Heart Disease is the number one cause of death in the US. It is estimated that 600,000 die from it every year. Because of this, cholesterol has become a primary focus of the modern medical world.
It is generally assumed that elevated cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, and that it is very difficult to bring cholesterol levels into a normal zone without taking statin drugs.
There are however a number of factors that should be considered when it comes to balancing your cholesterol level.
The original study of cholesterol done in the 1960s, on approximately 240,000 people, found that cholesterol levels above 300 were directly associated with increased risk of heart disease.
Also reported in that study was that cholesterol levels under 130 were associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Cholesterol and Our Liver
At first, modern medicine thought that cholesterol came from the consumption of animal foods and fats. It was later discovered that although we do get a certain amount of cholesterol from these foods, the vast majority of cholesterol found in our bodies, roughly two thirds, is made by our liver.
Today we have a new understanding of healthy fats and the impact carbohydrates (starch) has on them. When you eat high glycemic foods (foods that cause your body to release a lot of insulin like bread, pasta, and soda), it causes an increase in triglycerides (fats) in the blood stream. When you have high triglycerides, your body automatically converts them into cholesterol.
While common American lab values for cholesterol are said to be normal if under 200, or 150 depending on the lab, the truth is that any triglyceride level above 90 will result in an elevation in cholesterol. When my patients go on a low glycemic diet like the Page Diet or Dukan diet, I have seen these levels drop in as little as 10 days.
If your triglycerides are under 90 and you still have high cholesterol, this may indicate the possibility of food allergies congesting and slowing the digestive process, resulting in elevated resorption of cholesterol in the gut (This means your body expels the cholesterol out of the liver and then takes it back in through the intestinal wall in a continuous loop).
The most common allergy that causes this problem is eggs. It is estimated that 30% of the population is allergic to eggs. By eliminating eggs from our diet and eating a low glycemic diet we will see triglyceride levels fall and subsequently cholesterol levels normalize.
High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol is another consideration. HDL’s are able to transport cholesterol through the blood and keep it from plaquing onto the arterial walls. Because it protects us, we consider this the “good” cholesterol. HDL’s can be increased through exercise and certain nutrients like red wine.
Homocysteine and C-Reactive Protein
Recently we have heard a lot about Homocysteine being associated with increased risk of heart disease. Homocysteine is a protein that acts like Velcro and attaches plaque to the arterial wall. Normal lab levels indicate that 12-15 in normal, but optimal levels should be kept under 7. Current research has found that high Homocysteine levels can be brought back into an optimal range by taking Vitamin B6, B12, and Folic Acid. We feel that high Homocysteine levels are a good predictor of heart risk.
Another influence on arterial plaquing is C-Reactive Protein (CRP). C-Reactive Protein represents the state of inflammation in the body and therefore subsequent stickiness of the arterial walls. By keeping our body free of infection and immune burden, especially food allergies, C-Reactive Protein should fall to less than 0.04 where it is unlikely that plaquing will occur.
Low Glycemic Diet
There are multiple factors that influence the lipid profile in our blood.
Although some of my patients have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol, we have seen the great majority of patients get their triglyceride level and subsequent cholesterol level under control by eating a low glycemic diet (remember the Page Diet and Dukan Diet), eliminating food allergies from the diet (especially eggs), and supplementing with vitamins proven to lower Homocysteine and C-Reactive Protein levels.
Vitamins Recommended for Cholesterol Problems
Niacinamide B6: We have known for a long time that niacin will help break down fats. This may be the most prescribed supplement for cholesterol and many studies have shown it is effective at lowering cholesterol levels.
Folic Acid B12: Both Folic acid and B12 have been shown to have a protective cardiovascular benefits. These supplements have been shown to lower homocysteine levels.
Cholaplex: This is a special blend product from Standard Process designed to support the healthy metabolism of fats, including cholesterol.
Black Currant Seed Oil: This product is used to lower inflammation. It is the only Omega-6 fatty acid that supports prostaglandin I synthesis which is anti-inflammatory. This helps lower C-Reactive Protein Levels.
OPC Synergy: is a blend of grape seed extract, buckwheat, red wine extract, green tea extract, and bilberry. It slows the release and production of histamine. This reduces inflammation and lowers C-Reactive Protein levels. Interestingly, it also crosses the blood brain barrier thereby protecting the brain from oxidization. This product really is superior to most antioxidants available.
Garlic Forte: Numerous studies have shown the amazing ability of garlic to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. This product is possibly the most concentrated garlic product being sold, and especially effective because it is enteric coated thereby preserving the potency that can be lost while sitting in the stomach.
If you get anything from this newsletter, I want you to know that you absolutely have the ability to get your triglyceride and cholesterol under control without the use of statin drugs. You may also find that by following this advice you rapidly get you sugar under control as well, killing two birds with one stone!
As most of you are aware, we do a lot of nutritional counseling in this office. If you suffer with high cholesterol you may want to get complete nutritional analysis, which includes food allergy screening.