Dr. Gary E. Foresman’s Paleo Prescription for Heart Disease Prevention – EP010

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We would all choose a happy, healthy heart over a hardened one, but are we looking at the wrong numbers to predict heart health? Since the late 1970’s, we have equated high cholesterol with heart disease and doctors have prescribed statin drugs to mitigate the risk of heart events. Today’s guest argues that there is a better indicator of coronary artery disease, and there are a number of natural treatments that should be explored before turning to pharmaceuticals like statin.




Dr. Gary E. Foresman is the founder and president of Middle Path Medicine, an integrative practice in Arroyo Grande, California. With 25-plus years’ experience, Dr. Foresman is accomplished in many systems of healing, including Ayurveda, meditation and stress management, as well as botanical, orthomolecular, and functional medicine systems. The only internist on the Central Coast with extensive research training, Dr. Foresman combines a proficiency in Western medicine with a holistic perspective to diagnose and treat each person individually.

Today Dr. Foresman shatters the myth that high cholesterol signals heart disease, explaining other cardiac risk factors and the tests you need to provide a more complete picture of heart health. He also offers his guidance regarding Paleo nutrition and the value of meditation in mitigating stress. Listen and learn about Dr. Foresman’s holistic approach to treating patients with severe coronary artery disease.

Topics Covered

[1:14] The screening for coronary artery disease

  • Coronary artery calcium score
  • Recommended for men over 45, women over 55
  • Start sooner if first degree relative with premature heart disease
[6:43] Why most doctors don’t make use of calcium score

  • Pressure to prescribe pharmaceuticals
  • Use cholesterol test instead (equate high cholesterol with heart disease)
  • Cholesterol is minor risk factor for heart disease
  • Cholesterol and fat villainized to sell statin drugs
[13:17] What we can learn from a cholesterol profile

  • Sign of healthy metabolism
  • ‘Our symptoms are our teachers’
  • If cholesterol rising, look for reasons why (i.e.: lifestyle, thyroid function, inflammation, etc.)
[17:23] Why calcium score should be measured independent of cholesterol

  • Ideal calcium score is zero
  • Score of ten or more merits full cardiovascular risk assessment
  • 50% of those with high calcium scores have normal cholesterol profiles
  • Critical calcium scores require aggressive treatment
  • Current belief system in cardiology practice includes prescription of statin drugs for high cholesterol
[21:00] Dr. Foresman’s foundations of health

  • Paleo nutrition
  • Healthy exercise
  • Stress management
  • Adequate sleep
[23:35] The significance of individualizing nutrition

  • Too simplistic to prescribe certain diet for particular disease
  • Treat the person rather than the disease
  • Start with real food, determine what makes you feel good
  • Outcomes of Mediterranean diet far surpass benefits of statin drugs
[27:00] The tests Dr. Foresman recommends for getting a clear picture of heart health

  • Standard lipid profile
  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Marker of methylation: homocysteine
[31:40] The breakdown of the coronary calcium score

  • 0 = perfect
  • 1-10 = insignificant
  • 11-100 = mild
  • 101-400 = moderate
  • 401-1000 = severe
  • Over 1000 = very severe
[35:12] How to mitigate stress for better health outcomes

  • Learn and practice meditation
  • Connect with love and kindness
  • ‘Cruelty manifests in a hardened heart’
  • Stress responses lead to unhealthy behavior
  • Balance doing-ness with being-ness
[39:47] Unexpected sources of stress

  • Over-exercising
  • Negative self-talk (not pretty enough, etc.)
  • Culture of capitalism
[42:28] Supplements Dr. Foresman’s suggests for patients in the severe coronary calcium category

  • Red yeast rice extract
  • Kyolic aged garlic
[46:22] Dr. Foresman’s approach to treating very severe patients

  • Work to control through additional supplements first (pantethine, turmeric, niacin)
  • If can’t get control of numbers, prescribe statin in combination with CoQ10
  • In secondary prevention, data supports using statin for one to three years after event

Learn More About Dr. Gary E. Foresman

Middle Path Medicine

Resources Mentioned

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract




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