You cannot live without it. The human brain is 95% cholesterol and the cells of your body are made of cholesterol. The liver in the body makes most cholesterol. If you do not eat enough of it your liver will make it for you. The liver uses cholesterol to insulate the nerve fibers, to manufacture new cell membranes as well as to produce vitamin D and other essential hormones necessary for proper body function. Cholesterol protects the body against stress, both physical and emotional.
There are two sides to the cholesterol equation. The bad guy is LDL (low density lipoprotein) but it is kept under control by the good guy cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein). The bad guy will thicken the blood and clog the arteries raising the blood pressure increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The good guy clears the arteries and keeps things flowing.
The National Cholesterol Education program has set what they determine to be ‘safe’ levels of cholesterol for an average adult at 200 milligrams per deciliter or less. LDL is the bad guy because it has been found that when a small strand protein called apoprotein is connected to it, the LDL becomes extremely sticky and ‘sticks’ to the fibrogen and fibrin in the arterial walls ultimately causing a deadly blockage. There are ways to reduce this occurrence but first, what are the normal levels of the good cholesterol?
A HDL blood cholesterol level of 45-50 is considered normal for men and a level of 50-60 normal for women. HDL levels at 70-80 will protect against heart disease while a level less than 35 is considered risky. The triglyceride levels (another type of blood fat) should be less than 150. The ratio between these LDL and HDL fats determine what is called cardiac risk factor ratios because they reflect whether cholesterol is being deposited into tissues or broken down and excreted by the body.
It is important to keep these fats in proper balance to reduce the risk of heart disease. By raising the level of the good fat (HDL) one can more quickly balance the LDL than by just reducing the bad fat (LDL) number. It has been concluded that for every 1% drop in LDL the risk of a heart attack drops by 2% while for every 1% gain in HDL the risk of a heart attack drops 3-4%.
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Does heredity play a part in cholesterol and heart disease? Yes. In some folks there is a problem with the LDL receptor sites in the liver. This LDL receptor is responsible for removing cholesterol from the blood. When the liver cell takes up the LDL after it has bound to the receptor it normally signals to the liver to stop making cholesterol. In some folks there is a defect in the LDL receptor and as a result of this the liver does not get the message and continues making cholesterol. Damage to these LDL receptors occurs with normal aging and in several disease states with hypothyroidism and diabetes being two of the most harmful and most common.
How about cholesterol lowering drugs? The big ones used today are the statin drugs like Lipitor, Mevacor/Lovastin and Zocor. These drugs are very expensive and are very dangerous. These drugs are toxic to the liver. These drugs work by reducing cholesterol production in the liver as well as by altering the manner in which LDL goes into the cells. It is very toxic to the liver (that is why they monitor the liver constantly) and have been known to contribute to the formation of cataracts in the eyes. The most chilling aspect of these drugs is that they also deplete the body of the essential nutrient CoQ10. This enzyme is necessary for proper heart function. CoQ10 is to the heart function what spark plugs are to a gasoline engine. Using these drugs is like using a gas additive that burns holes in your gas tank.
Some of these drugs are highly carcinogenic substances. In an article In JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association- the doctor’s bible that they never seem to have enough time to read) JAMA summarized the cancer causing effect of the drugs Lovastin and Gemfibrozil (Lopid- by Merck) by saying that the carcinogenicity for these drugs is far above recently issued FDA guidelines. Only 3 of 9 on the medical advisory committee voted to approve the use of these drugs believing the dangers far outweighed the advantages. The FDA, however ignored the committee’s recommendation and approved the drugs for use. Amazing! Studies have shown a 3-13 fold rise in violent deaths among people taking cholesterol lowering drugs. Why? The bottom line is if you do not educate yourself and look out for yourself, the conventional medical establishment of this country surely will not and you will be at their mercy.
What works to lower cholesterol without hazard of side effects? In 1989 Dr. Ishwarlal Jailal M.D., winner of the Am. Heart Assoc.’s ‘Young Investigator Award’, found that vitamin E was 45% effective in reducing the heart blocking effect of cholesterol, beta carotene- 90% effective and vitamin C-95% effective in inhibiting the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. Niacin (B3) has been proven to not only lower LDL by 50% but to also raise HDL by as much as 32%. In a 15 year study conducted by the Coronary Drug Project to evaluate cholesterol lowering agents, niacin was the only cholesterol lowering agent to actually reduce overall mortality. Niacin actually reduced the incident of mortality by 11% compared to that of the placebo group even though the treatment had been discontinued years earlier. The amazing thing was that the folks taking the cholesterol lowering drugs experienced a 35% higher mortality rate than the placebo groups. Niacin always works much better with Inositol. These 2 natural ingredients will deal a one-two knock out punch to high 250,000 cholesterol.
Pantethine is the stable form of pantothenic acid (B5) and has been found to inhibit cholesterol synthesis and accelerate the use of fat as an energy source. Pantethine lowers blood triglyceride levels (32%) better than just about anything on the planet and lowers LDL by 19% and raises HDL by 21%. These are impressive numbers and all accomplished without the toxic side effects of taking drugs. This natural product has been used in Italy for over 13 years with tremendous success.
Dr. Kunnin M.D. from San Francisco found that copper in plant form (yarrow) can lower cholesterol an incredible 800 times more than saturated fat can raise it. Three out of 4 Americans are deficient in copper. Symptoms of a copper deficiency include, heart palpitations, fatigue, depression, excessive gray in the hair, varicose veins and high cholesterol. Zinc and copper should always be taken together as one does not work without the other.
Another amazing fat metabolizer to help fight cholesterol is chromium. Chromium and the mineral vanadium in the right form (plant based/water-soluble) will help drop LDL.
Vitamin C has been found to significantly lower blood cholesterol when used in therapeutic doses (1-3 grams/day). In 3 separate studies it was found that cholesterol levels go up and down with the intake of vitamin C. Dr. Linus Pauling (Nobel Prize winner) said, ” a high level of vitamin C increases the amount of HDL and decreases the amount of LDL cholesterol. Both of these changes help to protect against cardiovascular disease.” Vitamin C is also a natural diuretic which helps keep blood pressure normal. Almost 250,000 Americans die each year from strokes and another 250,000 become permanently disabled. When autopsied it was discovered that their tissue levels of C were almost non-existent.
A product known as guglipid from the mukul plant has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. This natural substance acts by increasing the liver’s metabolism of LDL cholesterol. It is so safe it can and is often prescribed for pregnant women with high cholesterol. This product has been used in India for 2,500 years and in one 12 week study lowered LDL by 24%, lowered triglycerides by 23% and raised HDL levels by 16%. The dosage taken was 200mg 4 times per day.
Garlic, cayenne and carrots are also very effective foods to eliminate and lower blood serum cholesterol. In one study, 3 medium sized raw carrots eaten daily reduced cholesterol by almost 11%.
Good fats lower cholesterol. These are also known as EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) and are critical for proper biological function. Flax seed oil, olive oil, cod liver oil and borage oil all contain these beneficial fats and will lower cholesterol. Raw nuts and seeds will do the same as it is the oil from these foods that carry the beneficial fat. Once they are dry roasted or processed the benefit is cooked out of them.
Yogurt when taken 3 cups per day have caused cholesterol levels to decline by as much as 5-10% per week with increases of HDL as a side benefit. Look for yogurt with active cultures. When whipped with fresh fruit it makes a great smoothie.
Fiber lowers blood cholesterol. Dr. Dennis Sprecher M.D. at the Lipid Research Center in MD discovered that the addition of psyllium lowered LDL by 39%! A cup of pinto or navy beans (high in fiber) eaten daily was found to lower cholesterol by 19%. Yams and sweet potatoes contain a lot of water-soluble fiber as well as beta carotene and are very effective at lower cholesterol. Japanese researchers rated the fiber in sweet potatoes as best of 28 fruits and vegetables for binding with cholesterol and removing it from the body.
Say no to margarine! Margarine is not heart smart and the myth that it is, should have been buried long ago. Saturated fat, like butter may increase bad cholesterol, depending on who you talk to, but does not hurt the good cholesterol necessary for proper body function. The same cannot be said for trans-fatty acids (margarine and shortenings made from hydrogenated plant oils). The Harvard School of Public Health declared that approximately 30,000 deaths can be attributed to consumption of these trans-fats found in margarine and shortening. Dr. Walter Willett M.D., and professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health stated that: ” These are probably the most toxic fats ever known. It looks like trans-fatty acids are 2 to 3 times as bad as saturated fats in terms of what they do to blood lipids.” Dr. George Mann M.D. put it this way in The Lancet, “Trans fatty acids are proposed as the cause of the current epidemic of heart disease. Studies have shown that dietary intake of saturated fats and cholesterol are not the cause of the buildup of fatty deposits within blood vessels. Consumption of comparatively large amounts of trans-fatty acids causes the problem by impairing fat metabolism. Populations with low consumption of trans-fatty acids have a lower incidence of coronary artery disease even when consuming diets high in animal fat or other oils.” That is why Eskimo’s can eat pretty much nothing but animal blubber (fat) and never have a problem with cholesterol or coronary heart disease. Amazing facts and true!
“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”