Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cholesterol-Heart Health- A new way to interpret cholesterol levels!

     Last week I talked about heart health and how all that we have been told may no longer hold true with new science coming in every day. Cholesterol is an important factor in this. Unfortunately in the effort to sell more and more statin drugs the facts about cholesterol have been skewed to this end. Statin drugs are now being prescribed as "preventitive" for people who do not have elevated cholesterol levels using a series of "risk assessments". Statins have always been a source of controversy: people seem to either love them or hate them, and discussions about them generate a lot of emotion. The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics denies that cholesterol has anything to do with cardiovascular disease. An article in the Huffington Post calls statins “an unsafe, unnecessary product that will now be recommended to healthy people to make them sicker.” Dr. Mercola says they can actually make heart disease worse and cause premature aging, and no one should take them unless they have the genetic defect of familial hypercholesterolemia.
     Cholesterol is essential for our health. It allows our body to make repairs, insulate our nerves, form cell membranes, and produce vitamin D as well as certain hormones. The body manufactures 70-80% of our total cholesterol, the rest comes from diet. (The less we eat the more the body produces.)
Cholesterol is not the root cause of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease begins with damage to the artery walls, caused by free radicals. The body tries to repair the damage, and cholesterol is one of the last substances laid down in the plaque. This is not to say that elevated cholesterol levels are OK, but we have to do some detective work to find out what causes cholesterol levels to increase in the first place. An interesting fact is that blood cholesterol levels rise more in response to dietary sugar, caffeine and alcohol than they do in response to either dietary fats or cholesterol. (Of course we all know that we have to avoid trans fats. This is important because they cause inflammation.) Eating coconut oil and coconut products on the other hand protects against bacteria and viruses that can cause inflammation in the artery wall. Cod liver oil is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory vitamin A, vitamin D and EPA. Evening primrose, borage and black currant oils are sources of GLA, which the body uses to make anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Reduced fat milks and powdered milk products (including powdered whey) contain oxidized cholesterol, and can cause irritation to the walls of the arteries.
     Dr. Mercola posted this chart that gives a more realistic view of reading your cholesterol numbers.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your won't hurt to enjoy all the goodies for one day!
Submitted by Nutrition by Tricia