Heart Disease Prevention With Sweets Instead of Lipitor

prevent heart disease cholesterol drugHeart disease remains the #1 killer.  Prevention doesn’t take massive changes and does NOT require cholesterol lowering drugs like Lipitor or Crestor.

As a matter of fact, these drugs are likely to make your condition worse.  The latest numbers suggest that medicine needs to treat 1,000 for 5 years to prevent a measley 11 heart attacks.  For this society pays about $2400 / year per person in the US for Lipitor (yes, your copay may be less, but this is closer to the total costs).  I cannot begin to describe how incredibly inefficient this method is.

This particular study provides an interesting alternative.

Chocolate has already shown to be quite protective for the heart.  To review:

  1. 37% lower rates of heart disease, 29% lower risk of stroke
  2. 39% lower risk of heart attack and stroke with small reductions in blood pressure
  3. Makes blood less likely to clot and makes blood vessels healthier
  4. Lowers blood pressure
  5. Makes insulin work better and lowers blood pressure
  6. Cuts SECOND heart attack risk by 66% (that’s a VERY powerful response, by the way…)

Clearly, these results relate to dark chocolate, NOT milk chocolate.  The darker the better.  For those of you who think dark chocolate is too bitter, consider finding chocolate with berries and / or nuts mixed in such as those made by Endangered Species.  You should be able to find one that is perfect for you.

Back to this study…

Researchers did some number crunching on how many heart attacks could be prevented by consuming 100 grams of dark chocolate per day.  First, 100 grams is a LOT of chocolate to consume in a day (ok…maybe not that hard to consume…).  I usually recommend a few squares per day coupled with some walnuts, pecans or almonds.

The conclusion?

8.5 less heart attacks per 1,000 patients treated (1.5 of which were deaths prevented).  Not too far off from the statins, and when you consider the estimated cost of $42 per year vs $2400, we begin to get a clearer answer.  And, given the demonstrated protective effects of dark chocolate on second heart attacks, the benefits may be stronger over the long haul.

In addition, other than enjoyment and possibly choking on a chocolate bar, I’m not sure I’ve come across any studies on the side effects of dark chocolate consumption.  And really…if your cardiologist looked you in the eye and said, “Now Ms. Jones, I’m going to need you to take your dark chocolate every day to protect your heart…” just how high would YOUR compliance be with dark chocolate vs medications?

So, settle in for some dark chocolate and a glass of red wine after dinner and know you’re protecting your heart in some powerful ways.

Please share in the comments how YOU prefer to eat your dark chocolate…

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.