Unheralded Factors in Heart Attack Risk

     Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of natural death in the United States. Approximately 500,000 people die annually from coronary heart disease. More than half of them had no previous symptoms of heart disorder.

      It has been known for some time that high blood and plasma (water portion of the blood) viscosity (thickness), high hematocrit (percentage of blood that is blood cells, as opposed to plasma), and high levels of fibrinogen (precursor to the fibrous mesh of blood clots) are well correlated with coronary heart disease. Remarkably, even high “normal” levels of these parameters are considered independent risk factors.

     These risk factors are independent ofthose more commonly discussed. In fact, some researchers consider these factors as harmful as smoking, high blood pressure, and high LDL-cholesterol. Viscosity, hematocrit, and fibrinogen are found to be elevated years before the appearance of major circulatory events. They are also implicated in the early stages and development of atherosclerosis, as well as adversely affecting prognosis of patients diagnosed with atherosclerosis. These factors have also been linked to intermittent claudication (painful lower legs in the elderly while walking due to poor circulation). High hematocrit has been associated with tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), the magnitude of heart tissue damage from heart attack, reduced oxygen transport, and reduced blood supply to heart tissue.

Misnomer of Pharmaceutical “Blood Thinners”

    Amazingly, these factors related to the effect of blood “thickness” and flow have not been studied until recently relative to the influence of sub-clinical dehydration (hypo-hydration) on blood “thickness” and heart disease. It is unfortunate that the term “blood thinners” has been applied to pharmaceutical anti-coagulant drugs. They are not really “thinning” agents. Instead, they inhibit the biochemical processes, which cause the blood to clot. If paint is too thick, we add paint-thinner. If soups, sauces, or gravies are too thick, we add water. In each case, we add more solvent. Blood is a water-based fluid; therefore, to really thin the blood, we need to add pure water as a solvent. The power of this simple wisdom has just been confirmed.

Pure Water, Nature’s Blood-Thinner

     Jacqueline Chan, DrPH., public health researcher, and Gary Fraser, MD, PhD, cardiologist, are colleagues at the Heart Institute of Loma Linda University. Their team recently analyzed data that have been available for twenty years to determine what influence the consumption of pure water and other beverages has on the risk of fatal heart attack. The database arose from previous research, which followed for six years (1976 to 1982) the lifestyle choices of more than 8,000 men and 12,000 women aged 25 and older among Seventh Day Adventists and their houseguests. (People who follow the tenets of this faith are known for healthier than average food choices and longer lifespan.) It was known that during the study period, 246 fatal heart attacks occurred to study participants. Because of the documented influence of blood concentration on heart disease, the current researchers re-evaluated the massive twenty-year old database to determine if plain water and other fluid intake could indicate risk for fatal heart attack.

The results are striking.

     Compared to those who drank 2 or fewer glasses of pure water daily, men who drank 5 or more had only 46% of the risk of having a fatal heart attack and women had only 59% of the risk. Even more remarkable, compared to those who drank two or fewer glasses of fluids other than pure water (coffee, tea, soft drinks, juices, etc.), women who drank five or more had 147% greater risk and men had 46% greater risk of fatal hart attack. Moreover, these relative risk relationships held regardless of adjustments for any other factors.

Reducing Heart Attack Risk

     What does this mean for those concerned with minimizing heart attack risk?  According to the researchers, “…this is the first study to record the association between high water intake and reduced risk of coronary heart disease.” As Dr. Chan had stated in the press release and during conferences on her findings, “…by drinking more plain water, healthy people—without any history of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes—reduced their risk of dying from a heart attack by half or more. This is as much or more than if they had adopted any other well-known preventive measure, including stopping smoking and lowering cholesterol levels, increasing exercise or maintaining ideal weight.” Dr. Chan continues, “…the degree of benefit from drinking plain water surpasses that of drinking a moderate amount of alcohol intake and aspirin with none of the adverse side effects [social or physiological]. Because drinking more plain water is a simple lifestyle change that anybody can do, this simple practice has the potential of saving tens of thousands of lives each year with minimal cost.”

The Fallacy of Other Beverages

     It is imperative to distinguish pure water from other beverages. As Dr. Chan puts it, “Neither total fluid intake, nor intake of other fluids combined showed this reduced risk. Instead, for women, high intake (5 or more glasses a day) of other fluids showed a greatly increased risk of coronary heart disease.” To emphasize a critical point, Dr. Chan adds, “People need to be made aware that there is a difference, at least for heart health, whether they get their fluids from plain water or from sodas.”

Societal Implications

     What are the implications of this discovery for our society and the health care system? According to Dr. Fraser, if additionally research confirms these findings, increasing the intake of pure water would be “…the cheapest and simplest method of preventing coronary heart disease that could be imagined.”

How Much Water Should We Drink?

     Optimal water intake is the number of fluid ounces equal to half the number of pounds your body weighs. For example, a 200-pound person should drink 100 fluid ounces (twelve 8-ounce cups) of pure water daily.

     It is now abundantly clear that Nature’s beverage of choice for optimal cardiovascular health is pure water.

How can we be sure our drinking water is pure?

     In addition to water purified through reverse osmosis, people can supplement their pure water intake with PentaTM Water by BioHydration Research Labs in San Diego, CA.  Ultra-purified PentaTM Water has been scientifically proven to hydrate the body at the cell level better than ordinary water because it has been restructured into smaller water clusters that allow cells to receive water more efficiently through the tiny “aquaporin” protein water channels in their membranes.

     A combination of PentaTM and other purified water throughout the day will go a long way in supporting the optimal health all of us are seeking. 


·      Chan J, et al, Water, other fluids, and fatal coronary heart disease: the Adventist Health Study.  Am J Epidemiol  2002 May 1; 155(9): 827-33.

·         de Simone G, et al, Relation of blood viscosity to demographic and physiologic variables and to cardiovascular risk factors in apparently normal adults. Circulation  1990 Jan;81(1):107-17.

·         Erikssen G, st al, Haematocrit: a predictor of cardiovascular mortality? J Intern Med  1993 Nov;234(5):493-9.

·         Koenig W and Ernst E, The possible role of hemorheology in atherothrombogenesis. Atherosclerosis  1992 Jun;94(2-3):93-107.

·         Lee AJ, et al, Blood viscosity and elevated carotid intima-media thickness in men and women: the Edinburgh Artery Study. Circulation  1998 Apr 21;97(15):1467-73. 

·         Lowe GD, et al, Blood viscosity and risk of cardiovascular events: the Edinburgh Artery Study. Br J Haematol  1997 Jan;96(1):168-73.

·         Lowe GD, et al, Relation between extent of coronary artery disease and blood viscosity. Br Med J  1980 Mar 8;280(6215):673-4.

·         Resch KL, et al, Can rheologic variables be of prognostic relevance in arteriosclerotic diseases? Angiology  1991 Dec;42(12):963-70.



HJB Enterprises, Inc. and Dr. Herb Joiner-Bey, the "Herb Professor," provide the information on this Internet web site to appropriately trained and certified health care professionals for educational purposes only. The information is derived from a judicious synthesis of traditional and clinical experience and verified by scientific research. It is intended for use by professionals seeking to apply the principles of natural medicine to the needs of their patients or by patients under the direct supervision and guidance of such professionals. It is not intended as a means for patients to self-diagnose and / or self-medicate without the sound judgment and seasoned counsel of a well-informed health care provider. We strongly urge the patient to consult an appropriately educated health care provider before making any changes to health maintenance or therapeutic regimens.


©copyright 2002  HJB Enterprises, Inc.  All rights reserved