Originally published on LinkedIn August 12, 2019
Dr. Stephen Sinatra, M.D. explains that an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, supplements, mind-body medicine, grounding, and detoxifying the body to rejuvenate health.
6 Pillars of Healing: A Plan to Heal the Heart
Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s experience and concentrated efforts in cardiac medicine focus on six individual core principles to create a cohesive plan that benefits the entire body, especially maintaining heart health, even in the face of heart failure. The six pillars include a non-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, a mild exercise program, targeted nutritional supplements, mind-body medicine (for example,yoga and tai-chi, and other therapies considered “alternative”), grounding (where the human body makes contact with the earth and its energy), and detoxification (regular cleansing of the digestive tract and lots of sweating in an infrared sauna).
Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra, an Innovative Cardiologist
Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S, C.B.T. is a board certified cardiologist. He is also a board certified internal medicine physician. He holds certifications in the disciplines of nutrition, bioenergetic psychotherapy, and anti-aging medicine. He has practiced medicine since 1977, when he first opened a medical practice in Manchester, CT. His career encompasses fellowships at the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Nutrition. He spent 18 years as the Director of Medical Education at Manchester Memorial Hospital, and he has served two, four-year terms as the Chief of Cardiology at Manchester Memorial Hospital. He is also an incredibly kind man, who took the time to explain the Six Pillars of Healing, a program he developed and has spent years perfecting in his own practice.
The First Pillar: A Non-Inflammatory Diet
“I have Six Pillars of Healing, which I bring to the table,” stated Dr. Sinatra. “The first is a non-inflammatory diet–one low in sugar with a lot of healthy fat.” Dr.Sinatra explained that he likes monounsaturated fats and omega 3’s, like olive oil. “I do believe it (olive oil) is the secret sauce of the Mediterranean diet because it changes gene expression. It can reverse pro-inflammatory genes, which is really awesome!”
Be forewarned, however, that not all olive oils are created equally. It is legal, stated Dr. Sinatra in his presentation, that in Europe, canola oil can make up 25% of extra virgin olive oil. Look for olive oil that states its 100% extra virgin olive oil, so the product used in the kitchen is certified extra virgin olive oil.
The Second Pillar: Mild Exercise
Exercise benefits the body for one simple reason–deeper breath. Exercise moves blood, bone, and muscle. Moving the body allows for a plethora of physical functions to be stimulated, such as an increase in oxygenation of the blood through deeper breathing. Exercise also helps to maintain coordination and balance, while increasing joint mobility. Humans are made to walk; we are not made to sit and stare at screens. Dr. Sinatra suggests dancing, swimming, walking the dog–just keep the body moving–so the system can function better. Mild exercise is the best bet for seniors.
The Third Pillar: Targeted Nutritional Supplements
Dr. Sinatra states that he has no doubts about nutritional supplements. “I have been using CoEnzyme Q10 for forty years,” he stated. In his experience of working with top researchers in the U.S. and from other countries–including the researchers who discovered CoQ10–he knows that the supplement was put into his path for a reason. “I really love the nutrient. I have had dozens of children awaiting heart transplants from ages five to eighteen, many of whom refused transplants while they were taking my nutritional support program.” With his patients, he has found that supporting the body with good nutrition and supplements has definitely benefited his patients.
Dr. Sinatra uses four supplements for heart health that he refers to as the Awesome Foursome: d-ribose, l-carnitine, magnesium, and CoQ10. Together, these supplements provide the heart with the nutrients it needs to function. “I’ve had remarkable improvements in heart failure, whether young or old, on that program. When you take those four nutrients, they tend to drive ATP, which is the energy of life, in a preferential direction.”
Dr. Sinatra further explained his reasons for using supplements, “If you can replace the energy by targeted nutritional supports, then you’re improving the overall zeitgeist, the overall chi of the person.” A heart in distress needs nutritional support because the body can’t make enough of the nutrients needed to feed and sustain the organ.
When he first began adding nutritional supplements, 5-10% with his patients did not have a marked improvement. When d-ribose was added as a supplement, he noticed that only about 2% of patients did not have marked improvement. His means of testing the levels of these nutrients are through blood samples to check that the supplements are at their best levels for effective use in the body, just as is done with pharmaceutical compounds.
The Fourth Pillar: Mind-Body Medicine
Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong any system that integrates body, mind, and spirit are beneficial. “Whether you pray, do yoga, or practice tai chi, or just spend time with your furry family–those aspects of healing are very worthwhile,” explained Dr. Sinatra. Unconditional love for self and others feeds the heart on an emotional level. Any and all mind-body medicine makes the connection between thoughts, emotions, and physical responses.
To support the mind / body connection become aware of how your body feels. What type of thoughts repeat in your mind? Are you kind to yourself? Find a way to meditate regularly. By all means, alleviate stressful situations as much as possible. Find any and every way to help the heart and body do its job.
The Fifth Pillar: Grounding
“Go barefoot on the sand near the ocean, or on the grass,” said Dr. Sinatra. If you live near the ocean, it’s very easy. It’s why I moved to Florida, so I could walk along the ocean.” Dr. Sinatra explained that grounding assists the body’s circulation. While he was vociferous ten years ago about electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and the damage done to the human body as a result of EMF from cell phones, wireless phones, computers, electrical towers and cell towers, he now focuses on grounding or earthing.
On the website Grounded.com, there are studies that show the benefits of connecting to the Earth everyday. Just as the body needs the sun to make vitamin D, direct skin contact with earth daily provides subtle energies for the human body that it also needs to help the circulatory system.
The Sixth Pillar: Detoxification
“Detoxifying the body is something that we all need to do on a daily basis.” To detoxify the body, Dr. Sinatra suggests two regiments: one is internal, taking psyllium husk; and the other is external, using an infrared sauna. “I love the infrared sauna because it detoxes a lot of heavy metals that lay in the subcutaneous layer of our skin.” Sweating is one of the best ways to detoxify the body because it allows the body to remove impurities through the skin.
Dr. Sinatra went on to explain how to internally detoxify the body, simply and effectively. “I like psyllium for the GI (gastrointestinal) tract. You must do that.” Psyllium husk fiber acts like a scrubbing system for the large intestine. Prebiotics and probiotics help the small intestine maintain good flora for the gut. Together, these three items assist in maintaining gut health. Dr. Sinatra expanded on these three items by including
Another important organ to detoxify is the liver. “The two best things for the liver are artichokes and milk thistle.” He likes artichokes for the liver because, “The bioflavonoids in the heart of the artichoke are absolutely supportive to the liver.” He also thinks milk thistle works well to maintain the liver in its role of detoxifying the body.
Added to the list of items that Dr. Sinatra likes and uses is alpha lipoic acid, which is an antioxidant. The body is an amazing balance of chemicals and energy. When it is in distress, creating all of the nutritional support it demands to run properly is not always possible without outside fuel, such as fruits and vegetables, vitamins, minerals and various therapies. So much information exists about how to best help your body. You are worth the effort to find out more!
Heart disease and plaque build up in the artery walls appears synonymous. Plaque lines the walls of the arteries and restricts blood flow, putting pressure on the heart to pump even harder than normal. To help the body deposit calcium into the bones and not into the arteries, Dr. Sinatra explained that, “MK7 is great product. Menaquinone 7 is a varietal that has the most teeth to it.” Dr. Sinatra went on to explain how he had learned of MK7, “I met the researchers who did the research on it (MK7). I met them at Yale, New Haven and had dinner with them.” He then expanded on the derivative of Vitamin K, “Basically, what MK7 does, it keeps calcium out of the blood vessels and puts it back in the bones where it belongs.” An extremely relevant vitamin derivative to know and ask about in relation to heart disease.
Working With Your Doctor
“People want empowerment,” said the doctor with a grin on his face. Dr. Sinatra’s perspective of medicine and patient relationships needs to be universal amongst all doctors. “When a patient takes baby steps with you, they say, Dr. Sinatra, this is amazing. I can’t believe I lost 5 lbs in 2 weeks from just going off sugar. What else can I do?” He appreciates his patients’ desire to heal themselves and to do more. “Then they tell their friends, and go step by step to regain their health. That’s how people network.” Community, family, sharing information and bringing new ideas about their own health and well-being to their doctor to empower the medical practitioner to learn more, stretch the mind beyond conventional treatment by reviewing therapies that may not be mainstream, but are still beneficial.
“Health is not rocket science. It’s so simple,” Dr. Sinatra exclaimed. Health should be so simple, but for those folks are taking a lot of pharmaceutical drugs, taking vitamins et al. may not be as easy. Dr. Sinatra explained that medication should never be discontinued without the release of the attending physician. “You have to use your doctor as your guide. If you’re the messenger for the doctor, and you can breathe a little light into their awareness, that’s pretty cool and that’s how it works.”
Be a Messenger
Read and learn about your health issues. Be a messenger for yourself and for the doctor. By talking to your doctor about information you come across in research, it shows that you are involved in your care and willing to take action to create better health. Empower your doctor by sharing what you have learned. Your research may uncover a path that the doctor may not have thought of, or it can help point him or her in a different direction that will benefit you. And, always inform the doctor of all and any herbs, supplements etc. that are taken. Be an advocate for your own benefit.