Journal, Fall 2014, What Causes Heart Attacks?

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President’s Message

by Sally Fallon Morell

In this issue we focus on two competing theories for the cause of heart attacks. Dr. Tom Cowan and Carlos Monteiro argue that most heart attacks originate in the heart itself, with clots forming as a consequence of the heart attack rather than the cause. Chris Masterjohn points out that the evidence for this theory is contradictory, and that new testing methods indicate that the thrombus—the clot—appears to play a causative role. Nevertheless, the two theories are not mutually exclusive, and we are still a long way from understanding exactly how and why heart attacks occur.

One thing is certain: the fat-soluble vitamins, so central to Dr. Price’s research, play an important role in preventing heart attacks, whether they originate as a clot in the arteries, or in the heart itself due to sudden or prolonged stress, and to the build-up of lactic acid in the heart.

Masterjohn’s research confirms earlier studies showing that vitamin K—Dr. Price’s X Factor—plays a role in preventing calcification of soft tissues, particularly in the arteries. Chris notes that plaque that is calcified is more prone to rupture and clot formation.

The fat-soluble vitamins also play a significant role in helping the body cope with stress. The body cannot make stress hormones out of cholesterol without vitamin A. In times of stress, we need more vitamin A. Unfortunately, diets low in fat and cholesterol—the chosen dietary treatment for heart disease—will be very low in true vitamin A. It is reasonable to assume that vitamin A is also involved in the production of endogenous cardiotonics, which help the heart clear lactic acid. Vitamin D plays a role in the production of “feel-good” chemicals that help the body mitigate stress. And vitamin K works in concert with vitamins A and D.

So while we may not know the exact mechanisms that lead to heart attacks, we can feel assured that a nourishing traditional diet will help prevent them. Diets rich in butter, cheese and egg yolks from grass-fed animals, organ meats, pastured lard and certain seafoods such as fish eggs, shell fish, oily fish and cod liver oil, provide these fat-soluble vitamins at the levels we need to achieve vibrant health, including protection from heart disease. Diets that include these foods are satisfying and easy to stay on.

Both Masterjohn and Cowan will be speakers at the fifteenth annual Wise Traditions conference, held this year in Indianapolis. We have a great program planned, plus the delicious meals you have come to expect. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tim Boyd was born and raised in Ohio, graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a degree in computer engineering, and worked in the defense industry in Northern Virginia for over 20 years. During that time, a slight case of arthritis led him to discover that nutrition makes a difference and nutrition became a serious hobby. After a pleasant and satisfying run in the electronics field, he decided he wanted to do something more important. He is now arthritis free and enjoying his dream job working for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

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