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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Take two and call the ambulance in the morning

Here we go. I have been working on this one for a long time. I want to start by letting any of you that do not know me (and reminding those that do) - I am NOT a doctor. I have no formal medical training at all. What is listed here is documented reality and my evaluations of those facts. 


I have been doing a LOT of studying and reading about what I now believe to be one of the biggest medical hoaxes in human history - the demonization of cholesterol and fats. First, some background.


The cholesterol as killer philosophy is relatively new. However, the entire premise is flawed. The thought that cholesterol is bad was taken from the fact that plaque buildup in artery walls contains high amounts of cholesterol. The problem is, cholesterol is there because that is one of it's jobs. Finding cholesterol in arteries (BTW, finding plaque buildups in veins does not happen, more in a bit) and saying it causes the blockages and disease is like noting that every time you see a car wreck you see law enforcement personnel. Then you determine that people in law enforcement cause car wrecks!


Did you know that cholesterol is found in every cell of the body? Did you know that you would be dead without cholesterol? Did you know your body uses cholesterol to make hormones, support your immune system, to produce vitamin D, and many other things? Did you know that your liver produces almost all of the cholesterol in your body no matter what you eat? Did you know that cholesterol is so important to so many bodily functions that there is a mechanism in place to recycle it back to your liver to be reused just in case you cannot make enough? Guess what organ is made of mostly lipids (fats), a large portion of them cholesterol? Your brain. That important enough for you? This is the time for one of my warnings. If you, after discussions with your doctor and hopefully doing a lot of research, still want to take the cholesterol lowering drugs - fine. (I think you are insane, but hey...) If you have a child of any age, and a doctor suggests giving the child a statin or lowering their cholesterol; RUN! With the brain being made of a large percentage of cholesterol, I shudder to think of what we are doing to children's brains by limiting the amount of this critical compound to a developing brain. (FYI, in the past few years the cholesterol-reducing industry finally got the approval to "treat" high cholesterol in children - I am telling you - this is a serious mistake!)


Did you know that over the age of 50 - 55 (it varies a bit based on the gender and overall health) lower cholesterol is related to a higher incident of death. Did you know that statin use causes problems with cognitive  performance and memory (understandable due to the high cholesterol content of the brain), muscle weakness and pain, a suppressed immune system, and other physical problems? Statins interfere with the body's production of Vitamin D and Co-Q10 - both recently being recognized as being even more important to good health than ever thought.

As I mentioned above, plaque buildup is not found in veins. If you are not aware, veins take the blood back to the heart. The arteries take blood from the heart. This blood is under pressure (your blood pressure is taken from arterial flow), blood in the veins is not. You would think if cholesterol is depositing on the wall of blood vessels it would be in the low pressure area, right? The "plaque build up" occurs in arteries. It is a function of the immune system. Essentially (this is not a true scientific explanation) the cholesterol laden plaque is used as a "patch" to help "shore up" weak spots in the arteries. These weak spots could become aneurisms or ruptures (stroke). The cholesterol is there to prevent this. The underlying problem here is inflammation and oxidation. Anti-oxidents can help here. If you have a plaque build up problem, don't try to stop the patches, stop the inflammation. A good diet and supplement program will do this. You will feel better, and your arteries will be healthier. B vitamins are particularly good at this - B6 especially.


You can verify all this information by doing some research. There are several organizations of scientists and doctors that are trying to spread the word on the myth of the danger of cholesterol. One is THINCS, which has a website. Just Google “Cholesterol Myth” or similar. Please do so. Especially if you or a family member is taking one of these drugs.



I cannot tell you what you should do. If a doctor tells you that your cholesterol is high it is up to you and your doctor to decide what to do. Just realize your doctor is probably brain-washed by the hype and extreme PR that is being spewed forth by the drug companies. There is also a LOT of money being paid to doctors by the drug companies, either directly in the form of cash; or indirectly in the form of "goodies". The cholesterol lowering drugs are some of the most profitable the drug companies have. They are going to fight tooth and nail to maintain the illusion that these drugs are necessary for our health. I do know that I cannot envision any situation where I would take a statin (it is the opinion of some of the people I read and follow that a cholesterol OVER 300 is healthier!). There is too much evidence that the harm statins cause outweighs any help they may give, except for some rare instances of extremely elevated cholesterol or after a person has had a heart attack (although evidence supports this effect to being more likely caused by the slight anti-inflammatory action of the drugs than the cholesterol lowering). I do know that if I were to take one I would definitely be taking supplements to support my vitamin D levels and Co-Q10.
 
Again, this is not meant as medical advice. This is meant to make you question you choices of healthcare and medications. I have my opinions - you form yours.

2 comments:

Stay at Home Gourmet said...

Darrell had to have everything checked before we got insurance. His cholesterol was in the 300's. BCBS insured us, but said for his lifetime they would not cover cholesterol meds or any treatments having to do with it. We agree with you, and did before. I just think it's funny that BCBS won't cover the treatment. Which either means they think it's bogus, too, or it would be cheaper in the long run to treat him for a heart attack from high cholesterol. ;)

gumbypoole aka Scott Poole said...

Stay at Home Gourmet huh?