The Real Cause of Heart Disease

Brad Hoppmann

In last week’s article, I shared with you the truth about two major myths in healthcare. The first truth I addressed was how dietary cholesterol does not actually raise blood cholesterol levels. The second was how high cholesterol levels do not cause heart disease in most individuals.

As promised, this week’s article will focus on the real cause of heart disease and several ways you could be putting yourself at risk.

 Let’s dive right in …

#1 Killer: Inflammation

Simply put, inflammation is your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as bacteria, toxins or a virus.

When inflammation works like nature intended, it is actually a good thing. It protects us from all sorts of dangers in our everyday lives like when you bruise your knee, burn your hand or catch a cold.

When the body is injured in some way, it releases various inflammatory mediators. These in turn initiate more blood flow to the area — turning it the familiar red color we all know.

During this process, white blood cells, plasma and vital nutrients rush to the injured area to begin an acute healing process, which in effect leaves behind scar tissue in the body.

With the increased plasma retention at the site of the injury, the body releases another inflammatory mediator called bradykinin. Bradykinin increases pain sensitivity at the site, discouraging usage of the injured area so the body can heal properly.

As I said, this is an acute healing process and meant to be short and sweet. …

When inflammation becomes chronic and systemic, big problems arise.

Chronic inflammation is just as harmful, as acute inflammation is beneficial.

Think of inflammation like a sprinkler. Normally, a sprinkler will stay on for a half hour or so, hydrating a garden and keeping the plants alive. However, if left on, the water from the sprinkler will flood the garden and drown the plants to death.

‘The constant presence of heart inflammation causes cardiovascular disease, and it’s actually inflammation that causes the walls of your arties to clog.

Chronic inflammation occurs when our body is constantly under attack by a multitude of stressors.

Health and fitness expert, Mark Sisson, provides a fantastic list on various stressors that cause chronic inflammation.

  • Toxic diets: High-sugar, high-processed carbs, high-industrial fat, high-gluten, high-CAFO meat, low-food is an accurate descriptor of the modern Western diet.
  • Insufficient omega-3 intake: Omega-3 fats form the precursors for anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, which are an integral part of the inflammatory response. Poor omega-3 status means insufficient production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids and a lopsided inflammatory response to normal stimuli.
  • Excessive omega-6 intake: Omega-6 fats form the precursors for inflammatory eicosanoids, which are an integral part of the inflammatory response. High omega-6 status (especially when combined with poor omega-3 status) means excessive production of inflammatory eicosanoids and a lopsided inflammatory response to normal stimuli.
  • Lack of sleep: Poor sleep is linked to elevated inflammatory markers. Poor sleep is a chronic problem in developed nations. Either we go to bed too late, wake up too early, or use too many electronics late at night and disrupt the quality of what little sleep we get. Or… all three at once.
  • Lack of movement: People lead sedentary lives for the most part, and a lack of activity is strongly linked to systemic, low-grade inflammation. People don’t have to walk to get to places anymore. They take escalators and elevators, they sit for hours on end, and they don’t make time for regular exercise.
  • Poor recovery: Other people move too much, with too little rest and recovery. When I ran 100+ miles a week, I certainly wasn’t sedentary, but I was chronically inflamed as a result of overtraining.
  • Chronic stress: Modern life is stressful. Bills, work, commuting, politics, exercise that you hate — it all adds up and it doesn’t seem to let up or go away. If it becomes too much for you to handle (I know it’s too much for me at times), your body will have a physiological, inflammatory response to emotional stress.
  • Lack of downtime: When you’re always on the computer, checking your e-mail/Facebook/smartphone, you are always “on.” You may think you’re relaxing because your body is stationary, but you’re not relaxing. Take time to unplug.
  • Lack of nature time: We spend too much time contained in cubicles, cars, trains and cities — away from trees, leaves and soft earth. In a way, nature is home for us. Going home certainly has its measured benefits.
  • Poor gut health: The gut houses the bulk of the human immune system. When it’s unhealthy, so is your inflammatory regulation. Give yourself a gut check.
  • Poor acute stressor/chronic stress ratio: We respond far better to acute stressors than repeated, sustained stress — even if the latter is of a lower intensity.
  • Last but not least, smoking: Need I say more?


All these stressors result in chronic inflammation and oxidation, which damage the cardiac tissue in the heart.

Regarding the cholesterol myth, this is where another key piece of information comes into play.

Just as inflammation leaves behind scar tissue in other parts of the body, inflammation leaves behind plaque on the walls of arteries in the heart.

However, mainstream medicine and big pharma want you to believe this plaque was directly caused by eating too much cholesterol and/or having high cholesterol levels.

They miss a critical component of the process by which artery plaque is made.

As I said before, when an area of the body is injured, white blood cells, plasma and nutrients rush to this site to heal the tissue.

One of those factors is cholesterol. Remember, cholesterol is vital to every cell in the body … and no cell can form without it. When your body is attempting to replace a bunch of damaged cells, it signals the liver to make more cholesterol and release it into the bloodstream.

However, when stressors like those listed above put the body in a constant state of inflammation, cholesterol levels will also be high because they are simply trying to do their natural duty of replenishing cells in the body.

This is why doctors initially believed high cholesterol levels were responsible for cardiac disease. They mistakenly turned correlation into harmful causation.

However, the latest research has shown us the root cause of heart disease is actually inflammation. When the body is in a state of chronic inflammation, the walls of the arteries begin to clog because of all the plaque left behind.

Therefore, what it really comes down to is your own ability to limit inflammation in your body through the correct diet and lifestyle.

Next week, I’ll show you exactly how you can safely and naturally limit inflammation in your life. All it takes are a few simple steps to dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease.

Happy and Healthy Investing,

Brad Hoppmann

Your thoughts on “The Real Cause of Heart Disease”

  1. the Egyptians knew the Heart was the Home of the Soul. the Soul is what guides us. Stress the Soul, you stress the Heart. this Stresst gets released by creating holes in the Cardiac Tissues. Cholersteral is the hole plastering molecular attempt to plug the hole. the radiator leak cure at the gas station. the Boiler lets off steam before it explodes. call 911.

    i strongly recommend the old Chineese Classic, ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower,’ and ‘ I Ching’, by Whilhem/Baynes. Amazon/Ebay. Chinese Wisdom is the result of observation of the flows of energy thru out our body and our life time. it is rarely known or understood by the Western people like yourself. nothing personal, so was i.

    there is a reason we as a Nation are in so much stress, and they have all the Energy, ie, Money.
    all we have are Debts. the Universe is thought to be 35 billion years old. we have 18 Trillion dollars of debt.
    calculate that, mine won’t go that far out in numbers. like Empty Calories, Empty Dollars just make it worse.

    i enjoy your articles. slow down, your not going anywhere.

    dale houseman, valdez alaska.

  2. Brad – FYI Mark Sisson is not a “health expert” as you proclaimed but rather a promoter of nutrition quackery. Your naïve belief that Sisson is an expert makes it clear you cannot separate fact from fantasy in the nutrition/health arena. Sisson, like so many others promoters of nutrition quackery is better at pseudoscience than differentiating quality data from questionable data.

    The factual errors in your article are numerous and I won’t bother debunking them all but let’s just deal with the first false claim you made based no doubt on your mistaken belief Sisson is something more than a crackpot blogger. Here is your second sentence and first factual error:

    “The first truth I addressed was how dietary cholesterol does not actually raise blood cholesterol levels.” Brad

    Obviously you got that bit of nonsense from Mark Sisson. Here’s unequivocal scientific evidence that proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Sisson’s claim that you parroted is 100% wrong in claiming dietary cholesterol does not raise serum cholesterol in man.

    Mattson FH, et al. Effect of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol in man. Am J Clin Nutr 1972;25:589-94

    In this very well-controlled clinical trial Dr. Mattson demonstrated increasing dietary cholesterol for zero to 317mg per 1000 Calories raised serum cholesterol levels by an average of 25%. The study was done on inmates who had no access to food other than what the researchers provided. The only variable that changed in this study was the amount of dietary cholesterol. Clearly a 25% increase in serum cholesterol proves your Sisson inspired “truth” is in fact wrong. Sometimes it helps to do a bit more in depth research on a subject before offering your naïve opinion for public consumption.

  3. Consider what plaque is. Ever heard the word calcified plaque? His in my opinion is about excess calcium in the blood stream. Why is it there? Well, we need to look to imbalances in minerals and lack of minerals and a poor balance of minerals. Your body cannot live well without minerals. How does calcium, Ca, get to the bones for storage? It needs magnesium, Mg, and Vitamin K2. They help deliver Ca to your bones for storage. But Mg and Ca need to be on a one to one ratio or better yet, 2 to 1 in favor of Mg. This assures that the Ca you digest gets to the bones and NOT stay in the blood and find its way to places you don’t want it stored in like your heart and arteries, to kidneys, or anywhere stones develop. Inflammation is likely caused by poor diet and an imbalance of minerals. I have had some issues with mineral imbalance and have learned to correct them. How? Partly it is due to excess caffeine and alcohol and not enough water. These deplete minerals along with many prescription drugs. Diet is clearly the issue. So the key for me was increasing Mg to 5 times my body weight in milligrams and keeping Ca at equal to or 1/2 of the milligrams of Mg. Also get your sodium from Himalayan Salt (will not raise BP) and get 4800 mg Potassium daily. Once we get minerals balanced, everything works much better. Just my 2 cents!

  4. Brad —

    Excellent article.

    I myself have cardiovascular disease.

    For a good readable overview of the problem and solutions I recommend a new book written by my physicians:

    “Beat the Heart Attack Gene: The Revolutionary Plan to Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes”

    Bradley Bale (Author), Amy Doneen (Author), Lisa Collier Cool (Contributor), Larry King (Contributor)

    They have opened my eyes to matters the health care profession often glosses over and kept me in good cardio health for over 10 years.

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