Finally, a Doctor who has the courage to tell it like it is. The truth about cardiovascular disease and cholesterol.
Saturated fats are not the enemy – processed carbohydrates increase cardiovascular disease. Perhaps that explains why the push to low-fat/no-fat and high grain diets has actually seen rates of cardiovascular disease increase. Want to know more? Read the report here.
Despite its bad reputation, cholesterol is a type of fat that exists in all cell membranes. Cholesterol is essential for the healthy functioning of:
transmission of nerve impulses
formation of vitamin D
synthesis of testosterone and oestrogen (major reproductive hormones)
formation of bile (needed to break down fats & eliminate toxins)
- preventing aggressiveness
- increases number of serotonin receptors in the brain
- optimal levels required to prevent depression
- protects skin from dehydration and ageing
keeping the cell healthy and functioning properly
Cholesterol serves as a starting point for the synthesis of critical regulatory hormones in the body which help maintain essential functioning of biological mechanisms.
Approximately 80% of total body cholesterol is manufactured in the liver with the remaining 20% derived from the diet. The liver balances total body cholesterol depending on dietary intake. However, when dietary intake is chronically high, the liver’s ability to compensate with decreased production may become compromised.
A possible reason why the liver produces more cholesterol than is needed by the body, is toxicity. We are exposed to thousands of toxic substances daily and the liver is our major filtering organ. When it can no longer eliminate toxins, it may wrap these in cholesterol to protect our tissue from oxidative damage. So if you have elevated cholesterol consider the following factors.
Numerous factors increase high blood cholesterol:
low fibre intake
high sugar intake
- adrenal fatigue
- low Vitamin D
- low sex hormones
lack of exercise
high saturated fat intake
A healthy liver filters cholesterol for removal from the body as bile salts. Fibre also helps to bind and eliminate cholesterol.
The Devil is in the Details… How Medicine Got the Wrong Idea about Fats
Saturated fat has long been demonized as a heart attack waiting to happen, and many doctors still cling to this outdated view. Ironically, saturated fat is not only healthful fat, it’s one of the most important dietary factors to support health! There’s simply no way to calculate the harm inflicted by the low-fat craze. We now know that if you avoid saturated fats, you’re asking for trouble. Not only is saturated fat the optimal fuel for your brain, it also:
- Provides building blocks for cell membranes, hormones, and hormone-like substances
- Acts as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- Is required for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, and for mineral absorption
- Acts as antiviral agents (caprylic acid)
- Helps lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)
- Modulates genetic regulation and helps prevent cancer (butyric acid)
Which Fats are Healthy?
Sources of healthful fats (and in some cases cholesterol) include:
- Olives and cold pressed Extra-Virgin Olive oil
- Coconuts and organic coconut oil
- Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
- Raw nuts, such as, almonds or pecans
- Organic pastured egg yolks
- Grass fed meats
- Unheated organic nut oil
Another healthful fat you want to be mindful of is animal-based omega-3. Deficiency in this essential fat can cause or contribute to very serious health problems, both mental and physical, and may be a significant underlying factor of up to 96,000 premature deaths each year.
What do the tests mean?
By ensuring a healthy lifestyle, nutritious diet and functioning digestive system, cholesterol imbalances may be controlled naturally. Due to the liver’s function in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, it is imperative that this organ be healthy. A great way to check is by Haemaview Live Blood Screening which reveals signs of liver stress long before dangerous enzymes are released and traceable in blood pathology.
Blood tests to check cholesterol
When having your cholesterol levels checked, request a breakdown of the following components in order to receive an accurate indication of what’s happening in your body:
VLDL = very low density lipids which are produced to repair blood vessel damage or inflammation
LDL = low density lipids which float freely in the blood stream and are considered “bad” cholesterol
HDL = high density lipids which collect the LDL for removal by the liver and are considered “good” cholesterol
Triglycerides = major cause for inflammation within the body and are stored as fat and often an indicator of insulin resistance
Trans-fats = these are plant-derived fats that have had their structure changed due to food processing (margarine, vegetable shortenings and any foods containing these products such as cakes, biscuits and hot chips). The body is unable to get rid of trans-fats so they accumulate in tissues and blood vessels and increase triglyceride levels in the blood stream.
As with many biochemical substances in our body, it is not an individual level that means much but rather the ratio between interacting substances. This also applies to cholesterol.
- LDL/HDL ratiois simply the LDL level divided by the HDL level. It’s one of the most popular measures of a heart disease risk.
- ideal: below 2.0
- good: below 5.0
- too high: above 5.0
- Triglyceride/HDL ratiocan be calculated by dividing your triglyceride level by HDL level. It’s a less popular indicator; nevertheless, it is also used to determine heart stroke risks and insulin resistance [≥0.25].
- ideal: 2.0 or less
- high: 4.0 – 6.0
- too high: 6.0 or above
- Total cholesterol/HDL (TC/HDL) ratio is found by dividing the total cholesterol level by the HDL level. Not for diagnostic purposes but as a general idea of your health condition.
- ideal: under 3.5
- good: under 5.0
- bad: over 5.0
However, simply checking cholesterol levels is no indicator of possible cardiovascular disease. There are many other factors involved, the primary one being inflammation. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been shown to be a major cause in cholesterol build-up in blood vessels. Therefore, always ensure your doctor requests your homocysteine levels are checked when doing a blood test. Cholesterol levels fluctuate throughout the day so one reading may provide a misleading result.
Maintaining optimal cholesterol levels
A person’s cholesterol levels may depend not only on what he or she eats, but also how often.
Researchers found that middle-aged and older adults who ate frequently throughout the day had lower “bad” cholesterol levels compared with those who tended to down one or two large meals per day. This was despite the fact that the frequent eaters, on average, had a higher calorie and fat intake.
The researchers looked at data on more than 14,600 men and women aged 45 to 75 who were part of a larger cancer study. Participants were asked about their current eating habits and activity levels, and had their cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight recorded.
The researchers found that participants’ total cholesterol counts declined as their eating frequency increased. Those who ate at least five or six times a day had the lowest total cholesterol, on average, while the highest measurements were found among those who dined only once or twice a day. The same pattern showed up for LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
They found a decrease of approximately 5% in concentrations of total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in men and women who eat six or more times a day compared with those who eat once or twice a day.
Frequent eaters did not, however, have higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which is believed to help protect the heart from disease.
Yet the findings are biologically plausible. Animal research has shown that those given infrequent large meals show metabolism patterns different from animals fed more often — including a higher absorption of sugar in the intestines, higher after-meal peaks of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin, and greater activity in enzymes that synthesize cholesterol.
As for humans it could also be that frequent eaters metabolize what they eat rather differently than infrequent eaters.
Despite the higher calorie and fat intake among frequent eaters in this study, the findings do not give people license to gorge on French fries.
The authors stressed that their data do not provide evidence for advocating frequent snacking on junk food. They advised that people who wish to hold down their cholesterol levels should first and foremost eat more fruits and vegetables and cut their saturated fat intake.
British Medical Journal December 1, 2001;323:1286-1288
For more information about the dangers of cholesterol lowering medication visit Dr Mercola’s website.
The REAL danger
After years of being told that we have to keep our cholesterol levels down, the medical industry is slowly acknowledging research as far back as early 1960’s. As we saw above, cholesterol is an important component of our body. So why do some people build up cholesterol plaque in their arteries causing heart disease? The answer is inflammation.
Inflammation of blood vessels is largely caused by high homocysteine levels and free radicals. Major contributors of these free radicals are cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, eating excessive amounts of fatty foods and diabetes. The linings of our blood vessels are extremely sensitive and vulnerable to even the slightest irritation. The chemical reactions that occur when there is elevated inflammation + oxidative stress due to free radicals + elevated homocysteine = plaque build up.
Damage to blood vessels triggers increased liver production of VLDL increases fibrin and risk of clotting.
Next time you have a blood test, ask your doctor to request that homocysteine levels be tested. Elevated homocysteine has been linked to increased cardiovascular risk. Then see your naturopath for treatment that is lasting and effective.
The Danger of STATIN Drugs
Please view this video by Dr Russell Baylock – fast forward to 7 minutes into the report. I apologise about the first report on this video.
Statin Medications increase the risk of prostatic cancer
Middle age men are being urged to reduce cholesterol levels by medical doctors. The number one weapon against cholesterol used by doctors are the statin drugs (eg Lipitor, Simvastatin). While they reduce cholesterol levels, common side effects of statin drugs include peripheral neuropathy, paraesthesia, gastrointestinal upset; pancreatitis; dizziness; myalgia; muscle cramps; pruritus; alopecia; rash; gynaecomastia; anaemia; asthenia; insomnia; memory impairment; hypotension; depression; and sexual dysfunction. Recently, prostatic cancer has been added to this list.
In a recent study, if was found that every use of any statin was associated with a significant increase in prostate cancer risk. This equates to a 55% increase of cancer rates. Unfortunately, thestudy also found that the higher the dose, the higher the risk of prostatic cancer. In this study, the researchers concluded that “statins may increase the risk of prostatic cancer.” Statin drugs are a multi-billion industry – I suggest you read this article and make up your own mind.
Bottom line is that cholesterol is essential to good health and any elevation should be assessed for individuality and underlying cause. Natural medicine offers a number of options which may help reduce cholesterol without these unwanted side effects.