If you've had a heart attack, you will likely need to be on medication. However, there are four therapies that can help maximize your heart’s healing and ultimately bring you to an enhanced level of health to help you avoid a second heart attack.
- Follow a Smart Diet. As in the case of most any cardiovascular problems, I recommend following a solid cardiovascular nutrition plan, like the Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean (or PAMM) diet. This heart-strengthening diet features an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grains, fish (wild, not farm-raised); modest portions of lean meat; and plenty of nuts, seeds, and beans.
On the PAMM diet, you’ll avoid sugary or high glycemic-index foods (e.g., white rice, white bread, cake, cookies, candy, chips, etc.) that ramp up the level of inflammation in your body that contributes to coronary artery disease and could lead to another heart attack.
- Try to Exercise. Exercise strengthens the heart and improves blood flow. But you have to be careful if you’ve had a heart attack. The link between heavy exertion when you’ve been sedentary and a heart attack is well established. You’re particularly vulnerable if you’ve already had a heart attack.
So, you need to start slowly. Simple walking is the best plan. I can’t provide safe guidelines without knowing your specific situation, but your doctor or holistic health practitioner can write an exercise prescription based on your particular situation.
- Practice Stress Reduction. The months after a heart attack can be particularly stressful for you and your family. Usually, everyone is silently worried that you will have another heart attack. This is why I encourage you and your family to find some kind of mind-body therapy to release stress.
You are particularly vulnerable to having another heart attack after resuming regular daily activities that can be stressful such as work. In fact, there are more heart attacks on Mondays than on any other day of the week because there is an outpouring of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline (which are known triggers of heart attacks) among those gearing up for work.
Any stressful event can cause this outpouring of the stress hormones and lead to a heart attack. That is why it’s so important that you find ways to cope with stress. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, prayer, meditation, and mental imaging are particularly effective. The research on relaxation shows that it can temper over-secretion of the stress hormones.
- Take Targeted Supplements. Supplementation is a critical part of your action plan for recovering from a heart attack and avoiding another one. Post-heart attack, you should take a solid multivitamin/mineral formula so all the basics are covered. In addition, I recommend the following five supplements. These supplements are absolutely essential for improved survival after a heart attack, as well as for preventing a second heart attack.
- CoQ10. Studies show that when CoQ10 is administered within the first day or two following a heart attack, survival rates increase by a remarkable 10 percent. If you’ve had a heart attack, I recommend taking 300 mg of hydrosoluble CoQ10 per day.
- L-carnitine. As with CoQ10, if L-carnitine is administered within the first day or two after a heart attack, survival is extended and the area of tissue damage is significantly reduced. I recommend 2–3 grams per day following a heart attack.
- Magnesium. There is a great deal of evidence that magnesium, when administered according to specific protocols in appropriate dosages, can reduce mortality in patients who have suffered a heart attack. I recommend 400–800 mg of magnesium daily.
- D-ribose. There’s a profound depression of the energy compound ATP during a heart attack when the heart is deprived of oxygen. Although the heart eventually recovers, D-ribose can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to restore the heart’s ATP production and to normalize cardiac function. I recommend that heart attack patients take 10–15 grams in divided doses two to three times daily.
- Fish oil. There is absolutely no downside to fish oil for heart attack patients, and it can truly be lifesaving. For patients who’ve had a heart attack, I recommend taking 3–4 grams of fish oil daily.