Misunderstood & Maligned!
This one substance has been demonized by mainstream media and even mainstream medicine for the last quarter century.
But hereâs the thing â almost everything most of us read about cholesterol is either slanted, misguided or patently false.
Letâs look at the factsâ¦
First of all, our bodies need cholesterol - a type of fat (or lipid) in our blood. It is absolutely essential for survival, and is used by almost every cell in the body in making the cell membranes. Cholesterol is also essential for making bile acids, steroid hormones (think estrogen, testosterone & cortisol), and vitamin D (which is actually another type of steroid hormone).
Without it, we wouldnât have our human brain, which is largely comprised of fats and cholesterol, with much of it found in the myelin sheaths insulating our nerve cells and in the synapses transmitting the nerve impulses.
Normally, our bodies produce all the cholesterol we need, but in addition we also get cholesterol from the foods we eat. So if cholesterol is so important, why is it getting all the bad press?
Simply put, cholesterol is taking the blame for the saturated and trans fats which can cause heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Since cholesterol is a major component of LDL (âbadâ) cholesterol containing the triglycerides carrying the saturated and fatty acids, it was thought to be the main culprit. But thatâs not so.
Hardening of the Arteries
LDL - low density lipoproteins are the most damaging type of fats. But, and this is a big BUT, accumulating evidence says that only oxidized LDL will form the plaque causing heart attacks and strokes. No surprise that oxidized LDL is associated with poor diet, lack of exercise and stress.
If you have too much of this type of fat in your bloodstream, it can start to stick and clump inside the arteries. This is called hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Itâs usually a slow process that gets worse as you grow older, especially if you donât address the major life style issues that increase this risk. To understand what happens, think about how a clog forms in the pipe under a kitchen sink. If you continually throw grease and other sticky materials down the drain, itâs going to build up â decreasing the amount of space the water can flow through. Eventually the clog becomes so big, no water at all can pass through.
Like the buildup of grease in the pipe, the buildup of fatty plaque narrows your arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. This reduces the amount of blood getting to your body tissues, including your heart. Or, a piece of this fatty plaque may break off in one part of the body, then lodge in a smaller vessel â again causing an interruption of blood flow in that area.
Either way, itâs bad news for the person, leading to serious problems - including heart attack and stroke.
Did You Know...
There is an interesting theory about why plaque builds up in the first place.
Itâs thought to be an automatic response to damage or chronic infection, both of which cause inflammation within the arteries. If the inside of these arteries becomes damaged, plaque is laid down as a sort of filling agent so that the damaged area will heal.
The damage or inflammation is caused by many factors, including poor nutrition, adulterated foodstuffs, environmental poisons and an overload of sugar in the diet.
The problem arises when this damage or inflammation is continually happening. More and more plaque is needed to control it, and eventually the cure becomes the curse.
Cholesterol â The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Your cholesterol is measured by a blood test. In the past normal levels were based only on total cholesterol because that is all that we could measure. The ranges were:
- High cholesterol: 240 or above.
- Borderline-high: 200 to 239.
- Best: Less than 200.
Today the measurements are more complicated because we can now determine different types of lipids.
- LDL (low density lipoproteins) is the âbadâ cholesterol, the kind that can clog your arteries. If you have high cholesterol, this is what you need to lower. (However, to complicate matters even further, not all LDL is âbadâ.)
- HDL (high density lipoproteins) is the âgoodâ cholesterol. HDL helps clear fat from your blood. A high level of HDL can help protect you from a heart attack. Again, there are different types of HDL, some with more protection than others..
- Triglycerides are yet another type of âbad fatâ in your blood. If you have high triglycerides and high LDL, your chances of having a heart attack increase as well. Triglycerides are increased from eating sugar, certain high glycemic carbohydrates and, in genetically sensitive people, from drinking alcohol or taking oral estrogen or birth control pills. Triglyceride elevation is associated with lower HDL (good) cholesterol and increased LDL (bad) cholesterol.
What are the Symptoms?
Usually, there arenât any. High lipid levels donât make you feel sick. By the time you find out you have elevated levels, your arteries may already be clogging. It came as a shock when, more than 50 years ago, pathologists performing autopsies on soldiers killed in the Korean War were finding young men of 18 â 20 years having cholesterol plaque in their arteries.
Itâs now well excepted that you need more than 80-90% arterial blockage before you have any symptoms. So, even though you may feel fine, it is so important to test for these lipids, and start treatment if necessary.
What Causes High Cholesterol and LDL?
Many things can cause high LDL cholesterol, including:
- The foods you eat. Eating too much of the wrong kind of saturated fat can raise your cholesterol. However, foods once demonized, such as whole eggs, fresh butter, high quality natural cheeses (not the processed kind!), many types of nuts, grass fed organic beef and organic poultry are not dangerous at all. In fact, they go a long way in providing the body with the healthy fats & nutrients we need.
- Margarine. Remember when we were told by the nutritionists to eat margarine instead of butter? We now know that the hydrogenated oil (trans fat, see below) that was used to make the margarine seem more like butter was dangerous, far more so than butter ever was.
- Sugar and Carbs. The average American will eat over 160 lbs of refined sugar a year! Add to this processed carbohydrates (such as bread and pasta which are broken down into sugar by your body) and we get an almost staggering number. Itâs no wonder our cholesterol is going through the roof. Plus, much of the sugar consumed is HFC â High Fructose Corn Syrup - an especially nasty sweetener that plays havoc with our health and triglyceride levels. Also, sugar is associated with oxidation of LDL, which as you read above, is the kind that gets into dangerous plaque.
- Trans fat (partially hydrogenated oil) is a huge no-no, but unfortunately itâs a major component in many of our snacks and fast foods. Trans fat is not natural, itâs produced by an industrial process which adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils, making them more solid.Â This is one fat to avoid whenever possible. Trans fat is used only because the processed food industry knows that foods will taste better (like baked goods) and have a longer shelf life and thus make more money with these unhealthful ingredients. Food companies with integrity do not use trans fats.
What happens to your body when you eat damaging foods like the ones mentioned above? Here are just a few of their health-harming effects:
- High levels of âBadâ cholesterol & high triglycerides
- High blood sugar
- Weight gain
- Acid reflux (stomach acid burning up into your esophagus, throat, voice box and lungs)
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Cardio-vascular complications and disease
Not very pretty, is it?
Lifestyle Risk Factors
- Being overweight. Not a strong factor in and of itself, but quite relevant if you eat the wrong foods, donât exercise and have poor life style habits.
- Being inactive. Couch potatoes beware! Move your body, or risk the consequences of elevated LDLs and triglycerides, not to mention cancer and dementia!
- Age. Cholesterol normally starts to rise after age 20. However, with fast food diets and generally poor nutrition, weâre now seeing children and teens with high cholesterol and/or triglycerides.
- Family history. If family members had or have high cholesterol, you may also have it. Familial high cholesterol â which usually tips the meter at over 300 - is nothing to ignore. If you have this condition, youâd better take medication to lower your cholesterol, because your risk is extremely high for a heart attack or stroke at a young age. If youâre told that your high total cholesterol levels (the higher 200âs) is hereditary, donât assume thatâs set in stone. Many of us are extremely sensitive to diet and can lower cholesterol, even in the high 200âs with life style changes.
- Overall health. Diseases such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) can raise cholesterol.
How is High Cholesterol Diagnosed?
You need a blood test to check your cholesterol. There are several kinds of tests:
- A fasting cholesterol panel is better than an isolated cholesterol test because it measures all of the fats in your blood, both including LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. You canât eat for 9 to 12 hours before taking this test because triglyceride levels can be normally elevated after eating certain foods, which would then produce false test results.
- A direct LDL test measures your LDL level only. You can have this test done at any time, even if you recently had a meal or snack.
- A simple cholesterol test can measure total cholesterol and HDL. You can eat before this test. Sometimes doctors will do this first to see if additional tests are necessary.
- A Lipoprotein profile measures the various types of LDL and HDL, giving a more accurate health risk profile.
How is High Cholesterol Treated?
If you have high levels of dangerous cholesterol, you need treatment to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. The two main treatments are lifestyle changes and medicine.
Some lifestyle changes are important for everyone with high cholesterol. Your doctor will probably want you to:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber grains and breads, and healthy fats like olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil and organic hemp oil.
- Lose weight if needed. Losing just 5 lb to 10 lb (2.3 kg to 4.5 kg) can lower your cholesterol. Losing weight can also help lower your blood pressure and lower elevated blood sugar.
- Get regular exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Walking is great exercise that most people can do. A good goal is 30 minutes or more a day. The bare minimum should be exercising every other day.
- Donât smoke. Quitting can help raise your HDL and improve your heart health. (Stopping will also make your breath (and your clothes!) smell much better, while saving you a busload of money as well.)
Changing old habits may not be easy, but itâs extremely important to help you live a healthier and longer life. Have a plan and start with small steps. For example, just try adding one fruit or one vegetable to your meals each day for a week. Instead of having a sugary or high fat dessert, have a piece of fruit then take a short walk.
The processed food industry is ahead of most of us. Many products are prominently labeled âwhole grain,â âmultigrain,â âcontains whole wheat,â and the like.
Always check the nutrition facts area to see how much actual fiber is in a serving; many times it is only a token amount to be able to make the label claims.
If these lifestyle changes don't lower your cholesterol enough, or if your risk of heart attack is high, you may also want to consider taking a cholesterol-lowering medicine. Knowing your heart attack risk is important; because it helps you and your doctor decide how to treat your cholesterol.
Do You Need to Take Prescription Medicine?
It depends. The decision to use medicine for treating high cholesterol is usually based on your LDL level and your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Medicine is always used along with a diet and exercise plan, not instead of it.
- Diet and exercise should be tried FIRST for at least 3 months, before you decide if you need a prescription medicine solution.
- People who already have coronary artery disease (CAD) should start taking medicines right away.
- You may also need to start on medicine immediately if your cholesterol is dangerously high, or you have:
- A family history of early CAD
- An inherited form of high cholesterol
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Diabetes along with high cholesterol and LDL readings
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- A previous heart attack or stroke
Statins â Boon or Bane?
Statins are the medicines prescribed most often for treating high cholesterol, and yes, they often work quite effectively. However, there is considerable controversy surrounding these drugs. Although intended to reduce the risk for heart attack, stroke and early death in high risk cases, it may only do so after a heart attack or stroke has already happened.
Recent analysis of all the unpublished studies (which not surprisingly were withheld by drug companies) concerning statin use showed that there was no good evidence that statins prevent a first heart attack in people with high cholesterol.
The first statin introduced in the USA was lovastatin, which inhibits an enzyme needed to make cholesterol. Lovastatin causes cholesterol to be lost from LDL, and also reduces the concentration of circulating LDL (low-density lipoprotein) particles. Lovastatin may also produce a small increase in healthy HDL, while decreasing triglycerides.
What most physicians fail to tell their patients is that when taking statin drugs, supplementation with an essential nutrient Co-Enzyme Q10 is HIGHLY beneficial. Co-Enzyme Q10 is crucial for a healthy beating heart muscle, but statins tend to decrease its level in the human body. Statins have also been linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
Aspirin Therapy â Safe or Not?
Doctors may also prescribe aspirin therapy if you have had a heart attack or stroke, or at a high risk for having one. However, there is an increased risk of serious or even lethal intestinal bleeding from continual aspirin use, even from low dose aspirin.
If you do take aspirin, take it in the evening. Studies in many thousands of people show that those taking aspirin in the evening had a lower risk of intestinal bleeding. Itâs also recommended you take a buffered vitamin C as well, as aspirin does tend to decrease vitamin C levels. Plus, vitamin C has been shown to decrease the incidence of stomach bleeding from aspirin â something which kills about 1000 people each year in the United States alone.
Red Yeast Rice for Healthy Cholesterol Support
(Traditional Chinese Medicine)
Red yeast rice contains a natural form of lovastatin, and other natural substances that have been used for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine. Red yeast rice may keep your body from producing too much cholesterol.
Itâs interesting to note that in 1998, the FDA placed a ban on the sale of dietary supplements containing red yeast rice. Why? The drug company that had a patent on lovastatin requested it. They argued that since red yeast rice naturally contains lovastatin, products containing it were actually a prescription agent requiring drug approval.
This ban was later rescinded, as red yeast rice is a natural product, and unless proven dangerous cannot be banned from sale.
All Red Yeast Rice Supplements Are NOT The Same!
Unfortunately, because red yeast rice does come from China, there are many impotent, adulterated and contaminated products - even in health food stores.
Some of these products may contain a naturally occurring toxin that seriously affects the brain and nervous system.
The best products are pre-tested for toxins. Also, since red yeast rice isnât regulated by the FDA, you must choose a solid, reputable company for ensuring the amount of red yeast stated is the amount youâll be receiving. Unless you purchase a product from a company that tests every batch of raw ingredients for purity, potency, authenticity and toxin content, youâre simply gambling with your health.
Natural Red Yeast Supplement With Co-Enzyme Q10
If you need to reduce your unhealthy cholesterol levels, then as I recommend, diet and exercise are crucial. But you can now gain an extra advantage in bringing your healthy cholesterol levels up to par by taking an all natural supplement: Choleast.
Choleast helps you maintain a healthful balance of cholesterol and related blood lipids.
Manufactured by Thorne, each batch of Choleast is independently tested and shown to be authentic, potent and free of toxins and made without preservatives, magnesium stearate or other lubricants or diluents.
Choleast combines 600 milligrams of red yeast rice extract along with 15 mg of co-enzyme Q10 in every capsule â creating a powerful, heart healthy formulation of cholesterol fighting ingredients.
In addition to the naturally occurring lovastatin-like substances (monacolins), the red yeast in Choleast also boasts the phytosterols beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol, as well as isoflavones and trace minerals, all of which can contribute to good cardiovascular health.
Suggested Use: 2-4 capsules a day, best taken in the evening. (Our bodies make most of the cholesterol at nightime.)
Try Choleast™ today, and keep your cholesterol levels healthy!
Omax3™ Fish Oil
The Finest Source of Omega 3
Essential Fatty Acids
While Almost All Of Us Should Take Omega 3 Fish Oil,
Especially Those With High Triglycerides
Why Take Fish Oil?
The answer is straightforward: As a dietary supplement, if you have high triglycerides or at high risk for heart disease, fish oil is one of the easiest and most important steps you can take for insuring your health. No other nutritional substance is more important for most people then the omega 3 fatty acids found in high quality fish oil.
These omega 3 fatty acids canât be produced by the body (thatâs why theyâre âessentialâ in our diet). They need to be ingested, either through diet or through direct supplementation. Since many of us have trouble maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, we arenât getting nearly enough omega 3 in our food. About the only societies on earth that actually do are the Japanese and Eskimos, because they regularly eat cold water fish with omega 3 oil.
What happens if we donât have enough omega 3 in our diet?
Low levels of omega 3 have been liked to heart disease, dementia, depression, arthritis, poor immune functionâ¦ and a host of other problems.
But the essential fatty acids in fish oil are connected with a number of incredible health benefits. In fact, one of the most interesting facts about fish oil is that it seems to protect the body from future ills!
- Heart Healthy - Studies done in 2003 at Harvard Medical showed that taking fish oil on a daily basis can help protect the heart from damage and disease. Omega 3âs are naturally incorporated into the structure of heart muscle, help keeping it healthy and strong.
- Cancer Preventative - In addition, fish oil has also been linked with protecting the body from many cancers. Breast, ovarian, stomach and colon cancer all seem to be reduced in those taking sufficient amounts of omega 3 fatty acids...
- Increased Mental Functioning - The use of fish oil seems to boost concentration and brain development. Since fish oil works in helping your body transmit messages from one part to another, your mind begins to focus better when taking fish oil on a regular basis. As you age, this becomes all the more important for preventing things like depression, Alzheimerâs and dementia.
- Healthy, Supple Skin - Your skin also greatly benefits by using fish oil, because the omega 3 fatty acids help to repair damage caused by the sun and other environmental factors. Instead of early signs of skin wrinkling, taking fish oil can help add back moisture and firmness to your skin, virtually erasing years of neglect off your face. And, unlike Botox, the effects of fish oil are lasting, and arenât localized to only the injection site.
- Healing Damaged Tissue - Recent studies conclude fish oil may have a significant part to play in naturally healing already damaged tissues. In a damaged heart, this is especially promising. When the heart is weakened or a part of it dies (as it does during a heart attack), it needs all the help it can get in order to get back to its previous state of health. Fish oil supplements have been linked with helping this heart-healing process happen.
Absolutely Natural & Pure!
While fish oil is one of natureâs wonder supplements, you must be absolutely certain what youâre taking is untainted and pure. Almost all fish oil labels state that they have âpureâ fish oil.
Do not be fooled. ALL unfiltered fish oil has mercury and is contaminated with known carcinogens PCBs and dioxins. Unless the label or, in the case of Omax3, the box insert states the product is independently tested and certified to be free of these contaminants, donât take it.
To repeat, itâs critical the fish oil supplement you take is free of mercury, PBCs, dioxins and other heavy metals. This is especially true for pregnant or nursing mothers.
OMAX3™ IS JUST SUCH A PRODUCT!
This unique supplement, developed by scientists affiliated with the Yale University School of Medicine, was designed to be more effective than regular standard fish oil. In standard testing Omax3 was proven superior in increasing brain function. In fact, itâs so unique, the scientists formulating it were awarded a patent.
Whatâs more, unlike regular fish oil, Omax3 doesnât raise the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Youâll also notice Omax3 capsules are much smaller the usual fish oil capsules, making them easier to swallow. Even better, when compared to other, larger capsules, Omax3 has more essentials fatty acids (EPA and DHA) packed into its compact shape!
Not only can you simply take the recommended dosage first thing in the morning and be set for the entire day, but you can also rest assured in knowing your fish oil supplements are tested and retested - ensuring that the omega 3 nutrients you take are totally safe and healthy!
Iâm delighted to be among the first practitioners in the world to be recommending Omax3™.
To a heart healthy life!
Robert Lang, M.D.
P.S. I recommend that you talk to your doctor before you try red yeast rice. If you do take red yeast rice, especially an over the counter product that is not tested for authenticity, potency, adulteration and neurotoxins, call your doctor IMMEDIATELY if you have a bad reaction to it. Do not take red yeast supplements if you are taking statins. Combining them can cause problems.
P.P.S. Many of us are deficient in a variety of vital, core nutrients. Find out how you can start recharging and optimizing your health and your energy right now with my list of essential Core Supplements.