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Inflammation, Gut health and Heart Disease

There are two types of inflammation: Acute-such as when you cut your finger, the area becomes swollen and red with a flux of blood to the area, white blood cells then come on patrol to protect against infectious invaders, platelets come and form a clot which becomes a scab to seal the area. The other type of inflammation is Chronic Inflammation, discussed below.  


Chronic/long term/Systemic inflammation:

  • Chronic inflammation means the body is breaking down faster than body can repair itself. This stacks up over time. 

  • It is like a slow ongoing house fire in your body


Chronic inflammation results from an agitated immune system, and about 70 - 80 percent of our immune system resides in our gut microbiome, your body’s bacteria, which help your body with just about every process, including digesting your food, thinking clearly, and even maintaining a healthy weight.


Your microbiome is housed in your gut and the other openings of your body, such as your mouth, your genitals, and your nose. When your gut microbiome is balanced, you stay healthy, you are in a good mood, and you have a lot of energy. When your gut microbiome is out of balance, you are setting yourself up for a host of health issues, including weight gain, diabetes, brain fog, and cancer.

Unfortunately, an unbalanced gut microbiome, or dysbiosis, is common today. Thanks to years of following diets high in processed foods and sugar, conventionally raised meat and dairy products full of hormones, plus rounds of antibiotics, too many antacids, antibiotics, (medications), and chronic stress, most of us have impaired gut health. Our country’s C-section rate and formula-feeding contribute to a dysbiotic state in children right from the start, because babies need exposure to good bacteria in the birth canal and in breast milk to seed their guts. In fact, the allergies, autoimmunity, anxiety, and depression that we see at increasing rates in children today are due, in part, to impaired gut health.


Most inflammatory diseases have underlying dysbiosis, an imbalance in gut bacteria caused by eating a bad diet, stress, environmental toxins, food sensitivities, and more. Dysbiosis damages our gut lining (makes the tight junctions inflamed and leaky) so food, bacteria, and endotoxins can readily pass through it and end up in places they don’t belong, like our joints, which confuses our immune system and causes it to attack the surrounding tissue. 


Leaky gut can cause heart disease.  


leaky gut illustration

Toxins in blood meant to be screened out lead to systemic inflammation, artery inflammation and then heart disease. Leaky gut can cause leaky areas in blood vessels. Tissues are getting broken down and are weaker. When these tissues break down, it is like having cracks in a dry river bed. Your arteries start to have micro tears from inflammation, exacerbated  if there is excess glucose in the blood. These tears are repaired by our arterial road crew-the cholesterol. Our liver sends out LDL cholesterol to repair the road and the potholes of the road arteries. Then HDL cholesterol comes behind LDL, and picks up any leftover cholesterol and returns it to the liver for processing. Cholesterol is NOT the bad guy-it is a first responder. Blaming cholesterol for repairing inflammatory arterial damage and vasculitis is like blaming a fireman on the scene for the fire! 


The role of inflammation in heart attack and stroke (American Heart Association) 


inflammation in heart illustration

Scientists are still working to understand why the body responds to injuries in the heart muscle this way. Exactly how inflammation plays a role in heart attack and stroke remains a topic of ongoing research.


As the body’s immune system responds to atherosclerosis, it sends enzymes and cells to try and wall off the plaque to limit its interaction with the blood stream. However, this can go awry in a couple of ways. The area can become larger from the buildup of cells and enzymes. Or, the atherosclerosis can burst, creating blood clots.


An artery to the heart that’s blocked by a blood clot, or by an inflamed portion of plaque itself, causes a heart attack. A blocked artery in or leading to the brain causes an ischemic stroke.


Researchers still need to pinpoint where in the body the CVD-contributing inflammation that contributes even occurs. Everyone’s immune system is different, too, so scientists also need to investigate how the cells and molecules involved differ from person to person.


Gluten sensitivity can also increase gut inflammation and permeability of the junctions, causing risk of heart damage, heart becomes inflamed, acute pericarditis could be caused by gluten. Gluten sensitivity impacts gut, makes changes in gut flora, (along with pesticides) processed foods feed the wrong bacteria, changes the way they make fats, causing damage, nutritional deficiency, and over time, creates vascular inflammation, and increased risk of a cardiovascular event. 


So what is the answer here? Repair the gut, lower inflammation, decrease cardiac risk, and use supplements and food as medicine. When you Heal the gut, you heal the heart.


How do we make our gut bacteria feel welcome and thrive?


1. Cut out or minimize foods that cause inflammation:


Fried foods, processed foods, nonorganic foods, saturated fats, seed oils, trans fats, dairy, and charred meats, gluten (specifically wheat from the US-full of glyphosate) greasy foods, sugary foods, alcohol, baked goods made with white flour, all which decrease glutathione, an antioxidant required for cellular mitochondria to produce energy. Cut out NSAIDS and Aspirin, which can tear up the lining of the gut, and meds that decrease stomach acid, which actually harm the stomach over time. 


2. Create a comfortable and soothing “nest” for your bacteria


  • Aloe Vera and cucumber added to filtered water

  • Pineapple and papaya for soothing enzymes

  • Licorice/Fennel/Ginger/Mint teas

  • Adding grated or chopped ginger to any tea adds in the anti- inflammatory and gut soothing benefit of ginger. You can even add it to your morning coffee or throw it in your glass or stainless water bottle!

  • Sipping Bone broth from pasture raised hormone and antibiotic free animals


3. Seed (populate) and then feed the gut bacteria:


Seed: Eat fermented foods such as coconut yogurt, kombucha, pickles, kimchi, miso, fermented soy, sauerkraut, sourdough. Gt’s brand of coconut yogurt is my go to now, because others have bio genetically engineered probiotics in them, while still being allowed to slip under the “organic” labeling. 


Now, like having a new pet, you have to feed these bacteria. 


4. Feed: So what do they eat? 


Fiber. Fiber helps digestion and elimination, and decreases blood sugar levels.


They really like beans and especially dates, and the benefits of dates are long. They are antimicrobial and anti-parasitic. 


  • Potassium (balances salt/sodium—many people think they have hypertension from salt, but really they are not getting enough potassium)

  • Calcium for bone health

  • Magnesium which we are all deficient in, needed for hundreds of bodily functions

  • Manganese, copper and B6, and antioxidants. 

  • Dates decrease inflammatory marker IL6 correlated with Alzheimer’s.

  • Dates for the win!


Homeostasis/Balance: 


What is homeostasis?

Our body has an innate intelligence and the capacity to heal if it has what it needs to repair itself. Disease = Dis-ease! If we focus on treating the root cause (Eastern medicine) of diseases, instead of managing symptoms, (Western medicine) our mental health and overall quality of life can improve too. We can prevent the degeneration of our body and regain mobility so that we can continue to do the things that bring us joy! 


Medications are a band aid. 

Adding on meds brings whole new set of problems and side effects.


Ways to decrease inflammation


What can you start doing TODAY, to effect change? 

Empowerment-control your controllables 


First-detox: 


  • We are over fed and undernourished-survival versus thrival/food

  • We are killing ourselves with food

  • Food scientists

  • SAD SAD SAM 

  • Poorest health outcomes and high mortality rates

  • Coffee Break Talk: Contradiction/conflicts of interest food AND drug

  • Coffee Break Talk: FDA approved drugs-recalled


Remove: (decrease inflammation and insulin resistance) vs “Diet”


  • sugars 

  • fried foods 

  • white flours 

  • processed foods 

  • gluten (check if intolerant) 

  • GMO-QR Code Coffee Break Talk Bio naming

  • Non organic (not a 9)

  • saturated fats 

  • trans fats 

  • dairy

  • fatty meat

  • charred 


Add-in/Nourish: 


Food is LIFE! 

Food is FUN! 

Cooking is a MOVING MEDITATION! 

Preparing a beautiful meal for someone is an act of LOVE.


Steps for wellness/inflammation prevention-starter pack: 


  • Food = culinary medicine-every meal is medicine

  • Source of our food-how did it get here? Coffee Break Talk

  • Nourish-Good nutrition-illness or wellness

  • Green food, chlorophyll has mg in it (note-greens/blood thinner and possible contraindication) 

  • N.O. 

  • Coffee Break Talk: Feed the tree of your life-tree in your yard-soda? Get our arteries to be like they are slippery like a water slide!

  • Antioxidants of fruits and veggies-our friends- seek organics (number 9) so every meal is medicine

  • Increase intake of beans and other fibrous foods like avocados and dates-pulls toxins, cholesterol, bulks up food, colon health, elimination ease

  • Minimize exposure to toxins-air, (air filter), water, food, home, products. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t know what it is, wouldn’t eat it, don’t use it on your skin.

  • Stop smoking-what happens

  • Avoid excess exposure to EMFs-phone relocation, alarm, turn off Wi-Fi

  • Exercise

  • Rest

  • Avoid excess Alcohol/drugs/caffeine/sugar/thoughts and emotions and triggers/fried/trans and hydrogenated fats

  • Enjoy qualitative foods

  • Cook with herbs and antivirals-turmeric + pepper, rosemary, oregano. Herbs – meals as medicine. Plants as medicine.

  • Manage stress (week 1 tools)

  • Regular schedule

  • Fasting/autophagy-digestive process, one tube, hormone secretions, cellular energy, metabolism

  • Build your bile-Bitter is better for the liver. Bile is antimicrobial for small intestine. Need good bile flow to emulsify fat and detox. Oregano, thyme, dandelion, milk thistle. Lots of antioxidants are healing. 


Add-in vitamins and supplements: 


Anti-oxidants-Inflammation creates unstable molecules called free radicals which cause oxidization (like rusting) in our body. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables kindly give up an electron to neutralize the free radical and stop this process. Alkalinity versus acidity.


  • Vit C fruit based

  • Vit E 

  • Omega 3 for reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease-epa dha long chain most protective, Chia, flax, walnuts

  • Vit D- (hormone) regulates immune system, helps CV system. If test less than 30, supplement D3 +K2, +Mg-to ensure calcium is brought to bone-else it stays in arteries!

  • CoQ10

  • Turmeric + pepper anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory

  • Resveratrol in grape skins, blueberries, good endothelial function. NO/BP

  • Quercetin antioxidant, (15 second raw garlic -blood thinner/onions) good for endothelial function (zinc absorption) Zinc for viral protection

  • Ginger-warmth, anti-inflammatory

  • Beets and pomegranate (fruit or juice) lowers blood pressure

  • Gut-probiotic and prebiotic, seed and feed

  • Digestive enzymes take stress off rest of body

  • Pooping every day. If not, may not have enough mg (mg oxide) or fiber (prunes)

  • Water important for heart function. Thicker viscous blood => blood clots. Filter water

  • Sodium-good quality mineral sea salt. Coffee Break Talk-How did your sodium lab blood work look? Remember our chemistry set. 


See your doctor/cardiologist about these heart healthy supplements: do your own research for what is right for you and come prepared to your doctor with information. Your doctor is your partner in care, and it is important to help them help you. They not be aware of these natural healing modalities which are nature’s way of providing medicine and healing, and can complement your recovery and wellness improvement plan. 


  • Hawthorne- acts as an ACE inhibitor

  • Bergamot – decreases cholesterol

  • Bromelain (found in pineapple and in supplements) – decreases blood pressure/slows clotting *check in if on thinners

  • Taurine = helps conductivity of the heart

  • Mg glycinate at night – relaxes arteries, aids in sleep, decreases blood pressure

  • Ashwaganda – adaptogenic herb that can decrease depression, decrease blood sugar, reduce inflammation, improve memory and sleep.

  • CoQ10 if on a statin

  • Rx strength Omega 3 

  • ASA prophylaxis/pm/ MI occurrence time/ Dr. Asked 


Nourish


Before implementing any of this daily protocol, as always, please check with your doctor to ensure this is in concordance with your doctor’s plan for you. Our goal here is to support and complement your Western medical plan to activate healing in the body and as much as possible, possibly decreasing medications with your doctor’s oversight, because healing and health optimization is taking place, as your body moves to a state of wellness and homeostasis (balance). 


Buy from Organic Farmers Markets to give them business and to get in-season fresh produce. As much as possible, buy organic with the round symbol, USDA ORGANIC.

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