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“The Nutritional Reversal of Cardiovascular Disease – Fact or Fiction”?

FACT!! Read the following case studies to find out how a “Plant-based” diet can reverse heart disease.

Case No. 1 – R. M. of New Foundland, Canada is a 74 year old male who had a heart attack at age 42 in 1982 and a
mild stroke in 1985. Imaging at that time confirmed a 100% occlusion of the right carotid artery and a 27% blockage
of the left carotid artery as well as further coronary artery disease progression necessitating bypass surgery which
was performed not withstanding a 100% occluded right carotid artery. Despite optimal medical therapy and modest
nutritional changes of decreasing sugar, fat, and eating less meat, the patient’s left carotid artery blockage had
progressed by 2008 to 80-90% occlusion by ultra sound. By 2011 he was having daily angina and his physician
indicated there was nothing further they could do for him. He felt his time was short. During this time, his daughter
had found and read Dr. Esselstyn’s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. She herself had experienced a heart
attack at age 37, so they both became fully committed to whole foods, plant-based nutrition. Within one month, his
angina completely disappeared and his erectile dysfunction resolved. After 4 months, he had lost 41 pounds to a
body weight of 136 pounds which was the same weight at his wedding 53 years earlier. In September of 2013, a
repeat duplex ultrasound confirmed left carotid artery disease reversal from 80-90% in 2008 to 50-69%. He states he
no longer tires and in retirement he is physically active all day. He states “I am so busy living now, I no longer think
about dying”.

Case No. 2 –A.S., a 32 years old engineer, was diagnosed with Type II diabetes mellitus and began treatment with
oral medication (metformin 1,000 mg twice per day with a hemoglobin A1c of 6.5). By age 43 he started experiencing
chest pain. Angiography at a local hospital confirmed coronary artery disease and he required a percutaneous
coronary intervention (PCI) with stent placement in May of 2003. He returned to the local hospital in August of 2005
with recurrent chest pain and he received another stent. In June of 2007, recurrent symptoms warranted two
additional stents. In September of 2007, he was seen at the Cleveland Clinic with recurrent chest pain. He required
two angioplasties to treat stent re-stenosis. These recurrences were despite the standard lifestyle modifications,
cardiac rehabilitation and usual cardiac medications (including the addition of glimepiride), achieving an LDL
cholesterol of 60 mg/dl. By July of 2008, at age 47, he was having unstable angina necessitating a double coronary
artery bypass graft surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. In November of 2009 he had recurrent chest pain for which he
had stenting of his stenotic bypass graft and approximately one month later in December of 2009, at the same
institution, his symptoms required two more stents for stent restenosis. At this time, physicians informed him and
his wife that there was little else that could be done for him in view of his aggressive and progressive disease. He
therefore, started on a regimen of multiple dietary supplements as recommended by a holistic medicine practitioner.
Nevertheless, on June 12, 2010 his three month experiment with holistic medicine failed and he underwent two more
angioplasties for unstable angina. On June 18, 2010, becoming interested more in nutrition, he attended our 5.5 hour
intensive counseling seminar at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. He has since been fully adherent to whole
foods, plant-based nutrition beyond four years. He has had no further chest pain. Four months following initiating
whole foods, plant-based nutrition he was declared no longer diabetic (with a hemoglobin A1c of 5.1 he was no
longer taking any diabetic medications) and erectile dysfunction resolved. He maintains a normal, full work
schedule and is empowered with the realization that his nutrition has vanquished his illness.

Case No. 3 – J. M. is a 62 years old male who was initially seen at the Cleveland Clinic on September 4, of 2003 at age 52. At that time he weighed 192 pounds and had hyperlipidemia and hypertension, both controlled by medications.
He was given the standard diet prescription, and was started on niacin. On a return visit he had lost 25 pounds. He
returned to an affiliate hospital of the Cleveland Clinic on March 15, 2006 having had a cerebral vascular accident for
which he underwent a right carotid endarterectomy on March 19, 2006. At the time of that procedure he sustained a
right retinal infarct. A right carotid duplex on May of 2006, two months after the procedure, confirmed the right
carotid artery was now occluded. On August 27, 2007 a repeat duplex of the remaining patent left carotid artery
confirmed increasing stenosis. Also, this time he was diagnosed with leg claudication. Further evaluation on
February 28, 2008 confirmed progression of carotid stenosis from 20-39% in 2006 to 60-79% in 2008.
The Nutritional Reversal of Cardiovascular Disease – Fact or Fiction? Three Case Reports
Exp Clin Cardiol, Volume 20, Issue 7, 2014 – Page 1904
By March 14, 2010 his claudication progressed to the point of necessitating an intervention. He required an
endarterectomy of his left carotid artery on June 4, 2010 before his left leg bypass surgery. The left leg operation
consisted of a vein graft from the left superficial femoral to the left posterior tibial artery and was performed on
September 20, 2010. Within 48 hours the graft failed. Thombectomy of the failed graft was performed on September
23, 2010. A further evaluation of the leg graft on February 22, 2011 confirmed that it has thrombosed. At this time,
exercise was recommended along with usual cardiovascular medications. In March of 2011, he attended a 5.5 hour
intensive counseling seminar on whole foods, plant-based nutrition to halt and reverse cardiovascular disease at the
Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Within four months his claudication was markedly improved, his blood
pressure was normal and he had now lost an additional 15 pounds. Two years following his transition to plant-based
nutrition, he is able to walk without discomfort or pain beyond 45 minutes. He has maintained his weight loss and
his blood pressure and cholesterol remain normal with minimal medications. Though he is presently retired, he
derives satisfaction as a motivational speaker at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute program for the arrest and
reversal of cardiovascular disease.
These case reports define two distinctly different strategies treating vascular disease. They powerfully illustrate the
failure of present cardiovascular therapy to resolve this illness when the underlying cause is not addressed by
engaging patients to eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. Current approaches utilize imaging, drugs, procedures, and
operations which treat symptoms not disease causation. They are palliative not curative. The inadequacy of these
pharmaceutical and interventional undertakings is best illustrated by the multiple invasive procedures utilized time
after time despite the lack of success without considering nutritional factors that go beyond the currently accepted
dietary guidelines for patients with CVD. These technological failures significantly increase expense, complications,
morbidities, and mortality that accompany these repeated efforts and may, in part, explain why the real total direct
medical costs of CVD in the United States are projected to triple, from $273 billion to $818 billion between 2010 and
2030 (22).
By way of contrast, all three cases promptly responded to plant-based nutrition. All three had been told there was
little else to be done for them. All have experienced one or multiple technological failures. When eating a whole
foods, plant-based diet, they all have experienced resolution of angina and/or claudication and erectile dysfunction
and one has the security that his remaining carotid artery is measurably less stenotic through progressive disease
reversal. In one patient, diabetes resolved with no need for medication. In all, weight loss was prominent. Above
all, these three men have the sense of empowerment that they themselves are the locus of control to halt the disease
that was destroying them. Lest the reader feel that statin drugs might account for this, be assured all three had the
full complement of appropriate medications while their disease was worsening.
The obvious question is, why did these men, presumably having the best of cardiovascular care, have to strike out on
their own to find the answer for their progressive illness? Cardiologists by and large are caring compassionate and
knowledgeable specialists. They, however, have little or no training in nutrition or behavioral modification. Yet for
beyond 20 years there have been epidemiological, wartime deprivation, our previous study, randomized and nonrandomized
studies demonstrating proof of concept that plant-based nutrition may halt and reverse cardiovascular
disease (1-3,5-8). We recently summarized our experience treating 200 patients with significant cardiovascular
disease. It reviews our whole foods, plant-based nutrition strategy to achieve 89% adherence over 3.7 years with a
major cardiac events rate of 1 % (one stroke and one CABG) for those who adhered completely with the prescribed
therapeutic whole foods, plant-based diet (23).

To read the entire article by Dr. Esselstyn, click here

Would you like to learn more about incorporating a plant-based diet into your diet? We can help you get started! This could be the biggest and healthiest investment you ever made in your life. Contact us today and we will help you with every step.

Cathy Bowers, RD





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