What are ‘Red Blood Cells’?

Red blood cells (RBCs) are the most plentiful type of cell in the blood and account for approximately 40 to 45 % of the body’s blood supply. These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues and organs, as well as for bringing carbon dioxide back to the lungs so that it can be removed (exhaled) from the body. Red blood cells derive their color from the protein hemoglobin, which is contained in each cell and serves as the vehicle of oxygen and carbon dioxide transport. With an average lifespan of 120 days, RBC’s are constantly being replenished.

Normal ranges of red blood cell counts, which are expressed as cells per microliter (cells/mcL), vary according to sex and age.

Men: 4.7 to 6.1 million

Women: 4.2 to 5.4 million

Children (under 18): 4.0 to 5.5 million

Infants: 4.8 – 7.1 million

A red cell count is usually performed during a routine physical and is used to help diagnose polycythemia (high red blood cell count), anemia (low blood cell count), and various blood disorders. If an abnormality is detected, other values in the Complete Blood Count (CBC) are examined to identify the cause of the imbalance.

understand your blood test results

Segmented Neutrophils

What are Segmented Neutrophils?

Neutrophils (also known as “segs”, “PMNs” or “polys”) are one of five types of cell belonging to the white blood cell family, called leukocytes. These include: neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. All leukocytes serve in our body’s immunological and inflammatory responses, protecting us from irritants and malignant invaders. Neutrophils, along with eosinophils and basophils, constitute a group of white blood cells known as granulocytes. Normally, most of the neutrophils circulating in the bloodstream are in the mature form, with the nucleus of the cell being divided or segmented. Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cell and the most abundant type of granulocytes. About 40%-60% of all white blood cells are neutrophils. Neutrophils are phagocytic; they engulf and digest other microorganisms. Neutrophil concentration is determined with a white blood cell differential, often as a part of a complete blood count (CBC). A healthcare provider may order a complete blood count during a routine health check or if someone has symptoms or signs of an infection, including:

-Fever and shaking chills

-Rapid pulse

-Rapid breathing

-Nausea / vomiting


Optimal range

1.5 – 8.5 cells/mcL

What are low values associated with?

Neutropenia, the presence of abnormally few neutrophils in the blood, is most commonly caused by cancer chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It may also point to a viral infection or a disease affecting the immune system, like HIV/AIDS. An overwhelming infection, like sepsis, that is destroying white blood cells faster than the body can produce them will also result in low neutrophil levels.

What are high values associated with?

An increased percentage of neutrophils, called neutrophilia, may result from an inflammatory disorder (rheumatoid arthritis, gout), from infection (acute or chronic), from certain cancers (myelocytic leukemia), or from stressors (eclampsia in pregnant women, injury, burns). High neutrophil count is not, in itself, a symptom-causing problem. Evaluation of neutrophils, therefore, is done to determine the condition or disorder causing the number of neutrophils to increase.

understand your blood test results

What is Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin

What is Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin (MCH)

What is it?

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (abbreviated as MCH) is an estimate of the amount of hemoglobin in an average red blood cell. Hemoglobin is a substance in the blood that carries oxygen to the cells in the body from the lungs.

High hemoglobin content is often referred to as hyperchromia, and low content, hypochromia.

When anemia is present, calculating a person’s MCH can help to determine the type of anemia, as well as its level of severity.

Optimal range

27 – 33 pg

What are low values associated with?

Low MCH is associated with microcytic anemia, which is characterized by smaller-than-normal RBCs, and normocytic anemia, when red blood cells are normal in size but do not contain sufficient hemoglobin. When low MCH is a feature of anemia, the condition is said to be hypochromic. Causes of low MCH include:

– Acute or chronic bleeding due to menstruation, physical trauma, surgery, or ulcers, among other types of blood loss

– Deficiency in copper, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) or vitamin C

– Gastrointestinal cancer

– Hemolytic anemia

– Iron-deficiency anemia

– Lead poisoning

– Kidney disorders

– Removal of the spleen (splenectomy)

– Rheumatoid arthritis

– Sickle cell anemia

– Thalassemia

What are high values associated with?

High values usually indicate the presence of macrocytic anemia— anemia characterized by red blood cells that are larger than normal in size. Hereditary and hemolytic anemias, as well as megaloblastic anemia, are often macrocytic.

The common causes of high MCH include:

– Alcoholism

– Certain medications, such as anticonvulsant drugs, diabetic medications, and oral contraceptives

– Hemolytic anemia

– Hereditary anemia

– Hypothyroidism

– Intestinal malabsorption of nutrients due to surgery or an underlying medical condition

– Liver disease

– Megaloblastic anemia

understand your blood test results

Optimal Ranges for Lab Test results

We’ve recently compiled a list of optimal reference ranges for hundreds of biomarkers. Bookmark this page and refer back to it whenever you do not know which biomarker range you should look at: https://healthmatters.io/lab-ranges. You can find any type of blood test marker with European and US units. Feel free to share this list with your friends/family and doctor/practice.

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understand your blood test results

Upload your blood test results



You have to connect the Dots!


One single blood test really only gives you a snapshot view of your health. You do not see trends and the results can be easily influenced by external factors. Have you fasted correctly beforehand? Were you in a stressful period of your life? Were you out with friends the night before the blood draw? Even a seemingly small thing like cutting your finger the day before can impact markers drastically (inflammation marker C-Reactive Protein for instance).

Keep in mind that the only really valuable way to look at your health through blood lab results is by connecting the dots of tests over time. Is it possible to look at a single lab result and take really valuable information out of it? Sure. But make sure you remember though that there are so many variables that can influence your blood.

So, here’s my mantra for the week:

Connect the dots.

understand your blood test results

What type of blood test should I get regularly?

Annual blood testing is the most important step aging adults can take to prevent life-threatening disease. With blood test results in hand, you can catch critical changes in your body before they manifest as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or worse. Having the proper blood tests can empower you to enact a science-based disease-prevention program that could add decades of healthy life.

Blood tests have benefits that go far beyond disease prevention. For example, by monitoring levels of sex hormones, you can take decisive steps to enhance your quality of life, perhaps by correcting a depressive mental state, erectile dysfunction, abdominal obesity, or by improving your memory and energy levels.

Chemistry Panel and Complete Blood Count: The Chemistry Panel and Complete Blood Count (CBC) test is the best place to begin your disease-prevention program. This low-cost panel will give you and your doctor a quick snapshot of your overall health. This test provides a broad range of diagnostic information to assess your cardiovascular, liver, kidney, and blood cell status. The Complete Blood Count measures the number, variety, percentage, concentration, and quality of platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells, and thus is useful in screening for infections, anemias, and other hematological abnormalities, while the Chemistry Panel provides information on the status of your cardiovascular system by testing for total cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein), LDL (low-density lipo-protein), triglycerides, and the total cholesterol/HDL ratio.

Renal panel: This test tells you how well your kidneys are functioning. It includes measures of sodium, potassium, calcium, urea nitrogen, creatinine, carbon dioxide, chloride, glucose and phosphate.

Liver panel: This measures your liver enzymes. Results indicate the general health and functioning of that organ. Be sure to follow these test results if you’re taking any medication that might damage the liver.

Lipid (cardiac) panel: For this one you have to fast for at least eight hours. It measures your total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and triglycerides. If not included in the lipid panel, ask for tests measuring C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation that can indicate cardiac risk independent of cholesterol); homocysteine¸ to detect the presence of a toxic amino acid which has been linked to heart disease risk; and fractionated LDL, which tells you more about the nature of LDL in your bloodstream (not all of it is bad) and can help with decision-making if drug treatment for high cholesterol is contemplated.

CRP: It is not enough to just know your total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and VLDL levels. It is also important to test inflammation markers such as c reactive protein and homocysteine.

The addition of these two tests will help to give you a much clearer picture of your cardiovascular risk.

The process by which inflamed arteries lead to cardiovascular disease is invisible except for a tracer—an elevated level of C-reactive protein (CRP) in your blood. If your CRP as well as your total cholesterol is high, you’re at an even greater risk of having a heart attack than you would be with either risk factor by itself.

Make sure you feel perfectly healthy the day of your appointment: This highly sensitive test picks up all sorts of inflammation, even from a paper cut.

That’s a good reason to take it twice, at least a month apart, and average the two scores. Yours should fall under 1 milligram per liter; if it’s above 3, your heart-attack risk doubles.

Vitamin D: The Harvard School of Public Health estimates that 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of Vitamin D in their blood. It is estimated that that number becomes almost 50% of the world’s population if you include those in the suboptimal range.

Having a deficiency of this super nutrient has been linked to osteoporosis, increased fracture risk, cancer, autoimmune dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, lowered resistance to the common cold and seasonal flu, type 1 diabetes, and hypertension. 

Therefore, Vitamin D levels may just be the most important preventive lab measurement. Based on the current research, I recommend a target Vitamin 25D level of 30-50 ng/mL for most people.

Blood glucose: Blood glucose is critically important for detecting early-stage metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. Seeing as the endemic of diabetes has grown fast and is here to stay with its relatives called metabolic syndromes, monitoring your fasting glucose levels is as important as knowing your cholesterol level.

Testing blood glucose also requires fasting; it looks at how well your body utilizes sugar and is used to confirm and monitor diabetes as well as long term blood sugar control.

Although a fasting glucose is usually included in a basic blood workup, a far more useful marker is the 2-hour post meal glucose. This helps you to determine the amount of time that your blood sugar spends elevated over the level known to cause the complications such as diabetes and heart disease.

The food that we eat is eventually broken down into glucose, which is the sugar that circulates in your blood that provides your body’s cells with energy. Although glucose is crucial for providing energy, when it remains in the blood stream for too long it can damage the blood vessels and lead to cardiovascular disease.  

After monitoring hundreds of patient’s blood sugars each year, I have come to the conclusion that the American Diabetes Association (ADA) blood sugar targets are too high! 

If you are interested in optimal health and longevity, your ranges should be:

Fasting blood sugar: 75-90 mg/dL (ADA recommends <99)

2-hour post-meal blood glucose: <120 mg/dL (ADA recommends <140)

A complete thyroid work-up: Chances are, if you’ve had your thyroid tested recently, a lab marker called TSH was tested. The problem is, the thyroid hormone undergoes a complex cascade of steps before it is active and available to every cell of the body. 

Did you know that it is possible to have normal TSH blood levels but still experience the symptoms of a poorly functioning thyroid?

Thyroid disorders are on the rise. More than twelve percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid disorder in their lifetime, and up to 60 percent are unaware of their disease! One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime.

A more complete thyroid screening includes:

1. TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)

2. free T4

3. free T3

4. TBG (thyroid binding globulin)

5. T3 uptake

6. For those with an autoimmune disease or family history of thyroid disease, also include: TPO antibodies and antithyroglobulin antibodies.

Vitamin B12: It is common for someone following a vegan or vegetarian diet to be low in Vitamin B12. But, you can eat meat and still be deficient! 

Additional factors putting you at risk for low B12 absorption are digestive disorders, diabetes, taking proton pump inhibitors or acid blocking medications, and being older than 60 years old.

A review of 3,000 men and women in the ongoing Framingham Offspring Study found that 39 percent had B12 levels in the suboptimal range which are levels that can result in neurological symptoms!

B12 deficiency causes a type of anemia that can result in neurological symptoms such as walking and balance disturbances, memory loss, cognitive decline, confusion, and dementia. B12 deficiency has also been linked to infertility, autoimmune disease, and autism spectrum disorders!

Currently the accepted deficiency level is 148pg/mL. However, Japan and Europe have their lower limit at 500-550pg/mL.

If you suspect you have a B12 deficiency, an even more sensitive marker to include in your testing is methylmalonic acid (MMA).

understand your blood test results


Interview with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn



About Dr. Esselstyn:

Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., received his B.A. from Yale University and his M.D. from Western Reserve University. In 1956, pulling the No. 6 oar as a member of the victorious United States rowing team, he was awarded a gold medal at the Olympic Games. He was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.


Dr. Esselstyn has been associated with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968. During that time, he has served as President of the Staff and as a member of the Board of Governors. He chaired the Clinic’s Breast Cancer Task Force and headed its Section of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

In 1991, Dr. Esselstyn served as President of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, That same year he organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Coronary Artery Disease, which was held in Tucson, Arizona. In 1997, he chaired a follow-up conference, the Summit on Cholesterol and Coronary Disease, which brought together more than 500 physicians and health-care workers in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. In April, 2005, Dr. Esselstyn became the first recipient of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association in 2009. In September 2010, he received the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Award. Dr. Esselstyn received the 2013 Deerfield Academy Alumni Association Heritage Award In Recognition of Outstanding Achievement & Service, and the 2013 Yale University George H.W. Bush ’48 Lifetime of Leadership Award.  Dr. Esselstyn has also received the 2015 Plantrician Project Luminary Award, the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award, and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.

His scientific publications number over 150, “The Best Doctors in America” 1994-1995 published by Woodward and White cites Dr. Esselstyn’s surgical expertise in the categories of endocrine and breast disease. In 1995 he published his bench mark long-term nutritional research arresting and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients. That same study was updated at 12 years and reviewed beyond twenty years in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, making it one of the longest longitudinal studies of its type. In July of 2014 he reported the experience of 198 participants seriously ill with cardiovascular disease. During 3.7 years of follow up of the 89% adherent to the program, 99.4% avoided further major cardiac events.

Here is the interview that Varvara Tsepkova and I conducted with Dr. Esselstyn recently:

Q: What are the most important blood markers for monitoring heart health and cardiovascular conditions, Dr. Esselstyn?

A: Cardiovascular disease or coronary artery heart disease is nothing more than a toothless paper tiger that need never ever exist. And if it does exist it need never ever progress. We have taken this concept and turned it into a billion dollar industry for an illness that does not even exist for half the planet. For instance, how often do you think the Okinawans [Side note from Ben: Check out the Ted talk video “How to live to be 100+” by Dan Buettner] and the rural Chinese and those in central Africa have their cholesterol checked? Not very often. So Cholesterol checking can be very misleading. Someone can get their cholesterol checked and if they are taking a heavy dose of a statin drug, their cholesterol may look very attractive to them, even though they are still eating the terrible western diet, which guarantees that their diseases is going to progress.

Q: So what healthy cholesterol level should we thrive for?

A: Maybe about 10 or 12 years ago, I would have said that cholesterol is THE key factor. I no longer feel that way. Since we were infants we’ve had Cholesterol coursing through our bloodstream. It is essential. Every single cell in our body has a membrane that is made of cholesterol. It’s the base line for all our sex hormones. No number has ever caused heart disease. What causes heart disease is what is passing through our lips every day and is going to injure the life jacket and the guardian of our blood vessels which happens to be that delicate inner most lining called the endothelium. The endothelium manufactures a truly magic molecule of gas called nitric oxide. And nitric oxide has a number of remarkable functions which are responsible for maintaining the salvation of the health of our blood vessels:

Number 1, Nitric oxide keeps all the cellular elements within our blood stream flowing smoothly like teflon rather than velcro and it  keeps things from getting sticky.

Number 2, Nitric oxide is the strongest blood vessel dilator in the body. When you climb stairs, the arteries to your heart, the arteries to your legs, they widen, they dilate.

Number 3: Nitric oxide prevents the wall of the arteries from becoming thickened, stiff or inflamed, and  protects us from high blood pressure.

Number 4: And this is absolutely the key: A healthy, normal amount of nitric oxide protects us from ever developing blockages or plaque. So literally, everybody on the planet who has cardiovascular disease has their disease because they have so sufficiently trashed and injured their delicate endothelial capacity to make nitric oxide and don’t have enough left to protect themselves from developing cardiovascular disease.

Q: As a large number of the US population is taking cholesterol lowering drugs, can one get off those drugs by switching to a plant based diet? If so, how long does it take?

A: How long would it take? There are many who are unable to take a cholesterol lowering drug who will not be precluded from enjoying full benefits of plant based nutrition.

Q: What  does the ideal plant based diet look like in your opinion?

A: There is a tremendous variety in plant based foods. When you look on one end of the spectrum, you look at the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, who never have heart disease. They live only on the 3 sisters: beans, corn and squash with no nutritional deficits. And there is no obesity, there is no hypertension, and they are very energetic and very athletic. Then you have places in Okinawa, where there will be more emphasis on potatoes. It’s interesting, everybody thinks the Okinawans are thriving on fish, but in truth their main staples are  potatoes and vegetables. To me, the foundation of healthy whole food plant based nutrition includes all the various whole grains for cereals, bread, pasta, rolls, 101 different types of legumes, beans, lentils, sweet and white potatoes, the rainbow of vegetables: red, yellow and especially green leafy vegetables and some fruit. And you can’t overemphasize the importance of chewing the green leafy vegetables; I think that’s very important.

Q: What’s your take on fats?

A: Let’s look at the foods that injure the endothelium every time they pass our lips. Those foods are oils: olive oil, corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, palm oil, oil in a cracker, oil on a piece of bread, oil in a salad dressing. Oil injures the capacity of the endothelium to make nitric oxide, as does anything with a mother or a face: meat, fish, chicken, fowl, turkey and anything that is dairy: milk, cream, butter, cheese, ice-cream, yoghurt and any excesses of sugary foods: cake, pies, cookies, stevia, agave, maple syrup, molasses and honey. I have no problem for people that do not already have heart disease to have nuts and avocado. However, once somebody has established heart disease, I like to really restrict them from nuts and avocado. There’s just too much likelihood of an excess of saturated fat. And besides, nuts are highly addicting. How many people do you know who will eat one nut? For those patients with heart disease nuts would be in the glove compartment, in the bathroom, the hallway the kitchen, the dining room, the work space, so most patients with heart disease I prefer them to avoid nuts.

If we go back to 1970’s and 80’s when researchers and investigators were trying to establish cardiovascular disease in rodents and rabbits, what did they feed them? Peanut oil.

Q: So for those people that consume fat to improve brain functions, are they opening themselves up to cardiovascular disease down the road?

A: The essential fatty acids are Omega 6’s and Omega 3’s.  I don’t know if I have heard of anybody who walked into an emergency room and said, “My god help me out, I’m deficient in Omega 3’s.” What you can do to be sure you have sufficient fatty acids?  You will never be deficient in Omega 6’s here in the west. As far as Omega 3’s,  I have no problem, even with patients with heart disease, having a tablespoon of ground flax seed or chia seeds on their cereal. In addition they’ll get plenty of Omega 3’s from eating green leafy vegetables. I don’t see any point in trying to add bacon fat to improve your brain function. That’s a real stretch.

[Side note from Ben: Check out another short Blog post on Omega 3’s]

Q: What about the word ‘vegan’, we’ve heard that you do not use that term in your books or anywhere else. Why not?

A: When I hear the word ‘vegan’ i get a little nervous. I don’t use the term ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’ in my book anywhere, because I treat vegans for heart disease. Why? Because vegans eat oil. Vegans eat French fries. Vegans eat glazed donuts. They put themselves at risk for heart disease when they eat all that oil. Also, when you go into a supermarked to the produce section and you pick up something like bok choy, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, beets, there is never any label. You don’t have to read about any ingredients. If you’re eating out of a box, a bag or a can, now you’ve really got to be careful.

Q: Currently there are a lot of discussions around ‘fasting’. How helpful is fasting for disease prevention?

A: I think there is a real place for supervised fasting that is water only. When it’s done under medical supervision with people who know how to do this, I’ve seen it to be extremely effective with patients that have diabetes, hypertension and obviously those who are carrying extra weight. I think that whole field of fasting has something significant to offer, but I’d like to see it done in a climate where it can be properly supervised and the data collection can be quite accurate, so that the results obtained are not just anecdotal or hype or snake oil, but are based on rock solid science.

Q: Do you see a need for folks that are already on a whole food plant based no junk food diet to ‘fast’?

A: I think if somebody’s eating whole foods plant based nutrition, the need for them to have to fast is rather unlikely, because they are not going to have high blood pressure, they are not going to be diabetic and they are not going to carry around extra weight.

Q: What’s your take on alcohol consumption? Yes, no? In moderation?

A: Alcohol is interesting. I think that if you use the term ‘moderation’, from 1000 people you are going to get a 1000 different answers. Moderation to somebody who is drinking 6 cans of beer a night, might be to cut it down to 3. Alcohol is a toxin, it’s toxic to the brain. It’s toxic to the liver and it’s also toxic to the heart. It’s especially a problem for the heart for those who have a tendency for Atrial Fibrillation,  There is good science to show that somebody who has Atrial Fibrillation certainly should not be having alcohol, because it makes it very hard to get rid of that bothersome Cardiac Arrhythmia. Now, what are we left with them?  I think it’s fine if people want to have a beer on a Friday or Saturday night or a drink of wine. Earlier there was some data that suggested that people who drink have less cardiovascular disease. I think that has really been found to be an extremely flawed study. And to take a more realistic look at it, moderation would be one drink on the weekends, but to go beyond that and put a toxin into your body everyday, that has an adverse effect on your Biological system, like your heart, brain and liver, is probably inappropriate.

Q: So that same concept of moderation also applies to diet, is there such a thing as eating a steak, a burger, a hot dog or some other animal product every so often?

A: Here we have a situation where now we know that in the west when we do autopsy studies of women and men between the ages of 17 and 34, who have died of accidents, homicides and suicides, we now find that the disease is ubiquitous. Not enough for a cardiac event, but here we have cases where young people have already established cardiovascular disease which really is not going to create cardiac events until those people are in their late 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and so forth, so the idea that somebody eats well  all week long and they have burgers, cheeseburgers and milk shakes on the weekend is just not good. If you add that up: a weekend is two days, that’s 104 days out of 365 that you are absolutely trashing and injuring the capacity of your endothelial cells to make nitric oxide, which is the great salvation of your cardiovascular system. Eating badly for 104 days out of every year, after 20 or 30 years that’s going to build up. Maybe they’re not having a heart attack, maybe it’ll be more subtle. Maybe it’ll be a stroke, maybe it’ll be more subtle: it could be dementia that occurs when you’re in your 80’s and 90’s. Because all those small vessels in the brain have now become diseased enough that tiny strokes have accumulated and now you have dementia. You don’t suddenly wake up on your 85th birthday with dementia. You work hard in all those preceding decades to establish the foundation for that kind of deficit.

Q: What’s your take on superfoods imported from far away countries?

A: If somebody makes a claim that a food is a ‘super food’, what you have to look for is  peer reviewed scientific research that is done responsibly, accurately and with integrity. And that’s quite different than just marketing.

Q: Do you consume any superfoods or supplements yourself?

A: No, the only supplement that I’m taking is B12.

Q: How much B12 do you recommend to take?

A: By age 60 our B12 experts would suggest 500 mcg daily and over 70 1000 mcg daily. Why? You’re  unlikely  to get too much. But what seems to happen is as people become more senior, there are 2 vital ingredients in our stomach that are essential for the absorption of Vitamin B12 and those are the Intrinsic factor and gastric acid, and those tend to be less as we become more senior. Which is why the recommendation for folks over 70 is 1000 mcg/daily. Those are the recommendations of Dr. Don Jacobson who was an international scholar on B12.

Q: Do you think people should be watching their blood markers as closely as they are watching their weight to be aware of their health status?

A: You can check to see if you have inflammation from the inside of the arteries from a test called the HsCRP, highly sensitive C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Highly sensitive C-Reactive Protein would be very helpful. Because it tells whether someone is eating carelessly enough that perhaps the degree of inflammation puts them at a significant risk. Anything over 2 would be significant risk. Between 1 and 2 would be a moderate risk and below 1 a very minimal risk.

Q: So as we are starting 2017, how do you see this movement going forward? And has it made some good improvements over the last decade? And where do you see the movement going?

A: I think the movement is so different now in the climate of acceptance than it was 30 years ago. What will move this forward is not hype, not snake oil, it’s going to be the hard science. The seismic revolution of health is not going to come about through the invention of another pill, procedure or an operation. This revolution will come about when the medical community has the will and the grit and the determination to share with the public truly what is the lifestyle, and more specifically, the nutritional literacy that will empower them to eliminate 75% to 80% of chronic illness. Whole food plant based nutrition does not only get rid of heart disease, it gets rid of strokes, vascular dementia, hypertension, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, even ulcerative colitis Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, multiple sclerosis, asthma, allergies and the list goes on. It’s absolutely the most exciting thing you can imagine ,because there is no additional expense, there is no horrible drug that is ridiculously expensive with some inescapable side effect. It’s simply the strongest tool that medicine has had in its toolbox .

Q: Any parting comments?

A: I’m very pleased and delighted to be part of this and I want to share one additional thing: It was just last summer that I was asked by the American College of Cardiology to become a member of their Nutrition Committee. To me that is such an exciting step forward to think that the cardiologist themselves who have for the longest time been rather  hesitant to accept this, are now becoming so aware of the data that they themselves want to have education in this regard, so they can offer information to their patients that has something to do with the causation of the illness. You see, since the days of Hippocrates, there’s been a basic covenant of trust, between the caregiver and the patient, that wherever possible the caregiver will share with the patient what is the causation of the illness. And sadly today in cardiovascular medicine that’s not happening. And it’s not happening out of a sense of their being mean, it’s happening because neither in medical school nor in their postgraduate training do the cardiologist ever get exposure to nutrition education.

Find out more about Dr. Esselstyn here:

His website: DoctorEsselstyn.com

Movie: Forks over Knives

Youtube: Make Yourself Heart Attack Proof – Caldwell Esselstyn MD

Facebook: Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.

Instagram: @dr_esselstyn

Amazon: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure

understand your blood test results