I am going to post a section from my last blog post here as a stand alone explanation:
Then there was a study in India. The population in North India were found to be nearly free from MI deaths. These Indians in 1970 were the world's biggest eaters of a fat substance called ghee. They also consumed meat and large amounts of onions and garlic. At this time there was a strict vegetarian population in the south of India who lived on the Prudent Diet more closely than anyone in the USA. They had a high fat diet in which all fats were polyunsaturated vegetable oil or margarine made from it. They were having 15 times the MI deaths as compared to the butterfat-eating north Indians. By 1988, things had changed in the north of India. Low cost liquid polyunsaturated vegetable oil had priced ghee out of the market. Also, doctors were teaching the Prudent Diet. By then the death rate from MI in north India had increased to match that in the USA.
A significant finding came from a study of the French and Scottish populations. Their diets were similar with the French consuming more butter and cheese. Both populations had elevated serum cholesterol levels, however the mortality rate from MI in Scotland was five times greater among men and eleven times greater among women. The difference was that the French were drinking about 400 cc. a day of wine. The grapes are rich with bioflavonoids and antioxidants.
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Increase the Incidence of Heart Disease
I have had a long friendship with Professor Terrence Anderson who was the administrator of the School of Public Health at the University of British Columbia. He maintains that the pandemic of MI deaths since 1900 has been caused by consuming large amounts of polyunsaturated vegetable fats from which the antioxidants have been removed. It is a fact that as MI deaths have increased 80-fold since 1900, polyun-saturated fats have increased in diet by a factor of three. The population studies also correlate diets high in polyunsaturated fatty acids with increasing MI deaths.
Just look at the fats in diet in 1900 when MI was unknown and most rare. They were butter and lard. The only polyunsaturated vegetable oil to be had then was cottonseed oil and the use of it was minuscule.
In 1980 cardiologists resurrected platelets and blood clots as a cause of MI deaths - and told everyone over 40 to take aspirin to prevent having a heart attack. One factor in the prevention of MI is the adhesiveness of platelets as the greater the adhesion of platelets the greater the chance of having a coronary blood clot.
Then came a series of trials on aspirin in the prevention of MI. The results were about the same as Prudent Diet trials. There were in the 1970s two trials in England that were failures. No benefit or very slight benefit was found for aspirin in the prevention of MI. This was followed by a much larger US government-financed trial in the USA and reported in 1980. This trial was an abject failure with much bleeding of the stomach due to aspirin and no benefit at all in the prevention of MI.
Doctors felt that the case could be made for aspirin if only doctors were the subjects. A trial in England among doctors was again a failure, however a larger trial among doctors in the USA was hailed as a great success. In this American trial, non-fatal heart attacks were reduced by 40%. The bad news however, was that fatal heart attacks were not reduced and moreover overall survival was not increased. Nonetheless as the result of this trial, it was suggested or even demanded that all men over 40 should be taking aspirin.
There was something a bit different about this trial among doctors in the USA. Bufferin was used and Bufferin contains both aspirin and some magnesium. Magnesium is greatly beneficial to the heart. It reduces platelet adhesion, is a vasodilator and is a potent antiarrhythmic agent.
Platelet AdhesivenessAt the National Heart Hospital in London circa 1970, they were using a test for platelet adhesion and the results were stated as PAI, platelet adhesiveness index. In this test a blood sample was taken and a platelet count was made. Then a second blood sample was taken and this time the blood was passed over glass beads. If half the platelets stuck to the beads, PAI was 50. Patients who had survived a heart attack would have PAI of 50 and hence were considered to be at risk of death from a second heart attack. Young women who never suffer from MI have PAI of 20 yet they will have proper blood clots in wounds.
At the National Heart Hospital, in the years 1960 to 1965, they did a PAI test on every patient to come to this hospital and they never found a single patient with PAI less than 40. They felt anyone with a PAI of less than 40 was not going to have a heart attack. Put another way, they felt that the great problem about MI was one of blood clots in coronary arteries.
The idea of testing for PAI never came to the USA.
There are all kinds of things other than aspirin that reduce PAI, one of which is the drug dipyridamole. Here mention will be made of the European Stroke Prevention Study. About 90% of strokes are thrombotic strokes, blood clots in blood vessels in the brain. This trial had as subjects patients who had had an indication of a stroke. First aspirin alone was used with little or no benefit. Then dipyridamole was added to treatment, 300 mg a day and the results were outstanding. Stroke deaths were reduced by 50%, heart attack deaths by 35% and cancer deaths by 25%.
There are many things that reduce PAI better than aspirin. Vitamin E at 400 iu a day will, as will Vitamin B6 at over 40 mg day. There was an editorial in The Lancet a few years ago on how anti-thrombic is vitamin B6 at over 40 Mg. So is fish oil. This is the omega-3 fatty acid that we have been hearing so much about of late. Then recently from the University of Wisconsin has been a report that purple grape juice at 10 oz. a day will reduce PAI better than aspirin. It has been suggested that gamma linolenic acid in evening primrose oil will reduce PAI better than anything else. Also the oils of onion and garlic will reduce PAI. Ground ginger also is greatly effective in reducing PAI and like aspirin, it will reduce pain. It is highly anti-inflammatory. It is a sad state of affairs that doctors in the USA have gotten most men over 40 taking aspirin while not setting up a test to see if it is in fact, reducing PAI.