No, this doesn’t involve diet or supplements or exercise.
One of the most altruistic and easiest things to do is to give blood. But you may not realize just how much it can improve your heart health.
“Blood viscosity” is one of the most important, but least understood, factors in cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and a factor in one-third of all deaths. And how thick and sticky your blood is—how much friction your blood creates moving through the blood vessels— is a major factor in determining how much abrasion and damage it does to the lining cells (endothelium) of your arteries.
According to Dr. Ralph Holsworth, DO, the top expert in blood viscosity in the US, when your endothelium is damaged, your body “patches” the tissue with lipids (fats) which begin to thicken and harden, forming a “plaque.” And that creates a vicious cycle: abrasion from your blood flow prompts the body to thicken artery walls, which reduces the size of blood vessels, which creates more friction with the blood flow, which makes more “patches” form, until the artery wall becomes so thick that blood can no longer flow through. And that produces a heart attack. A study in Scotland found that a group of patients with extensive heart disease had much higher blood viscosity levels than the healthy control group.
As our friend Jonathan V. Wright, MD, put it in a recent newsletter article, “Think for just a moment: If your blood is thick and sticky, is it going to flow along as easily in your arteries and veins as blood that is thinner and less sticky? Does tomato paste flow as easily as tomato juice? Of course not.” Blood that’s too thick also hinders your body’s ability to deliver nutrients like oxygen, which are carried to your cells and tissues by your blood, to the “farthest reaches” of your circulatory system. That’s why the legs, which are the furthest from your heart, often display circulatory problems first.
The good news is that your risk of heart attack can be reduced by reducing your blood viscosity—and the best way to do this is to give some blood regularly. Men are much more susceptible to circulatory viscosity problems than menstruating women are: the blood lost from menstruation seems to have a protective effect. However, after menopause women’s risk begins to approach that of men, and women with irregular or absent periods are 28% more likely to develop heart disease than women with regular periods.
In the past, men have been told that donating blood will reduce the level of iron in their blood and that this was heart protective. This is true, but it now appears that reducing one’s iron levels, while important, is not nearly as important as controlling blood viscosity.
It also appears that the most efficient way to control your blood viscosity is simply to donate some of it! A study of nearly 3,000 middle-aged men found that men who donated blood had 88% less risk of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) compared to men who didn’t donate.
In light of this research, Dr. Wright suggested that ANH-USA launch a new campaign to encourage not only our readers but everyone to donate blood regularly. This is a great idea. Let’s all do it. We’ll live longer, and we may save someone else’s life!
Blood donations are urgently needed. According to America’s Blood Centers, community blood centers have lost thousands of loyal potential donors due to new deferrals put in place by the FDA—some of which have been criticized as unnecessary and based on questionable science.
But some people cannot donate blood for quite legitimate reasons. What if you fall into that category? Not to worry! You might be able to find an integrative doctor who will draw your blood, which will not be used for donation. Alternatively you can still reduce your risk of heart attack and lower your blood viscosity by taking high-quality fish oil. As Dr. Wright emphasizes, fish oil should be paired with vitamin E as “mixed tocopherols” to prevent damage from oxidized lipids. Regular vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol alone, so be sure it is mixed tocopherols.
Of course, as in most areas of life, there can be too much of a good thing. Too-thin blood can also be a problem, so blood viscosity should be measured before increasing fish oil intake. Have your blood viscosity tested by your doctor to determine how frequently you should donate blood or how much fish oil you should take to reduce your personal risk of heart attack and optimize your blood flow. Dr. Wright’s Meridian Valley Laboratories offers Whole Blood Viscosity tests (you can reach them toll-free at 855-405-8378).
Help yourself, and help another!
19 thoughts on “Want to Reduce Your Heart Risk By a Whopping Percentage?”
People should be encouraged to give blood to save the lives of ill patients and to lower their own risks of heart disease. Unfortunately, many hospitals do not have an adequate supply of blood to give patients with life-threatening diseases.
I would love to know who funded this study. It sounds like great news however I’ve become skeptical in my old age, and read studies such as this, assuming that there’s an “agenda.” If this was not funded by the Red Cross or any other agency that would benefit from the outcome of this study; then I’d comfortably put it on my facebook wall. Thank you in advance.
There are a few studies cited in our article. None of them were funded by the Red Cross to our knowledge. The authors of the large study of middle-aged men note that their research was supported by grants from the Academy of Finland and the Ministry of Education of Finland. It was Dr. Ralph Holsworth and Dr. Jonathan Wright, two leading integrative doctors for whom ANH-USA has great respect and trust, who noticed the pattern between blood viscosity and heart disease in several studies and decided to take a closer look to see if it held out across the board. A few of the studies they looked at did not even themselves make the connection between blood viscosity and blood donation, such as the small Scottish study.
Leading University teaching hospitals do not back this program. Natural healing is equal to faith healig or “medical clinics” in Mexico promising to cure cancer and other diseases. Personally, I would rather trust my cardiologist.
I learned all this years ago from the water cure doctor, Fereeydoon Batmanjhilji (if I spelled this rigght!) He said too tghick blood, especialy after eating, abraids the vascular linings. I drink lots of water along with teas and coffee.
I gave blood most of my life , but in 1989 I suffered a myocardial infarction and since then they have refused to allow me to donate .
I always feel better after a large blood draw.
I found this article interesting but still feel a little unsure about donating as I have some questions about my DNA etc going into someone else’s body !
I have not read anything about that aspect and would like to hear some views from people who are a bit hesitant like me!
I wonder why Jehovas Witnesses do not donate or believe in transfusions and what the rational behind it is. Something akin to not eating pork which makes sense to me.
I believe I can answer your question. As a former Witness, their belief that blood transfusions are against God’s law comes from a literal interpretation of scripture, I believe from Exodus if memory serves, about a person of God would ‘abstain from blood’. They view blood as the life- force and to share another’s blood would dishonor their personal relationship with God.
However, I find that the new testament law of loving others as yourself, which would include providing life-saving blood donations, overrides such directives. But that is my own opinion. 🙂
The prohibition on using blood was repeated for christians at Acts 15:28,29. It says “For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you.”
My family and I would not accept blood transfusions nor give blood for this reason. However, we do accept non-blood substitutes and welcome bloodless surgery methods.
Does therapeutic aspiring regimen (~81 mg / day) thin the blood?
Giving blood also helps keep iron levels in check. This is especially important for men.
I always thought people who were on medications couldn’t give blood. Wouldn’t that include just about everyone nowadays?
As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine that has been in practice 25 years, I have a comment regarding giving blood. We find that over 70% or higher of the women that come to our office have health issues do to “blood deficiency”: The number is significantly lower for men. I think it is wrong and a little misplaced to make such a statement. Giving blood can help but will cause even further health issues for those that have blood deficiency.
I’ve been taking Lovaza, a prescription strength Omega 3, for at least 5 years. Does this drug contain the correct Vit. E or should I take OTC Vit. E? I’m 72 and lived through a hospital administered drug overdose. I wasn’t given much chance to live, let alone recover my mind. At least my heart didn’t give out…maybe thanks to Lovaza?
Lovaza contains vitamin E as alpha-tocopherol, rather than mixed tocopherols. You may wish to pair Lovaza with a natural vitamin E supplement, but we recommend that you first consult with the physician who prescribed your Lovaza, since we are not medical professionals or knowledgeable about your personal medical history.
I would suggest including suggestions for infection cleansing prior to donating blood. God only knows how many mycoplasma, lyme, et, etc, infections are unknowingly spread by blood donation. 8 oz colloidal silver a day for min of 2 weeks. 5 grams liposomal vitamin C for min of 2 weeks. 6 ADP oregano twice a day for min of 2 weeks. These are our top suggestions to reduce the chance we are harming others unknowingly. If a person feels improvement in health from a purely antimicrobial substance like silver, then that person might not want to give blood, as they likely have a blood-borne infection.
A much easier and more widely beneficial way is to practice Transcendental Meditation(r). http://www.TM.org, http://www.DoctorsOnTM.org. See the tremendous research findings on effects of TM, posted on these websites.
I know this is quite old, but how is TM “much more widely beneficial” than donating blood? I hope if Im ever in an accident, my doctors are going to their well stocked blood bank, rather than meditating…
So how would giving blood change the stickiness of what’s left behind? Are you assuming that the newer blood would be thinner? Seems to me that volume loss could also be a problem for many. This was shown in studies of Gulf War victims & those with mycoplasma infections. They often had e deficit of blood by as much as 12%.