it to clients, and they'll buy it. I just never really felt overly good about doing so; I'm just not that convinced with the data.
[01:15:30.27] Scott: Let's talk a little bit about herbs and potential tonification tools for the cardiovascular system for the heart. So I commonly hear people talk about Crategus or Hawthorne or Strophanthus for heart health. Are there some herbal tonifiers that can help the heart that you use in your practice?
[01:15:49.22] Dr. Wolfson: I've used Hawthorne over the years, and again, a lot of these herbals, again, of course, the original herbal stuff is what became the pharmaceutical version. Rauvolfia serpentina became a pharmaceutical for blood pressure called Reserpine, which fortunately is long gone bye-bye, because it was a very toxic drug loaded with side effects. Even something like Digitalis, for example, and its cardiovascular roles; Strophanthus, I know again has as a lot of acolytes.
I think the problem really in those arenas is that there's just not a lot in the scientific literature, probably Hawthorne more so than any of them, as far as what's in the literature to show the benefits of Hawthorne. But I think ultimately, Scott, I look at people, and I say you know you're not deficient in Hawthorne, you weren't born deficient in some of these herbal remedies.
So I think to that end again, I don't really find the need to use Hawthorne very often. Hawthorne very oftentimes is used something used to enhance parasympathetic nervous control, slow down heart rate, slow down conduction atrial fibrillation, help people with blood pressure issues. But for those people, I mean, I love lithium, for example.
Lithium is something that people are deficient in. Lithium used to be in the soil; it's on a periodic table; it's a naturally occurring element on planet earth. Again, people are deficient in it, so we get a lot of the parasympathetic benefits of lithium, for example, before I would reach for some of those herbal remedies. Again, I know there are some doctors that are big fans of strophanthus. I just haven't really embraced it. I haven't really felt the need.
[01:17:33.16] Scott: I'm assuming that we're talking lithium orotate, not so much lithium carbonate, correct?
[01:17:38.23] Dr. Wolfson: So lithium orotate again, we do have lithium orotate inside of our multivitamin. One particular company that we use a lot of is called Biotics Research, and actually, they just put elemental lithium into the soil, and then they grow a plant that contains this high amount of lithium, and it's standardized and whatnot, so they know exactly what's in there. They put into a tablet, and that's what this particular elemental lithium form is, so we use a lot of that successfully.
[01:18:06.14] Scott: HRV or heart rate variability is becoming a measure that's more accessible to people at home with their Oura rings and other devices.
So the idea being that the healthier state is having more variability between each heartbeat in terms of the time between beats. Wondering if that's something that you look at, if there are certain things that you find helpful for increasing HRV.
[01:18:29.03] Dr. Wolfson: Well, certainly a lot of things increase HRV. HRV is something that is a fantastic marker. Chiropractic care, by the way, the chiropractic adjustment has proven to increase heart rate variability, which is cool. As it pertains to measurement devices, I'm just not a big fan of wearable tech, and I know that you agree with that as well.
Again, like everybody walking around with their Oura ring or their Fitbit and how many steps did I take today, and how did I sleep last night. I think it's okay to use once in a while; I would caution against kind of living and breathing with this thing 24/7. But heart rate variability, again, I mean and a lot of those, I think the technology on that is getting better, but I still think it's fraught with a lot of errors.
It can be a little bit difficult; it's probably best measured really with more expensive equipment to determine the true heart rate variability on people. But I think it is something that's very important. I think it's also interesting too is that, as we talk about a lot of different things that can improve heart rate variability.
Again, the right nutrition, the right lifestyle, all the things we've mentioned. I would encourage people also to look into lymphatic therapy, and again, the ability of the lymphatics that again we often talk about arteries and we talk about veins, but we don't get enough discussion about the lymphatic system.
Again, as we kind of use the lymphatics and even physical manipulation of the lymphatics, and methodologies to improve lymphatic function and flow, then when we do so actually, some of those people just by that therapy alone improve heart rate variability. I think it's important, and I do agree with you that over the next several years, we're just going to hear more and more and more about that as a measurement.
[01:20:14.02] Scott: When we think about heart and cardiovascular health, you do intracellular nutrient testing. What are the nutrients that you find people are most efficient in, that could contribute to cardiovascular issues?
[01:20:26.07] Dr. Wolfson: Well, when we do that, yes, that super-advanced testing is absolutely critical. So again, we're just looking in all the vitamins, looking at all the minerals. Certainly, intracellular deficiency of potassium, intracellular deficiency of magnesium, those would be huge. The B vitamins, of course tend to be deficient in people so often.
Of course, Coq10, but I mean the most important thing I think we should test for is glutathione. We need to know what our intracellular levels of glutathione are, and if they're low we better crank them up. Or again, maybe for everybody, we should be working on strategies to improve intracellular glutathione. It's a very important marker.
But again we need to test, don't guess. The basic 1970s testing of what the doctors are doing, it's just malpractice, it's horrible. You got to go deep dive and you got to really take a really in-depth assessment.
[01:21:18.25] Scott: In your book, you talk about galectin-3, my prior guest Dr. Isaac Eliaz talks about the use of modified citrus pectin for reducing galectin three. How do you approach galectin-3 reduction in your patients?
[01:21:31.03] Dr. Wolfson: Yes. I think again, and I am familiar with Dr. Eliaz and his work and his product. I think it is a fantastic way to; I think we do know that people with higher levels of galectin-3 have a higher risk of cardiovascular events. So it behooves us to come up with strategies to really lower that particular number down.
I used to test everybody for galectin-3with a particular company I was using at the time, and the current company I use does not check for levels of galectin-3. But I do think it is a fantastic marker to be able to look at that. It really is just linked to myocardial fibrosis. So as the heart, somebody with heart failure, as somebody with hypertensive heart disease, somebody who suffered from a heart attack, high levels of galectin-3 and I do think that he's got some pretty good research on modified citrus pectin as a way to lower that number down.
I'm not aware of any other particular studies. Again, I'm sure if I kind of punched up, this would be a great opportunity to go in to the literature and look at something like berberine and galectin-3, and I can assure you that berberine lowers galectin three levels.
[01:22:41.29] Scott: Very cool, that's awesome. So talk to us about how people can work with you or your team, and how they can also get a free copy of your book, “The Paleo Cardiologist”.
[01:22:52.12] Dr. Wolfson: Yes, thank you, Scott. The book is available for free; it's called FreeHeartBook.com, all you do is pay shipping, and we'll send the book out to you. Tens of thousands and thousands of people have read my book, and I'm very grateful for that. Otherwise, listen, go on to the internet, you can Google my name, you'll see where I come up in various places.
My current practice website is called WolfsonIntegrativeCardiology.com. My wife and I also practice together on our website is called TheDrsWolfson.com, so you can find out more information there. But I do see patients from all over the world who come to visit me in person in Arizona. I've been doing virtual consultations since back in 2012 before it was kind of a cool thing to do; I've been doing it again for almost ten years.
Again, love to help people, I'm always going to be a practicing cardiologist, and I've got other members of my team. I've got other doctors, practitioners, I've got a fantastic group of health coaches. Certainly, I made all of my health coaches listen to my interview with Scott Forsgren.
[01:23:58.27] Scott: All right. My last question is the same for every guest, and that is what are some of the key things you do on a daily basis in support of your own health?
[01:24:07.02] Dr. Wolfson: Well listen, I'm married, I've got four children, things can somewhat be difficult as far as like hey, I'm going to go off for a massage, or I'm going to go on a hike, or I'm going to go take a nap. It can be difficult for people. Listen, most people work, most people again are active, they got a lot of different things. I think controlling the things we can, me personally we go to sleep shortly after the sundown, and we wake up before the sunrise.
We try and watch every sunrise, whether it's sunny outside or not, no matter how cold it is or not, doesn't matter. Then to that means, you're just trying to get outside. The more time we spend outside, the longer we're going to live. So we eat 100% organic food; I eat a lot of seafood just about every single day. Free-range grass-fed meats, a lot of organic meats, and that's what I do.
Then again, we're active outside. I don't like going to the gym; I don't like exercising under artificial light. I love getting outside; I love to bike ride and walk and hike, stand up paddleboard, kayak, surf with the kids whenever we can, again, just trying to be active outdoors and having fun.
[01:25:14.16] Scott: I absolutely love this conversation. I love your passion; I love how much of a truth-teller you are. If you believe something, you're going to say it. My opportunity over the last year to meet you and be having these conversations has really been a tremendous blessing. I just really appreciate you, and honor what you're doing, honor the work that you're putting out there, and how you're really making a big difference in the world. So, thank you so much for being here today.
[01:25:41.03] Dr. Wolfson: Thank you so much. Feel the same about you; keep up the great work.
[01:25:44.15] To learn more about today's guest, visit NaturalHeartDoctor.com.
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