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Serum Cholesterol Demystified

Posted on 12th Dec 2010 @ 12:31 PM

Remember the benefits of margarine?

Over the past few decades, cholesterol has become a major concern with Americans and the pharmaceutical companies continuing to spawn "magical" products to reduce cholesterol. The margarine producers had a great run until proper research proved that margarine is actually harmful. The problem with most of these products is that they are synthesized chemicals that at the very least are not naturally occurring foods and in some cases may be dangerous.

Few people, including many physicians, know much about the mechanics of serum cholesterol. All we've been told is to reduce saturated fats.

Why, for example can some individuals, e.g. Eskimos and Mediterranean people with high cholesterol diets live healthy active lives while others with low cholesterol levels become victims of stroke and heart disease?

A Brief Background

We hear much about HDL's (high density lipoproteins) and LDL's (low-density lipoproteins). Of, the two, LDL's are the "dangerous" components of serum cholesterol, or at least, that is what we are told. A total cholesterol count of 240 ml/dl with an LDL component of 160 ml/dl is considered high. Such individuals often find themselves on medications to lower their levels and frequently feel confident that they are "safe." It isn't the full story. As usual, pharmaceuticals treat symptoms, rarely address cause and produce mild to extreme side-effects.

There are three important factors of cholesterol that must be considered; enzyme deficiencies, free radical damage and fiber intake.

Agents of Rust

If the LDL component is being damaged by free radicals (oxidation) their chemical structure is changed creating homocysteine and it is these altered cells that build up on the arterial walls as plaque (fig 12). These altered LDL's damage the lining of the arteries and the body sends a SOS to the body to repair the breach. Macrophages arrive and ingest the altered LDL's. However, the macrophages literally bloat and form ""foam cells"" which lodge under the damaged lining and form plaque.

Depending upon the degree of antioxidants in the body, the body can fight these off. But, as we age, our levels of antioxidants are reduced and we have more difficulty fighting these ""agents of rust"" and the cycle worsens. This is partially the reason that angioplasties and by-pass surgeries are only temporary measures.

Simply put, we do not take in enough antioxidants daily and our artery walls need "oligomericproanthocyanidins" or, a shorter version, OPC-165TM the main component of collagen, from which arteries are constructed.  To stop us from bleeding to death, the continual damage being done to our artery cells means they have to be repaired. If we cannot produce collagen because we don't have enough antioxidants to protect us from "rusting", it becomes impossible for the repairing of "the holes".

Enter cholesterol.  Cholesterol acts as the body's "band-aid", repairing the holes in the artery wall by sticking to the hole and blocking it.  It is when this happens repeatedly that cholesterol builds up in the artery, blocking it and thus can lead to heart disease.

So what about margarines? 

The trans-fats that are created when vegetable oils are hydrogenated are not like normal fats.  Normal, cis-fats are a curved molecule, which means that one side is ""open"" for the binding of enzymes required for many cell functions.  However, due to their structure trans-fats are flat straight molecules that the enzyme cannot bind.

This little biochemical switch turns out to have potentially devastating health effects. In addition to raising bad cholesterol (especially the small L.D.L. particles that stick to blood vessels) and lowering good cholesterol, trans fatty acids raise blood levels of triglycerides and lipoprotein which raise cardiovascular risk.

But that is not all. Trans fatty acids, when compared with cis-unsaturated fats, also raise blood levels of substances like C-reactive protein that are markers of body wide inflammation and cellular dysfunction, also linked to heart and blood vessel disease. This means that where cells have used these fats in their structure, the cells become weak and can easily be pushed aside, ruptured or stretched like a balloon. 

What about Statin Drugs?

To say that Statin drugs lower cholesterol because cholesterol causes heart attacks is like saying brown spots from the sun create liver damage. 

Disregard the fact that every study shows that artificially lowering cholesterol with statin drugs is more likely to cause heart attacks than prevent them. The issue is not cholesterol (which your body creates to protect your cardiovascular system), the issue is actually homocysteine. Indeed, statins strip CoQ10 from your body endangering your cardiovascular system, your muscle tissue and more.

Keeping cholesterol LDL's and HDL's in balance by raising fiber in one's diet to acceptable levels (45+ grams per day) will help. But, again only drugs can prevent anything like good health.

Warfarin thins your blood so you don't have a stroke. Of course, over time you'll bleed to death from pharmaceutical induced hemophilia.

This is a 26 billion dollar industry and the drug companies will do anything they can to hang on to this one. Fortunately, people are catching on. In a recent 4,500-patient study it failed to prove that patients who had just suffered heart attacks were helped by treatment with high doses of Merck's Zocor. You can read one article here.

So let's quickly talk about what truly is at issue here. As you age, your body begins to produce more cholesterol to protect your cardiovascular system. But, as you age you also begin to produce more oxidation (the "rusting" of your red blood cells) and this can begin to produce homocysteine. This amino acid can be a risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD) by contributing to atherosclerotic plaque (fig. 12) in the arteries.

This can be prevented in several ways, one of which is increase your levels of antioxidants such as Pinebark, Grape Seed Extract plus Quercitin. Try to purchase one of these with at least 95% concentrations of oligomeric proanthocyanidins OPC-165's for short.

If LDL's and HDL's are out of balance (LDL's higher than HDL's) you most likely have a niacin deficiency.

Enzymes

All of us are born with a natural, albeit limited, supply of enzymes often called the "enzyme bank", a phrase coined by Dr. E. Howell. Like any bank, we make withdrawals (as we ingest foods) and deposits (also as we ingest foods). Unfortunately, modern foods and lifestyles make replacement extremely difficult since modern processed foods are woefully enzyme deficient. Enzymes are destroyed by a number of factors; carbonation, heat above 115 degrees, hormone replacement therapies and much more. In particular, the enzyme which processes lipids (fats) is strained to the maximum when saturated fats are ingested and those who have a lipase deficiency find themselves facing obesity, chronic auto-immune disorders and atherosclerosis.

*See Life Sources® Immuzyme®  Booklet for further and more detailed information regarding reversing plaque build-up and "hyercoagulation" (sticky blood) and how we can avoid this newly discovered condition through the use of anti-inflammatory {proteolytic} enzymes*

Fiber

 Fiber acts as a transport mechanism for better nutrient absorption, removal of toxins and shorter intestinal transit time. By taking in 30+ grams of fiber a day, an individual reduces his risk of chronic illness by giving the body what it needs to properly digest foods and detoxify the system including LDL's.

3 + 3 = 10?

The triad of health is a perfect example of the sum being greater than the parts. Supplementing the body with enzymes, antioxidants and fiber will go a long way in helping individuals prevent and even reverse atherosclerosis, heart disease and cancer. How much is enough? The only way to really tell is by careful monitoring which, of course, is the primary reason we advise our clients to visit on a regular basis. We prefer that new clients visit every 30 days for 120 days. Once the optimum regimen is established, a bi-annual or 12 month monitor is sufficient to maintain a healthy level of stasis in the body.

The information is not presented as medical advice or treatment and is for informational purposes only. Please refer to your physician for any questions regarding advice or treatment.