You need good cholesterol to remove plaques from arteries to prevent heart attack or stroke, protect your cells and increase your sex hormones.
What is Cholesterol?
This soft, waxy substance is found not only in your bloodstream, but also in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of your memories and is vital for neurological function.
Your liver makes about 75 percent of your body"s cholesterol. There are two types:
1) High-density lipoprotein, or HDL:
- This is the "good" cholesterol that helps to keep cholesterol away from your arteries and remove any excess from arterial plaque, which may help to prevent heart disease.
2) Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL:
- This "bad" cholesterol circulates in your blood and, according to conventional thinking, may build up in your arteries, forming plaque that makes your arteries narrow and less flexible (a condition called atherosclerosis).
If a clot forms in one of these narrowed arteries leading to your heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke may result. LDLs help lay down the plaque deposits in the arteries (that’s why they call these “bad”).
HDL is the single most important cholesterol factor in determining your risk of developing heart disease. Don’t worry about lowering your total cholesterol level or your LDL level. Just raise your HDL cholesterol.
The Framingham Study shows that high levels of HDL are directly related to lower risk of heart disease.
In fact, it showed that increased HDL could reduce coronary disease independent of LDL cholesterol.
This is the real eye-opener: If your HDL is above 85, you are at no greater risk of heart disease if your total cholesterol is 350 than if it’s 150.
Also making up your total cholesterol count are:
- Elevated levels of this dangerous fat have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. Triglyceride levels are known to rise from eating too many grains and sugars, being physically inactive, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol excessively and being overweight or obese.
2. Lipoprotein (a), or Lp(a):
- Lp(a) is a substance that is made up of an LDL "bad cholesterol" part plus a protein (apoprotein a). Elevated Lp(a) levels are a very strong risk factor for heart disease.
Why You Need Cholesterol?
You need cholesterol to avoid heart attacks and heart disease. You don’t need drugs or doctor’s prescriptions. And you don’t need to follow a crazy diet.
Your cholesterol blood level can tell you useful information about your health and fitness, but it’s not the great predictor of heart disease that conventional medicine leads us to believe.
Recently, the University Hospital in Switzerland announced that cholesterol fails to demonstrate an important (statistically significant) connection with coronary artery disease. Clearly, cholesterol isn’t the ultimate heart-attack warning it was made out to be.
When you get past the medical beliefs and look directly at the evidence, the literature points out that nearly 75 percent of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.
We now know that total blood cholesterol levels do not give us a clear picture of heart-attack risk. Still, most doctors continue to turn to conventional cholesterol screening as the best predictor of heart attacks.
Cholesterol Levels Can't Predict Heart Attacks
Cholesterol levels do not predict heart attacks in the vast majority of patients.
The link between cholesterol and women was essentially zero: Women with low cholesterol died just as often as women with high cholesterol. Furthermore, according to data from the Framingham study, almost half of the people in the study who had a heart attack had low cholesterol.
Ironically, as the study participants grew older, the association between cholesterol and heart disease became weaker, not stronger. In fact, according to the data, for men above age 47, cholesterol levels made no difference in cardiovascular mortality.
Since 95 percent of all heart attacks occur in people over age 48 – and those who have heart attacks at an earlier age are usually diabetics or have a rare genetic problem – then, most people don’t have to worry about their cholesterol levels!
Even if we could show an association between cholesterol blood levels and heart disease, it would not prove that cholesterol caused heart disease.
The Protective Effects of High Cholesterol
Now here’s another fact to make you wonder what the “experts” were thinking: High cholesterol seems to have a protective effect in the elderly. According to research done at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University, nearly twice as many people with low cholesterol had a heart attack – compared to those with high cholesterol levels.
Data from the Framingham Study also support the finding that when blood cholesterol decreases, the risk of dying actually increases.
There is no question that blood cholesterol is involved in the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Plaque buildup narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow. This can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Yet the conventional approach continues to miss the most important point: The plaque buildup is dangerous, not the presence of cholesterol itself.
Stay Away from Drugs
High HDL trumps other cholesterol concerns. Why isn’t this simple and powerful advice getting through? For one reason, there is no drug to boost HDL.
In 1994, drug companies introduced a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. These drugs interfere with the body’s production of cholesterol. They also block the production of other essential nutrients, including CoQ10.
These drugs not only lower blood cholesterol levels but also, for the first time, some studies showed a slightly lowered risk of heart attack.
There was no relationship between the amount of the cholesterol reduction and the amount of the risk reduction. This phenomenon is called “lack of exposure response.” What this usually means is that the factor being investigated – in this case cholesterol – isn’t the true cause, but is secondary to or merely associated with the true cause.
Stated another way, statins may reduce heart-attack risk, but they do so in some way other than reducing cholesterol.
The drug companies that sponsor these studies are very slick at directing attention away from this failure. Only very recently has it come to light that statins do other things more directly related to heart disease risk. They lower the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein.
The “lack of exposure response” may be because statins help by reducing inflammation – not cholesterol.
But there is more to the story. Statins are expensive. A typical dose costs about $1,000 to $1,500 per year. And, more significantly, statins block an antioxidant system important to your cardiovascular health and rob your organs of a crucial nutrient.
Statins can make you chronically fatigued and cause muscles aches. They also stimulate cancer growth in rodents. In human studies, breast cancer was more common in women who took the drug than those in the control group.
Additionally, it’s wise to cautiously review information from drug studies that pharmaceutical companies fund. These corporations benefit remarkably when research results recommend a new drug. Statins are the most profitable drugs in history to date.
Those profits buy a lot of propaganda, such as direct-to-consumer advertising and marketing to doctors, including free continuing medical education about how to prescribe the drugs! This is the fox overseeing the hen house – and the consequences involve your health.
So, has your doctor recommended you take a statin (cholesterol-lowering) drug?
In the old days, almost everybody with a heart condition were on statins. These days, even people who don’t have heart problems are taking them.
Most doctors have good intentions. They prescribe statins as a preventative. This sounds great until you look at just a few of the side effects from taking these drugs:
|• Muscle pain|
• Liver damage
• Lowered mental performance
• Chronic fatigue
• Cardiomyopathy (deterioration of your heart’s function)
• An increased risk of polyneuropathy (nerve damage that causes pain in the hands and feet and trouble walking)
• Cognitive impairment, including memory loss
• A potential increased risk of cancer
• Decreased function of the immune system
• Liver problems, including a potential increase in liver enzymes (so people taking statins must be regularly monitored for normal liver function.)
But that’s not all.
• Statins aggressively deplete your heart of life-giving CoQ10- – an important co-enzyme that protects the heart and gives your cells energy. Statins can lower CoQ10 by as much as 40 percent. This leads to even more problems, including congestive heart failure.
And this, in turn, can weaken your heart.
According to Dr. Peter H. Langsjoen, a leading authority on treating heart disease with CoQ10, he saw a frightening increase in heart failure secondary to statin usage … Over the past five years, statins have become more potent, are being prescribed in higher doses, and are being used with reckless abandon in the elderly and in patients with ‘normal’ cholesterol levels.
99% of the time, statins are unnecessary.
Statin Drug Can Cause Numbness
There's an article in The Journal of Family Practice, a conventional doctor magazine where the author seems amazed, telling readers that,
"Hey, we’ve got something very unusual here. There’s a guy who came in who had numbness and pain, and we didn’t know why. He didn’t have diabetes or any other condition known to cause it. It took 13 years to figure it out and it turned out to be this rare side effect of – can you believe it – a statin drug!"
Are they kidding?
These side effects are happening all over the place.
But most doctors don’t know because they don’t ask. If they did, they would find that so many people would answer:
• “Well, my doctor gave me Lipitor®, but after I took it my feet went numb.” Or,
• “My hands went numb.” Or,
• “My legs started to hurt, so I quit taking it.”
Statin neuropathy is something that’s very prominent.
Neuropathy is when nerve fibers throughout your body are damaged. Usually, it’s caused by a disease like diabetes, or by trauma or injury.
It’s also a very common condition if you take a statin drug.
You may have heard statins cause a huge number of people to suffer fatigue, muscle cramping, and muscle weakness. Or even rhabdomyolysis, when your muscle cells burst and disintegrate.
But statins don’t just cause muscle problems. They damage nerves.
Nerves control the muscles in your body by electrical signals that make them react in specific ways. Nerve and muscle disorders cause your muscles to react in abnormal ways.
Nerve conduction studies test how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals. They use a statistic called “conduction velocity” measured in meters per second.
Results for the man in the article show his reactions are way below normal. For example normal conduction velocity for peroneal nerves is greater than 44 meters per second. The man’s velocity was only 40 at the head of his fibula, and only 38 at the knee.
And conventional medicine has no clue this is happening. The article reports: “Neither the patient’s cardiologist, nor his general physician, was aware of any connection between statins and neuropathy.”
It's true that statins are damaging most people’s nerves who take them. But it’s subclinical. Meaning no one reports it because doctors never ask.
The drug giant Merck lists 23 separate causes for neuropathy… none of which include taking their statin drug, Zocor®.
But it makes sense this is happening if you know what statin drugs do.
You see, nerves work slower when there’s demyelination, which means damage and loss of the fatty insulation surrounding the nerve cell.
And do you know what 75 percent of the insulation surrounding your nerves is made from? Cholesterol.
It’s a staggeringly profound ignorance of the effect of treating the wrong problem. Cholesterol is not the bad guy.
|You need cholesterol to: |
|• produce the protective coating around all your cells, including nerve cells. |
• make all your sex hormones, for both men and women. And,
• take away the plaque that may build up in your arteries which can be part of the real cause of heart attacks.
This is why statin therapy is terribly de-conditioning, and it’s the last thing in the world you want to do to someone who has a heart problem.
Because a heart problem in the modern world is a combination of inflammation, de-conditioning, obesity and oxidation. And all of those problems are the antithesis of exertion-induced changes.
You can stop inflammation, reverse obesity and improve conditioning with progressively intense, short duration exertion in the PACE program. It's an alternative to aerobics and cardio boosts reserve capacity in your heart – critical for avoiding heart attacks – and raises HDL.
But with statin drugs, doctors give somebody pain and stiffness and the inability to heal after a workout – ALL of which are major effects of statin drugs – and push them into the grave.
You see, it doesn't matter what your total cholesterol number is. All you have to do is raise your HDL and you’ll have virtually zero chance of heart disease.
In fact, in one recent study, each 1mg/dl increase in HDL cholesterol resulted in a 6% lower risk of death from heart attack!
How to raise your HDL cholesterol?
To raise your HDL, and avoid being pushed to an early death by the side effects of statin drugs, here’s what to do:
Make your workouts more fun and challenging – Intense, short periods of exertion like the one in PACE program is the most effective way to increase your HDL. One study looked at Navy personnel going through intense training. After only 5 days, their HDL had increased 31%!
Step 2) Eat pure, clean foods:
Stay away from processed foods and junk foods…especially refined sugars. Instead eat lean proteins and unprocessed carbs, like fruits and vegetables.
Drink in moderation –1 to 2 drinks a day are proven to increase HDL. A brand new study followed 4,168 doctors for 14 years. It found the physicians were able to increase their HDL by almost a full 1 mg/dl simply by drinking 1 serving of alcohol every day.
Step 4) Take a few good supplements:
Taking 50 mg of niacin (vitamin B3) daily improves your HDL. Omega-3s increase HDL as well. You can find omega-3s in grass-fed beef, walnuts, olive oil, cold water fish, and in the world’s richest plant source of omega-3, Sacha Inchi oil. Sacha Inchi has almost 7 grams in each tablespoon full.
If you already have some numbness, take 600 mg per day of alpha-lipoic acid. Studies show it prevents or improves nerve conduction, blood flow to nerves, and nerve activity and eases neuropathy symptoms.
Recently in the news there was an important report regarding the cholesterol-lowering drug ezetimibe – being marketed as Zetia.
A trial comparing the drug to niacin was halted mid-stream.
Why? Most likely because the result was not what they expected. It doesn’t improve HDL. It also increases the thickness of artery walls.
This is not what you need, especially if you have narrow arteries to begin with.
Zetia may decrease cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine. But, like statins, it can have serious side effects, including:
• Mental confusion and disorientation
• Stomach and intestinal upsets such as gas and bloating
• Muscular issues
• Liver damage
• Kidney failure
Lowering LDL through the use of a drug like Zetia creates a host of problems. It may not address the issue at all. In fact, it may make it worse.
Niacin Is the Answer
Study after study, niacin has proven itself to be a heart-health warrior. In one study from the prestigious journal Atherosclerosis, researchers showed how niacin raised HDL by a remarkable 24 percent.
In a group with low HDL, niacin improved heart-health markers across the board, including:
|• A 24% increase in HDL—the heart-healthy “good” cholesterol;|
• A 35% increase in adiponectin, the hormone that melts fat away;
• A 38% decrease in LDL;
• A 12% decrease in triglycerides, the real culprit behind clogged arteries.
• Relaxing blood vessels so you have better circulation
First, start with a diet that boosts your intake of vitamin B3. Foods rich in niacin include liver, chicken, beef, avocados, tomatoes and nuts. As always, stick with grass-fed meat, free-range chicken and organic produce and nuts.
Taking a bit too much can lead to “flushing.” So you may want to start with every other day and slowly work up. You can gradually increase to up to 2 grams per day.
Niacin is found in many foods. Here is a list of foods containing niacin:
|Dietary Source- Niacin (Mg)|
|• Beef Liver 3.5 oz- 14.4|
• Chicken White Meat 3.5 oz- 13.4
• Peanuts (1/2 cup)- 10.5
• Salmon 3.5 oz- 8.0
• Ground Beef 3.5 oz- 5.3
• Mushrooms – raw (1/2 cup)- 1.7
• Barley – cooked (1/2 cup)- 1.6
• Lentils – cooked (1/2 cup)- 1.4
• Almonds (1/2 cup)- 1.4
Secondly, you may take a daily supplement. It is much better to take extended-release or sustained-release niacin. This avoids the hot flushes that may occur with immediate-release niacin. But even these usually go away with regular use. You can also try taking it with a small handful of nuts to slow down the absorption.
You need at least 500 mg a day as a starting point for heart health. It’s best to discuss your situation with your doctor. Ask about niacin as an alternative to statins.
Other Foods to Lower Your Bad Cholesterol
For example, did you know a common, everyday fruit can lower cholesterol just as well?
You probably have it in your kitchen right now.
1) It's avocados. This tasty fruit is packed with heart-healthy oleic acid.
In one study, researchers got a group of people with high cholesterol. They put them on a diet high in avocados. The result?
After just one week, the subjects significantly lowered their total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Even more impressive – their HDL increased by 11%.
This is just one of many natural and powerful alternatives to statins.
Here are other natural ways to reduce your cholesterol level:
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that regularly eating fish or taking fish oil supplements was just as effective at reducing the risk of death from heart attack as statin drugs. Wild-caught salmon is best. It doesn’t have all the pollutants found in farm-raised fish. It’s also high in omega-3s. Or you can supplement. You can take anywhere from 700 to 2,000 mg per day.
This amazing blood thinner is also effective at lowering total cholesterol. In one study, researchers gave mice with high cholesterol a ginger extract for 10 weeks. At the end of the study, the mice had significantly lowered their cholesterol. You need at least 300 mg daily.
4) A glass of wine:
Technically it is not a food. But it can improve your cholesterol naturally. A review study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a link between moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks a day) and improved HDL. Turns out it can boost it by 12%. The key here is moderation. Don’t go overboard. If you go this route, you can drink red wine. In addition to the HDL-boosting effect, you’ll get a small dose of the powerful antioxidant resveratrol.
5) Reduce, or eliminating, grains and sugars in your daily diet:
It is especially important to eliminate dangerous sugars such as fructose. If your HDL/Cholesterol ratio is abnormal and needs to be improved it would also serve you well to virtually eliminate fruits from your diet, as that it also a source of fructose. Once your cholesterol improves you can gradually reintroduce it to levels that don"t raise your cholesterol.
6) Eat a good portion of your food raw
7) Eat healthy, preferably raw, fats that correspond to your nutritional type. This includes:
• Olive oil
• Coconut and coconut oil
• Organic raw dairy products (including butter, cream, sour cream, cheese)
• Raw nuts
• Eggs (lightly cooked with yolks intact or raw)
• Organic, grass-fed meats
• Wild caught fish
• Free-farmed, organic poultry
8) Get the right amount of exercise. When you exercise you increase your circulation and the blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has the opportunity to spread.
9) Avoid smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
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