November 2, 2016
[0:00] Mvmt Watches
[2:41] Introduction to this Episode
[4:49] A Little About Dr. Thomas Cowan
[7:56] Celeriac Root – Amazing Flavor for Soup
[9:19] Dr. Cowan’s SVT – His Own Heart Disease
[13:19] Why Dr. Cowan Mentioned Water in his Book
[15:01] Dr. Cowan’s Critique About The Heart as a Pump Idea
[27:04] Casper Mattresses
[28:49] Blood Flow in Human Body Similar to Water Flowing Through a Tree
[33:59] How Does Drinking Water Exposed to Sunlight and Electromagnetic Fields Influence the Blood?
[36:35] The Model of the Heart is Completely Wrong – Dr. Tom Explains
[40:37] What is Chastahedron
[42:33] The Similarity of Ben’s Family Home’s Water Well and the Heart’s Way to Structure and Spiral (Vortex) our Blood
[45:26] Why Most Doctors Don’t Know About This Concept of the Heart Not Being a Pump
[49:02] Coronary Heart Disease Causes Heart Attack – A Flaw According to Dr. Tom
[55:32] If Not Blockages, Why Then Do People Get Heart Attack?
[1:03:10] The Concept of Vagal Nerve Tone
[1:06:37] A Strange Brazilian Plant and Why Dr. Cowan Talks About it in The Book
[1:10:18] Why Take Emu Oil and Vitamin K2 For The Heart
[1:16:24] What’s Love Got to Do With It and Why is it Important?
[1:21:58.7] Love – The Key to Preventing Heart Disease
[1:25:17.5] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, what’s up? It’s Ben Greenfield. I gotta tell you between hoisting kettlebells up to my shoulders, doing obstacle course races and generally just being a kinda clumsy guy, my watch face looks like freaking scorched earth. I usually wear a digital watch for just about everything ‘cause it’s got a little chronograph on it, and I don’t use like an Apple watch. I don’t use one of these Bluetooth-enabled self- quantification fancy watches, I just have a ‘plain Jane’ watch ‘plain Jane’ digital watch, but recently I started wearing a nice watch, like when I do things like go to conferences and speak on-stage or go to church with my hair all slicked-back, looking like a big boy, wearing real clothes, not sitting at home in my underwear, and I’ve actually gotten a lot of complements on this new watch that I’m wearing. It looks like a million bucks and actually works. It ticks like a fine watchmaker’s watch, it ticks. And it’s got this like classic old-schooley I guess like you’d call almost like a madman kinda design. I Think ‘Madmen’ is the TV show. I think I’m thinking of from the forties, or the fifties, or the sixties. I’m beginning to delve into my complete ignorance of pop culture now.
Anyways though, so the watch that I’m using is produced by this company called Mvmt m-v-m-t Mvmt and what they do is they design this revolutionary new watches that look like a million bucks, and they actually cut-out the middleman, they give the watch straight to you and they start at just ninety-five bucks for a watch you’d normally pay 400 to 500 dollars for, and I gotta tell you having a nice watch on your wrist actually makes you feel like a little bit of a bad (censored), I gotta say. So I dig ém and now they’re giving everybody that listens to this show a 15% discount. Just in time for Christmas-ish season, just saying. With free-shipping and with free-returns. So to get that deal here’s what you do. Go to m-v-m-t watches.com/ben, that’s mvmtwatches.com/ben and this watch has a really clean design I’ve been getting a lot of complements on it. So now you can step-up your watch game. It’s time to step-up your watch game. See what I did there? Ok mvmtwatches.com/ben, m-v-m-t watches dot com/ben. And now, let’s jump in with Dr. Thomas Cowan and everything your doctor doesn’t actually know about your heart.
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:
“They said that human being is just a pure mechanical object it just works with mechanics, there’s no such thing as life, we might as well study it in a dead body because it’s all the same and that was how we started thinking and doing medicine and science ever since. A heartbeat is the expansion of expandable walls and then a passive contraction. There’s no push needed which also makes it very easy for a muscle to do that for eighty years twenty-four hours a day you know, three hundred sixty days a year.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Hey, folks its Ben Greenfield, and I was just wandering around outside naked. I actually put it on Snapchat. I was out in my garden doing some plant-foraging clothes-less and the lack of pants was mostly because I do a cold shower or a cold soak every morning, and I like to get more of the nitric oxide and the cold thermogenesis benefits by forcing my body to warm itself. So I wander around naked in the forest picking vegetables. But you know, I love plants, I love to eat vegetables and I actually had a podcast with a guy last month. His name is Dr. Thomas Cowan, and he had written this book called “How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables”.
I read the book and it blew my mind and I did a podcast with him, and you can actually go listen to that podcast, but what we didn’t talk about much on that podcast was the fact that Dr. Cowan has struggled with heart disease, and he has as a result of that studied very intensively heart disease and found some pretty controversial evidence that not only is our heart likely not a pump as modern medicine has led us to believe and as most doctors are trained, but the way that we treat heart attacks and heart disease in general is heavily flawed, and is costing us millions and millions of dollars every year in health care. So Dr. Cowan wrote this book called “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart”. I read it just as thoroughly as I read his other book “How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables” and once again my mind was blown by this book. So I had to get him back on the show to talk all about the heart and heart disease, his own journey, what he’s found and what you really need to know.
Frankly, whether you do or do not have heart disease, I’ll bet you have a loved one who you may want to make aware of what you’re about to learn in this interview and frankly the information is fascinating just because remember, you don’t just want absence of disease, you would like for your heart to be working as well as possible, and Dr. Cowan is the guy who knows how to make that happen. At least I’m keeping my fingers-crossed that he does otherwise this would be a really short show, right? Right Dr. Cowan?
Dr. Tom: Yes, thank you Ben. Just one correction, it’s actually Cowan not Cowan
Ben: You know, that was like the first thing I was gonna say was when I was introducing you, I realized I was kinda going back and forth between Cowan and Cowan but it’s Cowan like moo, the cow
Dr. Tom: Oh, and like moo and actually Tom is a lot easier. So you can go with that too.
Ben: We’ll just roll with Tom, and by the way as Tom and I talked for those of you listening in, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/cosmic. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/cosmic just like it sounds c-o-s-m-i-c, and I’ll be taking copious notes and I’ll put a link to his book and everything else, and the previous podcast that I did with him over there as well. So first of all, Tom welcome back, man
Dr. Tom: Thank you. Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here
Ben: Yeah. Absolutely, and I know as a fellow vegetable enthusiast perhaps you also had plants for breakfast. I took all the plants that I picked and put them in a blender with some coconut oil, and then top that off with some almonds, and coconut flakes, and cinnamon, and a bit of dark chocolate. It was fantastic.
Dr. Tom: Yes. I had about 6 different vegetables and 2 powders in some bone broth. That’s what I had for breakfast.
Ben: Nice. That sounds just as nerdy/ancestral as my personal breakfast. So I love it.
Dr. Tom: I’d tell you what’s really good. I’ve had some celeriac. I don’t know if you know celeriac. It’s basically the celery plant that’s been sort of cultivated for its root and makes wonderful soup. If anybody wants to really flavor their soup in an amazing way, celeriac root is the way to go. I know it’s hard to find and so I grow it in our garden, so it’s easier for me but, man if you can do that, it just has a flavor that sort of like, fennel and dill and carrots all mixed together.
Ben: Yeah, I just looked up an image of it. It’s not an attractive root but…
Dr. Tom: Not an attractive root.
Ben: It’s very nutrient-dense or?
Dr. Tom: Yeah, I mean I haven’t studied the nutrition. I just love the flavor, so I eat it.
Ben: Ok, got it. I threw in my smoothie this morning something that I think a lot of people don’t eat, and we grow celery in our garden and I use the leaves from the celery the dark green leaves that grow in the outer stalks of the celery. They’re very bitter and they have a lot of these hormedic-type of mild, mild toxins in them that actually induce your body to churn out a lot of its own little indigenous anti-oxidants. So celery leaves if any of you out there just chewing in the stems, gotta go for the leaves too.
So Dr. Cowan, Tom, I wanna start here. You had heart disease. Correct?
Dr. Tom: Oh well, not the kind of heart disease that I talk about in the book. I had a fairly common condition called SVT or Supraventricular Tachycardia, and basically I had it from birth. The best way to describe that if you want me to is if you think of your heart as a gate, and then the gate has an electrical system that opens and closes the gate if it’s like the impulse, and usually it’s in a very specific sequence which is there’s a little pacemaker sound the left atrium and that fires, and then it goes down the wire and then it opens the gate, and I was born with 2 wires from the left atrium to the gate. And so it was going down the 1 wire, and it was fine, and when it goes down the other line, I wasn’t fine. It would go at about two hundred a minute.
Dr. Tom: And so, I actually used to play basketball games in high school, very intense basketball games at a heart rate of two hundred a minute which, I tell you, it wasn’t easy.
Ben: Holy cow!
Dr. Tom: Yeah.
Ben: So did you wind up having to get on like a lot of people for heart electrical abnormalities who get on like a calcium channel blocker or a beta-blocker calcium channel inhibitor, or something like that? Did you wind up needing to be on some kind of medication for this?
Dr. Tom: You know, I’m pretty not such a big fan of medicine so I would never do that, and as I wrote about in the book there was one episode where it kinda backfired on me that I was camping in the wilderness in Minnesota and it happened, and I did carry beta-blockers in case. And it went on for about 8 hours which is petty long time to go at two hundred beats per minute. I was in a remote island and going into congestive heart failure, and my wife was not happy about it. And I took a beta-blocker and it broke, and after that I ended having an ablation so that they basically cut the extra wire and then it never happened again.
Ben: Oh, it’s like a catheter ablation?
Dr. Tom: Yeah.
Ben: Ok, gotcha.
Dr. Tom: So you know, that was the only “heart disease” I ever had. So it’s much different than the kind of heart attack, angina, unstable angina that I talk about in the book.
Ben: Right. Right. Gotcha. And you have your background in allopathic medicine. You’re trained as an MD, correct?
Dr. Tom: I am trained as an MD and then on and off worked for almost ten years as an ER doctor, and I was pretty much almost able to be board certified as an ER doctor while I was developing my own practice. So yes, I am fully-trained and familiar with the rep.
Ben: Yeah, gotcha. So you don’t completely assume modern medicine, you’re not a hairy-hippie living out in the woods and completely ignoring modern medicine. You’ve obviously gotten a catheter ablation and you understand this stuff pretty well. That’s one of the things when I started reading your book that I appreciated was you actually are well-versed in medicine and as we talked, we don’t need to lay down your whole history as we went through it when I interviewed you about vegetables, and anybody listening in, you gotta go listen to that interview. But Dr. Cowan or Cowan, Tom, I will convert by the end of this podcast at just calling you Tom, I promise.
You mentioned very early on in that book something that I’m personally fascinated by, you mentioned the name of a guy who I’ve had on the podcast before and that’s Dr. Gerald Pollack, a guy who studies water up at the University of Washington. And one of the very first things that you begin to talk about is water and how not all water is created equal. Can you delve into why you mentioned water so early in this book?
Dr. Tom: Well, the reason that I mentioned water in the book was because the first major premise of the book, and there’s basically two. The first is that the heart does not pump the blood, and the second is blocked arteries generally speaking, don’t cause heart attacks. The reason I mentioned those is because there’s probably know more two fundamental truths in conventional science and medicine than those two.
In 1628 is when we found out by a guy named Willian Harvey that the heart pumps the blood and it’s been one of the foundational facts of conventional science for almost four hundred years. And I had been convinced over the last twenty years that it was basically flat-out wrong, and after figuring out that the heart doesn’t pump the blood, I had to figure out why does the blood move and that led me to study water. And so, that’s how I got into studying water which provides a very clear, concise, and plausible explanation for why the blood moves in the body, and so that sort of closed the loop.
Ben: Ok, so this idea behind water, can you explain what structured water is and what that has to do with the way the blood moves within the body?
Dr. Tom: I can. It might be better if you don’t mind if I just critique the heart as a pump idea first?
Ben: Sure. Yeah.
Dr. Tom: Is that alright?
Ben: You obviously know how to explain these concepts best so yeah, absolutely.
Dr. Tom: Yeah, if I could do that. So, it’s basically in the same with heart disease. It’s first a kind of negation of the known facts, and that leads directly into this question you asked, I don’t wanna ignore your question, but what the role of water is. So conventional science in medicine says we have this approximately 1 pound organ which has fairly thin walls, and we have about enough blood vessels in the body to go around the earth approximately 3 times. So that’s a pretty small pumping organ, and by the way, when I say pump, I mean pressure propulsion. I mean, there’s something about the walls of the heart that pushed the blood through the body. That’s what we’re told, and that’s what I mean by a pump.
Dr. Tom: So, if you think about it, if you’re talking about series of tubes that’s 3 times around the earth, and mind you the fluid in these tubes is very viscous, number 1. Number 2, it’s got all this stuff floating around in it meaning white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets and other stuff, and interestingly the tubes are hardly any bigger than the stuff floating around in the tubes. So just think about this. And I invite all the listeners to think about it. How is it possible that a 1 pound thin-walled organ can push all these sticky fluid with stuff in it 3 times around the earth? I mean on the face of that, that’s basically absurd, but the interesting thing about that theory is the more you examine it, the worst it gets because it turns out that the speed of the movement of the blood, the velocity is very fast after it exits the hearts, and then it gets slower and slower and slower until it (inaudible) at the capillaries where the gases are exchanged, the food is off-loaded, and the waste products are taken up where it actually stops. Now, people are gonna have to take my word for it that it stops there, but there are Youtube videos you can see that, and if you don’t believe that it totally stops, it has to be true that it goes very slow because that’s where the stuff is exchanged. So it can’t be whizzing through the capillaries.
Dr. Tom: And the other thing is that’s the same principle as how any fluid flows when it’s in a narrow vessel like a narrow river, it’s going very fast and then if it spans out into a wetland it goes slower and slower and slower.
Dr. Tom: So in other words, in this 3-times-around-the-earth travel, halfway through the travel it stops, and then it gets going again. The analogy that I like to tell people, it’s like you have to get from I think you live in the Northwest somewhere, you have to get to Florida on a bus, and I say okay Ben, can you get on this bus but the bus isn’t gonna have an engine and it’s gonna stop in St. Louis. My guess is you wouldn’t get on the bus.
Dr. Tom: You would have no way to get going again once it stops in St. Louis which begs the question of if the blood stops halfway through its travels, then how did it get going again? It can’t be from the heart being a pump because that already stopped. So there must be some “pump” at the capillaries.
Ben: Okay. So quick question here, like when the blood stops in those capillaries, the heart can’t simply through its pumping action cause more blood that’s behind that other blood to just push out other blood through once since it stopped?
Dr. Tom: No.
Dr. Tom: Because it has to come to a stop there and then get going.
Ben: Ok. Gotcha.
Dr. Tom: So that’s what they call an inelegant explanation.
Ben: Ok. Thank you. I’ve been complemented many times on my inelegance, by the way so I’ll take it.
Dr. Tom: (chuckles) No, no it wasn’t a comment on you but that’s what sometimes people say that. That cannot be. The other thing that’s strange about this theory is, so if you look at the system, so you have this supposed heart pushing the blood 3 times around the earth and the exit of the heart through the aortic valve is through what’s called the aortic arch. So just picture like a McDonald’s arch or the Arc De Triomphe, or any arch like coming off the exit of the heart. And again the analogy here is imagine a spigot of your house where you put a garden hose and you shape it as an arch. And when you turn the water on very fast what’s gonna happen to the arch in the garden hose?
Ben: When you push the water out very fast the arch will collapse, right?
Dr. Tom: Well, it’ll straighten.
Ben: Ok, yeah.
Dr. Tom: Right? So it’s an arch. You turn it on real fast ‘cause if you’re gonna pump 3 times around the world, you better pump pretty hard.
Dr. Tom: And the tube would tend to straighten, but the amazing thing about it is when you look at what happens to the aortic arch during systole which is the time of maximum contraction, it actually bends in more. So it makes even a bigger arch. Which completely makes no sense.
Ben: Right, because if the heart was actually pumping the blood through at that velocity, the arch would not become more pronounced. So the arch would theoretically needed to disappear.
Dr. Tom: Yes, exactly. Clearly every catherization, every angiogram shows that the arch bends in it becomes more of an arch, and so the whole thing just makes no sense. It makes no sense. So, that led me to then say so what is the pump? And now, the first thing is we’ve already identified the pump. Now again let me define pump, means the reason the blood moves, right? That’s what we’re talking about. They told the reason the blood moves is the heart pushes it which we already know doesn’t make any sense. It can’t push and bend the arch and go all that way on that one little organ day after day for eighty years.
So then the question is what happens in the capillaries and how is that related to water? So it turns out that Pollack’s explanation is that here’s another basic fact in science that there’s 3 states of matter, but when you look at water there’s clearly more than 3 states. It just as evidenced by the fact that the cells are 70% water, we’re told, and you can prove that, yet you could squish your leg into a pulp and no water would come out of your cells. So where’s the water? Well, it turns out it’s in a gel phase. The way you form a gel phase as he brilliantly described was you take a…
Ben: He meaning Dr. Gerald Pollack over at University of Washington?
Dr. Tom: Yup.
Dr. Tom: You take a protein or a hydrophilic surface and you put it in water, and you charge it with the sun or the earth just being in the sunlight charges up the hydrophilic surface, and it forms a negatively charged what he calls exclusion zone next to this protein and positively charged protons then go into the bulk water.
Ben: Ok, got it. And when you say a hydrophilic surface you would mean something like you’re putting the water into one of a gelatin for example, speaking of you having bone broth this morning is a hydrophilic substance. I know in the lab, I think when I spoke with him, when I interviewed him it was [0:23:56.9] _______, some kind of plastic that they use to move the blood through. Are you saying that the water that’s in the blood that’s moving through our veins is inside of a hydrophilic surface because the inside of our blood vessels is hydrophilic?
Dr. Tom: Absolutely.
Ben: Ok, so the inside of our blood vessels would be very similar to what they’ve used in the lab in terms of it being a hydrophilic surface that they’re pushing water through?
Dr. Tom: Yes.
Ben: Ok, and… Oh go ahead.
Dr. Tom: But I just wanna correct that for a minute. There’s no pushing the water. All you need is this rolled up tube that creates a separation of charges, so it creates this negative charge which by the way, protects the tube, it’s called an exclusion zone, and that pushes the positive charges into the bulk water, the non-gel water.
Dr. Tom: And that’s exactly what you have in the capillaries. You have these charged hydrophilic tubes that have a very small layer of negatively charged exclusion zone gel, and inside of that you have the inner part, the lumen of the blood vessel, the center of it which has positively charged protons which because they repel each other, they cause the water, meaning the blood to start moving.
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The cool thing is you can buy this stuff that I normally buy, right like Brazil nuts, and dark chocolate, and chia seeds, but then if there is anything that catches your fancy that you just wanna try, what nuts.com is doing is they’re giving 4 free samples to everybody who listens in. You get to choose from over 50 different options. You can try cacao paste, whatever that is if you wanna actually try it. I may actually add that to my next stack. I might use my own discount code and add that one. I think it’s some kind of like a fudgy paste. Anyways though, here’s how you get the deal from nuts.com. Go to nuts.com and use the code ‘fitness’ when you order. As soon as you do that, you get to select from 4 free samples whatever you want. That’s over $15 value. Pretty good deal if you ask me. So nuts.com and use code ‘fitness.’
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Ben: And this is, by the way, if I recall correctly from my interview with Dr. Pollack this is how water will travel defying gravity for example the bottom of a tree all the way to the top of a hundred foot tree is via the travel of water with this exclusion zone. The travel of structured water through a hydrophilic surface.
Dr. Tom: Exactly, and then it explains this another conundrum in science called the barometric limit which is we’re told that water can’t move up a column higher than 33 feet because the gravity, the weight of the water becomes too much though. Yet there are trees that are 300 or 400 feet, so the whole thing is basically nonsense. The pump in that situation is simply that the tubes that this sap or water is flowing in are hydrophilically-charged xylem tubes.
Ben: What’s a xylem tube? What’s that mean?
Dr. Tom: That’s just the name for the tube that the sap flows up in the tree
Ben: Ok, gotcha.
Dr. Tom: And so, it’s the exact same mechanism that gets the blood to flow from our capillaries up through the veins, and then the veins coalesce like a river from a wetland into a raging river, so they’ll go faster and faster as they get up to the heart, and literally no energy is required except sunlight and earth energy. So the whole system runs by itself just because of the nature of this fourth phase of water. But the whole thing is brilliant really.
Ben: Well, yeah it’s like a perpetual motion machine. It’s almost like free energy because all you’ve got is just fluid following a charge. When you say the sunlight or the earth I assume what you’re referring to is that is where the actual electrons to allow for this charge are coming from?
Dr. Tom: Well, in Pollack’s experiments he put these tubes in water and he put them in a lead box, and the tube stopped being charged and the water stopped flowing. And then he put them in the sunlight and they started flowing again. Which tells us that the separation of charge which is the thing that really is doing the work here, that has to come from some supply of energy from the outside which can be simply sunlight or electromagnetic field from the earth or holding your friend’s or wife’s hand, all those things provide energy that’s enough to charge up our tubes and flow the fluid which is exactly what people experience with massage and intimate encounters, and being in the sun, walking on the beach, walking in the wet grass with bare feet, all these things. They all charge your tubes, make the blood flow and it’s all free and amazing.
Ben: You know, the interesting thing that you mentioned that I don’t want to necessarily fly under the radar is this exclusion zone. You’ve got all these positive protons on the inside of that exclusion zone. So all these positive recharged molecules are repelling each other and causing that upward flow of water or fluid, or in this case blood, but around those positive ions are all the negative ions next to the actual surface to the blood vessel, and you mentioned how that’s almost protective, but what you’re saying is that if you are in a state and we’ll talk about this later where you actually have these exclusion zones in your blood, you would theoretically be keeping like erosion or inflammation of the blood vessels at bay because the exclusion zones will be like protecting the surface of the blood vessel against solutes or bore toxins, or other particles, correct?
Dr. Tom: That is absolutely correct. You nailed it hundred percent, and that’s why in the normal state as long as your tubes are charged, you have this protective gel lining your vessels and you get no damage from inflammation or anything else, and life is good.
Ben: Ok, so where do we go from here in terms of explaining this concept to people? Do you wanna delve into how one would actually create this type of structured water inside of their blood vessels, or do you wanna talk more about like the structure of the heart because you have a really unique explanation of the actual structure of the heart in the book?
Dr. Tom: Right. I mean there’s not a whole lot else to say about to create structured water it’s basically good food, earthing – meaning bare feet on bare ground, exposure to sunlight which is what humans were meant to do, and intimate touch with some other living being.
Ben: You’re not gonna sell a lot of pharmaceutical medications with that approach, by the way. I’m just warning you. (chuckles) I don’t know if you’re aware of that.
Now what about, because I know a lot of people ask this, and I’ve talked about this on the show before. What about drinking water that has been exposed to sunlight or drinking water that has been exposed to earth’s electromagnetic fields by focusing on spring water and fresh well water or even using like these water structuring units or drinking structured water? Do you think that that has an influence on the blood or is that simply influencing things like intracellular hydration?
Dr. Tom: That’s also a great question, and all I can say Ben about that is I don’t know for sure. First of all, I think we should drink the purest most alive moving water we can. That I agree with. But as far as being able to prove that drinking structured water helps structure the blood, the fluid in your vessels, that I can’t say that I know.
Ben: Right, but what you do know is that inside the blood we do see evidence of these exclusion zones forming and a positive and a negative electrical gradient that is allowing blood to move without the pumping action of the heart per se.
Dr. Tom: That’s exactly right, and I know whether drinking water promotes that I don’t know that, I do it just to be because I’m hoping it does but I don’t really know that for sure.
Ben: Ok, so this model that you’ve described is this all, playing devil’s advocate here, blue sky, totally theoretical, zero clinical research behind this?
Dr. Tom: You mean, are there any studies that prove that what I just said is correct?
Ben: Basically, yeah.
Dr. Tom: (chuckles) Well, I would say the first step people should go to is I just started a website devoted to all things heart called humanheartcosmicheart.com, and in there a mechanical engineer friend of mine, Ralph Marinelli who’s been working on a proper model for what the heart actually does for decades, and he has a whole engineering perspective on this whole thing I’m talking about, and with references etcetera. So there is a lot of work on this and it’s basically the reason why nobody has been able to make a functional, mechanical heart that does anything close to what it should because the model for the heart is completely wrong.
Ben: Now when you say “the model for the heart is completely wrong” are you referring to the actual geometry of the heart that you talked about in the book?
Dr. Tom: I’m referring to 2 things. The first thing is, if we know that the pumping so called pumping which means the reason the blood moves is from what we just talked about this water dynamics and it starts in the capillaries, so the next rational question is so what is the heart doing there in the first place? Why do we need a heart? What does it do? And the best way to describe that is a bit like if you wanna use an analogy again, it’s like a hydraulic ram. So you click a ram in a fast moving stream of water, so now picture this fast moving venus blood coming up to the heart, and it gets to the heart and what does the heart do? It stops the blood. Doesn’t push the blood, it stops the blood. And it holds it in an expandable tank behind the gate. So the gate expands and that creates positive pressure on the incoming side and negative pressure or a vacuum on the other side, right?
Dr. Tom: That’s what’s going to happen. And once that pressure differential builds up, the gate will open the aortic arch, the outflow too will compress in because it’s a suction device not a pushing device, and that explains perfectly what you see and even what a heartbeat is. A heartbeat is the expansion of expandable walls, and then a passive contraction. There’s no push needed which also makes it very easy for muscle to do that for eighty years, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty days a year. So that explains what a heart does. Now there’s another whole aspect of what the heart does which turns out that the heart has a very interesting shape which I described in detail in the book which is a 7-sided regular form which supposedly didn’t exist until a guy named Frank Chester basically created it. And when you create this form and put it into an on-rushing stream of water, what this form does is 2 things. One, it structures the water so that the cells go down the middle like the white blood cells and the red blood cells, and it does that by creating a vortex or a spiral inside of this structure.
Dr. Tom: So the whole thing is so amazing and sophisticated. This blood comes in which has lost its form it comes in to this holding tank which creates using nature’s creative form which is a vortex or a spiral like the Milky Way or DNA, or a snail or sunflowers, or any other creative form, and that gets the cells to move down the middle where the least resistance is and puts the other stuff in the more fluid part to the outside where the most resistance is, that helps the flow and it creates this vortex which essentially energizes your whole being and creates an electromagnetic field which gets the organs to entrain on them. The vortex is key and we only know that there’s a vortex is in there because we can see it when this form is created.
Ben: And the actual form of the heart I believe the title of the shape that you give to in the book is a ‘chestahedron’, is that correct?
Dr. Tom: Yeah. That was new name that Frank came up with to give a name to the exact form that actually Rudolf Steiner predicted, he said: “the heart is a 7-sided regular form that sits in an imaginary box in the chest”, and whe int turns out when you put this form in a box it makes the same angle in your chest as your heart does in your real chest.
Ben: Ok, so if I form a 7-sided chestahedron figure, you actually have an image of this in the book, a photo of this in the book, and I take that and put it into a geometrical square which represent for example like the human chest, that thing is gonna jot out at an angle of thirty-six degrees which is the exact angle at which the heart sits within the chest.
Dr. Tom: Exactly, and it’s the exact number of degrees of warmth of a normal human being.
Ben: Wow. And so this chestahedron, this is actually a shape that allows for a flow of blood through the heart. Basically like a vortex, a spinning flow of blood through the heart that allows the heart to pass through the atria and the ventricles of the heart with as little resistance as possible?
Dr. Tom: The point of the chestahedron is to create this vortex. So yes, it has this little resistance but what it needs to do is like the creative energy of the blood has been spent on its course through the body.
Dr. Tom: So you need to create a new impulse for life, a new creative energy and that always when that wants to happen nature always uses a vortex.
Ben: Ok, this makes sense because my water, this might be a good analogy. The water in my house comes from a well. I’ve got a well in my backyard, and unfortunately there’s I think a myth out there about well water that it’s all just pristine. It’s not. Yeah, I’ve had the water tested, and it’s got very high levels of manganese. It’s also got a lot of bacteria-based iron in it. It doesn’t have chlorine and fluoride, and birth control pills, and everything that’s in a typical municipal water supply, but it’s not perfect. So when that water passes into my house it goes through what’s called the hydrogen peroxide-based iron filter which filters out or really converts all of the bacteria-based iron into more or less OH molecules or what wind up in my water after it passes through that filter. And then it also passes through a secondary filter, a manganese filter.
After that has occurred, you know you mentioned the creative energy of water not being quite as high once that blood gets back into the heart, once that water’s gone through the 2 filters going into my home, I realize that it is not a structured, the exclusions zones that form when that water was passing through all the rocks and the underground springs that it was passing through before it came up through all the tubes in the well and through all my filters. A lot of that exclusion zone is no longer present, meaning if I wanna drink really good structured water I have to do something about that. So I actually have a series of glass beads, a vortex built into the pipes coming out of that filter, out of that secondary filter to restructure the water before it winds up in my shower head, in my drinking water and my bath water and everything else.
What you’re saying is that the chestahedron, the 7-sided shape of the heart that this geometry expert, this Frank guy developed as a model of the heart, that’s acting very similarly to the vortex of glass beads – the structured water device that I’ve placed in my home. It’s like the human body has its own structured water or structured fluid creator, and the shape of the actual heart is allowing the water or the blood to become restructured as it passes through the heart?
Dr. Tom: You got it.
Ben: Cool. I love it. So it’s a vortex basically.
Dr. Tom: I couldn’t have said it any better myself, Ben.
Ben: Ok, cool. I like it and my own water filters are making better sense plus I think it’s dang cool that I have almost like my own built–in biological structured blood creator, my own vortex inside of my chest. It’s really cool.
Dr. Tom: That is exactly right. I don’t have anything to add to that. You’re smart. You’re doing what your heart is doing. You’re recreating the system. The energy is spent but it’s like I tell people you gotta get the stuff out of the water and then you gotta make it alive again.
Ben: Ok, so when did this idea, ‘cause you went to medical school, you learned that the heart was a pump, you mentioned that it’s been hundreds of years since we have ever considered anything aside from that fact. Why is it or when was it that this entire idea of the heart being a pump arose and why has it been so prevalent. Why don’t more doctors know about what you’ve talked about, and what’s kind of a history of this whole heart as a pump type of model rather than the alternative model you’ve just proposed?
Dr. Tom: So it was started like I said in 1628 with this guy Harvey, who’s considered the father of modern cardiology and I think in some ways a very complicated answer because if you would ask in 1627, what move the blood? The answer for thousands of years before that was some vital force that works through water. That’s what they said. Everybody from the ancient Greeks down to the pythagoreans, all that they said there’s some special life force in water that moves the blood. So, then along comes Harvey and was basically you know, it’s a complicated evolution of thinking of humanity. There was a time that science had to get rid of all talk of vitalism, or special forces, or special properties of water, or life forces, they said that the human being is just a pure mechanical object. It just works with mechanics. There’s no such thing as life. We might as well study it in a dead body because it’s all the same, and that was how we started thinking and doing medicine and science ever since.
Now, in some ways that probably needed to happen. There was probably too much unclear thinking and not scientific thinking really, but the problem is we lost any sense of the difference between life and death frankly. And there’s no such thing as vitalism, there’s no such thing as special properties of water but it turns out actually they were right. There is something in special property of water, and you could describe it as a vital force. I mean, I’m not exactly sure I know what that means, but there’s some creative force that people actually can feel and experience and there was just this stream in humanity to get rid of all talk of that.
Ben: Got it. Plus the model that I referred to earlier say like, going out barefoot on the planet earth, and drinking good clean structured water, or getting exposure to sunlight, or touching other people to get there. Transfer of negative electrons that also I guess doesn’t really sell a lot of pharmaceutical drugs. That might be part of it as well. I would hazard a guess.
Dr. Tom: Yeah, that might it.
Ben: Now, not to be a conspiracy theorists. It’s just the way I think. But anyway, so the definition of a heart attack when we look at that related to the model that you’ve just presented could also be flawed, correct?
Dr. Tom: Yes. The first step was that the heart is not a pump, and the second step for me was questioning this theory that coronary artery disease i.e. plaque in coronary arteries that constricts the blood flow and doesn’t allow the blood to pass that downstream from that, you get a heart attack. It turns out that’s as equally flawed as the heart is not a pump or the heart is a pump.
Ben: Ok, why is that?
Dr. Tom: Well, there’s a few lines of reasoning. The first one was interestingly enough when heart attack started happening in this country in the thirties, forties and fifties with particularly with the change of diet and lifestyle. The cardiologist were introduced this plaque theory and they didn’t believe it. They said, first of all plaque happens everywhere in the body in all the blood vessels because if we’re saying that there’s something in the blood that causes plaque like cholesterol, or LDL, or inflammation, then it should happen everywhere because it’s in the blood. So coronary arteries, splenic arteries, artery to your liver, artery to your foot, everywhere. Yet, nobody has ever heard of anybody getting a spleen attack or a liver attack or a kidney attack. The only 2 organs that have attacks are the heart and the brain. No other organ has this kind of a schemic so called heart attack or we call it strokes with the brain. So that was the first thing.
So then, they had this argument and they did autopsy studies on people who died of heart attacks. And I actually have a few of them here with me, and one of them is by a study of a guy named DeWood in 1986, and there were others that are on my website. They say 34% of the people at autopsy who died of a heart attack had a blockage of the vessel. So that means 66% didn’t have a blockage of the vessel which is very interesting because since that’s the entire reason why we think people die of heart attacks. What possibly could have happened to those 66% of the people?
Ben: Right. Kinda throws a wrench in that equation.
Dr. Tom: Right. The other thing that I started thinking about is probably 90% of the bypass to stents, angioplasties etcetera are in the following situation, and I’ve seen I don’t know, a hundred patients exactly like this. So a guy who doesn’t feel so good you know, but he’s gone on hikes and little shortness of breath, little chest pain goes to the doctor they say, oh you, have something wrong with your heart, let’s do an angiogram and they find that 96% blockage of one of the blood vessels, and they say you need to have a bypass or a stent or an angioplasty because if you don’t and it blocks anymore you’re gonna die.
So let’s dissect this a little bit because first of all the theory is all of the blood to your heart comes through this major coronary arteries. There’s 3, some people say there’s 2, but there’s basically 3. So if one of them gets blocked you’re a goner. Now the guy comes in (6% blockage and that means he’s got 4% blood flow to his heart. Now, I don’t know about you, but if somebody has 4% blood flow they’ve got no blood flow and how in God’s name did they walk up that hill yesterday?
Dr. Tom: And second of all, you mean to tell me if you go from 4% blood flow to 2% blood flow, or 1%, that’s gonna be the difference and that’s gonna kill you. Frankly, I don’t believe it because I think 4% is basically zero, and they already don’t have any blood flow through that blocked artery. Yet, the Mayo Clinic in 2003 does a study in just angioplasties, stents and bypasses besides very few situations have no effect on the overall mortality of the patient. In other words…
Ben: Right unless it’s like a very high-risk patient in which cases they’ve shown like a slight improved chance of survival kinda like statins, they only work for people of either like had pre-existing heart disease or those who are I think men above x-age but in most cases statins don’t actually work to prevent heart disease.
Dr. Tom: Right, and then I don’t even know if I would agree that they work in those cases, but anyways, yes.
So the other thing that I found out the first time I ever publicly spoke about this was years ago was at a Holistic Northern California Heart Symposium, and one of the intraventional cardiologist at a local hospital was there and he obviously knew what was about. There were holistic people there, so he wanted to be more catered to that audience. So he said back in Alabama in the sixties back when they used to do and check poor black men with syphilis and that stuff, and they had these guys who came in with chest pain and they did angiograms on them, and they found the ones who had 1 vessel that was more than 90% blocked, and so the study was they decided not to do anything for that. They didn’t tell him to eat right, they didn’t do a bypass. They didn’t do anything. They just said, go home and if you have more problem let me know. And they all wrote in the chart, if this guy comes back which part of their heart would have the heart attack? And of course, they all said well, the part that was blocked. As if it blocks any more than 8% blood flow, then it’s gonna be the end of it. So then they waited, and some of them came back, and at the end of the study less than 10% had a heart attack in the area of the original blockage. In other words, if they had done their stents, and bypasses, and statins, and angioplasties to that vessel, it would have done them no good because that vessel never had a heart attack in the first place.
Dr. Tom: And so the whole thing, and I mean I could go on forever about this but it’s all in my book, just made no sense at all.
Ben: So in terms of the reason that people do get heart attacks if it’s not because of these blockages, if bypass surgery doesn’t relieve the symptoms of chest pain and doesn’t prevent future heart attacks, then what you’re saying is that there’s something else that must be causing heart attacks aside from some kind of like a blockage?
Dr. Tom: Yes, well just to correct one second there. It does relieve symptoms, in fact, we think it’s because a) it either cuts the nerves so you don’t feel it, but there was even a very interesting placebo trial where they had people with chest pain, they say we’re gonna do a bypass and they just opened their chest, and they didn’t do anything and they had approximately the same symptom relief as the people who didn’t.
Ben: Ok, so you do you ‘em almost like a sham-based surgery?
Dr. Tom: Yes.
Ben: Yeah, very similar that actually there’s a lot of really interesting sham-based surgeries out there. I don’t know if you’ve seen the one on knees where they cut open people’s knees, and you know, some people got the little incision that looked like they’d actually had the surgery. Some people actually got an ACL surgery, and there was no difference in terms of symptom relief between the two. The people have thought they got the surgery had just as much knee pain symptom relief as the people who got the actual surgery.
Dr. Tom: Right. So anyways, whether that’s reproducible or not I don’t know, but the point is there’s a lot of questions of that theory. So getting to your point of what does cause heart attacks. The first thing to know is that… to see this… again, you can go on my website, I have a link to this other website heartattacknew.com where you can see that the heart is not 4 blood vessels. It’s an entire network of so called collateral vessels because the body is not so stupid to put all its eggs in these 4 baskets. So the whole blood flow of the heart again is like a water shed with the blood moving in there because of the whole water thing, and it’s a flow, not a river through these 4 vessels. So that’s the first thing.
The second thing is, and again this has been clearly worked out in a… and I don’t need to go into the whole history of this but here’s what happens. So first of all, we have an autonomic nervous system divided into a sympathetic and a parasympathetic chain. Sympathetic is fight or flight, parasympathetic is rest and digest. Well, over 90% of the people who have heart disease have decreased parasympathetic nervous system activity, and so when that happens chronically…
Ben: So just to interrupt you real quick, so what you’re saying is that the rest and digest branch of the autonomic nervous system, and I actually measure this every single morning myself. I do what’s called the heart rate variability measurement every morning on my body, and so every morning when I wake up I know my sympathetic nervous system activity and my parasympathetic nervous system activity. And so, when you say parasympathetic nervous system activity you’re referring to what I’m measuring every morning and checking to make sure is high enough, people actually have a lowering of parasympathetic activity?
Dr. Tom: Yes. In fact that very thing you’re doing ‘cause you’re (giggles) very savvy about these things is a heart rate variability task and that has revolutionized our understanding of this.
Dr. Tom: So, in that very test people with heart disease have decreased parasympathetic activity, chronically it happens with diabetes, it happens with high blood pressure, it happens with social isolation, it happens with bad food, it happens with a lot of things. All the things that cause heart disease. Then they have a sympathetic stressor either physical activity, or emotional grief, or psychological trauma, or financial or a whole lot of things, and so the next thing that happens is what’s called a glycolytic shift where the energy generation goes from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm. I know that’s technical stuff. But what happens is you start burning fuel with glycolysis meaning fermentation instead of the usual way to the krebs cycle.
Dr. Tom: What happens then is you build up lactic acid in the tissues. There are numerous studies enlisted in my book for every heart attack there’s a lactic acid buildup in the cells. Now, this is very similar to what would happen in your leg if you ran too far and you went anaerobic in your legs, you would build up lactic acid and then you would feel cramps and pain in your leg, right?
Dr. Tom: The same thing happens in your heart. It exceeds its capacity, there’s a shift in the nervous system drive for the use of fuel, you build up lactic acid, and that causes a cramp in your heart which we call angina. The difference between the heart and the brain and all the other rest of the organs which don’t get attacks is a) the heart and the brain, each use 40% of the fuel and b) and more importantly those 2 organs can’t stop so the lactic acid continues to build up unlike your leg, or your spleen, or your foot, or your liver, where if the lactic acid builds up in your leg, you feel pain, you stop running, your blood flushes the lactic acid out and then you can start over. In the heart you can’t do that. If the lactic acid builds up, you get a localized acidosis metabolic acidosis in the tissue of your heart which clearly destroys the tissue which is then what we call a heart attack.
Ben: Got it.
Dr. Tom: That’s exactly what happens. You can measure it, you can measure the lactic acid build-up, you can measure the increasing acidosis in the tissue and that’s at a certain level you start breaking down the cells, break down the cells then you see it the increased troponine in the blood. You see the EKG changes cause the electrical impulses don’t get transmitted through the dead cells. The whole thing is very clear and well worked out.
Ben: Now this interests me for a couple of reasons. First of all, this whole idea of mitochondrial dysfunction is very, veru similar to the metabolic theory of cancer in which cells can actually go into almost like out of control glycolysis, out of control lactic acid production when mitochondria become, shall we say less than stellar in terms of their health inside of a cell due to interestingly enough, lack of sunlight, lack of proper hydration, too much free-radical production etcetera, and so it’s very interesting that the same things that cause cancer to a certain extent seem to have a little bit of a mechanistic effect in heart disease as well. The other thing that I find very interesting here when you’re talking about a parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system imbalance is that there are things that strengthen the parasympathetic nervous system that we’ve talked about so much before on a podcast that people can easily do. Are you familiar with the concept of the vagal nerve tone, Dr. Cowan, Cowan, Tom? (chuckles)
Dr. Tom: (Chuckles) Ah, yes to a certain extent. I mean you, probably you know more about that than I, and I just wanna say, Ben too, years ago I gave a lecture called Cancer and Heart Disease – Two Different Manifestations of the Same Disease. So, I should have had you do that because your explanation again was perfect.
Ben: Interesting. And I’ll slap myself on the back for that one because that wasn’t in your book.
Dr. Tom: It wasn’t in my book.
Ben: Just the thought of that as you were talking, but this idea is that the vagus nerve tone or a high vagus nerve tone is associated with increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, and we actually recently released a podcast inside of our what’s called our premium channel at Ben Greenfield Fitness where we went over thirty-two different ways to increase vagal nerve tone. It is everything from (chuckles) love and relationships, and gratitude, to deep tissue work on the jaw, head and neck like jaw realignment, to chanting, to singing, to even freaking gargling, all sorts… and cold water exposure is one, by the way. You just simply…
Dr. Tom: (laughs) Cold water, absolutely.
Ben: Cold shower, cold splashing on your face,, there’s all sorts of things that you can do to increase the tone of your parasympathetic nervous system that are easy, cheap or free and when you talk about this parasympathetic, sympathetic imbalance, and how that creates this cascade that can lead to an acceleration of the heartbeat, and a constriction of the heart once again, it’s so simple what we could be doing to reduce these risks.
Dr. Tom: Well, my only response to that, Ben is I hope everybody watches or listens to that podcast you were referring to, and does at least thirty-one of those things.
Ben: Now you also mentioned in the book, I mentioned statin drugs and I think you talk about how aspirin does this as well, but how some of these drugs that are commonly recommended for heart disease cause the production of nitrous oxide and acetylcholine, and that these can actually reduce parasympathetic nervous system activity or contribute to the issue.
Dr. Tom: Right, but we also have to understand that the 4 main categories of drugs that have some benefit for preventing or treating heart disease, they have mechanisms like they say statins lower cholesterol, but they also increase acetylcholine which is one of the main neurotransmitters of the parasympathetic nervous system. So in so far as there is benefit which I’m not sure there is, but if there is, it’s not from lowering the cholesterol it’s from a temporary increase in the parasympathetic activity.
Dr. Tom: Same with aspirin, same with nitrates, and a beta-blocker is nothing else but blocking the sympathetic arm which has an effect of increasing the parasympathetic arm at least in relation. So you can even see the 4 main drugs in cardiology from this perspective that’s how they work, but as I’m sure you’ll ask I talk about a different medicine which actually supports your parasympathetic nervous system and furthermore, directly converts lactic acid into pyruvate which is the preferred fuel of the heart.
Ben: Yeah, I actually have underlined that section of the book because I did want to ask you about that particular medicine, it’s like a Brazilian plant. I’ve never heard of it until I came across it in your book. Can you describe what that is?
Dr. Tom: So the plant is herb Strophanthus, it’s basically an African vine that was discovered by… what’s his name, Livingstone, the explorer in Africa. It’s intensely bitter stuff that contains an active ingredient that in Europe is called G-strophanthin, and in the United States it’s called Ouabain, o-u-a-b-a-i-n.
Dr. Tom: Ouabain turns out amazingly enough is an indigenous neuro-hormone. Indigenous meaning it’s actually made in our adrenal glands, in the adrenal cortex so the plant is copying what we make, and it goes from the adrenal glands to the heart to a) stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, and b) convert the lactic acid which is the lynchpin in this destructive process into pyruvate which is a fuel for the heart. So it actually gets into the very heart of the mechanism that leads to the heart attacks. And that’s why for decades it was given to all heart patients in Germany, in Switzerland, and they were able to document a dramatic prevention of heart attacks, decrease in heart attacks. They gave an IV if somebody came in with a heart attack, and then stuff happened and they got rid of it.
Ben: So you can’t get this stuff anywhere, like if I were to go search on Amazon for a strophanthin or strophanthus, you cannot actually find this?
Dr. Tom: So right now there’s only 2 sources of it. All the other companies that were making this active ingredient or the plant extract have been bought or went out of business or they were something who knows, you know, it’s hard to know what happened actually. But right now there is a compounding pharmacy in Germany that will make it and there’s a herbal company in Brazil that makes an extract of the plant which is what I have used, and I’ve tested it so I know how much ouabain per milliliter, how much ouabain per drops, so I actually have an extract of the plant and I know how much stuff of the actual ingredient is in there.
Ben: How’d you get it?
Dr. Tom: (laughs) I contacted the owner of the company and we’re at an active process of making it available to people through our website.
Dr. Tom: It’s not quite yet, but it’s gonna happen really soon
Ben: Keep in touch with me because I’m extremely interested. What I actually wanna do is I wanna take some and measure my heart rate variability using the system that I use to see what happens specifically to what’s called the high frequency score, the strength of the parasympathetic nervous system. I’d be curious to quantify that and see how it actually works on my own body.
In the book, you also talk about how you use things like emu oil and high amounts of Vitamin K2. Why do you do that?
Dr. Tom: So the three “causes” of heart attacks or angina, unstable angina chest pain. Number one is this thing that we’ve talked about with the parasympathetic/ sympathetic imbalance, lactic acid build-up etcetera. The second is the failure of the collateral circulation which is the small blood vessels that do their own bypass, that create this water shed of flow in the heart. And then the third and probably actually the least significant is… I’m not saying that having plaque in all your arteries is a good thing, right? I am saying that’s usually not sufficient to cause a heart attack, but if we can reduce the plaque build-up, that’s still a good thing and there’s two ways of doing that. One is basically with those structuring of the water like we talked about, the other is eating a very high Vitamin K2 diet. It seems like Vitamin K2, which is the Weston Price activating factor directs the calcium and the deposition from the blood vessels to the bones where it belongs.
Dr. Tom: And I’ve seen people who’ve taken high K2 and emu oil was just a high, K2 is fat-soluble so it has to be in fat. High amount of K2 and their calcium score decreases and their plaque build-up either stabilizes or regresses. So…
Ben: Gotcha. What I use is a Vitamin D, Vitamin K blend in a medium-chained triglyceride oil. That one’s made by Thorne, but yeah, very similar concept. Okay, so you want a good Vitamin K that’s in fat-soluble form and you want increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, those are two of your main heart attack prevention methods.
Dr. Tom: And the third is collateral circulation which is either exercise, the kind of things that you’re talking about, strength-training does that and for people who are basically too debilitated to even exercise, there’s something called EECP which basically forces new collateral circulation to form.
Ben: Is that very similar to like these compression garments or compression gears like pumping boots?
Dr. Tom: Yup, except that’s synched–up to the EKG, so it compresses while your heart is relaxed and that forces these new small blood vessels to sprout.
Ben: I actually use something like that for athletic recovery. I never really thought about it for my heart, but I have these boots called NormaTec boots, and they were developed by a NASA scientist, and they actually do what’s called a grade-aided compression from your feet up to your legs but you pull on the boots, they actually do an internal measurement of the circumference of your legs, and then you just sit there while you’re working on your computer or reading a book, or whatever, and they just basically pump from your foot all the way up to your femoral artery. It’s about how high they go and I think they actually sell them for the arms and the torso as well, and then back out. I would imagine it’s almost like a cheap home-version of this EECP that you’re talking about.
Dr. Tom: Right. You’re exactly right.
Ben: Okay, now the other thing that I just wanna make sure that I get right when it comes to heart attacks just to kinda close the book on the cause of heart attacks. So, we know now based on what you’re saying that in terms of what would cause a heart attack would be increased sympathetic nervous system drive, decreased parasympathetic nervous drive, and increased glycolysis that causes a lot of lactic acid production in your heart cells, in your myocardial cells.
Now, in addition to that one of the things that’s thrown around quite a bit when it comes to the blood vessels especially is this concept of inflammation and like elevated C-reactive protein being something that they’ll measure as a potential marker for heart disease. Do we need to consider inflammation or whether caused by high insulin levels, high blood glucose levels, etcetera. Is that part of this equation as well?
Dr. Tom: So, high inflammation especially in regard to insulin and diabetes which is a risk factor, but the interesting thing about diabetes as a risk factor is diabetes as all doctors know is a disease of small blood vessels not of big blood vessels. So how does that make sense if it’s big blood vessels that are the culprit? The answer is it doesn’t. But if you have a lot of inflammation and high insulin and the whole diabetic metabolism, you will have a deterioration of your small blood vessels meaning your collaterals’ circulation which is your main flow protection against heart attacks. So that’s what the connection is.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. So we’d also want to theoretically be doing what we can to keep elevated blood glucose at bay, and to fight inflammation using I would imagine there’s just like traditional anti-inflammatory protocols such as avoiding toxins and air pollutants using ginger, and turmeric, and curcumenoids, and garlic, eating a lot of dark leafy greens, those type of things.
Dr. Tom: Yes, and don’t eat sugar, and you know…
Ben: Right, all the stuff folks should know already.
Dr. Tom: Corn oil and all that stuff.
Ben: Yeah. This is absolutely fascinating. I mean, like this book it’s really well-written, it’s a little bit of a page turner. I cannot let you go though, without asking you about one of the more important things that you talk about in the book, and that once again, I think flies under the radar might be a little bit woo-woo for people listening in, but the last chapter in your book is called ‘what’s love got to do with it.’ Why is that the last chapter in the book? Why is that important?
Dr. Tom: So, I wanted to point out my experience with science and medicine, is there’s a disconnect between what people actually feel and live versus what they say as “scientists.” So if you think about the heart, so when I dissected a heart in medical school, it’s just this nondescript lump of stuff, and if I dissected it cell by cell, I can guarantee you I find nothing that I would call love in there. Yet that’s what were told is reality. That all it is is just the stuff, and I can tell you there’s no love in that stuff, yet these same scientists, cardiologists and every human being on the planet I think, doesn’t say to their loved one, I love you with all my spleen, or I wanna hold you up to my buttocks to show how much I love you, or the football coach doesn’t say to his players, I want you guys to play with all your liver. They don’t say that. They all say, I love you with my heart. Put your heart into this game. If you don’t have heart, you can’t be on the Warriors, whatever it is. So we all have this connection to the heart as some sort of esoteric organ even though like I said because of this whole stream of science and medicine, we deny that there’s any connection, but even heart surgeons they talk about they have to love their patients and it’s the support of their family that got them through. I mean, why it’s just this lump of stuff like how does that make any sense?
So to me there’s gotta be a connection. And the way I put together the connection was first of all love is not something, it has to be unique. Like you don’t say to your wife, I love you just like I love all the other women. I mean, you could say that, but I don’t think she would like that, or to your child, oh I love all children just the same as you. That’s just not what love is. Love is very unique and specific. It has to do with the core of your personality and interacting with the world. It’s who you are. Now, what’s interesting about the heart unlike other organs as far as I know unlike any organ, is when you do a heart transplant and give the person a new heart, they often take on, not always but often, the actual emotional biographical characteristics of the person who’s the new heart.
Ben: It’s crazy.
Dr. Tom: It’s crazy. It is crazy as if the core of your being, even there’s a story that this guy was a racist and he didn’t like black people, he’s all prejudiced and hated music, and all these, and he gets the heart of a guy we didn’t know who it was. Next thing you know he’s hanging out in the bars with African American people, and listening to classical violin concertos.
Ben: And you should know, this doesn’t happen with like kidney, or liver, or lung transplants. Like it only happens with heart transplants.
Dr. Tom: Right, and they investigated, they found out that the old heart was from an African American seventeen year old guy who was studying to be a classical violinist.
Dr. Tom: I mean, when you read that you just think about it somehow this core of your being which I mean, I don’t know what love is any more than anybody else frankly, but I do think that it’s got to somehow be connected to the core of your being. Love is not superficial or you don’t say to your wife, I love you a little bit not so much, I have other things that are more important to me. That’s just not how it works. So when you talk about the core of your being it seems to be related to your heart. And again, there’s a very good book written about this called The Heart’s Code by a psychologist who basically counsel heart transplant patients.
Now interestingly, some didn’t have this experience, and his take on them was that they lived basically in conflict. As if they have a new core but they couldn’t accept it almost like your brain can’t go there. Like no, this is how I am. I don’t like music but your heart is saying, you know what, I like it. I wanna listen to it. So they live their life in conflict. Whereas the people who did the best just say, you know what, it’s a new day, I’m gonna just enjoy the music.
Ben: Yeah, that’s amazing. That’s really interesting. So in terms of love how does that fit in to this equation that you’re talking about with organ donors?
Dr. Tom: That’s what love is. Love is connecting with the essence of your being and essentially from there going out into the world.
Ben: Got it. So basically love involves the deepest part of our being, our essence, our heart and for us to truly prevent heart disease, or prevent heart attacks it’s not just drinking emu oil, and seating in compression boots, and taking strange Brazilian plant extracts for our parasympathetic nervous system. It’s also about I guess, all those things that had been shown in books like blue zones to be associated with increased longevity and the highest number of people and that’s gratitude, relationships, family, smiling and love.
Dr. Tom: And sunlight, and clean water, and food that tastes wonderful, and a life of security and without this constant threat of annihilation, and all the other stuff that we’re faced with.
Ben: It’s so simple and I love it. And I wanna thank you, Tom for writing this book and for giving us this crucial information. You’re doing a lot of good in the world.
Dr. Tom: We’ll thank you Ben, I really appreciate you having me and you’ve also brought up a number of things here which I need to know more about, and I’m going to look into.
Ben: Well, you just need to go to the show notes just like everybody else. (chuckles) The show notes are over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/cosmic, as in the name of the book that you need to read which is Human Heart, Cosmic Heart. bengreenfieldfitness.com/cosmic is where you can get the show notes for everything that we’ve just talked about; the links to Tom’s website and much more. And in the meantime, Tom thanks for coming on the show.
Dr. Tom: Thank you, Ben.
Ben: And everybody else, have a healthy week. Until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Dr. Thomas Cowan signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com
You've been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
I first introduced you to Dr. Thomas Cowan in the podcast episode released a few weeks ago entitled “How (& Why) To Eat More Vegetables, Why A Plant Is Like An Upside-Down Human, Little-Known Superfood Plants & More!“
In that episode, you learn how when Dr. Cowan was a 20-year-old Duke grad-student, bright, skeptical, and already disillusioned with industrial capitalism – he joined the Peace Corps in the mid-1970s for a two-year tour in Swaziland. There, he encountered the work of Rudolf Steiner and Weston A. Price – two men whose ideas would fascinate and challenge him for decades to come.
Both drawn to the art of healing and repelled by the way medicine was―and continues to be―practiced in the United States, Cowan returned from Swaziland, went to medical school, and established a practice in New Hampshire and, later, San Francisco. For years, as he raised his three children, suffered the setback of divorce, and struggled with what we didn’t really talk much about in that previous podcast: a heart condition.
He was intrigued by the work of Price and Steiner and, in particular, with Steiner’s provocative claim that the heart is not a pump. Determined to practice medicine in a way that promoted healing rather than compounded ailments, Cowan dedicated himself to understanding whether Steiner’s claim could possibly be true. And if Steiner was correct, what, then, is the heart? What is its true role in the human body?
In his new book “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease“, which is a deeply personal, rigorous, and riveting account of his own struggle with heart disease, Dr. Cowan offers up a daring claim…
…not only was Steiner correct that the heart is not a pump, but our understanding of heart disease – with its origins in the blood vessels – is completely wrong. And this gross misunderstanding, with its attendant medications and risky surgeries, is the reason heart disease remains the most common cause of death worldwide.
In today’s episode, Dr. Cowan presents a new way of understanding the body’s most central organ. He offers a new look at what it means to be human and how we can best care for ourselves―and one another. During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-The strange root vegetable (which you probably haven’t heard of) that Dr. Cowan had for breakfast before our interview…[7:56]
-Dr. Cowan’s own heart struggles that caused him to have a heartbeat of over 200 beats per minute while playing basketball…[9:20]
-Why it is physically impossible for the heart to be able to pump blood through the body in the way that you (and your doctor) have learned…[13:25 & 15:25]
-How the way that blood flows through your body is actually quite similar to the way that water flows through a giant, tall tree…[28:45]
-What a “chestahedron” shape is, why is the exact shape of your heart, and how it creates a very unique vortex inside your chest….[40:35]
-How I personally structure my family’s water in a way extremely similar to the way that the heart structures and “spirals” your blood…[42:30]
-Why most doctors don’t know about this concept of the heart not being a pump…[45:50]
-Why coronary angiograms, bypass surgery and stents don’t work…[54:00]
-A strange Brazilian plant molecule called “Gstrophanthin” and why Dr. Cowan talks about it in the book…[66:50]
-How to use fats, oils, vitamin K, parasympathetic nervous system activators and compression therapy to drastically lower your risk of a heart attack…[70:15]
-The single biggest key to preventing heart disease…[76:20]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode: