The case against cholesterol as a cause of heart disease has been crumbling steadily for decades, but there still seems to be a lot of myths around cholesterol.
The biggest myth is that cholesterol causes heart disease
Take a moment and read the study below, although this is only one study there are many out there showing that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease. However, it may be an indicator as high levels of cholesterol are an can cause inflammation in the body which is a cause of heart disease.
Low cholesterol is actually linked to heart disease as no repair of the blood vessels takes place if cholesterol is too low.
The truth is we need both LDL and HDL in proper ratios. Countless studies now show that high total cholesterol might not be a problem at all, especially if the two types of lipoproteins are in balance.
Some studies even show that higher cholesterol can correlate with a lower risk of heart disease.
The Lyon Diet-Heart Study
In the 1990’s, French researchers decided to run an experiment known as the Lyon Diet-Heart Study to test the effect of different diets on heart disease.
They took two groups of men who had every risk factor for heart disease imaginable. All of them had survived a heart attack. They had high cholesterol, they smoked, they didn’t exercise and they had high levels of stress.
Half the men were advised to eat a “low fat diet” (low saturated fat and cholesterol). The other half were advised to eat a Mediterranean diet high in fish, omega-3’s, vegetables and monounsaturated fat like olive oil
The study was stopped midway because the reduction in heart attacks in the Mediterranean group was so pronounced – 70%!
What do you think happened to the cholesterol levels in the men who ate the Mediterranean diet and had 70% reduction in deaths? You’d think they must have dropped, right?
Their cholesterol levels didn’t budge, and were just as high when the study was stopped as they were when the study began. The men just stopped dying.
Cholesterol had nothing to do with it.
Cholesterol is vital for life – plays a very important role in keeping your body healthy, Cholesterol is used to build cell walls, to produce vitamin D, and make digestive juices.
It is vital for brain function, critical for bone health, it is necessary for production of progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and other hormones that are vital to proper endocrine and sexual function, and it plays a key role in repair during sleep. It is found in every cell of your body and helps to maintain your nervous system, skin, muscles, liver, intestines and heart.
Your body simply cannot function properly without a certain amount of cholesterol
It is so essential to life that your liver produces much of your blood cholesterol on its own. High sugar and high carb diets affect the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol. LDL and HDL are “taxis” for cholesterol and take it to where it is needed.
Low density lipoprotein
This takes cholesterol from the liver to damaged arteries –similar to sticking a plaster on it – because of this, cholesterol is always found at the site of chronic artery disease and it was just assumed that it caused the damage, but in fact it is creating the repairs. LDL is only bad when it is exposed to oxidation and free radical damage caused by poor diet, smoking etc
When LDLs oxidise they cause small tears in the wall of the arteries causing inflammation, cholesterol is then released for repair. If LDL is protected by Vit E, Vit C, CoQ10 then oxidation is reduced.
So why are we so intent on reducing cholesterol when it is life giving? Basically high cholesterol is an indication of inflammation in the body.
There are far more important risk factors and causes for heart disease:
– Oxidative damage,
– Being overweight; and
The best thing is that these are things we can actually do something about by using food, supplements and lifestyle changes, none of which have the considerable side effects of prescription drugs.
Reduce your risks of heart disease naturally
The following lifestyle changes are essential when it comes to preventing heart disease.
Good Fats: If the body doesn’t have enough dietary cholesterol, it will manufacture more of it. Foods like eggs, grass fed butter and animal proteins have nutrients that help the body synthesize fat soluble vitamins.
Remove Processed Carbohydrates: Grains and sugars contribute to inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease.
Avoid Vegetable Oils and products that contain them: these oils contribute to inflammation and arterial damage; there is no reason to consume these oils … ever!
Healthy Fats: coconut oil, animal fats and raw organic dairy, are essential to give the body all the building blocks it needs for proper cell and hormone function.
Vitamin D and Fat Soluble Vitamins: Fat soluble vitamins are essential in proper amounts in the body and have a protective effect on tissues and organs (including the heart). If you have been on a low-fat diet and live in a northern climate, you are likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
Exercise: Helps to strengthen the heart and tone muscles, it increases circulation and reduces stress hormones – these are all good things to help reduce your risk of heart disease.
If your doctor wants to put you on a statin drug, know that in a number of studies, statin users have a higher risk for diabetes and that these drugs have many potential side effects, including muscle pain and weakness, memory loss, diminished libido and fatigue.
Changing your diet has no side-affects!
Connect with Expert Kerry Madgwick.