The High Cholesterol Myth of Heart Disease!
The “Good”, The “Bad” and the "Ugly" Truth—Cholesterol & Heart Disease— It’s Not What You Think!
Most Of Us Have Come To Believe That Cholesterol (Fat) Will Destroy Our Health. It's Not True! The Facts Have Been Distorted
High cholesterol myth: Most of us have come to believe that cholesterol or fat will destroy our health...cause heart disease...heart attack, stroke, etc....This is categorically untrue.
If you are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, the information that follows is must know information if you do not want to have your health destroyed by pharmaceutical drugs.
Drugs manufactured by the companies who successfully marketed the high cholesterol myth of heart disease in order to sell their dangerous, very expensive and ineffective drugs.
However you want to say it, there are foods and herbs that lower cholesterol naturally. Let me say that again...you can lower cholesterol naturally! But it is a myth that cholesterol is related to the dread killer heart attack.
If You Already Know About The Myth Of Cholesterol And Heart Disease And Want To Know Which Foods Can Lower Your Cholesterol And De-Plague Your Arteries Click On The Link Below!
Yes, it is true you can de-plaque your arteries, reduce the risk of heart attack, or heart disease, lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure by increasing your intake of certain foods.
Please click here to skip the detailed discussion of the Myth of Cholesterol and Heart Disease and go to my comprehensive page of information on all the foods that lower cholesterol naturally, de-plaque arteries and lower blood pressure.
What Is Cholesterol? You Have To Know!
Let’s begin with scientific fact. This is a key fact you must remember...cholesterol is just a fancy word for "fat"...that's it...that's all it means...Lipid is another fancy word for fat.
These fancy, words cholesterol and lipid are not important...
They are used by the medical community because they sound more scientific...
When you understand the implications of this "war on fat" you would never take a cholesterol lower drug like a "Statin" again or start taking one.
My job is to help you understand and demystify this issue for you.
Cholesterol, lipids...fat...by any other name is a necessary and essential component of every cell in our body and is needed for proper nerve and brain function. It is so essential for our health that the liver produces it on demand even if you don’t eat any foods that contain cholesterol.
For those of you who have already been confused by your Cardiologist...The cholesterol theory of heart disease is also often associated with descriptions and definitions like:
1. Arteriosclerosis is any hardening and loss of elasticity of small arteries. This is often associated with hypertension. Atheroslcerosis is a hardening of an artery specifically due to an atheromatous (fat including) plaque. Atherosclerosis is the most common form of arteriosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is characterized by a thickening of the lining of the artery with plaques that can contain lipid-laden macrophages ("foam cells"). The plaques contain free lipid (cholesterol, etc.) and are prone to calcification and ulceration.
Notice how the words "cholesterol" and "lipid" are used almost as if they are not fat. Could anyone be trying to make this more confusing than it is?
2. Hypercholesterolemia is another fancy word that means there is a higher than "normal" amount of fat in the blood.
The theory is that fat sticks to the walls of the arteries and leads to constriction of blood flow and heart attack due to the resulting oxygen starvation of the heart muscle and death of heart muscle tissue. It is this theory that we will explore in some detail.
Did you know of all the people who have heart attacks, that only a small percentage of them has any clogging or constriction or plaque in their arteries! I'd say this is an interesting fact wouldn't you?
Here is the most important fact that the pharmaceutical companies don't want you to know.
While it is a fact that the plaque found in clogged arteries contains cholesterol (fat), it is also a fact that every cell in our body contains fat. Cholesterol pervades every healthy part of our body and can be found in arterial plaque as well.
What can one conclude from the fact that fat is found in both the healthy and unhealthy parts of our body? Not much...except perhaps fat is not the problem. Perhaps something else is at work.
The real question is what causes plaque (which sometimes contains fat) to form in the arteries of some people but not form in the arteries of others? Let’s keep this question in mind as we delve deeper.
Here is another clue...for us Holistic Medicine Detectives.
There are only two sources of cholesterol, one is intrinsic... meaning we produce it ourselves. It's generated normally by our liver.
The other source is extrinsic meaning that is comes from the foods we eat such as meat and dairy and is therefore called dietary cholesterol.
Even in animals cholesterol is essential for the creation and maintenance of cells.
It is essential to understand that even if you were a vegetarian and therefore ate none of the foods commonly thought to contain cholesterol, your liver would manufacture cholesterol from elements in the foods you do eat. There is a very important reason for this to happen...you would die without it.
Let me be very clear...the cells of every living thing on the face of this earth contain fat...call it what you will...cholesterol or lipid... whatever...Every living cell on this planet has to have fat to live.
Think about it...where do cooking oils come from?
...why from squeezing the oil out of the cells of olives, peanuts, and other plants...some plants have a lot of fat in their cells and others not so much.
You Have Undoubtedly Heard About “Good,” Cholesterol And “Bad” Cholesterol. What An Unfortunate And Misleading Characterization. Here Is Why.
1. Cholesterol, a steroid-fatty substance (lipid), is manufactured in the liver and transported via the blood stream to the sites where it is needed.
It is needed for example at the site of an injury because it is a necessary component used in the repair of damaged cells and the creation of new cells including nerve cells.
When the body is stressed by physical injury or even damaged due to excessive exercise (as when muscles are strained or torn) your body manufactures more cholesterol than usual because of the increased demand.
In this case if there were not enough cholesterol available in your blood, your body would not heal and would literally decay.
So when your body creates more cholesterol in response to injury or increased exertion levels there will be a measurably higher cholesterol level in your blood at that time.
So, of course sometimes your blood cholesterol levels will be higher and sometimes they will be lower, not just because of what you eat, but because your body is doing some repair or regeneration work and makes more fat to help with the repairs.
2. Since cholesterol is fat and because blood is mostly water, in order to travel in the blood stream it has to latch onto a special protein molecule called lipo-proteins. There is a type of lipo-protein called Low-density Lipo-proteins (LDLs). It is called low density because it contains less protein and more lipid (fat). These are the major transporters of cholesterol/fat in the blood stream.
Since these molecules are involved in the delivery of cholesterol both to where it is needed in the body, as well as potentially to arterial walls to where it is not beneficial (as in excessive build-up in the arteries) medical investigators called these LDLs “bad” cholesterol.
This is a serious miss-characterization of what obviously is actually a normal and essential part of the ongoing functioning of your body. What is “bad” about a normal function of the body without which you would die?
Even if someone has fat and plaque in their arteries, if you stopped the production of cholesterol by the liver or stopped it’s distribution in the blood stream, you would be killing cells of all kinds in the body, since cholesterol/fat is required for the healthy function, repair and replacement of all cells in the body.
Perhaps this is why one of the more common and dangerous side-effects of cholesterol lowering drugs is muscle weakness, muscle wasting, and dementia and neuropathy (numbness and tingling) which is due to both nerve and muscle cell damage. And let’s not forget the people these drugs have killed. These drugs are widely considered by many in the medical community to be some of the most dangerous of all pharmaceutical drugs.
3. There are other lipo-proteins that carry unneeded cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver where it is broken down for removal from the body.
These molecules are called High-Density Lipo-proteins or HDL (more protein than lipid) and have been inappropriately and misleadingly labeled “good” cholesterol.
Are they “good” because they carry old or excess cholesterol back to the liver for destruction? If so, using that logic, we would say that arteries (those blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood away from the heart and lungs to the rest of the body) are “bad” vessels.
And we would call veins (those blood vessels that carry de-oxygenated used red blood cells back to the heart and lungs for re-oxygenation) “good” vessels.
This just clearly doesn’t make sense. How is the calling of either LDLs or HDLs good or bad justifiable since both are essential to the healthy function of the body? Just as are arteries and veins, the “good” and “bad” labels sound to me like science fiction created by a marketing department to sell drugs.
4. When everything is working normally in the body the system is in balance. However, like every other system in nature and in the body this balance is dynamic, not static.
This means that when the body needs more cholesterol the liver creates it and the level of serum cholesterol will be higher. And when the levels of cholesterol are excessive that excess cholesterol is removed from body which results in lower serum cholesterol readings.
So at any given moment in time—different days of the week and possibly at even different times during the day a test will reveal different levels of cholesterol. Your cholesterol levels will be different at different times due to a whole host of possible factors.
Poking holes in the cholesterol theory of heart disease.
The cholesterol theory of arteriosclerotic heart disease hypothesizes that if there is too much cholesterol (too many LDLs and not enough HDLs to pick it up promptly), then the excess cholesterol will be deposited on or in arterial cell walls and form plaque.
It is a fact that if this plaque builds up so much that it nearly completely blocks the arteries it could cause myocardial infarction which is the medical word for the death of muscle tissue of the heart due to lack of oxygen...heart attack.
A very recent major study says that the arteriosclerosis theory of heart disease is wrong.
The new theory is that fatty plaques can become dislodged or explode and cause complete blockage of a major cardiac artery, thus causing heart attack. The study contends that blockage of arteries is not a serious problem.
However they point out, if you go to a major cardiac center and they do the various tests they do, if you are older, those tests will most likely find narrowing or even blockage of some arteries. The usual prescription will be do put in stents or do cardiac bi-pass surgery, even if you are asymptomatic and have no real danger of significant problems.
The problem is that the arteries often become narrowed again no matter which approach, stents or by-pass surgery is performed. So, the bottom line is the need to eliminate plaque from the arteries and throughout the body.
Ironically, the new study tentatively suggests that even HDL is bad. Now our science fiction geniuses are claiming there is no good cholesterol at all—none of it is good! That is patently not true. It is laughable.
Remember even if you were a vegetarian and ate no food contain animal fat your body will produce cholesterol or fat anyway because it is essential to the health of every cell of your body.
The question that we need to ponder is that while it is true that cholesterol is found in arterial plaque...
...is it simply because a “high” level of cholesterol in the body over time will inevitably stick to the walls of your arteries?
Or, is there something that causes this normal process to go askew? Again, cholesterol is a normal and essential component of the body, produced by the body.
Since your body is built and maintained by known and unknown nutritional components contributed by the food you eat, clearly one might intuitively and even reasonably consider that diet can affect not only cholesterol but everything else in your body.
Those who created the cholesterol theory of arteriosclerotic heart disease have pretty much denied that what we eat other than fatty meat could possibly have impact on the body (and they argue about fatty meat, too!). But then they also deny that their artificially created medicines are dangerous to your health.
The information provided in the Physician’s Desk Reference—the drug bible—demonstrates that no drug is safe. With pharmaceutical drugs you get varying degrees of danger and risk of death.
You have to decide if the level of risk the drug companies consider safe for you, is in fact safe enough for you.
Why Don't MDs Understand The Impact Of Food On Health?
In truth it was not until the last few years that limited and often incorrect nutritional information was added to the curriculum of some medical schools.
This wasn’t because someone was deliberately keeping this information hidden from MDs and Osteopaths (D.O.). It was because those who create the curriculum of medical education in their wisdom concluded that what we eat has no impact on our health.
Most older MDs DOs and even many new MDs do not consider diet key to good health today.
I find it sad and ironic that MDs and pharmaceutical scientists were apparently the last to know what most people instinctively know to be true, that what we eat has a huge impact on our bodies. How could it not?
Some MDs have come out with diet books extolling healthy diets as if they invented the field. I’m sorry but rather than being the geniuses who discovered this critical information, they are late comers to the party, really only finally catching up with what everyone else already knew. The are climbing on the band wagon, saying, "me too, me too"...and good for them for doing so, it's about time, they begin to do the right thing. But let's hold the applause for now.
It has been proven clinically and conclusively that food can increase your total cholesterol level which is defined as LDL and HDL combined. It has also been proved that food can increase the “good” and reduce the “bad” cholesterol and vice versa.
Remember I have the words "good" and "bad" in quotes for a reason.
The point here is that food is key to good health. There is ample clinical evidence that calcium deficiency and eating foods made from refined white flower and sugar, and eating the wrong kinds of fats are the top causes of plaque build up in the arteries.
It has been conclusively demonstrated that the above named foods have incredibly bad effects on the body. The consumption of white refined flour and white refined sugar has risen exponentially since the 1850s as has the consumption of these foods.
Cancer, diabetes and heart disease were all but unheard of prior to the early 1900s and this wasn’t because people didn’t live very long as you will hear some say. In the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s these diseases began to climb exponentially tracking exactly with the exponential increase in consumption of these foods.
Processed foods, meaning candy, cookies, cakes pies, virtually any meal you buy at the grocery store is processed food. All of these foods contain refined white flour and sugar and toxic chemicals to preserve and color them and "improve” the taste.
White refined sugar and white refined flour is a huge culprit in Heart Attack and Stroke.
And the worst culprit of all sweeteners is high fructose corn syrup. This is a new addition to the bad sugar problem.
Consumption of high fructose corn syrup, which is present in sodas, many juices, and most processed foods, is the primary nutritional cause of most of the recent rise in obesity.
So the real concern isn't the amount of cholesterol you have, but the type of fats and sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet that not only leads to abnormal cholesterol production, but is the likely cause of the inflammation response and resulting plaque build-up of the arteries.
Interestingly it has been demonstrated that eating foods made with whole grains reduce cholesterol and plaque in the arteries.
Since eating refined grains without the hull is a killer while eating whole grains promote health and well being, it is known that without all the components of grains (meaning the outer hull plus what is contained within) our bodies can’t utilize these foods without ill effects.
When you were a kid do you remember making paste with white refined flour? Perhaps that sticky-phenomena contributes to arterial plaque build up.
Regardless of any hypothetical mechanism, it has been clinically demonstrated that we can reverse arteriosclerotic heart disease by eliminating these foods from our diet and replacing them with other more beneficial food and by supplementing calcium.
Some prominent Western MDs have also asserted that cholesterol has little to do with heart disease and maintain truthfully that a direct connection has never been established.
Studies in the US, India, Poland and Guatemala concluded that there is no relationship between arteriosclerosis and cholesterol levels.
So who decided that there was a link between cholesterol levels and heart disease? Who promoted the idea that there is a connection?
The pharmaceutical companies and the research for which they conducted or paid for and the Doctors they bought to support their opinions and their marketing departments.
The point here is that not even all MDs agree with the cholesterol theory of heart disease. To this day unbiased researchers say there is no proof that the cholesterol theory is true.
Let’s Examine The Use of Cholesterol Lowering Drugs And The Prevention of Heart Disease.
There are a number of cholesterol lowering drugs on the market, available by prescription only, these are expensive and they all have serious side effects.
Many in the medical community maintain that they should be used only as a last resort and not routinely be routinely prescribed to “prevent” heart disease.
If you consider that cholesterol is absolutely essential to the health of the brain and other nervous tissues not to mention being a major component of all other cells in the body, it is not too hard to imagine that interfering with this critical function of the body chemically, essentially crippling the body’s cholesterol balance system, could have catastrophic consequences.
Some of these drugs, initially approved by the FDA have been taken off the market after causing death, muscle weakness and atrophy and neurological problems, including dementia as mentioned earlier. There are many other cholesterol lowering drugs still on the market causing significant damaging side-effects.
Remember, our discussion of the essential function of cholesterol in the body? Well, duh? How could these drugs not cause these problems?
The sensible way to keep the serum cholesterol within a “safe” range is to follow a diet that excludes or reduces animal fats including fatty meat, milk and all dairy products and includes ample amounts of fiber and bulk provided by whole grains, fruits and vegetables, the good oils like cold pressed olive oil and healthier sources of meat like fish and chicken.
Much of our so-called health information comes from suspect sources. Please consider that our free-market economy and our government is now driven by (if not directly influenced by campaign finance contributions) special interests representing every possible product including food, medicine, health care. There is a beef council, dairy council, and even chicken, fish, corn, wheat lobbying organizations all paying for research into the “health promoting properties” of their products.
The purveyors of chemical medicine create theories about how the body works that are misleading and overly simplistic so as to be able to make their drugs sound desirable. These corporations and the manufacturer’s of drugs pay for most of the research done today.
There is little or no independently funded research being performed on the effects of these products.
I ask you to think about whether money has ever been found to corrupt? Research paid for by the one who will benefit from the conclusions reached must always be suspect.
Here Are Some Interesting Research Findings That You Need To Know!
• If you are a healthy woman with high cholesterol, there is no proof that taking statins reduces your risk of heart attack or death. Abramson J, Wright JM. Are lipid-lowering guidelines evidence-based? Lancet. 2007 Jan 20;369(9557):168-9
• If you are a man or a woman over 69 years old with high cholesterol, there is no proof that taking statins reduces your risk of heart attack or death. Abramson J, Wright JM. Are lipid-lowering guidelines evidence-based? Lancet. 2007 Jan 20;369(9557):168-9
• Aggressive cholesterol treatment with two medications (Zocor and Zetia) lowered cholesterol much more than one drug alone, but led to more plaque build up in the arteries and no fewer heart attacks. Brown BG, Taylor AJ Does ENHANCE Diminish Confidence in Lowering LDL or in Ezetimibe? England Journal of Medicine 358:1504, April 3, 2008 Editorial
• 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol
• Older patients with lower cholesterol have higher risks of death than those with higher cholesterol. Schatz IJ, Masaki K, Yano K, Chen R, Rodriguez BL, Curb JD. Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study. Lancet. 2001 Aug 4;358(9279):351-5.
• Countries with higher average cholesterol than Americans such as the Swiss or Spanish have less heart disease.
How Valid Are The New Recommendations On The Prescription Of Cholesterol Lowering Drugs?
You may remember a few years ago when the cholesterol levels requiring medication were lowered.
Why did the 2004 National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines lower the previous guidelines to recommend that more people take statins (from 13 million to 40 million) and that people who don't have heart disease should take them to prevent heart disease?
Do you think it could possibly have been because 8 of the 9 experts on the panel who developed these guidelines had financial ties to the drug industry?
Thirty-four other non-industry affiliated experts sent a petition to protest the recommendations to the National Institutes of Health saying the evidence did not warrant such action. Sounds like a case of having the fox guarding the hen house.
It's all in the bogus statistical analysis. The spin of the statistics and numbers. And it's intentionally confusing. Let's take a closer look.
In those at high risk for heart disease about 50 people would need to be treated for 5 years to prevent one heart attack in that group of 50.
To put that in perspective: If a drug works, it has a very low NTT (number needed to treat). For example, if you have a urine infection due to a bacterial infection and take an antibiotic, you will get near a 100% benefit. The number needed to treat is "1".
So if you have an NTT of 50 like Statins do for preventing heart disease in 75% of the people who take them, it is basically a crap shoot.
Yet at a cost of over $28 billion a year, 75% of all Statin prescriptions are for exactly this type of unproven primary prevention. Not prescribing these drugs over 10 years would save over $200 billion. This is just one example of ineffective and harmful care. It is best to not only prevent disease but to also prevent harm.
If these medications were without side effects, then one might somehow be able to justify the risk - but they cause muscle damage, sexual dysfunction, liver and nerve damage and other problems in AT LEAST 10-15% of patients who take them.
This is a case of something being more damaging than nothing.
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