Skip to comments.Cholesterol limits lose their lustre
Posted on 03/02/2013 10:24:14 PM PST by neverdem
Revised guidelines for heart health are set to move away from target-based approach.
Soon after Joseph Francis learned that his levels of bad LDL cholesterol sat at twice the norm, he discovered the shortcomings of cholesterol-lowering drugs and of the clinical advice guiding their use. Francis, the director of clinical analysis and reporting at the Veterans Health Administration (VA) in Washington DC, started taking Lipitor (atorvastatin), a cholesterol-lowering statin and the best-selling drug in pharmaceutical history. His LDL plummeted, but still hovered just above a target mandated by clinical guidelines. Adding other medications had no effect, and upping the dose of Lipitor made his muscles hurt a rare side effect of statins, which can cause muscle breakdown.
So Francis pulled back to moderate Lipitor doses and decided that he could live with his high cholesterol. Later, he learned that other patients were being aggressively treated by doctors chasing stringent LDL targets. But Francis found the science behind the target guidelines to be surprisingly ambiguous. You couldnt necessarily say lowering LDL further was going to benefit the patient, he says.
Clinical trials have shown repeatedly that statins reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but lowering LDL with other medications does not work as well. The benefits of statins may reflect their other effects on the body, including fighting inflammation, another risk factor for heart disease.
Krumholzs scepticism is rooted in experience. In 2008 and 2010, the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) clinical trial challenged dogma when it reported that lowering blood pressure or blood sugar to prespecified targets did not reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. In the case of blood sugar, the risks were worsened...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Every statin gives me muscle aches.
So my doctor has me on niacin...
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
The straight stuff or the timed-release?
Last time I bought niacin I had to go to THREE different drug stores before I found the real nicotinic acid, plain vanilla flush-yur-brains out niacin.
All the other stuff was either the niacinamide no-flush or the timed-release type.
I take about 500 mg a day just to warm me up a bit.
statins are nasty drugs that frankly should never have been approved for any medical use.
Straight stuff, 2 grams a day.
A gazillion words and the article doesn’t says what the new guidelines will be.
What’s yur blood pressure drop to?
Like 20/10 or so? That’s just a few points above dead!
I remember one time it had been about a month I was out so got some at the health food store, and sitting in my car, I took 1000 mgs.
Practically passed out in my front seat!
I am a retired widow. Recently I had a cholesterol reading of 250 and the doctor suggested I might want to consider lipitor. Since I am only about 20 lbs. above my ideal weight and look about 10 to 15 years younger than my age, have no aches and pains, adequate energy and enthusiasm, I declined. I also felt that since my grandfather lived to 98, his sister to 103, and my parents to 90, and most of their siblings to close to that age, I refuse to worry so long as I eat sensibly, take my vitamins and minerals and essential fatty acids and get some exercise regularly. I wonder if any studies have been done on the cholesterol levels of people who live to their eighties and above.
Look into systemic enzymes. Best supplement to prevent fibrosis and thus, cardiovascular disease, among others. No level of overdose toxicity. Only caveat, is when taking blood thinners. Mainly due to the fact that you will tend to need less blood thinner to reach desired protine levels. As for niacin, Natrol NiacinTR 500 works well.
In great health
Actually, studies have shown that the longest living people on the planet, when they pass, their cholesterol level is around 250.
Bingo!! Wise observation!
In great Health,
It’s really science as a whole these days. They’re very quick to latch onto something, but way too slow to let it go. Consider the brontosaurus. We’ve known since the 1950’s that they didn’t really exists, but they can still be found in text books and museums today.
Don’t worry. The guidelines are whatever the drug company reps tell doctors they are.
Not including water, over half the brain is cholesterol.
Only 1/5 of cholesterol is from diet.
Foods with cholesterol in them are delicious.
Anything I missed?
VAP test is better at determining size(smaller is better) of LDL particles, which seems to matter most regarding determining risk of heart attack.
Even better, as an indicator is inflammation and fibrinogen. All disease follows the path below,
3. Enduration (organ Failure)
Stop the perpetual cascade of inflammation, thus preventing fibrosis and you prevent disease before it kills you. The only natural substances capable of doing such are systemic enzymes. They are different than digestive enzymes. Our bodies have a finite number of them and you cannot get them from food. By taking them as a supplement you save the number of those remaining in which God has granted you.
In great Health,
Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease
Dr. Dwight Lundell
Thu, 01 Mar 2012 21:58 CST
We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.
I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.
The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.
It Is Not Working!
These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.
The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.
Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.
Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.
Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.
Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.
What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body? Well, smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.
The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.
Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.
What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.
Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.
Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.
While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.
How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?
Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.
When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.
What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.
While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.
Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell — they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.
If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.
Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.
To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.
There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.
There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.
One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.
Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labeled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.
The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.
What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.
Reader Comments Damage Control Freaks By: bluenorther I hope that within twenty years, coronary bypass surgery will be as discredited as pre-frontal lobotomies.
This article follows exactly what Gary Taubes has written in “Why We Get Fat”.
I had a six-tuple bypass operation to save my useless life, two years ago. It was the worst experience anyone could endure; I would never inflict it on anyone I care about. From what I’ve read, I seem to have got off easy compared to other people’s experiences!
The doctors can’t honestly tell us how bad it will be, because we’d all opt out.
What infuriates me is the total lack of effort made by my doctors to investigate WHY I ended up on their operating table. All of my friends and family are mystified, asking how this happened. In fact, I would have died in a few more days. I don’t smoke, I’m not overweight, and I exercise enough to kill most ordinary people.
All the doctors have done is prescribe meds that don’t work, and then get angry when I won’t take them. I haven’t seen a single blood test result that might give me a clue
You need to know your HDL in order to make a decision on statins.
I have elevated LDL, but I also have very elevated HDL, the good cholesterol. Supposedly the HDL helps to offset the LDL.
I also have always had perfect BP. I am now 67.
I take no medications for anything.
Yes, I know that I could drop dead at any moment :P