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How can I steer my Paleo lifestyle in the direction of optimal heart health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 27, 2013 at 5:40 PM

I recently discovered I have a heart valve condition. I'm waiting on my echo results to find out how severe this problem is. Finding out has lead me down a path of self-evaluation. Have any of you read much into the research concerning the relationship between healthy animal/veggie fats, eggs, red meat and heart health? I eat A LOT of beef, eggs, avocado, etc. and now I'm wondering if I should reconsider those choices. I know that popular thought links eggs, red meat, and fats to poor heart health - but how true is that? Oh, and let's not forget that my husband is trying to keep me from bacon. (we order from US Wellness or get Applegate) I mean, we're talking BACON people! I'd appreciate any helpful and insightful feedback.

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on June 29, 2013
at 02:43 AM

In addition, L-carnitine (found in red meat) is looking good for LVH and other heart health issues.

52f05ad110e55d957240fcea5387d342

(10)

on June 28, 2013
at 01:00 AM

I agree BGottfried - EXCELLENT SPECIFICS! You have no clue how helpful your response is. Those are the specifics that I needed. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on June 27, 2013
at 08:48 PM

Excellent specifics!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 27, 2013
at 05:46 PM

PHD .

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3 Answers

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4
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on June 27, 2013
at 08:05 PM

I have a bicuspid aortic valve and have been doing a good amount of research lately in this direction.

You'll want to supplement (or eat enough) Magnesium, Omega-3s, B6, B12, Folic acid, K2 (or natto) for mk-7, and eat grassfed butters / dairy / meat for natural k2 mk-4. These will lower your BP / heart rate, reduce stenosis / dissection risk, and improve cholesterol and inflammation. I'd recommend Chelated Mg, a high DHA marine supplement, and maybe Krill oil (needs more study.) You'll also want to keep your Zinc/Copper balance in check.

Beta blockers might be worth while, but, you'll want to talk to your cardiologist and see how you respond. They'll lower your BP and heart rate, which feels pretty good, though, there is a bit of a rebound effect if you take them at high dosage for a while then stop. (very important to keep it consistant and avoid abrupt stops, has to be weaned off.) Side effects may include weight gain / fatigue, but, potentially worth it and otherwise pretty benign and beneficial, especially at the lower dosages.

In regards to exercise, you'll want to avoid heavy lifting and heavy cardio, but 30% max weight lifting and a couple 30 min walks are recommended.

Some info:

Omega-3s - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3483717/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22591894

http://ajh.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/10/1121.abstract

Mg - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12160191

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19617879

K2 - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19179058

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/11/3100.full

Zinc / Copper - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20950764

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20427734

B vitamins - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18460491

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on June 29, 2013
at 02:43 AM

In addition, L-carnitine (found in red meat) is looking good for LVH and other heart health issues.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on June 27, 2013
at 08:48 PM

Excellent specifics!

52f05ad110e55d957240fcea5387d342

(10)

on June 28, 2013
at 01:00 AM

I agree BGottfried - EXCELLENT SPECIFICS! You have no clue how helpful your response is. Those are the specifics that I needed. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

0
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on June 27, 2013
at 09:42 PM

Eat in a way that gets your LDL to around 60-70. Take some omega 3 caps. And eat a bowl of oatmeal a day

0
C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

on June 27, 2013
at 07:17 PM

Honestly, heart health is a difficult subject because it's not an easy thing to test: there's pretty much an unlimited number of uncontrollable variables and evaluation takes so long that doing a controlled study is nigh-impossible. Rather than trying to identify the "ideal" diet for your heart health, it might be best to look at the foods they're trying to get you to cut out and see if they have any legitimate reasons for doing so.

The concern with red meat like beef is the high saturated fat content: it's been addressed many times on PaleoHacks and a variety of blogs, but long story short, most of us here don't think there's even a correlation between sat fat and heart disease, let alone any causation from them. Check out Chris Kresser or Robb Wolf's posts on the subject for in-depth scientific analysis.

I'm amazed doctors are still recommending people cut back on eggs when trying to stem heart disease: dietary cholesterol has been shown again and again to have no correlation with serum cholesterol levels and I'm fairly sure eggs themselves have been shown to have a POSITIVE correlation with heart health. If your doctor is recommending you cut back on eggs, it might be time to find a more up-to-date doctor.

Bacon (and other cured meats) tends to be indicted in heart disease for one of two reasons: saturated fat (by the CW crowd) which has been addressed above and nitrites (which are the current fear of most Paleo eaters). The evidence on nitrites is slim and inconclusive (to my knowledge at least -- if someone knows differently please correct me), so I'd argue that bacon's fine, though with it's high PUFA levels, it shouldn't be replacing pastured meats or (preferably) fish as a regular part of your diet.

That last note is the most important: don't think about cutting certain foods out. Instead, focus on incorporating nutrient-dense foods like organ meats, seafood, and animal parts, as well as a lot of mineral-rich vegetables, and you should be on the right track. Good luck!

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