Tag: stroke

Stroke, Part III, Invite Health Blog

Stroke, Part III, Invite Health Blog

Written by Dr.Claire Arcidiacono, ND For further questions or concerns email me at [email protected]† In this final part on strokes, I wanted to review the most common symptoms that can indicate a stroke. One point I would like to emphasize is that we are all individuals. 

Stroke, Part II, Invite Health Blog

Stroke, Part II, Invite Health Blog

Written by Dr.Claire Arcidiacono, ND For further questions or concerns email me at [email protected]† Last week we began our conversation on the topic of strokes or CVA and even talked about TIAs. As I said last time this will be a 3 part blog.  We will 

Stroke, Part I, Invite Health Blog

Stroke, Part I, Invite Health Blog


Written by: Dr. Claire Arcidiacono, ND

For further questions or concerns email me at [email protected]


No conversation on brain health would be complete without talking about strokes or in more medical terminology a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). The topic of strokes is quite a large one. In fact, in 2015 stroke was the 2nd most frequent cause of death after coronary artery disease. (1) This means that a huge population will experience the consequences of a stroke – whether it be directly or via family or friend who suffers one.  That is why I will be splitting this topic into separate blogs.  In this blog we will review what is a stroke? What are the different types of strokes? How is a stroke different from a TIA?  In our next blog we will review exactly what causes a stroke?  What are the risk factors for having a stroke? What are the most common complications after a stroke? In our final blog on strokes, we will be reviewing the signs and symptoms that you should look out for. We will then be reviewing things that can help reduce our risk factors. Lastly, we will review what supplements can help aid in the healing process after a stroke. †

What exactly is a stroke? A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is compromised so that the cells actually die. There are 2 types of strokes, (2) the first is called an ischemic stroke. These types of stokes are caused by an interruption of blood supply to the brain. This blockage or interruption in blood flow can be caused by a blog clot. If you can please picture in your mind the blood vessels in your brain as a river that carries nutrients to your brain. Now imagine a dam stopping that flow, what happens to everything after the dam? Eventually it dies due to a lack of nutrients. That is exactly what an ischemic stroke is. (3) It is death of brain cells because the blood can’t get past the blockage. These blockages can be caused by a thrombosis (local blood clot), embolism (clot that forms elsewhere and travels), shock and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. These 4 reasons account for 60-70% of ischemic strokes. For the remaining strokes there is no obvious cause, and they are referred to as cryptogenic strokes (4) Please see the picture of an ischemic stroke. † (5)


The 2nd type of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke. These strokes result from the rupture of a blood vessel or when there is an abnormal vascular structure. In this case, there is bleeding where the rupture has occurred. For example, if the bleeding has occurred in the brain, it is often referred to as an intracerebral hemorrhage, but if it is in the skull but outside the brain it is referred to as subarachnoid hemorrhage. If you recall our anatomy this would be the arachnoid and pia matter of the brain. Going back to our river, instead of a river, picture a long hose that bursts somewhere along the line. You’re standing there with the hose and all of a sudden no water is coming out and you walk along the line only to find a burst hose and water is just building up near the break. Just like the water can’t go further than the break the blood can’t go any further than the rupture. That is why just like in the ischemic stroke the cells die.  I would also like to point out that in some cases of hemorrhagic stroke the blood will build up and this will create increased pressure in the spots where the stroke happened. This can also cause damage and can even make blood flow through other vessels become compromised. (6). Please see the attached picture. † (7)



An ischemic stroke can rupture which can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke. This is referred to as “hemorrhagic transformation”. It is unknown how often this occurs. (8) Please see the attached picture so that you can see the difference in the 2 types of strokes. † (9)


There are two main categories of strokes. Ischemic (top), typically caused by a blood clot in an artery (1a) resulting in brain death to the affected area (2a). Hemorrhagic (bottom), caused by blood leaking into or around the brain from a ruptured blood vessel (1b) allowing blood to pool in the affected area (2b) thus increasing the pressure on the brain. †


Now I am sure almost everyone has heard of something called a TIA or transient ischemic attack. The main difference between a stroke and a TIA is how much tissue damage there is. While some people call a TIA a mini stroke there are differences between a stroke and a TIA. A TIA does not cause damage to the brain or permanent disability. However, it is still caused by a blockage to the brain and is thus a huge risk factor for having a stroke that can cause permanent disability. In fact, approximately 1 in 3 people who have a TIA have a stroke. This is especially true in the first 48 hours after a TIA. † (10)


I know that this was a lot to take in! Next time we will review what causes a stroke, risk factors as well as the most common complications that are experienced after a stroke. †



  1. GBD 2015 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators (October 2016). “Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015”. Lancet. 388 (10053): 1545–1602. doi:1016/S0140-6736(16)31678-6. PMC 5055577. PMID 27733282.
  2. “What Is a Stroke?”. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/. March 26, 2014. Archived from the original on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  3. “Types of Stroke”. www.nhlbi.nih.gov. March 26, 2014. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  4. Guercini F, Acciarresi M, Agnelli G, Paciaroni M (April 2008). “Cryptogenic stroke: time to determine aetiology”. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 6 (4): 549–54. doi:1111/j.1538-7836.2008.02903. x. PMID 18208534. S2CID 20211745.
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke#/media/File:Blausen_0836_Stroke.png
  6. Abraham MK, Chang WW (November 2016). “Subarachnoid Hemorrhage”. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. 34 (4): 901–916. doi:1016/j.emc.2016.06.011. PMID 27741994.
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke#/media/File:Parachemableedwithedema.png
  8. Donnan GA, Fisher M, Macleod M, Davis SM (May 2008). “Stroke”. Lancet. 371 (9624): 1612–23. doi:1016/S0140-6736(08)60694-7. PMID 18468545. S2CID 208787942.(subscription required)
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke#/media/File:Ischemic_Stroke.svg
  10. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/transient-ischemic-attack/expert-answers/mini-stroke/faq-20058390

Ceramides makes cholesterol very dangerous

Ceramides makes cholesterol very dangerous

cholesterol Suscribe Today! Please see below for a complete transcript of this episode. CERAMIDES MAKES CHOLESTEROL VERY DANGEROUS- INVITEⓇ HEALTH PODCAST, EPISODE 590 Hosted by Jerry Hickey, PH **Intro Music** InViteⓇ Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InVite HealthⓇ podcast, where our degreed health care 

CoQ10 Ubiquinol and Selenium: You Need These for Stroke Or Heart Attacks – InVite Health Podcast Episode 555

CoQ10 Ubiquinol and Selenium: You Need These for Stroke Or Heart Attacks – InVite Health Podcast Episode 555

CoQ10 ubiquinol and Selenium are two important nutrients for making sure the heart is functioning properly, and to prevent heart attacks.

New Evidence That Cocoa Can Protect Us From Heart Attacks – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 535

New Evidence That Cocoa Can Protect Us From Heart Attacks – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 535


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Please see below for a complete transcript of this episode.

New Evidence That Cocoa Can Protect Us From Heart Attacks – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 535

Hosted by Jerry Hickey, Ph.

*Intro music*

InVite Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InVite Health Podcast, where our degreed healthcare professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that InVite Health has to offer at www.invitehealth.com/podcast. First time customers can use promo code PODCAST at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started!

*Intro music*

Jerry Hickey, Ph.:

[00:00:40] There’s very new and very exciting and very good evidence that cocoa helps protect us from suffering with a heart attack. I mean, there’s not many things that are as scary as a heart attack. And God forbid, you had a heart attack, cocoa helps keep you alive. So it’s really worth having your cocoa and you really don’t have to have it every day. Cocoa contains a hierarchy of really good ingredients. By the way, cocoa, the funny chemistry to cocoa, there’s over 800 ingredients in cocoa that have been isolated so far. Things like polyphenols, carotenoids, amino acids. None of them taste like cocoa. It’s the combination of these ingredients that gives you that wonderful cocoa flavor.† [00:01:24]

[00:01:25] What about dark chocolate? There is evidence that dark chocolate could be healthy. The problem is too much dark chocolate, you’re getting a lot of milk fat, you’re giving a lot of sugar, and then it prevents the good effects of the cocoa. Plus… so you really want cocoa. You really want cocoa. Plus, when they Dutch the cocoa and they add the milk fat and the sugars, it destroys many of the ingredients that are very healthy. So it’s kind of like hit or miss. If you get a dark chocolate that’s even 70% cocoa, you don’t know if these ingredients have survived the processing thing, so you really want cocoa.† [00:02:00]

[00:02:03] So there’s a lot of evidence now that cocoa is extremely healthy. One, there’s a number of good, high-quality studies, well-powered. Well-powered means there’s plenty of people, plenty of times, plenty of time involved and it’s a well-designed study. Well-powered studies showing cocoa reduces the risk of developing diabetes, like the Maine-Syracuse study. And then there’s studies showing that cocoa is great for the brain. Many studies that cocoa is beneficial to your memory and your mood. There’s a number of studies that cocoa is great for reducing generalized inflammation. You never want generalized long term, low level inflammation. It’s very bad. It’s dangerous over time.† [00:02:49]

[00:02:50] But there’s a lot of good information that cocoa is great for the heart. It helps your circulation in general. It reduces heart inflammation. It helps support circulation to the heart. It lowers the risk of a heart attack. And God forbid you had a heart attack, like I said before, it keeps you alive. So, hi, my name is Jerry Hickey. I’m a licensed pharmacist specializing in nutrition, which I’ve studied for many, many decades. Welcome to my episode: New and Exciting Evidence That Cocoa Protects Us from Suffering a Heart Attack. You can find all of the InViteⓇ podcast episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts, or please go to invitehealth.com/podcast. And please subscribe and leave us a review. You can also find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @invitehealth. So let’s go in with this.† [00:03:37]


[00:03:38] Cocoa has many fine ingredients. Collectively, they, they, they’re very healthy. So there’s, for the brain, there’s flavan-3-ols that supports circulation to the brain. There’s phenylethylamine that calms the brain down and salsolinol. There’s many, many things in cocoa that are good for your brain.† [00:03:58]

[00:04:00] What about the heart? Let’s get into some… Oh, let’s get into the new data. Let’s get into the new data. This is… So now I’m going to go into evidence from research that cocoa helps protect us from a heart attack. So this is the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is a great journal. Very serious people are involved with this journal. And it’s the Cosmo study and its Brigham and Women’s Hospital up in Boston, which is an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. Now, these are all older adults. Over 21,000 older adults followed for 3.6 years. So this is a great study. It’s a well-designed study. It’s a well-reported study. It’s a non-biased study. There’s plenty of people, there’s plenty of time. So it’s 21,442 older adults. They’re split into four groups. One group received cocoa and a multivitamin. The second group received cocoa and a placebo. Placebo, we used to call it a sugar pill. It’s a fake pill. It’s an innocuous pill. Doesn’t help you, doesn’t hurt you. The third… So cocoa and placebo, a multivitamin and a placebo or two placebos only for 3.6 years. Now, interestingly, even smokers had a reduction in the number of heart attacks, strokes or the need for revascularization procedures, you know, if their arteries were clogged that they need their arteries reopened. So even smokers. That doesn’t give you a license to smoke, I have to say that, but that’s how powerful cocoa was. In cancer patients, there was a 39% reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease in cancer patients. But in all the patients, they were seeing a reduction in total cardiovascular events, such as a stroke or heart attack, dying from a heart attack, needing heart surgery, some sort of heart surgery. So the cocoa in this brand new study, this is great evidence. This is powerful evidence. Cocoa. And you didn’t have to have it every day. I mean, even having cocoa twice a week is protective for the heart. So having a real cocoa, reduced heart-related deaths, cardiovascular-disease related deaths. It reduced strokes and reduced heart attacks. It reduced the need for cardiovascular revascular, coronary, excuse me, coronary revascularization. It kept the card, carotid arteries clean. The carotid arteries are the arteries that supply your, your head, your face, your brain blood. It was preventing the need for a peripheral artery surgery, you know, like the arteries in the legs. It was preventing unstable angina, which is a killer. Angina, you know, you get the chest pain. So it really meant something.† [00:07:22]


[00:07:23] Now there’s other studies. I’m not just going to mention one study here. There’s other studies pointing at the evidence, in fact, illustrating the evidence that cocoa protects us from heart attacks and heart disease. In a different study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was veterans in the Boston Veterans Administration system. So it was researchers up in Boston, but also researchers in Atlanta and a VA in Atlanta. And they were looking at cocoa and its flavonoids, its flavanols, they’re flavan-3-ols. And regularly consumed, they reduced the risk of cardio, cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease by up to 12% in this group of veterans. Now, I did some work in the VA system in Manhattan on the east side in the 20s, I think it’s 23rd Street. It was decades and decades ago. It’s about 23rd and 1st Avenue over there in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. And I have to tell you that a lot of veterans who wind up in the VA hospital system, they’re very unhealthy. They have diabetes, they have high blood pressure. They don’t do well. Now, this was 188,000 veterans, slightly over 188,000 veterans, typically 64 years of age. 90% of them were men. The cocoa decreased the incidence of fatal coronary artery disease events by up to 20%. So that would be a heart attack or some strange arrhythmia.† [00:09:13]

[00:09:15] Then there’s the Zutphen Elderly Study in the Netherlands. It was 25 years long, large study. Having cocoa reduced the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and it reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 38%, by 38%. Now, these people typically had a half a teaspoon of cocoa a day. So there’s clear evidence that cocoa lowers the risk of a heart attack, lowers the risk of heart disease and keeps us alive.† [00:09:53]

[00:09:54] This was like the coolest study of all. This was the Stockholm heart study, you know, in Stockholm, Sweden. It’s the Karolinska Institute. That’s in Stockholm. The Karolinska Institute is kind of like our Tufts University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center up in Boston and Uppsala University in Sweden. Uppsala University does a lot of topnotch research. It’s 1169 patients who were hospitalized for their very first heart attack. 1169 patients who survived their first heart attack. Cocoa prevented them from dying from a future heart attack. It’s a well-powered study, plenty of heart attack survivors. It’s over an eight-year period. And there is a, that’s powerful evidence because it’s, it’s quantitative. The more frequently they had cocoa, the lower their risk of dying from a future heart attack. So let me say this. Who’s the person most at risk of having a heart attack? Someone who already had a heart attack. It’s like having an asthma attack. Who’s going to have an asthma attack? Someone who already had an asthma attack. Or a migraine headache. Migraine headaches are vicious. Who’s the person most likely to have a migraine headache? Somebody who has a history of migraine headaches. So it’s the same thing with a heart attack or a stroke or other serious illnesses. So there’s a quantitative relationship. The more frequently they had cocoa, the greater they were protected from dying from a second heart attack. So cocoa just once per month prevented them from dying from a future heart attack by 27%. But listen to this. Cocoa just once a week, real cocoa, prevented them from dying from a future heart attack by 44% and having cocoa twice a week or more, this is powerful, prevented them from dying from a future heart attack by 66%. That’s basically better than many drugs. I’m not saying not to take the drugs. I mean, if you have high blood pressure, you have to treat high blood pressure. It’s a serious, dangerous thing. I’m not saying not to treat your cholesterol, etc., but I’m saying you should add cocoa.† [00:12:12]

[00:12:15] They’ve shown that cocoa improves the Framingham risk score. You could go into the Internet and type in Framingham risk score. The Framingham studies are very famous ongoing studies, and you type in certain risk factors, like is your blood pressure under control? How’s your cholesterol? Do you smoke? And they predict based on this and it’s a pretty good prediction, your risk of having a massive heart attack or stroke or dying from heart disease over the next ten years. And they’ve shown in human clinical trials that when you give people cocoa, you improve the Framingham risk score. I mean, come on. So there’s different types of polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants in cocoa. So there’s catechins. And, you know, there’s catechins in grapeseed, there’s catechins in green tea, there’s catechins in cocoa, but they’re not the same balance of catechins. So in other words, in cocoa, certain catechins are much richer in content. In green tea, there’s others like EGCG, which is amazing because that one has been shown to reduce the risk of infections and heart disease, but also cancers.† [00:13:30]


[00:13:33] So in cocoa… The University of Dusseldorf at the University of Surrey, that’s in England. University of Dusseldorf, of course, is Germany. They published their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. When they gave healthy young men cocoa, they found that certain constituents improved blood flow to the heart, where other ingredients reduced blood fat levels like triglycerides and cholesterol. So there’s a lot to cocoa. A lot to cocoa. Do I recommend cocoa? I’m a user. I’m a cocoa lover. I like to put in yogurt. I like to put it in water. I don’t mix it in milk. There’s some evidence that regular cow’s milk binds up the ingredients in cocoa and weakens their effects. There’s not enough evidence to prove that it’s real, but you don’t need the milk in the cocoa. You can just do it in water, so why mess around?† [00:14:26]

[00:14:28] So in any event, I want to thank you for listening to today’s episode. You can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or go to invitehealth.com/podcast. And please subscribe and leave us a review. You can also find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @invitehealth. Once again, thank you for listening to today’s podcast episode. Jerry Hickey signing off.† [00:14:28]

*Exit music*