New Track Your Plaque record!

The record for the largest drop in heart scan score (by percentage of starting score) has been held for around three years, with 63% reduction in score.

Well, the longstanding record was broken this week: 75% reduction in score.

At the start, Freddie has disastrous lipid values:

LDL cholesterol 263 mg/dl
HDL 26 mg/dl
Triglycerides 323 mg/dl
Total cholesterol 354 mg/dl

Lipoproteins (NMR) were worse:

LDL particle number 3360 nmol/L
Small LDL 2677 nmol/L

Heart scan score: 732

Interestingly, Freddie had virtually no vitamin D in his body, with a 25-hydroxy vitamin D level that was unmeasurable.

Freddie was miserably intolerant to statin drugs, with even the smallest dose resulting in intolerable muscle aches. That's when his doctor sent him to me.

Because I felt that the dominant abnormality in Freddie's lipids and lipoproteins was small LDL particles, representing 80% of total LDL particle number, we focused his program on correcting this parameter. Freddie's program was therefore focused elimination of wheat, cornstarch, oats, and sugars, along with an eventual vitamin D dose of 20,000 units to finally achieve a 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of 66 ng/ml. No statin drug in sight.

43 lbs of weight loss and 18 months later, a second heart scan score: 183--a 75% reduction.

While the rest of the world continues to insist that coronary calcium (heart scan) scores cannot be reduced, I am seeing records being broken. I add Freddie's experience to the rapidly growing list of people who have not just stopped coronary plaque from growing, but are seizing control and reducing it, sometimes to dramatic degrees.

Comments (19) -

  • Anonymous

    10/27/2010 6:41:09 AM |

    Great news!  Can we get more details on Freddie - age? does he exercise? meal frequency? etc.

  • qualia

    10/27/2010 7:10:56 AM |

    that's rather impressive! did he need/get a vitamin K1/K2 supplement as well, or was the 20kIU D just working fine without additional co-factors?

  • Tommy

    10/27/2010 12:34:31 PM |

    Dr Davis,

    This is interesting and as it relates to me baffling. I see many doing well even with just a little cleanup of their act. Meanwhile I have always been in good shape and eating right, triglycerides below 100 and good cholesterol but still had plaque and ended up with an MI last year. So, I cleared out all wheat and sugar etc, and more recently all grains other than sweet potato. In August my LDL was 74, HDL 46 and trigs 43.  
    Last weeks bloodwork looks like this:
    Total-184
    LDL 98
    HDL 70
    Triglycerides 74
    Lp(a) 4.0
    Pattern A.
    All other numbers good.

    "BUT" In the last month I have also been feeling chest discomfort and burning. My BP has been slightly higher than usual also.I called the doc and he ordered a stress test. This was Monday and now I am scheduled for an angiogram tomorrow. There is another blockage. I am 5'10" and 168 athletic lbs at 53 years old. WTF?
    The discomforts only started since adding more fats to my diet. I only started that about 3 weeks ago though. No grains at all.  But back around July or August I added Coconut oil to my diet. I cook with it and add 2 tbsp to my salad daily. I'm starting to suspect that stuff. Not the extra sat fat from meat and full fat greek yogurt but maybe the coconut oil. How the hell can I be developing plaque? I'm getting really frustrated and beaten down...what more can I do?  The doc keeps saying I'm doing everything right....but genetics.

    I take Vitmin D3 supps, 3 grams fish oil daily.

  • Pater_Fortunatos

    10/27/2010 1:16:08 PM |

    I reallly don't understand what is the equivalent name of this blood test in Romania for Small LDL.

    It couldn't be VLDL, then what could be the one ?
    Thank you !

  • Jonathan

    10/27/2010 1:42:55 PM |

    Tommy,
    maybe you should start a blog.  You can post your usual meals and other things and get feed back from the community.  Or you could visit Dr. Davis for a paid visit where he could actually help you as he can't legally practice medicine over his blog.

    I'd vote for too low of cholesterol where you are unable to fight the pathogen that is causing the problem in your veins.  The chest pain could be psychosomatic or a sodium/potassium/magnesium imbalance.  You might also want to up the Omega3 intake to 6 grams, at least, of the actual omega3 (usually around 300mg per 1000mg fish oil pill)  robbwolf has a link under tools for a fish oil calculator.

  • Tommy

    10/27/2010 2:12:36 PM |

    Jonathan,
    My diet isn't that complicated.
    Typical:
    Morning: Pastured Eggs, Asparagus, 1/2 cup cot cheese, some nuts, ground flax, raw milk. 1200 mg dha/epa. sometimes strawberries.  8 oz Coffee with a teaspoon raw honey.  Vit D supp.

    Lunch:  Large salad (dark green) with raw broccoli, tomatoes, peppers etc with coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Beef or bison baked or cooked over low heat in coconut oil in a frying pan, once per week sardines, veggies and a banana,600 mg dha/epa. 8 oz coffee, no sweetner.

    Dinner: Baked chicken breast (last 3 weeks with skin) or beef if I've  had bison for lunch, veggies and a sweet potato-plain, an orange. Sometimes some nuts....6 almonds.  1200 mg dha/epa

    snack before meds at night: greek yogurt (recently switched to pastued/raw) a tablespoon raisins.

    If I get hungry between meals I'll have some almonds...about 6-8 or walnuts raw, strawberries.

    I also include a protein shake once and awhile of raw milk and whey powder (no fat/no carbs powder). If I do I cancel the breakfast milk. I only drink 8 oz per day. I may be going to relace the cot cheese with the shake in the near future.
    I also have salmon every few weeks.

    That's about it. Potassium and mag are ok. Thyroid also.

    That's about it.

  • Anonymous

    10/27/2010 3:30:19 PM |

    Hi All,
    Please take a look at the latest blog of "The Healthy Sceptic" regarding fish oil!  May make us all rethink how much fish oil we take daily.

  • qualia

    10/27/2010 3:41:02 PM |

    @tommy
    what was your last CRP, vitamin D and homocysteine level? how is your general energy? do you feel less energetic after eating certain meals or foods?

  • stcrim

    10/27/2010 4:55:07 PM |

    Tommy,

    This isn't the whole answer - but - don't take your Vitamin D anywhere near fiber.  Also, as wonderful as milk is, it's fat and sugar combined, not unlike  Twinkies.  There may be some other things you have hidden in your diet as well.

    Steve

  • Anonymous

    10/27/2010 5:05:12 PM |

    Dr. Davis:

    Can you verify for us the protocols under which both CAC scoring scans were done?  The equipment used on each, the scanning protocol, type of software used, whether the same radiologist scored both tests, etc.?

    While you mention that Freddie's serum D was raised to 66 ng/ml with supplementation and that he experienced tremendous weight loss, and you also mention the absence of any statin, to what do you actually attribute the rather outsized decrease in CAC score?  Possible error or scan variation?  Different equipment?  Or?   If not any of these, then what do you think was the mechanism of action causing the change in score?

  • Sara

    10/27/2010 5:49:15 PM |

    Tommy,
    Think about joining TYP. Lots of info on the forum alone that would help you.

    Consider an NMR to get your particle number.

  • Anonymous

    10/27/2010 6:43:32 PM |

    great work dr davis.

    regarding your previous articles on thyroid i discovered ferrous ascorbate helps with thyroid functioning too.

    off topic but i was excited to report this discovery. please check it out yourself!

  • Anonymous

    10/27/2010 6:53:31 PM |

    Tommy, you mentioned before stress, anger, and sleep issues - that's probably where you need to focus.  Also, have you always had the low carb diet you have now or is it more recent?

  • Tommy

    10/27/2010 7:06:36 PM |

    Anon,

    That was last year I sleep good now; 7.5-8 hrs and more on weekends. My energy levels are usually great. Stress? That I don't see going away anytime soon.

  • Dr. William Davis

    10/27/2010 8:27:58 PM |

    Hi, Tommy--

    Sara beat me to it: Yes, join our discussions in Track Your Plaque, particularly our Forum discussions. Your very serious questions really cannot be fully considered here. The Forum will yield lots of helpful feedback.

    There may be an Apo E4 issue here, for instance. Another possibility: postprandial abnormalities.

  • Fred Hahn

    10/28/2010 12:51:30 PM |

    Doc - you need to get on TV.  I'm going to make some calls...

  • Dacia_Felix

    10/29/2010 11:52:10 AM |

    @Pater_Fortunatos

    In Romania small LDL is not measured, as far as I know. I checked the Synevo website and they don't do it. VLDL is a precursor of small LDL.

  • blogblog

    10/31/2010 7:37:50 AM |

    Anaonymous said: "Hi All,
    Please take a look at the latest blog of "The Healthy Sceptic" regarding fish oil! May make us all rethink how much fish oil we take daily."

    'The Healthy Skeptic' is an acupuncturist and promoter of alternative therapies. He obviously don't understand the meaning of irony.

  • lala

    11/17/2010 3:10:40 AM |

    Thanks for your post and welcome to check: here.

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The Framingham Crap Shoot

The Framingham Crap Shoot

The Framingham risk score is a risk-assessment tool that has become the basis for heart disease prediction used by practicing physicians.

The Framingham system determines that:

· 35% of the adult population in the U.S., or 70 million, is deemed “low-risk.” Low-risk is defined as the absence of standard risk factors for heart disease; low-risk persons have no more than a 1-in-20 chance (5%) of dying from heart disease in the next 10 years. Physicians are advised by the American Heart Association (AHA) and its experts that no specific effort at risk reduction is necessary.

· 25%, or approximately 50 million, U.S. adults are deemed “high-risk,” based on the presence of 2 or more risk factors. High-risk persons experience a 20%-30% likelihood of heart attack in the next 10 years. People at high-risk are candidates for preventive efforts according to the guidelines set by the Adult Treatment Panel-III (Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults; ATP-III) for cholesterol-reducing statin drug treatment and for “lifestyle-modifying” advice.

· The remaining 40% of the adult population, or 80 million people, are judged “intermediate-risk,” with the likelihood of heart attack between 5-20% over the next 10 years. This group should receive preventive advice and might be considered for statin drug treatment.


Let’s do some arithmetic. By the above scheme, the low-risk population will experience 3,500,000 heart attacks over the next decade, or 350,000 heart attacks per year.

The intermediate-risk population (without preventive treatment) will experience 8,000,000 heart attacks over the 10-year time period, or 800,000 per year.

The high-risk population, the group most likely to receive standard advice on diet, exercise, and be prescribed statin cholesterol drugs, will have their risk reduced by 35% by preventive efforts over the 10-year period. This means that heart attacks over 10 years will be reduced from 12,500,000 to 8,125,000 by standard prevention efforts, or reduced to 812,500 heart attacks per year.

These numbers are no secret. They are well known facts that have simply come to be accepted by the medical community. In other words, the standard approach to heart attack prediction makes the fact that two million people will succumb to cardiovascular events in the next year no mystery. This exercise in prediction is coldly accurate when applied to a large population.

The problem is that this approach cannot reliably distinguish which individuals will have a heart attack from those who will not.

From 100 people chosen at random, for instance, the numbers game played above will not confidently identify who among those 100 will have a heart attack, who will not, who will develop anginal chest pains and end up with stents or bypass surgery, or who will die. We just know that some of them will. Some people at high risk will have a heart attack, some people at intermediate risk will have a heart attack, some people at low risk will have a heart attack.

For any specific individual (like you or me), it’s a crap shoot.

That's why precise individual measurement of cardiovascular risk is required for real risk assessment, not applying broad statistical observations and forcing them to conform to the unique life of a specific individual, particularly risk calculators with as few risk parameters as the Framingham risk score.

Comments (2) -

  • katherine

    11/24/2008 3:31:00 PM |

    just came across this...thoughts?

    http://thegearjunkie.com/the-runners-heart

  • John

    11/29/2008 3:33:00 AM |

    Good article. One of the most common mistakes made by health conscious individuals is the idea that if study X says A is bad or good then one should adjust one's lifestyle accordingly.

    If only it were that simple. A statistical analysis of a group is applicable to that group, not necessarily the specific individuals within that group; let alone those outside the studied group. We cannot determine individual risk on the basis of such studies yet time and again these studies are mentioned as "evidence" that we must accept. Sadly, too many health promoters, who should know better, tend to make the same logical error.

    Very pleased to see that this error is highlighted here.

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