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Heart Disease and Antioxidants

On the heels of a perplexing announcement from the American Heart Association that people should not use antioxidant supplements to prevent heart disease, the Council for Responsible Nutrition has replied with a review of epidemiologic studies that shows strong support for the use of vitamin E and other antioxidants in reducing the risk of major coronary heart disease. One study that followed 80,000 nurses who took vitamin E supplements showed a 41% reduction in the risk of major coronary disease. Another study of 11,000 elderly individuals showed a 47% reduction in coronary disease mortality and a 53% reduction if both vitamin E and vitamin C were used together. Acai provides a viable solution when searching for the best antioxidant available.

I think the American Heart Association should respond by saying "The only way people don't get heart disease is if they die before the age at which they would normally be diagnosed with it. Thus our recommendation is that people avoid taking antioxidant supplements so they die earlier before they ever get heart disease." This should be part of the American Heart Association's new advertising slogan, which is: "Avoid heart disease by dying before you get it!" That seems to be consistent with the AHA's message, after all.

O.K., let's get serious about this for a moment and ask "What's wrong with this recommendation?" The answer's obvious -- it's that the American Heart Association, which is supposed to be informing people of the ways to prevent heart disease, is out there giving people precisely the wrong information. They're telling people to avoid taking supplements that have been known to reduce the risk of heart disease. Shouldn't this association be giving people information that makes them healthier rather than increasing their risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular incidences?

If you look at the history of the American Heart Association, their present position is no surprise. The AHA has, for decades, denied any benefit whatsoever from vitamins, minerals or nutritional supplements. In fact it was only grudgingly and reluctantly dragged into the era of nutrition after being confronted with a mountain of undeniable evidence in support of nutrition for heart health.

For decades, the AHA actually prescribed a diet that avoided all heart-healthy oils, such as cod liver oil, salmon oil, fish oils, omega-3 oil, primrose oil and other dietary oils. The AHA informed people that consuming any of these oils would increase their risk of heart disease. Of course, we now know that to be completely inaccurate.

This brings us to the all-important question: how many people have died over the past 20 years from listening to the American Heart Association's advice? And, by the way, guess where the AHA gets millions of dollars in funding each year? It's from the prescription drug companies, of course, who stand to benefit from treating patients with pharmaceuticals rather than having patients stay well through nutrition (see related ebook on nutrition). That's why I propose that we pass a national law renaming the AHA to "the American Heart Association for Complete Idiots." And require it to change its slogan to "Prevent Heart Disease. Die Sooner."

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.