Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Leading cardiologist, Dr. Joel Kahn, talks about how to reduce your risk of heart disease by changing your lifestyle. Eating a majority plant-based diet, stopping smoking, and getting enough sleep are key factors in heart health.
Listen to the Episode
Best Supplements for Optimal Heart Health
- Vitamin D
About Dr. Joel Kahn
Dr. Joel Kahn is a practicing cardiologist in Detroit, Michigan, and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan Medical School.
Known as “America’s Healthy Heart Doc”, Dr. Kahn has triple board certifications in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, and Interventional Cardiology.
He was the first physician in the world to certify in Metabolic Cardiology with A4M/MMI and the University of South Florida. He founded the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity in Bingham Farms, MI.
Heart Health: The Leading Cause of Death
Dr. Joel Kahn starts off by sharing exactly how serious heart disease is to the average American: very. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US. Dr. Kahn is on a mission to help the general population reduce their likelihood of developing heart disease in their lifetime.
There are several lifestyle factors Dr. Kahn attributes to helping reduce the risk of heart disease. By stopping smoking, eating a majority plant-based diet, and improving the quality of your sleep, you have a lower chance of avoiding heart disease.
Saying that, however, there are certain hereditary markers that can increase your development of the disease. So when this is the case for you, Dr. Kahn says it’s even more important to keep your lifestyle factors to a minimum.
Plants Based Eating for Optimal Heart Health
Dr. Kahn is an advocate for a majority plant-based diet. A diet rich in plants is much healthier for the heart as it tends to be lower in cholesterol. But make sure you’re supplementing on this type of diet, especially Vitamin B12.
Certain nutrients are better for heart health. While most come from a healthy plant-based diet, some are more difficult to get naturally. Dr. Kahn shares the best supplements for optimal heart health and explains why we should all use supplements for our health.
Finally, we talk about what lab and blood tests you should ask your doctor for to check your markers. In particular, it’s important to keep an eye on your cholesterol, both LDL and HDL, as this has a massive impact on your heart health.
How much of a plant-based diet are you eating? Are you worried you might have heart disease? Call the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic today and schedule your first appointment at 319-363-0033.
“Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America of men and women since 1918. 103 years in a row we have the champion’s belt to show for heart disease. It’s time to stop that.” [4:18]
“The whole public should ensure that their diet is working for them in terms of vitamin and cholesterol levels.” [15:36]
“If you are eating meat, follow your direction and go for better quality cuts.” [35:30]
In This Episode
- How serious heart disease is [4:00]
- How to prevent heart disease [5:30]
- How we should be eating for heart disease prevention [8:30]
- Why we should reduce our consumption of animal products [10:30]
- What nutrient deficiencies someone on a plant-based diet might have [19:30]
- The top nutrients for optimal heart health [21:30]
- Sources of cholesterol on a plant-based diet [29:00]
- What percentage of your diet should be plant-based [30:00]
- What blood tests indicate heart disease [36:00]
Links & Resources
Dr. Joel Kahn 0:03
Our disease has remained the number one cause of death in America, men and women since 1918.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:12
Welcome to the your longevity blueprint podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Dr. Joel Khan, America's healthy heart doc. Today we're going to discuss how to detect heart disease and prevent it. Let's get started.
Welcome to another episode of The your longevity blueprint podcast today. My guest is Dr. Joel Khan. He's a practicing cardiologist in Detroit, Michigan and a clinical professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan Medical School, known as Americans healthy heart doctor Dr. Khan has triple board certifications in internal medicine, cardiovascular medicine and interventional cardiology. He was the first physician in the world to certify in metabolic cardiology with a forum and the University of South Florida and he funded the Khan center for cardiac longevity in Birmingham Farms, Michigan. Welcome to the show, Dr. Khan.
Dr. Joel Kahn 1:20
Thank you very much. I'm excited to talk about good stuff. Well, you're the
Dr. Stephanie Gray 1:24
expert and we're going to dive into heart disease. So in chapter seven of my book Your longevity blueprint, I'm comparing the plumbing of the home to the cardiovascular system in the body. In the shaft, I talked about how important water pressure in the home is. multiple factors affect the water pressure in the home, including the size and the length of the pipe work along with factors like calcium buildup inside of those pipes. And the same is true with your arteries. You want your arteries clear and you want your heart to keep things running smoothly. We depend on water in our house for everyday activities like bathing, brushing our teeth, washing your hands, cleaning the dishes, doing laundry, so you need your plumbing to get you through the day clog free.
And most individuals understand that grease pour down our drain will eventually harden right leading to a clog. Similarly, our bodies depend on blood which carries oxygen and vital nutrients to all of our organs. And just like clogged pipes in a house can lead to problems. clogged arteries can lead to serious health consequences which you're going to share with us. So today we're going to dive deep into how we can prevent those serious cardiovascular consequences. So Dr. Khan as the expert in heart health, tell us how you became America's healthy heart doctor.
Dr. Joel Kahn 2:28
Well, I trained as a plumber for all those years, decided to become a heart doctor. Now. There's a joke, there's a joke to that nature butts into made a very appropriate analogy that by plumbing, which is the language I use all the time now office. Yeah, that specific title. It's just kind of fun. When I did go back after years and years of being a standard cardiologist hospitals, cath labs, emergency rooms, and pursued integrative training, functional medicine training, the different words you can describe it. And I quickly very nicely picked up a book deal with Reader's Digest, there is still a Reader's Digest magazine, although this was a decade ago, and I wrote for the magazine, which is still widely read, and I published a book with them as the publisher. And that was the title of the column and Reader's Digest, you know, and it's their editorial team. And I said, after writing for them for a number of years, hey, I re got this on my website. Can I keep it? And they said, Sure, keep using it. Why not?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 3:29
Yeah. We don't have a lot of integrative cardiologist here in Iowa. So I have patients who come to me all the time wanting various strategies other than, you know, the medications they've been prescribed to help reduce their risk. And so I hope the listeners today, learn a lot from what you have to share. So let's start with how big of a deal heart diseases can you give us some statistics? How serious is heart disease?
Dr. Joel Kahn 3:52
Big deal? If you want more than that? Yeah. Over big deal. They are super big deal as probably most people know. But you have to be reminded regularly, even last year with the horrible, horrible pandemic. Twice as many people in America died of heart disease and data COVID-19, almost twice as many died of cancer is COVID-19 heart disease despite some reports, and not as many people were showing up for heart attacks, heart disease has remained the number one cause of death in America, men and women since 1918. So 103 years in a row, we have that champions belt to show for our disease, it's time to stop that. I don't want to hand it off to another disease. I just want to see overall people live longer and healthier.
But it is really big deal. When it's grandma or grandpa at age 96 You know, they die in their sleep in bed. It's very sad, but it's gentle. Problem is there's 38 year olds that either are dropping dead or they're resuscitated and there's brain damage and they're not working and you know, challenges and supporting the family and just you know tragedy literally just the last patient walked out of my office, her mother died of a heart attack at age 38. I mean, she was 11 years old. That's the kind of tragedy that just drives me to say, you know, I love what I do. But it's also a passion in terms of get the message out, get the message out, get the test done. Make sure this never happens to you.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 5:21
I want to talk about tests. But let's come back to weight. We know heart disease is tragic. So how do we prevent it?
Dr. Joel Kahn 5:26
Yeah, so there's a mouthful there. Number one, go to old things. We know we know there's lifestyle choices that increase the risk, there are people that smoked and live to 100 and never have a heart attack. But there's lifestyle choices that increase the risk, lifestyle choices that decrease the risk, don't smoke, get a blood pressure cuff and use it because if you have high blood pressure, it damages your arteries. And if you do have high blood pressure, exercise, diet, good sleep, good nutrition. And if you got to take medicine, take it, take it regularly and get a home blood pressure cuff high cholesterol, you won't know if you have a high cholesterol unless you have some weird little fatty deposits under your eyes, it's really quite unusual. get blood work.
You know, don't wait till you're 60 to get your first cholesterol check, get your numbers checked, and anybody wants to dive deeper. There are some additional tests, you can do blood sugar, again, you go walk around for a decade, with elevated blood sugar, maybe pre diabetes, maybe actually mild diabetes, very bad for your arteries, get your blood work done, you know, do go see a doctor or some kind of wellness check. And finally, be aware of your family history. These are the classic traditional factors you have as this young woman that was in my office, a mother, a grandparent, a brother, a sister and aunt and uncle with a heart attack, a stroke, a bypass drop dead suddenly at age 40 to 44 something like really shocking. You need to wrap around a lot of knowledge into your to your head by reading and listening to things like we're doing right now. Then you can go beyond that.
Because now we include sleep, poor sleep, interrupted sleep is a risk factors air pollution, it's actually a very strong risk factor of heart disease. Genetics. It's not all do you eat salads or doughnuts, that's a very important factor. But it's not the only factor. There's a kind of cholesterol I might mention that 25% of people inherit and 1% of doctors actually checked for it. It's kind of a disparity right now. So we need to work a little better on more advanced testing and never ignore, I'll give you a couple of statements. A tightness of pressure, a squeezing a shortness of breath. When you're out in the cold when you're exerting yourself walking fast climbing a hill, don't ignore that mentioned to your doctor, or if it's really bad, go to emergency room.
Guys with erectile dysfunction. You're 44 years old guys. And it ain't happening like it happened when you're 35 that can be a clue to clog heart arteries, let alone at circulation below the waist. You know erectile dysfunction, get a blue pill, that kind of stuff works great. But ask the question Why Why? Why is this happening? What's with my diet, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, get your heart checked. Erectile dysfunction can be a very valuable and accurate clewd a bad heart disease before it's really an issue.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 8:17
Good. Great tips love those. I want to go back to while we haven't talked about lifestyle changes here. But I want to specifically focus on diet for a little bit. So I know who you are. I know you eat plant based. The listeners may not know your story. So tell us in your professional opinion. I want to know how you eat but I want to know, in your opinion, how we should be eating for heart disease prevention,
Dr. Joel Kahn 8:37
eating or disease prevention is a largely whole foods plant based diet. And why do I say that? Why don't I say vegan because there's so many processed fake meat, fake cheese, delicious options out there. And they're fun once in a while. That's not the basis of good weight, good blood pressure, good cholesterol and good heart arteries. Good sexual function. They are the basis is for things that even our government agrees about fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes beans, peas and lentils, any combination you want. But eat a largely whole food plant based diet. There's no reason not to do Meatless Monday. There's no reason you can't do breakfast and lunch completely animal free every day that's program made popular by New York Times out there called Vegan before six. And if the family gathering is a little more challenging, maybe you have a big salad and broccoli with dinner and it's a small piece of fish or chicken. I don't do that.
But if you want to do that, the Mediterranean diet which says reduce red meat, reduce dairy increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, use olive oil, not butter or lard and drink red wine, non Mountain Dew. That's not a bad model either. That's worked very well for a lot of people. So literally five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day. That's not a hard goal, but it's got to be berries in your oatmeal, and an apple or an orange at lunch, and a gigantic salad with peas and beans and lentils for dinner with whatever else you want. Is that basically how you eat? That is how I eat every darn day. There's never animal products never, never, never. No, never. I mean, do I ever break down once while have something sloppy? It happens. It's not very often.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 10:21
Let's go to animal products. So when you're saying for heart health, we essentially should not eat these animal products. Can you explain to the listeners Why is it because of the saturated fat? Or what's the driving? What are the top driving factors with these animal products like specifically meat to
Dr. Joel Kahn 10:35
there's a scientist in LA, a researcher of world renowned named Dr. Valter Longo ello NGO and he's got a great book called The longevity diet, that would be a good basis for almost anybody to read. And he breaks it down real quickly. He calls them the pillars of longevity, the pillars of longevity, diet, eating for good health long term. You know, what's the data of the biochemistry, if you take meats, we can talk and what let's not do it. But for half an hour. This in meat causes a rise in a chemical in the blood called T Mao and TMA o might damage your arteries. This chemical in the meat called New 5g C might cause your blood vessels to get inflamed. That saturated fat in the fish and the chicken and the turkey and the pork and the red meat may raise your cholesterol, it's not going to give you a heart attack today.
But if you do that every day for the next 25 years, it may give you erectile dysfunction, strokes and heart attacks, the way animal foods are raised. And it's also a concern for plant based foods in terms of pesticides, herbicides, glyphosate, like Roundup, but the way animals are generally raised 98% of the meeting United States is made under circumstances, antibiotics, hormones, infections, bacteria, stress, I mean, just horrible foods for the human nature. Now, if you find a nice ethical farmer out there, or you have your own property, or I don't want to, I'm gonna disappoint every vegan in the world. But you're a hunter and you're eating, you know, a wild game. There's data that's healthier, it's not nice to the animal, or maybe a nice environment. It's healthier than storebought hamburger for sure.
So it you know, we actually that's about chemistry, then we look at old people do old people eat meat heavy diets, not generally, if you go to Okinawa, or Loma Linda, California are Sardinia, Italy, where they have these exceptional longevity. And then we look at the randomized studies. And there are studies of meat heavy versus meat light diets. And generally the meat light diets are that no meat diets, better blood sugar, better cholesterol, better body weight, better inflammation profile. And then you actually look at, you know what we're versus our disease. And it's always plant based diets, and you just stack seven years of data, at least one and to have another type another type another type another, you have to look at the whole picture to really get the full fair understanding.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 12:56
Sure, I think I want to go here for a moment. You've kind of already alluded to some of this, but being on a plant based diet, I have a question as far as Is there a way to do that wrong. And you've kind of already mentioned a little bit of that. Like for instance, there's a ketogenic diet, right for some people, they do it more of a dirty keto, and they're really not doing keto, the way that a lot of individuals who just preach about ketogenic diet, believe they should be doing it with plant based, Are there limitations like are the vegan cheese's and the impossible burgers and you know, these sort of new food concoctions? I do not eat dairy from a hormone standpoint, I have a hormone clinic and I believe dairy can really it has negatively impacted my hormones. So I have another reason other than heart disease prevention for not eating dairy. But I do wonder I was just this weekend talking to some friends at the pool about this, like when I look at, you know, an organic cheese that may have may have three ingredients in it. And then I look at a vegan cheese that has 20 ingredients with guar gum and fillers and is that really better not that I have those every day, but you're always in
Dr. Joel Kahn 13:54
a stronger position when you have data. So it isn't a perfect study, but the Harvard School for public health about three years ago, they have a database of nurses and doctors over 100,000 They've been studying them and reporting on them for 35 years now. And they classified them and again, they weren't really vegan, non vegan, but they call it healthy plant based diet patterns, unhealthy plant based diet banners. Are you eating potato chips? No, that's vegan, right that wouldn't fall into that. And they actually show the unhealthy plant forward diet had actually more risk for heart disease than those that were not eating vegan. Now, the message that really needs to be said those that were worried eating healthy plant based diets, the beans, the beans, the lentils and the rest.
They had a lower risk of heart disease strokes and heart attacks erectile dysfunction, early death so that winds if you can eat salads and beans and peas and sweet potatoes and tofu and tempeh and olives and walnuts and brown rice and white rice and you know make ethnic food loads of stir fries and all you know you're ahead of the game but if you know that so that's one pitfall is junk vegan food on a regular basis, another pitfall is not supplementing, if you're 100% vegan for a long time, I'm 44 years vegan, you know, you better think about some B 12. In your program, big deal. Take a pill a day, stop whining about it. The general public is deficient in many important vitamins and nutrients, they just don't test it. We're a bunch of whiny vegans we go get bloodwork and we find out we got nutrient deficiencies and we fix them and then we do fine. But that's what the whole public should do.
Anyways, a whole book should ensure that their diet is working for them in terms of vitamin levels in terms from cholesterol levels. I mean, again, another patient today literally found out she had some heart disease by a CT scan we might want to talk about and she started surfing the web before she found me and she found her on the Keto docks, and her cholesterol went from 220 to 360. In the last three months, that's what happens and she has heart disease, that was not a good decision. It didn't kill her. If she kept going on that for 10 years, it might kill her. So we're going to get her back to a diet that lowers your cholesterol not nearly doubles. Also, there are problems she lost six pounds, but you can lose six pounds throwing up you don't need to double your cholesterol to lose six pounds.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 16:27
You might already know that insulin resistance can lead to weight gain, but did you know that it also is one of the leading causes of death for its role in diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's. diet changes are essential when it comes to combating insulin resistance, but additional nutrients can also help the one I recommend the most Berberine Berberine is a plant extract that has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for over 2500 years. In addition to its long history, modern clinical trials have demonstrated that Berberine supports cardiovascular health in a number of important synergistic ways. These include helping you maintain blood pressure, support healthy heart contraction and rhythm and support healthy cholesterol and glucose levels. Our Berberine support products also contains alpha lipoic acid or HLA, which has been shown to support blood sugar balance and is also a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals.
It's wonderful for maintaining healthy blood vessel and circulatory health. Consider taking the synergistic blend daily or especially if you eat more than normal, or indulge over the holidays or a birthday, where it should help reduce blood sugar spikes. Check out our product info sheet at your longevity blueprint.com forward slash product forward slash Berberine hyphen support to get 10% off Berberine support us code Berberine at your longevity blueprint.com. Now let's get back to the show. You just head on about six points I wanted to ask you about so I want to go back though for a moment to tofu in Tempe. So you're referencing soy and I'm from Iowa. We have a heavy soybean crop here but a lot of soy is GMO. So are you pro soy Are you against tell me let's talk more about
Dr. Joel Kahn 17:59
Iowa. This soy beans. They're in the soy meal they're feeding to the cows and the chickens and the pork that people are eating is GMO. The soy products you're buying in the grocery store? I'll have the green USDA label on them, or at least the non GMO label I preferred has the green organic label on it. So you know that you know you trust that they were raised without being sprayed with Roundup and other I think toxic substances. Bill Gates doesn't agree. But Bill Gates doesn't do it. All right, we've learned I'd be more concerned about the content of glyphosate in grocery store foods chicken, other ball threes, pork, ham, and beef products, not just me. And tofu and tempeh because I tell you maybe I'm not in Whole Foods much. I'm just at the corner grocery store. But my soy milk always has had a green organic label on it, meaning those plants weren't sprayed with Roundup they used maybe some kind of natural herbicides and pesticides.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 18:59
Sure. Yeah. Thank you. Okay, my next question was going to be regarding limitations of a plant based diet. And you already alluded to potential nutritional deficiencies. I'm sure we both are running nutritional evaluations, which is the entire topic of Chapter Four in my book, fixing those deficiencies that are found. So in those who are on more of a vegetarian or vegan diet, we know B 12 can be low. And so these patients many times need to supplement but before we go into other supplements for heart health, specifically for those on a plant based diet, want to talk about amino acid profiles. So are those on plant based diets deficient in some amino acids that are more found in meat,
Dr. Joel Kahn 19:36
the data suggests that that is not a concern or the case. You could create a diet you know if you ate some strange diet of just mandarin oranges for a year. I mean, there may not be all 21 amino acids. Some people say 20 I count them as 21 you know in a mandarin orange, but if you eat again The rainbow we talk about, you know, eat some fruits, some vegetables, some whole grains, some lagoons, maybe one of those groups doesn't agree with you. And if you've got celiac disease, you're obviously going to do a gluten free variation. There are no substantiated or known protein deficiencies, single amino acid deficiencies. Again, flip the story. What's in animal meat foods is high content of amino acid called methionine. And there's clear data x s Messiah and and a plant based diet is low and within a meat based diet is high is a very potent aging diet that probably promotes cancer and early demise.
So that you know, you flip it around and you should ask the same question of the meat eaters. Are you getting too much of some of the amino acids that are the building blocks of protein? And you might we all need some of it and we just don't need an excess. So now it's not a concern. If you're training for a triathlon or an ultra marathon, yeah, you probably need to focus. I don't use protein powders from P or sacha inchi. But you know, if I was training and pounded on 10,000 calories a day, I might do that I eat beans and peas and lentils in greens, chlorella, which isn't usually a staple of a vegan diet, although it's a very good add on algae, tablet, nutrient 65% protein, and that's a friggin plant, you know, Oh, thanks. That's the world record holder.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:28
Most people don't know that. But yeah, so staying on the topic of nutrients and supplements. Aside from those on a plant based diet, what are top nutrients that you recommend for heart
Dr. Joel Kahn 21:38
health, you know, in terms of I'm going to become plant based for the for the world for the animals to lose weight to prevent heart disease, you know, maybe manage my blood pressure, manage my cholesterol, my blood sugar, all the usual wonderful reasons. There are now the industry ultimately response. So there are some multivitamins that have everything you might be concerned about. And one capsule makes it really easy, no brain required. I take one called complement plus, but in one capsule, there's a little LG Omega three component, there's a little bt 12, there's a little zinc, there's a little iodine, there's a little selenium, you're not gonna be missing anything with that. And there are some others out there, I just blanked on the name future guy. That's another one out there.
But there's probably a dozen now, as some people have the attitude and I don't really take exception with it. I'll just take v 12. Maybe a little tablet sublingually. Maybe I'll take it once a week. Really. B 12 deficiency is important if you have it because it could long term damage your nerves, your brain, your blood cells, but it takes months to years. It's not like it's a crisis. The day you announce I've watched Forks Over Knives or I watch the game changers movie and I'm going to start eating plant based. You don't have to worry about it. As a medical doctor. I'm going to advise people for optimal health. There are people that never take beet 12 decades of eating plant based I've never had a problem because you can get it from nori rolls. You can get it from nutritional yeast, but we usually throw in a little bit more in some kind of capsule or liquid.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 23:12
Sure, sure. That's great for the individual on a plant based diet.
Dr. Joel Kahn 23:15
I love co q 10. I'm a cardiologist. Yes staple.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 23:19
So let's go to patients with heart disease. So what plant based diet aside, patients come into your office they have heart disease, what are your top go to is from a supplement standpoint,
Dr. Joel Kahn 23:28
some of its going to be based on lab work but just even randomly, adequate vitamin D. Usually the sunshine is that enough. Yes, you can eat a lot of mushrooms mushrooms are rich in vitamin D and mushrooms may also lower your risk of cancer based on recent and older data. But that's going vitamin D koku. Tan, a natural antioxidant that after about age 40 We start to make less and less that very easy to get from any food. And if you're on a cholesterol lowering statin medication, you really wipe out your body's ability to make co q 10. I love co Q 10 people feel better lowers blood pressure lowers cholesterol takes away migraines makes your gums healthier. You know you're walking, Costco and Sam's Club. You see bottles of Coca 10 Right there. magnesium, magnesium, magnesium, you know you got palpitations constipated you got bad periods with cramping you got blood pressure issues blood sugar issues, you find either powders or capsules I like magnesium glycinate which is one kind of magnesium and that's what most function has abilities.
Take it before bed is really going to help you sleep better and relax. Take it twice a day if you're kind of anxious, stressed got blood pressure issues and food supplies magnesium, but not enough. So it's a really you know, those are my two probably most frequent. I use a lot of melody. I mean people need to sleep and there's a lot of reasons people aren't sleeping well but so I use melatonin sometimes really small dose, usually the combination melatonin magnesium combined for sleep. I mean, beyond that, I mean, there's a zillion other supplements, trying to do as much as I can through food, cholesterol lowering, read GS rise bergamont, which is an Italian citrus Berberine, which is a plant based capsule. I use a lot of niacin. Many people don't. But I do. Yeah.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 25:22
Okay, so let's go back to saturated fat for just a moment here. Because I want to make sure I clarify for the listeners, and then I want to move on to labs. And maybe maybe you said this, and you're more talking fast. So maybe I missed it. But is there a difference with saturated fat from meat versus plants with cardiovascular risk? I mean, is there a difference if you're eating lots of coconut oil? Is that going with saturated fat? I guess this was done to the question also to saturated fat, raise cholesterol, so maybe clarify that. And then let's differentiate if you know someone who is on a plant based diet, but maybe they're getting saturated fat from plants is that still healthier, less risk inducing than getting saturated fat from meat? And I guess we need to bring in sugar also on talk about sugar here
Dr. Joel Kahn 26:00
will be our six hours. So why even ask the question we're asking the question because and this is kind of a focus of a lot of work that I have done in the past, the frequency of heart attacks in the United States and other countries in the Western world started to skyrocket after World War Two. And young people were dropping dead and it was happening in Finland and United States, Croatian other countries. researchers asked the question, What the heck's going on, and we knew that there was more smoking, all those free cigarettes given to GI Joes wasn't really a good idea. In retrospect, it didn't know it so much in 1940. But research focused on has the change in the American diet and the 1940s and 50s and onward, McDonald's came on board and mine went to work and all kinds of new stresses, just cutting through the chase saturated fat rose to the top. And saturated fat, you know, is a chemical structure. It's not a food what foods have a lot of saturated fat.
They're almost all animal based foods like butter and lard and Crisco and cheeses and pastries made with lard and butter and marbled beef and marbled fatty chicken and other poultry is in ham, and egg yolk to some degree, I mean, plant based foods generally are very low in saturated fat with the exception of tropical oils. But tropical oils are in foods, they're processed by palm oil and coconut oil actually have more saturated fat per weight than even beef, chicken and turkey cheese and butter almost twice as much. So most of the focus is what happens if we reduced saturated fat in the diet by reducing butter, cheese and meats. They did that experiment in a country called Finland. They did that in a country called France in a city called Leon. And they proved you can slay heart disease and rip it by half by 75 by 80%. In terms of frequency, when you reduce saturated fat rich foods like butter, and lard and animal meats like sausage from the diet, there were phenomenally successful programs. There's never been as much data on coconut and palm oil, which are even higher in saturated fat and are kind of unique that they do derive from plants, but they're very high in saturated fat.
There certainly is an overall feeling by scientists in the cardiovascular field, the American Heart Association that they are to be limited or not used. Because there is no doubt they raise cholesterol when you add two tablespoons of coconut oil tea or coffee every morning as some people do, which is a bizarre thing to do. But some people do, you will raise your cholesterol that has been done in very carefully done studies. Now if you do that every day for 10 years, you might have a heart attack, it's not going to take 10 days or 10 weeks, heart disease develops slowly and progressively is one worse than another I high saturated fat diet from animal foods versus plant foods. The data suggests not different. And if you want to know check your cholesterol. You know, my sweet little lady today doubled her cholesterol when she found the ketogenic diet and started adding lots of saturated rich foods and now we'll get her back to a more normal cholesterol which is what she needs. So if you're gonna do that experiment, if you're struggling with your cholesterol, like vegan baked goods, let's go back to junk food vegan cookies, vegan pastries, vegan cheese using coconut oil is the first the second ingredient you got to Bromley your cholesterol cut those out for two months recheck your cholesterol it might drop a lot. You actually
Dr. Stephanie Gray 29:36
I intended to ask you this question. You kind of already addressed it but many of my patients come to me on a ketogenic diet for weight loss reasons or whatnot. And then I have seen cholesterol 345 100 I've seen it like skyrocket, but I've also seen patients on a ketogenic diet whose cholesterol does not go up. I mean, what accounts for that? I mean, is this does this have to do with the APL II genotype or reason
Dr. Joel Kahn 29:57
why it is it is really well now? Yes. As one person's ketogenic diet isn't the same as the next and that may be part of it, there are people that there's two physiologies that occur when we raise our fat content of our diet. There are people that are hyper absorbers and hyper producers, and there's people that are both. Some people have a cholesterol 300, and there are vegans eating salad, but their cholesterol is 300 their liver genetically, and we know, you know, there are hundreds of variants, snip, alterations, and all that can lead to this. But we know that you can have a liver that genetically makes too much cholesterol. That's where the drugs like lipitor and crestor have an advantage, we have to use them. And there's no alternative. Although there's lots of natural ways to deal with it.
There are people that are called hyper absorbers, you change from a decent diet to a high saturated fat ketogenic diet, and their intestines on a genetic basis can absorb more efficiently saturated fat than the average person that's felled to be about 30% of people. You can test for it in lab work. It's called sterile analysis. If you're a hyper absorber, and you do the ketogenic diet, your cholesterol might double in six or eight weeks. And if you keep doing it might prove to be a bad idea. And then there are people that are both livers making too much intestines are sucking up too much. And they're really going to, you know, explode on a ketogenic diet. Now, if you're not a hyper absorber, your cholesterol may not go up much with a ketogenic diet.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 31:28
Could you be missing out on magnesium. If you aren't already taking magnesium, you likely should be our deficient food sources caffeine consumption, stress and exercise Robba sub magnesium, which is an important cofactor for hundreds of processes in the body, it can calm your mind and ease your nerves to help you sleep at night and help reduce anxiety, PMS and headaches. It can relax your muscles when you have cramps your bowels when you're constipated, and it's required for energy hormone production and vitamin D absorption. If you're interested in exploring more about how magnesium can help support you living a longer, healthier life, and the exact type of magnesium supplement to look for, check out my blog post the magnificence of magnesium found at your longevity blueprint.com forward slash blog and use code magnesium for 10% off our magnesium keylite product at your longevity blueprint.com. Now let's get back to the episode. So that's more of the answer. Yeah, great. Now, our listeners may not want to 100% cut out meat from their diet. But what kind of what ratio? Do you recommend? Are we going like ah do you recommend for those who choose to not cut out meat maybe like the 8020? Or what percentage of meat versus plants like and granted? You recommend?
Dr. Joel Kahn 32:41
Yeah, no, I don't dictate to people what they have to do. And it's also based, I mean, 28 years old, and you're just getting fit, or you're training or you want to drop some weight and are you 64 years old, and you've got piles of heart disease that we've identified are you bringing to me from previous testing in a matter, then, of course, the more disease you have, whether it's weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol issues, or actually clogged arteries, the more you might want to explore serious changes to your diet. It's stealing a word from the very famous researcher, Dr. Dean Ornish, it's a spectrum he wrote a book called the spectrum. If you've got serious heart disease, you're going to be leaning towards, you know, 95% plus maybe 100%. If you're doing it for animal rights in the environment, you might choose 100% Just based on that, if you're just doing it for generally good idea. Oh, 90% plus, again, I'll go back to Dr. Valter Longo, one of the world's leading nutrition scientists University of Southern California. What does he recommend 18 whole food plant based meals a week and three pieces of fish a week. And this is a guy who's talking science. He doesn't have any skin in the game. He'd never respond if you called him a vegan, he's not. But that's his conclusion. That's kind of a good place to be.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 34:01
What about the difference between hot dogs and grass fed organic beef, right? Like I have family that farms and I know I'm getting higher quality meat for the listeners, right? When we think of the difference in cardiovascular risk increase between eating a hot dog a process hot dog and eating grass fed organic beef. Is there a difference there?
Dr. Joel Kahn 34:22
It's very different but it's not completely dissimilar because there still are even in the best grass fed beef. There may be a molecule I know this is science II called New 5g See that reason Stein says main cause arteries to get inflamed and start the cycle of blockage. Even in the good grass fed beef there's an amino acid in excess called L carnitine. That could cause your TMA o level to go up. Look at there's no doubt that there is good data. If you go to Australia and you catch yourself a kangaroo with very low fat content in the meat because this is the study or You eat some kind of factory farmed meat in Australia. Cholesterol levels are very different. I mean, venison naturally harvested through usually hunting is a very low saturated fat content, meat, these animals are wild and running around. They're eating plants and grass and all. But you're talking about 90% 98% of Americans are eating factory farm confined meats, it's a high saturated fat, ugly business. But yeah, no doubt Quality Matters in every regard. So if you're already meat, you know, follow your direction and go for, you know, quality, quality.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 35:37
Awesome. So I want to conclude with labs here. So I'd like to know you, I know you can't just give me your opinion on every single patient because risk factors vary patient to patient, but how I'm interested in know how low you're wanting LDL to go, and that I have a lot of patients who come to me with low testosterone because their conventional cardiologist has them on aggressive doses of statins and their total on their LDL cholesterol are very low. And in my opinion that is contributing to lowering testosterone, that they're not coming to me for now they have erectile dysfunction. So how low Are you wanting to push LDL? And then I'd like to you in the few moments, we have left here just to talk about a few other very important labs that you check to kind of determine individual cardiovascular risk in your patients.
Dr. Joel Kahn 36:22
So you know, things evolve over time, maybe 10 years ago, we had some data, and we're dying like the global cardiology community, that an LDL cholesterol under 100. And a patient with heart disease might be a total cholesterol of 180, or something in that range was a goal. We change that maybe six to eight years ago, based on new data that an LDL cholesterol less than 70 was a better goal and somebody with previous bypass heart attack, maybe carotid disease that caused the stroke. And then finally, just last year in Europe, but it'll become the norm in the United States. It's now an LDL under 55. Wow, cholesterol, maybe 105. And there's no more erectile dysfunction in those with a low LDL than those with I don't see that you
Dr. Stephanie Gray 37:10
Dr. Joel Kahn 37:11
I never see that because I my guys with cholesterol 300 Haven't had a woody in a long time. It's unrelated. I disagree. Maybe on the differential diagnosis. They all have vascular disease in clogged arteries. I think that's more likely, and I worry about their brains. There is as interesting research study out this week. There's one class of statins, the most famous is lipid Tor, that may actually promote memory loss. And there's another class, which crest door is the most popular in that group in crest door may actually delay memory loss. So it actually it's no longer considered to be a class effect. It's you got to separate which and you'd rather gravitate away from Lipitor and Zocor, and move over to the crest or type. They're all generic nowadays. So that's interesting. But that is the new norm. Now. You walk in my office and you're 34 years old, and you're healthy are looking for general health. I'm not going to insist on those kind of numbers. Unless you have some really, really wacky family history that makes me concerned at a young age, but nothing insist on that. Yeah, it's moving in that direction. We have you know, medications now, injectable cholesterol medications that sometimes we add to the statins, anti in sick heart patients, we can get almost anybody's cholesterol down to 100. Nowadays, should we show for the data is still favors in the Sicard? Patient? It's safe and reasonable.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 38:41
Sure, sure. You alluded to earlier in the interview. The patients who are hyper absorbers are patients who are producing too much cholesterol, and that's something that we can check in our patients and that is something that I check with my patients in order to personalize the care as far as what supplements or medications we would choose to lower those those numbers. Can you briefly share a couple other labs that you check in these patients that listeners should really pay attention to? Especially if they have significant family history of heart disease?
Dr. Joel Kahn 39:07
Yeah, I'm going to be slightly promotional only because it's more efficient. There is a cholesterol particles called lipid protein little a almost unpronounceable 1% of physicians United States check for this. It's a inherited cholesterol. 25% of people inherited it as 90 million Americans 25% everybody listened anyone I've ever before got that cholesterol from their mom, their dad or both. This is a cholesterol that has the potential to clog any artery in the body cause stroke, heart attack erectile dysfunction, and also cause damage to a heartfelt if you don't check it. You'll be scratching your head Why did Uncle Joe have a heart attack man he was a clean labor and exercise and ate well, Doctor said his labs are good. Well, that is a test we should all have again in Europe 2019 they recommended that this be added on routinely to the Panel. It's an inexpensive blood test LabCorp quest, your local hospital. So I always have drawn that for about a decade. I have a huge accumulation of people that had problems with it. But it's not inevitable.
There is no drug for it right now. But there are a series of pharmaceutical companies that are actively studying in humans, new drugs because lipitor and crestor don't work for that C reactive protein called high sensitivity. Inflammation is your dental health, your skin health, your diet, your sleep, your waistline, working for you or against you. If your high sensitivity C reactive protein is up, you're inflamed and you're at risk. vitamin D levels. I like Omega three blood levels because so many people are seriously deficient in no salmon, no sardine, no chia, no flax, no HAMP, no walnuts, or inadequate absorption or conversion. So I don't like people walking around with super low Omega three blood, those I know usually will check a homocysteine, which is a metabolic byproduct that you're well aware of. But I see a lot of abnormalities there that are worth identifying.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 41:08
Great, I will put those labs in the show notes and I will put some of those Omega three rich foods also in the show notes for the listeners. Is there anything else? I know we
Dr. Joel Kahn 41:18
That's a lot. People do 1% of what we talked about, we helped a lot of people.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 41:23
Well, with that we'll wrap up the episode. So tell me what your top longevity tip is.
Dr. Joel Kahn 41:29
I would say it used to be talking about quality of food. It's actually asleep. Now, I actually spend more time with my patients characterizing their sleep and coming up with 10 different ways they can improve their sleep. Because tired people don't work out and tired. People don't say no to a bagel and a doughnut. And tired people aren't happy people. And there's a lot of stresses on us from politics and health issues and cell phones and iPads and EMF and other things. So I actually work extensively. So get seven and a half hours asleep. Do 10 different things at night like I do from blue light blocking glasses to herbal supplements to breath and meditation to cool pads if you need to block out shades or masks. Get your sleep tape your mouth shut. I go to sleep every day with my mouth tape shot. That's a whole nother topic.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 42:19
Yeah, we didn't get to that. Well tell us where listeners can find you where they can learn more. I know we have a wonderful website. So
Dr. Joel Kahn 42:26
yeah, always in my office in suburban Detroit and I do see people from all over the world telehealth is a wonderful thing. But the website is Dr. Joel khan.com But it's Dr. J OELKH n.com. It'll take you to my clinic they get some blogs take you some interviews I've done Joe Rogan and other places I've shown up at times.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 42:48
Awesome. I know you had a really busy day. So I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing with our listeners really how we can reduce our cardiovascular risk. So thank you so much for your expertise and your time and I encouraged
Dr. Joel Kahn 42:57
talking about it you ask good questions here to you bet
Dr. Stephanie Gray 43:01
I encourage the listeners check you out. I'll post all these applicable links in the show notes. Well, that was a fast paced, fun interview. Listening to him definitely makes me reevaluate how much meat I eat. Although like he said there is a difference what the quality of our foods. However you choose to eat please try to get fresh, non processed organic, wild cut foods and get a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans or legumes daily. I find veggies are the most difficult for my patients to add. So try just adding one extra servings of vegetables per day and work your way up. You can even try some of the pluck seasoning mentioned on a prior episode two flavor up those veggies again in the shownotes.
I'll post the foods high in omega threes and the labs Dr. Khan mentioned in my patients I run an advanced lipid panel that contains all of the inflammatory markers, lipids, particle sterols, and even genetics some of which we didn't have time to mention in this episode. If this is something you're interested in, if you're at high risk for heart disease are you have current heart disease. If you're a current patient call the integrative health and hormone clinic and we can get this testing ordered on you. Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck. You can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book plus for a limited time the course is 50% off, check this offer out at your longevity blueprint.com and click the Course tab.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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