Truth about Cholesterol

Truth about Cholesterol
Every year our government and many private institutions spend billions of dollars on research, yet a great deal of this research goes unread. Even worse the information learned from these studies is often never utilized in treating and preventing human disease. Unfortunately, there are just as many, if not more, researchers and scientists working for big pharmaceutical companies. The dream of all pharmaceutical company CEO’s is developing a drug that people will need to take for a lifetime in order to control their medical condition. This means the search for profit interferes with finding the truth.
To compound this situation, most doctors never have the time to read more than a few articles in popular medical journals, and they never read studies of basic science. Because of this lack of time, medical doctors rely too much on what is told to them by pharmaceutical reps, the same reps that represent the pharmaceutical companies that are more interested in how many prescriptions of their products are sold than they are interested in healing the patient, after all a patient that is healed no longer needs their product. In defense of the medical doctors, they just do not have the time to research alternative treatment modalities; as such they think so-called alternative treatments do not work.  
Pharmaceutical Industry Suppresses Truth
Statin drugs are a good example of how successful the pharmaceutical companies have been. The statin class of drugs has been the biggest moneymaker in history for the pharmaceutical industry. But the medical doctors and likewise the public at large has been denied one essential bit of information: The benefits of statin cholesterol-lowering drugs are no better than taking an aspirin a day.  
According to the pharmaceutical industry’s own studies, the improvements in reducing heart attack and stroke risk is virtually the same as following an aspirin regimen.  
In a study of two statin drugs, atrovastin and pravastatin, reported in the 2005 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine1, patients with low highly sensitive C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) levels had fewer heart attacks no matter what their LDL-cholesterol level. Furthermore they had more heart attacks if the hsCRP was elevated regardless of their LDL-Cholesterol level.  
The same thing has been found for stroke risk. Another recent study, the Pravastatin or Atrovastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy – Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 22 (PROVE IT-TIMI 22) study, examined patients on high and moderate doses of statin drugs. This study found that in both groups, there was no difference in the cholesterol levels of those with stroke and those without. The only difference was the levels of hsCRP.  
Few medical doctors who prescribe statin drugs know that the link between elevated cholesterol levels and strokes has never been established.
Cholesterol Is NOT the Cause of Cardiovascular Events

So if cholesterol is not the cause of these cardiovascular events then what is? The latest studies show that inflammation is an independent risk factor for heart disease that is much stronger than any measurement of cholesterol2. The link to inflammation is strong and is supported by many laboratory and clinical studies3

Reported reductions in stroke risk for people taking statins has varied from no statistical reductions (as in the Treating to New Targets or TNT study) to 19 percent to 50 percent shown in the Long-term Intervention with Pravastatin in Ischemic Disease (LIPID), The Cholesterol and Recurrent Events (CARE), and Myocardial Ischemia Reduction with Aggressive Cholesterol Lowering (MIRACL) studies. 
Newer evidence, however, suggests that any reduction in stroke risk is due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the drugs instead of their ability to lower cholesterol.  
Statin Drugs Lower Cholesterol and Reduce Inflammation
So if a big pharmaceutical company can make lowering cholesterol the goal, especially a drastic decrease in cholesterol, and convince doctors that everyone even children should take them for a lifetime and then back this up with studies that show the drugs do reduce cardiovascular events then big pharmaceutical makes Billions of dollars. If on the other hand if hsCRP reduction or other measurements for inflammation are used as the guideline for reducing cardiovascular events, then there is not an exclusive product for the reduction of cardiovascular events because other treatment modalities reduce inflammation just as effectively and without the major side effects of statins. As a result big pharmaceutical company drugs would not even be given to 75 percent to 80 percent of the people because of their side effects (increase risk of dementia, cancer, confusion, immune suppression, muscle pains, weakness, and even risk of death). That is a massive loss in revenue.  
Since the statin promoters have admitted and scientific data has backed up that inflammation, not elevated cholesterol, is the cause of atherosclerosis let us look at how this occurs and ways to reduce inflammation in our bodies (and our blood vessels) rather than using a statin drug.  
Causes of Inflammation
The most abundant oxidized fat in these atherosclerotic vessels is not cholesterol, it is omega-6 fat. What most people do not realize is we eat a ton of oxidized fats. Diets high in polyunsaturated fats are high in oxidized fats. Most American diets are high in Omega-6 fats; corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and soybean oils. Canola oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fats. When all of these oils are heated they all become oxidized fats. Oils are also used in prepared foods, especially baked foods. They are all high in oxidized fats.  
These oxidized fats in the body cause an inflammation response which causes the immune system to send its immune cells to clean up the harmful fats. This response however increases the number of free radicals and lipid peroxidation products (Lapps). This increase in free radicals and Lapps then oxidize the fats in the walls of the blood vessels. These oxidized fats then trigger further inflammation responses which cause the immune system to send its immune cells to clean up the harmful fats and the cycle continues until you have atherosclerosis. 
In addition to the Omega-6 fasts in our diets we are also exposed to tons of food additives like MSG and nitrate preservatives every year. These excitotoxins also reduce the protective antioxidant enzymes in the arteries causing inflammation. In fact researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating processed meat containing nitrates, such as bacon, sausage and deli meats, lead to a 42% higher risk of heart disease but did not find any increase risk from eating unprocessed red meats.
Most chronic diseases and conditions are associated with chronic inflammation including:
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  •  Metabolic Syndrome 
  •  Chronic Arthritis 
  •  Autoimmune diseases 
  •  Infectious diseases 
  •  Abdominal Belly Fat 
  •  Aging
Safer Ways
Most doctors do not know that there are better and safer ways to reduce inflammation.
A considerable amount of research has shown that neutraceuticals can dramatically reduce inflammation. In fact, flavonoids and vitamin combinations have been shown in atherosclerosis studies to be more effective than any statin drug. And unlike the statin drugs, they do not increase your risk of dementia, cancer, confusion, immune suppression, muscle pains, weakness, and your risk of dying. In fact, they greatly reduce this risk. 
In one impressive study of mice that were fed inflammatory fats, curcumin, a flavonoid found in the spice turmeric, dramatically reduced the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in their arteries. The mice had been genetically programmed to develop atherosclerosis. These mice were genetically altered to remove the APE gene and the LDL receptor (they are called APE/LDL double knockout mice), which makes them so prone to atherosclerosis, they will develop extensive arterial plaques even when fed normal diets. This is the ultimate test.  
The mice that were given curcumin, even in relatively low doses, had considerably less plaque than those given the diet alone. Most statin studies do not use this test because drug manufacturers know the statin drugs will be far less effective than the nutrients. Instead, they quote the ability of their medication to lower cholesterol levels. 
A considerable amount of research has shown that these neutraceuticals can dramatically reduce inflammation:
  • Curcumin 
  • Quercetin 
  • Hesperidin 
  • Ellagic acid
  • Resveratrol
  • Vitamin E and vitamin C combination 
Researchers also have shown that curcumin prevents other problems common with atherosclerosis, such as smooth muscle proliferation, activation of the inflammatory COX and LOX enzymes, and a buildup of inflammatory immune cytokines.
For example, a recent study found that curcumin reduces the release of inflammatory cytokines.4 Another found that curcumin dramatically lowered TEN-alpha levels from macrophages, the main immune regulator cell.5 What all this means is that curcumin powerfully reduces inflammation, immune over activation, and smooth muscle overgrowth, all things responsible for the lesions causing heart attacks and strokes. 
Resveratrol, like curcumin, also reduces the immune attack within the vessels.  
The following also improve insulin function:
  • Curcumin 
  • Quercetin 
  • Hesperidin 
  • Ellagic acid 
Quercetin also inhibits smooth muscle proliferation in arteries and has been shown in experimental studies to dramatically reduce atherosclerosis. 
Hesperidin has been shown to play a major role in correcting insulin resistance. In addition, it strengthens blood vessels, reduces inflammation, and prevents blood clots, which is a major cause of sudden coronary artery blockage. Grapefruits and oranges are high in Hesperidin, and it also can be purchased as a supplement. As I stated in the last two newsletters, your diet is the foundation of your nutritional health. 
This is also true in preventing heart attacks and strokes. A high intake of omega-6 fats and trans-fats greatly increases your risk. Omega-3 oils, such as DHA with some EPA, significantly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In fact Omega-3 can reduce LDL and Triglycerides and increase HDL 
Drinking fluoridated water also increases risk, because it contains high levels of fluoroaluminum, a powerful poison. 
  1. Ridker, PM., et al., “C-reactive protein levels and outcomes after statin therapy,” New Eng J Med 2005; 352: 20-8  
  2. Elkind, M.S., “Inflammation, arthrosclerosis, and stroke,” Neurologist 2006; 12: 140-8.  
  3. Parnetti, L., et al., “Stroke prevention and statin treatment,” Clin Exp Hypertens 2006; 28: 335-44  
  4. Yuan, H.Y., et al., “Curcumin inhibits cellular cholesterol accumulation by regulating SREBP-1/caveolin-1 signaling pathway in vascular smooth muscle cells,” Acta Pharmacol Sin 2008; 29: 555-63. 
  5. Quiles, J.L., et al., “Curcuma longa extract supplementation reduces oxidative stress and attenuates aortic fatty streak development in rabbits,” Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2002; 22: 1225-31

 

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