The American Heart Association (AHA) has bad news for women: We?re all at serious risk for getting heart disease. So they?ve come out with new guidelines to help us avoid it. Unfortunately, some of the guidelines could cause more harm than good.
For instance, they advise us to take an aspirin every day to thin our blood and prevent strokes. Not just a baby aspirin (162 mg), but a regular aspirin (325 mg). Are they kidding? Most people know that aspirin can irritate the stomach. It can also cause ulcers and severe bleeding in many people. The stronger the aspirin, the greater the risk.
Haven?t these experts heard that there are other, safer blood thinners, such as vitamin E, fish oils, and omega-3 fats?
Actually, they have. But instead of recommending them, the AHA is attacking them. They?re saying that thinning your blood is a good idea as long as you use aspirin, which can cause ulcers. But it?s not a good idea to thin your blood with vitamin E or essential fatty acids, which have no side effects.
But their attacking goes well beyond vitamin E. They say we should not take other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, either. Why? Because they?re unregulated. This simply means there?s no profit for pharmaceutical companies.
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Ironically, these new guidelines contradict themselves. They want us to eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are protective because they?re packed with natural blood thinners and antioxidants!
While some of the AHA?s suggestions make sense, such as exercising an hour a day with moderate intensity and not smoking, many don?t. And there are lots of omissions, such as checking your fibrinogen level (which is a greater predictor of heart attacks and stroke than cholesterol levels).
They don?t even tell you to learn the difference between high cholesterol and oxidized cholesterol. Leaving these recommendations off is inexcusable.
If you really want to protect your heart, you can find much better suggestions and tips on heart disease prevention on my website www.womenshealthletter.com
You also need to avoid the aspirin and make sure you?re taking at least 400-800 IU of natural vitamin E (d-alpha or mixed tocopherols) and 1,000 mg of fish oils and omega-3 oils (from flax, borage, or primrose oils) each day. They?re good for your heart and completely safe (unlike aspirin).
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Mosca, L, MD, PhD, et al, "2007 guidelines for preventing cardiovascular disease in women," Circulation, February 20, 2007.