Natural Heart Health Program | Jon Barron's Blog

Date: 10/19/2007    Written by: Jon Barron

Blood Transfusions & Heart Attacks

Well, there you go. Just when you think you've heard everything. A recent study out of Duke University has found that blood transfusions increase your risk of heart attack and death. Now, no one's saying that a blood transfusion isn't helpful after a massive loss of blood, but the study confirms that the simple act of getting a transfusion absolutely increases your risk of having a heart attack and dying shortly after. In other words, in many cases, blood transfusions may do more harm than good.

The problem is that the oxygen-transporting efficacy of stored blood begins to decay almost immediately. This is because stored red blood cells become deficient in nitric oxide, which limits their ability to get oxygen to tissues that need it. Nitric oxide opens up blood vessels, which allows oxygen carrying blood to reach the tissues served by those vessels. In vitro studies show that levels of S-nitrohemoglobin (the molecule that carries nitric oxide in the blood) decline rapidly in stored red blood cells. There is a 70% drop in the first day of storage. By the twenty-first day, the molecule was below the level of detectability. In the U.S., red blood cells can be stored up to 42 days. But the problem is even worse than it sounds. Not only is your blood deficient in nitric oxide, but because it's deficient, it actually sucks nitric oxide out of the surrounding tissue to compensate. This causes that tissue to constrict and become deoxygenated. If that tissue happens to be heart muscle, you have a problem.

Fortunately, the remedy appears to be fairly simple. Doctors and hospitals just need to implement it. Treating red blood cells with a solution of aqueous nitric oxide results in a 10-fold increase in S-nitrohemoglobin compared with untreated samples so that the levels of S-nitrohemoglobin are not significantly different from fresh blood. If you ever need a transfusion, you might want to ask your doctor if the hospital treats their banked blood this way before using it for transfusion. (Unfortunately, there aren't many at the moment.)

But all that said, that's not my main reason for blogging on this issue. Think about this for a moment. Blood transfusions have been used as standard medical procedure for over 100 years. Why haven't any previous studies revealed this?

The answer is quite simple. There were none. As I have frequently pointed out, most medical procedures and drug usage are not backed by study -- only anecdotal evidence. According to the US Government's Office of Technology Assessment, only 10-20% of all medical procedures and off-label drug usage is backed by clinical studies.(1) Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Things would grind to a standstill if doctors had to wait for definitive studies before implementing any new procedure that seemed to offer benefit. And yes, a key point was missed in the blood transfusion issue for the last hundred years. But make no mistake: strong anecdotal evidence among informed professionals is actually quite reliable -- as reliable as clinical testing for that matter. Just think of how many clinical tests come to diametrically opposed conclusions. In fact, the only reason that this clinical study was conducted on blood transfusions in the first place is because the anecdotal evidence that there was a problem had been building over the years. You could say that the problem was discovered through anecdotal evidence -- and merely confirmed through clinical study.

No, the problem isn't with the use of anecdotal evidence. It's with the double standard applied by the establishment (medical and regulatory) that holds alternative medicine to an absurdly restrictive, different standard. If informed anecdotal evidence is allowable for 85% of all medical procedure and drug usage, why is alternative health held to an impossible 100% standard? And we're not even talking about a standard as it applies to implementing an alternative health procedure or supplement. No, that 100% standard applies to even "talking" about it. I kid you not. As we discussed in the last newsletter, government regulators in the US, Canada, and much of Europe don't allow you to use stevia as an alternative sweetener in food because it hasn't passed enough clinical studies. Fine! But did you know that it's even illegal to talk about using stevia as a sweetener. The FDA has actually seized stevia recipe books. That's insane.

All I'm saying is, "Let's play fair."

1. Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment: Assessing the efficacy and safety of medical technologies. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1978.

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    Submitted by Dianne Thompson on
    December 25, 2007 - 4:01pm

    The dog experiments were first done around 1905 and duplicated in 1969, as I recall. The information is on the site These documented experiments indicate there is much that science has yet to learn, and unlearn.
    I just looked up the pages:
    The seawater appropriate for transfusion is not available everywhere. Rene Quinton, whose ""marine treatment"" with injected dilute seawater saved thousands of lives, found that seawater needed to be harvested in certain places where the vegetation was right, and conditions of weather and tide were specific to his findings, which included taking the water from a certain depth, about 100 feet these days, far from the shores.
    Seawater taken under these conditions, properly diluted, is nearly identical to very healthy blood plasma. However, it has a living quality that has not yet been successfully analyzed nor understood, and it loses certain properties when it is tampered with. You can't dry it, reconstitute it, and get the same product back again. Nor can you sterilize it and have the same thing. Seawater companies cold filter the water, but avoid contact with metal or heat and do not sterilize it--much of the healing properties would be lost. I've experienced those properties. They helped me recover from adrenal exhaustion and thyroid deficiency and all that goes with this kind of crash. I've seen such obvious and rapid changes take place with a ""supplement"". It was also the only thing that successfully brought my pH out of the cancer range.
    My article:

    Submitted by Eugene Lund on
    November 5, 2007 - 3:07am

    I was reading somewhere about a guy, I don't remember his name, transfusing dogs with sea water. I seem to recall people, as well, having this done. As I recall, it seems like the water from the ocean has more or less the same stuff in it as blood, along with a lot of pollution too, of course. Do you know anything about this?

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    November 6, 2007 - 1:43am

    During World War I, the French Army used a specially filtered and sterilized form of sea water for blood transfusions when blood supplies ran out. However, although such sea water can be used in an emergeny to keep blood volume up and maintain proper electrolyte levels for the functioning of the heart muscle, it does not provide the oxygen/carbon dioxide carrying capabilities of blood. It can help in an emergency, but it does not replace blood.

    Submitted by Kristian Ladbert on
    April 7, 2010 - 10:07pm

    I have a question, my grandmother had a heart attack, she is diabetic. After a week she was released with maintenance medications. She was taking aspirin but the doctor took her off of it because her hemoglobin levels slighty dropped, like 99 g/l, she doubled the dose of her iron medications and added folic acid med. BUt still, she appears pale, is it safe to triple the dose of iron in a day? will BT be more of a danger to her than a remedy? cuz you know, part of her heart muscle was weakened by the heart attack. anyone?

    Submitted by Lori on
    May 11, 2008 - 11:58pm

    Hi Jon,
    In regards to clinical trials, scientific study, I think it would also be relevant to include the fact that ""science"" is typically looking for mechanism of action as evidence to pass studies, not end results. Jon, I think you would do a much better indepth study and clarification of this concept..But basically studies for mainstream medicine require that a medical procedure burn, cut or poison in order to ""work"" (taken from ""The Persecution and Trial of Gaston Naessens"" by Christopher Bird). I know that sounds simplified, but do a little research or thinking about what passes and what doesn't. Of all the treatments in mainstream, what is their basic mechanism of action? As you stated above, it is certainly not because of what actually works or what the end results are... Until we change fundamentally our undertanding of what helps and what doesn't, that ""medical treatments"" CAN work by strengthen the body and empirically begin to show mechanisms of action and get those mechanisms of actions (which are typically non-linear, layered, and integrative in nature- not as easy to study or prove, since it typically relies on a ""web of interactions"") Again, maybe too complicated for a commment in a blog, but Jon, it would be great for you to elaborate in your newsletter. Science has to evolve as a whole, fundamental understanding of what is allowed, we keep arguing about evidence and end results, when we should be passing bills, laws and regulations, either include or truly define ""holistic"" medicine as what is acceptable, it's in process and hopefully evolving, but we need new science. And while we're discussing corruption, the fundamental issue there is competition. Candace Pert, ""Molecules of Emotion"". Although she doesn't state it directly, the entire book is how exasperating the entire medical grant process is, how competitive and how insanely difficult it is to prove something outside the box, Alfie Kohn ""The Case Against Competition"" clearly and scientifically shows how we are hurting ourselves, fundamentally, by allowing this as our underlying thinking and allowing this to be our driving force in medicine and the almost requires corruption to ""succeed"" or ""win""....something to think about...
    Best of luck.

    Submitted by marge on
    November 13, 2007 - 2:20am

    Yes, I would like to say that about a year and a half ago my sister was given a blood transfusion and about 4 weeks later she was rushed to the hospital for severe pains in her legs and died about 10 or 12 hrs later, due to a blot clot that broke in her leg they say and traveled to her lungs and she died instantly. my question is could this had been preventable?

    Submitted by Mary Sandy on
    August 2, 2009 - 9:25am

    I just read the information about transfusions and their relationships to heart attacks and strokes. I'm concerned as I had a transfusion in 2004 prior to surgery. Is the correlation immediate or is it possible to occur several years after the transfusion? I have had no problems and I'm wondering if I now need yearly heart scans, etc. In fact, I just had a physical and everything appears to be fine.

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