We are constantly struggling to make our lives better. If something or someone is causing a problem, we try to get rid of it. So when your doctor tells you that cholesterol is clogging your arteries, it makes sense to get rid of it, stop eating foods with cholesterol in them or that raise cholesterol.
Cholesterol, however, is also an extremely important constituent of our cellular make-up, cognitive function (memory and focus) and sex hormones.
An important part that is usually left out by most physicians (if they even know) is how little dietary cholesterol actually affects serum (blood) cholesterol levels. Most of our cholesterol is made by our liver, the rest (roughly 10-15%) is absorbed through diet, and anything else just ends up in your turds.
Why would our bodies make something that would kill us? If so, how have we survived so long?
Saturated fat has practically the same story, while it does raise cholesterol, it raises the ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL and LDL-A) and lowers the ‘bad’ (specifically Lp(a), the real culprit to heart disease). Saturated fat also constitutes at least 50% of our cell membranes, it’s vital for bone health, protects the liver, enhances the immune system, is needed for the heart and there is no actual evidence linking saturated fat and heart disease.
Look at a healthy mother’s milk, it has higher cholesterol than almost any food and at the same time it’s over 50% fat and mostly saturated… Weird that our mother’s body would produce something so deadly during such a developmental time…
Cholesterol and saturated fat are essential to growth and development, especially in the brain (where about 25% of the cholesterol in our bodies is used). On top of all this, cholesterol (even the bad stuff) isn’t actually dangerous unless it’s been damaged (oxidized).
However, we’re being told that they kill us. Why?
Take the first and most obvious reason for any shady shitty thing we do to each other… Money.
The drug (statin) for lowering cholesterol brings in almost $30 billion a year. If doctors told us to exercise more, get better sleep, eat less sugar and carbohydrates and we started dying less of heart disease, those companies wouldn’t be able to give the doctors tons of cash and vacations to the Caribbean. Lose, lose… for them.
Actually, to be honest, that probably wouldn’t stop them. As it is now, I am sure you’ve heard of at least one of these brands on TV, radio, or internet, whether you know what they are or not. They are marketing the living shit out of these medications. Have you heard of Lipitor, Crestor or Zocor?
NARFLE THE GARTHOK!!!
Next reason… Doctors. It is pretty suspicious that such readily available and logical information is consistently being ignored by doctors. I’m not doing private studies for this, I’m reading books and searching the internet… Why can’t they?
I don’t completely believe every doctor is so money hungry that they’d be willing to harm their patients in order to make a buck. I just like to make myself believe it’s more a lack of interest or time in continuing education, leading to them relying on outdated information from when they earned their PhD in 1982. That or they just don’t give a shit or they’re too lazy. Look at your doctor, does his stethoscope rest on his gut? That guy doesn’t give a shit about you if he doesn’t give a shit about himself.
The point is, the cholesterol story we’ve been fed is bullshit. A lot of very healthy people have high cholesterol, just like a ton of people die with atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and have low cholesterol.
It’s a matter of lifestyle, diet and some heredity.
What is the real cause of heart disease?
Inflammation in our bodies is there to fight off damaging bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Once it becomes chronic, it becomes deadly. Chronic inflammation isn’t detected as easily as acute inflammation; acute inflammation is usually visible with redness and swelling, it’s the immune system mending an injury. Chronic inflammation can fly undetected for a long time and, like I said, is deadly. It’s one of the main components to almost every degenerative disease; Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, and especially heart disease. It is what causes plaque to build in your arteries.
How do you find out if you have chronic inflammation? Have your doctor check your C-reactive protein, primarily High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP), below 1 mg/dl is ideal.
What causes inflammation?
There has to be a million ways people can do unhealthy things that cause inflammation,I just want to focus on a few that seem to be most causative (as well as being linked to each other).
Everyone has heard of anti-oxidants, most probably don’t actually know why they hear it all the time or what they even do, just that they are good for you… or they use it as a justification to eat chocolate (which is an oxidant because of all the sugar) or wine (excessive alcohol causes oxidation too). Oxidation creates ‘free-radicals’ (another familiar word I’m sure) which go around stealing electrons from other molecules, damaging cells, DNA, lipids and proteins; causing inflammation.
Anti-oxidants are certain minerals, vitamins and plant chemicals that soak these little assholes up.
Cholesterol, even the bad LDL (namely the small, dense particles LDL-B and Lp[a]) are generally harmless until damaged. Oxidation causes this damage, leading to plaque in the arteries. Ladies, if that doesn’t convince you, oxidation makes you look old…
We have been told sugar is bad for us, but not so much that it relates directly to heart disease. The way sugar damages the heart is also a significant cause of insulin resistance. Fructose in specific, is one of the most damaging molecules to enter your body, it makes you hungrier, goes straight to the liver and stays there.
High blood sugar causes the lining of the cells of our arteries to become inflamed, it also leads to glycation. Glycation, like oxidation, is another way to damage LDL particles. Glycation is caused by having so many sticky sugar molecules in your blood that they bond to proteins, making them big and sticky (as well as toxic) when they are typically slick and smooth. This leads to AGEs (possibly another familiar term).
AGEs stands for Advanced Glycation End-products. When your body detects AGEs, the immune system activates its defensive team of scavenger cells to protect your body. This is a good thing if it’s not chronic, but it still causes a fairly large amount of damage. Leaving behind the scar tissue in the arteries, AKA plaque.
3. High-Carb Diets and Grains
This goes hand in hand with sugar, because consuming a diet high in carbohydrates like whole or refined grains, high starch and ‘processed’ foods will raise blood sugar; as well as trigger a dangerous chain reaction. When you’re in this state, you body is only burning sugar for fuel and never has a chance to start actually burning fat. This type of diet also increases triglyceride levels (the real number you want down), in turn raising the number of small, dense LDL particles. This diet also has a very high omega-6 to 3 ratio. Omega-6 fatty acids (in high dosages) are high inflammatory, inflammation being the leading cause of atherosclerosis.
*Side note: Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio should be around 1:1, 3:1 at worst. We are typically at a 30:1 ratio today.
The worst part is this is the recommended diet by the main diet and heart health organizations.
-Other causations are smoking cigarettes, excessive drinking, pollution, excessive sun exposure, and there isn’t much proof on this, but I’m going to say steady state cardio.
Do any of the numbers matter?
HDL, you have been told it is the ‘good’ cholesterol because it removes the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and that you should have the number as high as possible. However, HDL is very highly controlled by your genetics as compared to LDL and has shown to do nothing to protect against heart attacks, stroke or death (according to a 2011 study by the National Institutes of Health, AIM-HIGH). Most importantly, not all HDL is the same…
- HDL-2 particles are large and buoyant and are the most protective. They are also anti-inflammatory and anti atherogenic (atherosclerosis; thickening of arterial walls from fatty materials called plaque, inhibiting blood flow).
- HDL-3 particles are small and dense and can be inflammatory. These particles are poorly understood, but the number should be lower than HDL-2.
LDL, the Evil Villain?
You’ve been told this is the ‘bad’ cholesterol, to keep the number as low as possible, that it builds up in your arteries and impedes blood traffic, and for God’s sake, NEVER EAT SATURATED FAT.
Well… just like HDL, LDL is not all the same either. Having a high LDL reading means nothing unless you can figure out how much of the following particles you have.
- LDL-A particles are buoyant, fluffy and harmless as long as they aren’t damaged from oxidation; a process caused by free radicals which causes cholesterol to create plaque. When most of your LDL is “type A”, you have a pattern A cholesterol profile. This is ideal.
- LDL-B particles are small and hard and promote the build up of plaque within the arteries (atherosclerosis) because they are more likely to oxidize (get damaged). When most of your LDL is “Type B”, you have a pattern B cholesterol profile. Not great…
- Lp(a) particles are the most important to monitor as they are highly inflammatory and problematic. These are very small particles that circulate in order to repair/restore damaged blood vessels. It sounds like they are helpful, but only when your arteries aren’t in constant need of repair (when inflamed). When over utilized Lp(a) will concentrate at a damage site and release all of its LDL which begins to oxidize and increase inflammation and plaque.
Bottom line, start listening to your body and use your brain more. Live healthy, drink water, go outside and try to hang out with happy people and you’ll be fine. But, try not to take everything you read in a link you that you clicked on in Facebook as fact (this included). Read as much as you can and find your own truth.