Debunking Cholesterol Myths
Raluca Schachter, Guest Writer
When a big, fat lie built around such a sensitive and health threatening issue becomes way too widespread, that even the authors start to believe it, it is really hard to turn the tide without major consequences.
We live in a time where we have GMO producers who won’t touch their food, but eat only organic instead, vaccine promoters and producers who won’t vaccinate their own kids or themselves, and of course, cholesterol lowering medication producers and promoters who won’t take their statins or give them to their family. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
So what kind of cholesterol “myths” has the population been fed all this time through heavy marketing? Let’s take a look!
Myth #1 : High LDL Causes Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease
An important factor in atherosclerosis and heart disease has been detected for oxidized LDL, but this form of LDL shows no correlation with serum levels of native LDL. Rather, individual antioxidant status appears to be a key factor influencing serum concentrations of oxidized LDL.
Where does oxidized cholesterol come from? It comes from artificial, partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), vegetable oils, genetically modified food, a diet high in refined sugars, alcohol and tobacco. Damaged cholesterol is found in powdered eggs, in powdered milk (added to reduced-fat milks to give them body) and inmeats and fats that have been heated to high temperatures in frying and other high-temperature processes.
When there is a high level of oxidation present in the body, there also tends to be free radical activity in the tissues. Your body creates more cholesterol as a response to deal with inflammatory issues within the body. So cholesterol is not the problem, it is merely the solution your body is using to try and heal itself. Inflammation in the arterial walls is the real danger, and if left unchecked the swelling can eventually shut off blood flow to the heart or brain, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. In fact, the ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol is probably the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
In the war against the “cholesterol demon”, the high levels of a substance called homocysteine are often forgotten. Homocysteine has been correlated with pathological build up of plaque in the arteries and the tendency to form clots which is a deadly combination. Nutrients that lower homocysteine levels are folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 and choline which are found mostly in animal foods.
So is high serum cholesterol useless? NO! It definitely indicates the presence of a metabolic imbalance, that there is much damage in the body that requires repair.
Then what are the real causes of heart attacks and strokes? They are:
- High triglycerides
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High homocysteine levels
- Dietary deficiency of saturated fats and cholesterol
- Overload of oxidized cholesterol containing foods
Myth #2: “Good” and “Bad” Cholesterol
The two most abundant lipoproteins in the body are the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The main function of LDL is to transport cholesterol from the liver to tissues that incorporate it into cell membranes. HDL carries old cholesterol that has been discarded by cells back to the liver for recycling or excretion. LDL and HDL are neither “good” or “bad”, they are just cholesterol.
The new fabricated theory which had to incorporate the ”good – bad cholesterol” paradigm states that: LDL cholesterol forms fatty deposits in arterial walls, which become plaques that grow, rupture, and stimulate the formation of artery-blocking blood clots. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is the heart-friendly lipoprotein that counters the action of LDL by removing cholesterol from the arteries and transporting it back to the liver for safe disposal. This paradigm is overly simplistic and not supported by the overwhelming scientific, historical and clinical evidence.
Myth #3: Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Rich Foods Are Bad and Raise Your “Bad” Cholesterol
Back in the 1960′s the average medical doctor totally ignored high cholesterol unless it exceeded 300!
Now, anything above 250 (or even lower than that) is considered a problem, and it is generally recommended that people should avoid eating too many eggs or too much meat because of the risk of heart disease from cholesterol intake.
You think that the medical profession suddenly had an epiphany, deciding cholesterol was dangerous? No! It was the processed food industry who started the big anti-cholesterol movement, lead in particular by the seed oil industry!! Archer Daniels Midland wanted to sell an ocean of soybean oil, and thus lead the charge against cholesterol in particular and saturated fat in general. Coconut and palm oils were banned from importation, butter consumption dramatically plummeted and everyone “knew” that margarine was going to save the nation!
Then, the Statin drugs were invented accompanied by a “paradigm shift” in the medical establishment and the war against cholesterol and saturated fat.
Although ignored by the “opinion leaders” in the medical field, studies which confirmed this fallacy continued to be published. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999; 281(15):1387-94) showed that there was absolutely no connection between eating eggs and the risk of heart disease or stroke in either men or women.
A study done by Gilman, et al and published in the December 24, 1997 Journal of the American Medical Association found that …
THE MORE SATURATED FAT YOU EAT, THE LESS LIKELY YOU ARE TO SUFFER A STROKE.
This study actually was able to quantify the protective effect of saturated fats:
YOUR RISK OF STROKE DECREASES BY 15% FOR EVERY 3% INCREASE IN YOUR SATURATED FAT INTAKE.
William Castelli, M.D., a former director of the Framingham Heart Study (the one that originally supposedly implicated cholesterol as a problem in cardiovascular disease) notes that:
PEOPLE WITH LOW CHOLESTEROL (LOWER THAN 200) SUFFER NEARLY 40% OF ALL HEART ATTACKS.
An interesting study was done by Leddy, et al and published in 1997 in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Volume 29, where participants were elite male and female endurance athletes, placed alternately on a high fat diet and then a low fat diet. The results showed that the athletes on the low fat diet experienced a measurable decline in athletic performance. Most interesting, however, was the fact that the subjects on the low fat diet actually suffered a significant drop in HDL cholesterol, along with higher triglycerides (both of which are significant cardiovascular disease risk factors.)
Corn oil, soy oil, safflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, or any of the rest of the vegetable oils (except olive, coconut oil, or palm oil) will accelerate the aging process in general, create catabolic damage throughout the body, and will specifically cause the oxidative damage in the blood vessel walls and in the heart that precipitates a cardiovascular crisis.
Myth #4: Statins Are Safe
The first real danger from statins is liver damage. Statin drugs work by blocking the enzyme HMG CoA reductase so that the liver can no longer synthesize its own cholesterol. They interfere with normal liver metabolism, inhibit the liver’s production of many substances essential for health, and damage the liver in the process.
That is why it is generally recommended that once beginning statin drugs, the patient should have his liver enzymes checked every six months.
Our liver produces 2000 milligrams of cholesterol every day. You think it’s trying to destroy us with cardiovascular disease? No. Cholesterol is an absolutely essential substance, with many critical functions in the body. We couldn’t survive without it.
The second danger from taking Statin drugs is musculoskeletal pain that can be severe, and is very frequently misdiagnosed. Since most doctors are not aware that this is a common side effect of the statins, people that suffer this side effect are often given diagnoses of tendinitis, tendinosis, tenosynovitis, tendinopothy, bursitis, rotator cuff syndrome, and so forth.
There are many cases reported in the literature of patients undergoing surgery for musculoskeletal pathologies that did not really exist. A number of statin patients have experienced kidney failure and even death; others have had such severe muscular pain and weakness that they are eventually unable to stand or breath on their own.
Statins deplete Co-Q10 levels in the body. Without Co-Q10, the cell’s mitochondria are inhibited from producing energy, leading to muscle pain and weakness. The heart is especially susceptible because it uses so much energy.
Manufacturers of statin drugs have recognized the fact that statins depress the immune system, an effect that can lead to cancer and infectious disease, recommending statin use for inflammatory arthritis and as an immune suppressor for transplant patients.
Importance Of Cholesterol: A Summary
As perfectly summarized by Guy Schenker and Ronald Grisanti, it is ridiculously wrong to believe that cholesterol is a harmful substance which needs to be “destroyed”, if you think about the many vital, physiological functions it plays in the body:
- Your brain is made of cholesterol
- Your nerves are made of cholesterol
- Your body uses cholesterol to make all your important sex hormones and adrenal hormones
- Mother’s milk provides over 50% of its calories as fat, most of it saturated and provides the highest level of cholesterol than any other food!
- Without cholesterol to help your digestion, you couldn’t absorb any of your fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin E
- Every single cell in your body is surrounded by a membrane containing cholesterol, and without that cholesterol membrane, no cell in your body could function
- Cholesterol is so important that your liver produces 2000 milligrams of cholesterol every day
- When following a low cholesterol diet, your liver makes up the difference by producing more cholesterol just to be sure you have enough. (Then, statins, of course “lower it”…and pour more gasoline on the burning fire!)
- High cholesterol in the blood doesn’t come from eating foods high in cholesterol; it comes from a metabolism that is not efficient at handling the cholesterol you need.
About the Author
Raluca Schachter is a passionate Nutritionist and Metabolic Typing Advisor®, with a background in both nutrition and communication/PR. She believes in traditional, unaltered food, ancestral wisdom, sustainable farming and living. Raluca was able to naturally reverse chronic health conditions she was struggling with most of her life, and now uses her knowledge to help as many people as possible do the same. Her health programs and diet plans offer a very unique and comprehensive approach to health, where individual nutritional and biochemical requirements are firstly met using specific nutrients and foods that each metabolism thrives on. This approach reveals why and how ‘one diet/herb doesn’t fit all’ and why ‘one man’s food is another one’s poison.’ Raluca currently resides in Garden Grove, CA and offers her services for local and distance clientele. For more information visit her website and blog guide2health.net or join Raluca on Facebook
Colpo, Anthoni. LDL Cholesterol: Bad Cholesterol, or Bad Science?
Guy Schenker D.C. and Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., M.S. – The Cholesterol Farce
Kendrick, Malcolm MD. – The Great Cholesterol Con
Lundell, Dwight, MD. The Cholesterol Lie Exposed
Taubes, Gary. The Soft Science of Dietary Fat
Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD. Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines
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