No matter your AGE or HEALTH history!
Last year, perhaps your grandchildren told you all about how Hailey Bieber, an American model and wife to pop star Justin Bieber, suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
That’s right… a then 25-year-old woman suffered this tragic brain event, sometimes referred to as a “mini stroke.”
TIAs are extremely common among seniors—and risk of a recurrent episode increases every year beyond 65. And now, they’re becoming more common among younger generations like Bieber (and your grandchildren). 1
Worse yet, research shows having one common BODY SHAPE increases your risk of suffering a TIA by more than 700 percent… regardless of your age or health history!
I’ll tell you all about that common factor in just a moment.
But first, let’s back up and talk about why TIAs are far more dangerous than the name suggests…
You’re having a STROKE… and it’s SERIOUS
A TIA occurs when a blood clot or a fatty deposit (plaque) reduces the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the brain. Hallmark symptoms—like garbled speech or weakness on one side of the body—tend to come on suddenly, yet disappear within an hour.2
The blockage that causes the event tends to resolve on its own quickly, too—as blood flow to the brain resumes.
Sometimes, the outward symptoms of a TIA are so mild and fleeting, the whole event can come and go without the sufferer—or their family—even realizing what has happened.
Now, with all that being said, two top neurologists say it’s a HUGE MISTAKE to downplay the occurrence of a TIA, no matter how fast it resolves… or how mild the symptoms. In fact, they say TIAs aren’t nearly as “transient,” temporary, or benign as the name suggests.3
And they want the medical world to abandon the term altogether. Instead, they say we should call it what it REALLY is…
A “minor ischemic stroke.”
For one, we now know that even a brief TIA does cause brain cells to die—resulting in visible and permanent brain damage.
Plus, suffering a TIA puts you at a much higher risk of having a MAJOR ischemic stroke—which can be life-threatening! In fact, about one-third of people who have a TIA suffer a more serious stroke within a year.4
Don’t ignore these common risk factors
The risk factors for suffering a TIA or “minor” stroke will probably sound familiar. They include:
- A strong family history. Your risk of a TIA or stroke may be greater if a family member has already had one.
- Increasing age. Risk of TIA or minor stroke increases as you get older, especially after age 55.
- High blood pressure.This condition can actually cause a TIA to occur without you ever knowing it’s happening. In fact, if you’ve ever had a brain MRI, and the report comes back with “white matter changes,” that’s evidence of a TIA.
- Type 2 diabetes.This chronic metabolic disease does more than just raise your blood sugar to dangerous levels. It also destroys the tiny blood vessels and capillaries that make your microcirculation. As a result, you have a higher risk of suffering a blockage, leading to a TIA. (More on the importance of microcirculation in a moment.)
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD). In a nutshell, this disease restricts the blood vessels leading to your limbs, hiking your risk of ANY type of stroke.
- High levels of homocysteine. Elevated levels of this amino acid cause your arteries to thicken and scar, making them more susceptible to clots and, therefore, TIAs.
- Sickle cell anemia.People with this genetic disorder have abnormally shaped blood cells that can’t carry as much oxygen. The blood cells also tend to get stuck in artery walls, which restricts their flow to the brain, increasing TIA risk.
- Excess weight.We know that a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher increases TIA risk in men and women. And having a body with a so-called “APPLE SHAPE” is particularly troubling…
- In fact, in the eye-opening study I mentioned earlier, people with a higher “waist-to-hip ratio” had a greater than 7-fold increase in TIA or stroke risk compared to those with the lowest ratio.5
You can calculate your waist-to-hip ratio by dividing your waist circumference by your hip circumference. (Having an “apple shape” with more belly fat results in higher ratios.)
In this particular study, the worrisome waist-to-hip ratio values were greater than 0.97 for men and 0.84 for women. And individuals with these ratios faced almost an 8-times increased risk for stroke compared to individuals with a ratio less than 0.92 for men or less than 0.78 for women.
Now, let’s move onto what you can do to NATURALLY reduce your risk…
Reduce your stroke risk, naturally
Several of the factors increasing your risk—including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and PAD—share one common feature…
They directly relate to abnormalities in microcirculation. This is the branching system of tiny blood vessels and capillaries that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and to your brain.
So, by supporting this often-overlooked system, you can reduce your chance of suffering a TIA and steer clear of its devastating consequences.
The first way to support your microcirculation is to reduce damaging inflammation in the body. And that starts by cutting out foods that promote inflammation—namely, sugar, white flour, and simple carbohydrates.
Instead, focus on enjoying nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods—like organic produce, lean protein, and healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). (These foods form the basis of The A-List Diet. Learn more about it by ordering a copy of my book here: www.AListDietBook.com.)
Exercise is another powerful way to support—and even repair problems with—microcirculation.6 Especially in older adults!
In fact, in a recent study, researchers divided 23 sedentary older adults into two groups. The first group walked on a treadmill for 40 minutes, four days a week. And the second group, which served as a control, maintained their regular sedentary lifestyle.
After just 12 weeks, the exercise group improved microvascular function of the tiny blood vessels in their legs by almost 40 percent! And that kind of improvement will surely go a long way in warding off not just stroke… but other diseases too, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
As an added bonus, it will help you avoid the deadly “apple” shape!
As always, aim to get three minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity—or 12 minutes of light activity—for every hour you sit during the day.7 (See the sidebar.)
Of course, research shows even just light walking can make a world of difference where stroke risk is concerned…
In fact, studies show people who engage in light physical activity, such as walking, prior to suffering a TIA (or a major stroke) are more than TWICE as likely to suffer only a mild event… rather than a severe one.8
So, pick an activity that works for you—even if it’s “just” light walking—and stick with it!
Supplements that support healthy microcirculation
Beyond those two basic lifestyle recommendations, I suggest you supplement with French maritime pine bark extract, also known as Pycnogenol®.
Clinical research shows that it benefits your microcirculation by stimulating production of collagen and elastin—two building blocks that line your blood vessels and capillaries.9
This is important because collagen and elastin can break down as you age, leading to blood clots, leaky capillaries, and a damaged blood-brain barrier. But pine bark extract helps the body replenish these critical substances—keeping your blood vessels and capillaries in good working order.
I recommend 100 mg of pine bark (or Pycnogenol) a day.
Citrus bioflavonoids also improve your microcirculation. These natural compounds increase your body’s natural production of nitric oxide—a chemical that relaxes your blood vessels and capillaries and helps improve blood flow.10
The three most well-researched citrus bioflavonoids are diosmin, quercetin, and hesperidin. I recommend taking 250 mg of diosmin, 50 mg of quercetin, and 25 mg of hesperidin per day, divided into two or three doses.
Research also suggests just that enjoying two to three cups of tea daily can significantly improve microcirculation.11
If you’re not a tea drinker, simply opt for green tea extract (EGCG) supplements (500 mg from a 50:1 extract that contains 60 percent catechins, 30 percent EGCG) or black tea extract (theaflavin) supplements (300 to 500 mg per day).
Last but certainly not least, make sure to get enough SLEEP each and every night. Especially if strokes run in your family. Here’s why…
Snooze your way to a LOWER stroke risk
A recent study published in the European Heart Journal shows that healthy sleep habits could significantly offset some of the stroke (and heart attack) risk in genetically susceptible men and women.12
Researchers looked at genetic markers with established links to stroke and heart disease in more than 400,000 men and women. Then, they assigned the participants genetic risk scores—ranging from high to intermediate to low. And they followed them for more than eight years, noting how many strokes and heart attacks occurred.
It turns out, those with both high genetic risk and poor sleep patterns had a 1.5 times higher risk of suffering a stroke (and a 2.5 times higher risk of developing heart disease) than those with low genetic risk who also suffered with poor sleep.
But get this…
The men and women with high genetic risk and healthy
sleep patterns actually shaved off some of that risk. (Quality sleep didn’t completely erase the subjects’ genetic risk, but it did put a significant dent in it.)
Overall, the men and women with good sleep habits reduced their risk of both stroke and heart disease by more than one-third compared to poor sleepers. And in this case, the healthiest sleepers were clocking seven to eight hours a night—with no insomnia, snoring, or daytime drowsiness.
If you struggle to get enough sleep, invest in room darkening shades (or an eye mask), and limit your blue light exposure at least an hour before bedtime. Also, consider giving a select few supplements a try—like melatonin (start with 3 mg and never exceed 20 mg) or cannabidiol (CBD) oil. (To find a CBD dose that’s best for you, start with a small amount under your tongue and gradually increase until you can fall—and stay—asleep easily.)
Prevention is the key
In the end, suffering a TIA or “minor stroke” isn’t something to downplay or shrug off. Especially when you consider how many people who suffer one go on to experience a bigger, life-threatening event within just
So, I urge you to start following the sensible steps outlined here to avoid ever developing that deadly “apple shape,” improve your microcirculation, and significantly SLASH your TIA risk!
SIDEBAR: Know the signs of TIA or stroke
Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know experiences a new onset of any of these symptoms, as they could be a sign of a TIA or major stroke:
- Weakness, numbness, or paralysis in the
face, arm, or leg (often on one side)
- Sudden slurred speech or trouble understanding others
- Sudden loss of vision (often in one eye)
- Double vision
- Vertigo or loss of coordination
SIDEBAR: Three-to-one workout “recipe”
You can make a “three-to-one recipe” work for you in various ways. For example:
- 55 minutes of exercise, along with 4 hours of light activity, and 11 hours of sitting, or
- 13 minutes of exercise, along with 5.5 hours of light activity, and 10.3 hours of sitting, or
- 3 minutes of exercise, along with 6 hours of light activity, and 9.2 hours of sitting.
- “Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or Mini Stroke.” Cleveland Clinic, accessed 11/2/22. (my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14173-transient-ischemic-attack-tia-or-mini-stroke)
- “Transient ischemic attack (TIA).” Mayo Clinic, accessed 11/2/22. (mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/transient-ischemic-attack/symptoms-causes/syc-20355679)
- “Time to Retire the Concept of Transient Ischemic Attack.” JAMA.2022;327(9):813–814. doi.org/10.1001/jama.2022.0300
- “Transient Ischemic Attacks May Be Brief But Need Serious Attention.” Columbia University Irving Medical Center, 5/23/22. (cuimc.columbia.edu/news/why-are-people-talking-about-rebranding-tia-and-what-you-should-know-about-it)
- “Large waist size a good predictor of stroke risk.” Reuters, 12/25/08. (reuters.com/article/us-large-waist-size-good-predictor-strok/large-waist-size-a-good-predictor-of-stroke-risk-idUSTRE4BO1E520081225)
- “Aerobic Exercise Improves Microvascular Function in Older Adults.” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Apr; 51(4): 773–781. doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001854
- “Joint association between accelerometry-measured daily combination of time spent in physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep and all-cause mortality: a pooled analysis of six prospective cohorts using compositional analysis.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2021; bjsports-2020-102345. doi.org/1136/bjsports-2020-102345
- “Walking just 4 Hours a Week Linked to Reduced Stroke Severity.” Medscape, 9/19/18. (medscape.com/viewarticle/902222)
- “Pycnogenol®: The Clinically Evidenced Skincare Ingredient.” NutraIngredients, accessed 11/3/22. (nutraingredients-usa.com/Product-innovations/Pycnogenol-R-The-Clinically-Evidenced-Skincare-Ingredient)
- “Citrus Polyphenol Hesperidin Stimulates Production of Nitric Oxide in Endothelial Cells while Improving Endothelial Function and Reducing Inflammatory Markers in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2011; 96(5) E782–E792. doi.org/10.1210/jc.2010-2879
- “Green tea polyphenols provide photoprotection, increase microcirculation, and modulate skin properties of women.” J Nutr. 2011 Jun;141(6):1202-8. doi.org/10.3945/jn.110.136465.
- “Sleep patterns, genetic susceptibility, and incident cardiovascular disease: a prospective study of 385 292 UK biobank participants.” Eur Heart J. 2020 Mar 14;41(11):1182-1189. doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz849