Many studies contradict the current conventional perspective that cholesterol is bad. Here is a sampling of their findings:
•Cholesterol-lowering drugs often increase death rates. •Decreased serum cholesterol does not necessarily correlate with a decrease in heart attacks. •1/3 to 1/2 of cardiovascular deaths occur in individuals with total cholesterol levels below 200. •A Harvard University research team has calculated that a lifelong program of cholesterol reduction results in a gain in life expectancy of three days to three months. •Pharmacologically lowering cholesterol has numerous side effects, particularly that of liver damage.
Studies have shown a high degree of plaque in individuals in their late teens and early twenties. Another study found that 97 percent of infants on post mortem exam had early signs of plaque formation. Clogged damaged blood vessels can cause heart attack, stroke, and clots that can lead to other health complications such as intermittent clodication (intermittent blood supply to the legs causing pain and inability to walk).
Clearly cholesterol and plaque are concerns, but the story is not a simple one. Overall I believe that cholesterol by itself is essential to our health and well being, and the majority of negative publicity surrounding cholesterol serves only to profit the pharmaceutical industry.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat or lipid in our body that forms the backbone of all hormones, and is a constituent of all cell membranes. It is produced primarily in our liver, and is essential for healthy bodies. The amount of cholesterol that each of us produce is genetically programmed, having very little to do with diet and exercise. If cholesterol were inherently bad for us we would have died out as a species long ago.
Total cholesterol is made up of three parts:
•High-density lipoprotein (HDL) •Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) •Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)
If you add the HDL value to the LDL value of your blood test cholesterol results, you will see that they almost equal your total cholesterol. The remaining cholesterol value of VLDL is generally not included in test results because it comprises only a small part of the total.
HDL is typically considered to be the healthy component of cholesterol, protecting your blood vessels. LDL is considered the unhealthy component of cholesterol: a concern yes, yet one oversimplified and overstressed by the drug companies.
Elevated levels of another lipid called triglycerides present a similar slight, but mild concern for heart disease as that of elevated LDL.
Acceptable blood levels for LDL and triglyceride were lowered several years back from 140 to 100 and 200 to 150 respectively. This change came in large part as a result of efforts by the pharmaceutical industry. The timing of this change coincided with the announcement that synthetic hormone replacement therapy increased one’s risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s. The economic impact of the hormone debacle was nicely buffered by the newly increased profit from cholesterol lowering drug sales.
If cholesterol is not the villain, who is? No, not the pharmaceutical companies: inflammation is the villain.
As stated earlier, cholesterol is one of the main components creating plaque in damaged blood vessels. The point being; no damage: no plaque. Inflammation causes damage to blood vessels. If you have inflammation in your blood vessels you will have plaque build up to protect those vessels: no matter what your levels of cholesterol, HDL or LDL. Just like a knife cutting your hand: get a cut, get a scab, no cut, no scab.
Why would you take drugs that would interfere in making a scab on your hand if injured? Same goes for blood vessels: you need to address the cause by avoiding the injury (inflammation), not the response to injury (plaque formation).
How to avoid inflammation:
•Get regular exercise •Get enough sleep so that you feel rested when waking the majority of time •Maintain healthy weight •Maintain healthy blood sugar levels •Address hormone imbalances •Don’t let stress get you down
Sample Supplement Protocol for Healthy Blood Vessels
•Think of those dark fruits (blueberries, dark cherries, blackberries, dark grapes, etc.) as preeminent protectors of blood vessels for stroke prevention, heart health and hemorrhoid prevention and cure. •Good quality multiple vitamin and mineral, not from Costco or drugstores. •Essential Fatty Acid: Fish oil 1,200-2,400mg 2-3 times daily (middle of meal) •Magnesium: 200mg 1-2x/day •Calcium citrate: 500mg daily •Alpha Lipoic: 100 – 500 mg daily •Hawthorne: 1 daily (500 mg) •Zyflamend (anti-inflammatory): general full body anti-inflammatory
Additional Care: If additional assistance is needed you can get it at North County Naturopathic Health Care with client specific comprehensive integrated natural treatment programs including:
Supplements and Chelation including:
•Liposomal glutathione •Slow release Arginine •EDTA •Complete Life Whole Food all natural multiple vitamin and mineral •Medicinal herbs and preventive therapies •Lifestyle counseling •Weight management
•Lipoprotein (a): Lipoproteins are molecules that transport cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Individuals who do not show other signs of risk for heart disease may have genetically elevated levels of lipoprotein (a). Elevated levels of lipoprotein (a) account for some of those people who have heart attacks yet were displaying unblemished health beforehand. Elevated levels are also indicative of increased risk for stroke. •PLAC Lp-PLA2: This enzyme is specific for inflammation in blood vessels. •Saliva hormone: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA: deficiency of which increases inflammation •Essential Fatty Acid Profiles
In summary it is important to address the cause of plaque build-up by focusing on a well rounded anti-inflammatory program. Natural medicine offers a wealth of ways to accomplish this without side effects. Please remember that the information in this newsletter is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of professional medical care. Please contact this clinic if you have questions or feedback. I hope you’ve enjoyed this newsletter.
Jon Dunn, ND