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Cholesterol Myth-Busting

Hardly an hour of TV passes or ten pages of any magazine are turned without hearing or reading something about a drug or a diet which reduces blood cholesterol. Is cholesterol really that bad? How could a natural substance produced in our bodies as a basic building block of every cell as well as the hormone system and nervous system cause us so much trouble?

Do we really want to lower cholesterol at any cost?
It is a known fact that drugs recommended to reduce cholesterol interrupt normal physiology and are laden with serious side effects. Low fat diets designed to lower cholesterol often throw out good fats and replace them with sugar and unhealthy processed fats. What happened to common sense? Cholesterol is vital to healthy body function but misinformation about cholesterol leads us to believe cholesterol is dangerous. What are the facts?

Cholesterol Facts

  • Cholesterol is an essential fat made by the body which is vital to the healthy structure and function of cell membranes.
  • Cholesterol enables binding of essential proteins in cell walls and assists in the transport of nutritional essentials in and out of the cells.
  • Cholesterol is transported by LDL to the tissues that require cholesterol to maintain healthy function and returned by HDL for use and removal by the liver.
  • Cholesterol returned to the liver is involved in the creation of hormones and excreted in the bile to the benefit of bowel pH and improved colon functions.
  • Cholesterol is thought to be protective against infections and atherosclerosis.
    Q J Med 2003; 96: 927-934

Cholesterol Myths

  • High cholesterol is the cause of heart disease.
  • High cholesterol is the cause of atherosclerosis – hardening and clogging of the arteries.
  • High cholesterol is caused by eating foods high in cholesterol.
  • Lowering cholesterol with drugs is safer than having high cholesterol.

Why are there Cholesterol Myths?
The myths about cholesterol have been drilled into us through the media for over 50 years. High cholesterol is a consequence in an unhealthy person – not the cause of un-healthfulness. Artificial “foods”, toxins in our environment, and unwholesome lifestyles have been on the rise for many decades and these cause high cholesterol levels. So one may ask – who has to gain from these myths? Companies who patent low fat “foods” and create medicines designed to lower cholesterol levels profit from distorting the truth. We need to clear our heads of these cholesterol myths and look at the facts.

Myth One – Cholesterol is the Cause of Heart Disease
Researchers find that high cholesterol is “present” in cases of heart disease nearly as often as high cholesterol is found in patients with no heart disease.1 Research also indicates that high cholesterol in old age is actually linked to a longer life.2 Heart disease is more often directly linked with diet and lifestyle choices and NOT with high cholesterol in the blood stream.

Myth Two - High Cholesterol is the cause of Atherosclerosis.
Studies show little or no evidence that atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries is caused by high cholesterol. In fact, when comparing signs of atherosclerotic plaquing of the aorta with the average blood cholesterol levels of Japanese (170) to Americans (220) there was no notable difference in this Harvard Medical School study.8 In another study using over 1400 Japanese and 5000 Americans it was found that in all age groups Japanese people were more atherosclerotic than Americans even though they had much lower cholesterol levels.9 High cholesterol is not likely linked with hardening of the arteries.”

Healthy Cholesterol Levels NutritionalEssentials Myth Three – High Cholesterol is caused by eating foods high in cholesterol.
Tens of thousands of people from dozens of different countries have been tested in peer reviewed published research project studying the effects of diet on blood cholesterol. No significan association of blood cholesterol levels to diet was noted in any of them except when artificial fats (margarine) and high sugar were consumed. Dozens of independent researchers found no significant benefit in lowering cholesterol in the diet.

Myth Four – Lowering Cholesterol with Drugs is Safer than High Cholesterol.
A foundational principle of The Nutritional Essentials is “nature knows better.” Give the body the wholesome food it needs in a stress-free environment and it can heal itself. To go into the
health risks of interrupting normal biochemical pathways in this weblog is impossible due to its length. It is common sense to say interrupting biochemical pathways is a last resort, yet we are told by the pharmaceutical companies that living on statin drugs are safer than high cholesterol! The risks far outweigh the benefits. While statins inhibit the production of cholesterol, statins also inhibit other substances with important biological functions such as antioxidation and the appropriate clotting of blood). Additionally, statins reduce the activity of smooth muscles. Each of these functions inhibited by statins are essential to healthy function.

Side Effects of “Cholesterol-lowering” Drugs
When these biochemical processes are interrupted and blocked with synthetic chemicals such as the statin drugs, side effects abound. You need look no further than the statin labels themselves for the adverse effects of statin drugs:
Symptoms:
Nausea, Diarrhea, Constipation, Muscle Aching, Memory loss, Emotional Imbalances, Central Nervous System vascular lesions including bleeding, swelling around the brain, optic nerve degeneration, corneal opacity (cataract), and retinal loss in dogs.

Myopathy / Rhabdomyolysis.
This muscle disease is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents into the circulation. Besides the autoimmune reactions which are likely from this breakdown of proteins into the blood, some of these proteins are toxic to the kidney and frequently result in kidney damage. One statin drug, Baycol, was taken off the market after 31 reported deaths due to rhabdomyolysis. www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/baycol Other statins have a similar effect.

Elevated liver enzymes.
Statin use causes liver damage. Does it make sense to risk damage to the very organ which helps to metabolize cholesterol during healthy function? Before we continue – remember these are the negative effects of statin type drugs listed on the packaging of the drugs themselves! Our review here does not list the many side effects reported by users nationwide who complain of dozens of curious conditions once they began to take the statins.

The Real Cholesterol Story
When one is healthy, cholesterol levels are regulated by the body naturally. High cholesterol is an indicator that an unhealthful lifestyle may need attention. Just as it makes no sense to pull the battery out of a noisy smoke alarm, it makes no sense to lower cholesterol with drugs – rather put the fire out. Research shows that high cholesterol does not cause disease but is present in certain disease conditions. The facts support that cholesterol has a healing effect and is elevated when needed by the body to effect a change.

Healthy Cholesterol Levels and The Nutritional Essentials
Lifestyle choices are the key to healthy body and cholesterol levels. Stress, refined sugar, hydrogenated and transfat), toxic overload on the liver (See TNE-6), B Complex and antioxidant deficiency all lead to heart, vascular and liver disease.

If you are concerned about cholesterol levels – focus on eating whole foods and whole food concentrates as follows:

  • Include healthy oils in your food plan, especially Omega 3 oils like flaxseed oil (Linum B6) and healthy fish oil.
  • Include foods rich in iodine for healthy metabolism of fats.
  • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits for antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
  • Avoid unhealthful, unnatural “foods” like processed flour, sugar, oils and margarine and junk “foods.” Avoid fake “fats”!
  • Give up sugar
  • Support your healthy life with whole food concentrates from Standard Process.

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