The Many Vital Roles of Cholesterol

Written by Lori Nichols Davies.

Researched by the Weston A. Price Foundation, in Washington D.C., a body of independent scientists, educators and activists formed in 1999 for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts (www.westonaprice.org) is respected and taught at the Holistic Cooking Academy of Canada (www.holistic-cooking.com)

cholesterol

  1. Cholesterol is formed by almost every cell in the body, and primarily by the liver.
  2. Cholesterol in cell membranes makes cells waterproof so there can be a different chemistry on the inside and the outside of the cell.
  3. Cholesterol is nature's repair substance, used to repair wounds, rough arteries falling apart from lack of vitamin C that works with collagen, including tears and irritations in the arteries.
  4. Many important hormones are made of cholesterol including hormones that regulate mineral metabolism and blood sugar; hormones that help us deal with stress, and all the sex hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
  5. Cholesterol is vital to the function of the brain and nervous system.
  6. Cholesterol protects us against depression; it plays a role in the utilization of serotonin, the body's feel good chemical.
  7. The bile salts, needed for the digestion of fats, are made of cholesterol.
  8. Cholesterol is the precursor of vitamin D, which is formed by the action of ultra-violet UV-B sunlight on cholesterol in the skin, to protect the body from bone loss, diabetes, and dementia.
  9. Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant that protects us against free radical damage and therefore against cancer.
  10. Cholesterol, especially LDL-cholesterol (the so-called lousy cholesterol that is always present in the body and needs to be in balance with HDL cholesterol or the heavenly cholesterol) helps fight infection.

Myths and Truths about Cholesterol

MYTH: People with high cholesterol are prone to heart attacks.
TRUTH: Young and middle-aged men with cholesterol levels over 350 are only slightly more at risk for heart attacks. Those who have levels below 350 are at no greater risk than those whose cholesterol is very high. For elderly men and for women of all ages, high cholesterol is associated with a longer lifespan.

MYTH: Cholesterol and saturated fat clog arteries.
TRUTH: In analysis of arterial plaque (clogs) there is very little cholesterol. Plaque is made primarily of calcium deposits akin to lime and unsaturated fats from processed vegetable oils.

MYTH: Eating saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods will cause cholesterol levels to rise and make people more susceptible to heart disease. As Americans have cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol rich foods since the 1970's, rates of heart disease have gone up.
TRUTH: Many studies show no relationship between diet and cholesterol levels. There is no evidence that saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods contribute to heart disease. As Americans and Canadians have cut back on cholesterol-rich foods, rates of heart disease have gone up.

MYTH: Cholesterol lowering drugs have saved many lives.
TRUTH: In the two most recent trials involving over 10,000 subjects, cholesterol lowering did not result in any improvement in outcome.

MYTH: Countries that have a high consumption of animal fat and cholesterol have higher rates of heart disease.
TRUTH: There are many exceptions to this accusation, such as France and Spain. Furthermore, an association (called a risk-factor) is not the same as a cause. In wealthy countries where people eat lots of animal foods, many other factors exist that can contribute to heart disease, such as white sugar consumption.

Dangers of Statin Drugs

Modern cholesterol-lowering drugs act by inhibiting an enzyme (HMC-CoA reductase) needed by the liver to form cholesterol. These HMC Co-A reductase inhibitors called statins are sold as Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravacol, Zucor, etc.

Weakness and Muscle Wasting:

This is the most common side effect of statin drugs occurring in as many as one in three users. Muscle aches and pains, back pain, heel pain, weakness and slurring of words result from statin interference with the production of Co-enzyme Q-10 (CoQ10) needed for muscles to function. These side effects are more common in active people and may not show up until three years after consumption of prescribed treatment.

Heart Failure:

Rates of heart failure have doubled since the advent of statin drugs. The heart is a muscle that depends upon a plentiful supply of Co Q10.

Polyneuropathy:

Tingling and pain in the hands and feet as well as difficulty walking occur frequently in those taking statins, conditions often blamed on old age rather than on the drug.

Cognitive Impairment:

Many patients have reported memory loss and brain fog; including total global amnesia (episodes of complete memory loss). The implications for pilots and those driving cars and trucks are profound.

Cancer:

In every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer. Most human trials are not carried out long enough to detect any increase in cancer rates, but in one trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin were 1500% higher than those in the control group.

Depression:

Numerous studies have linked low cholesterol to Depression.

If it isn't cholesterol, then what causes heart disease?

Many scientists have put forth valid theories for the epidemic of heart disease in western societies.

They include:

Deficiency of Vitamins A and D:

These vitamins were obtained only in animal fats. Back in the 1930's, Weston A. Price, DDS, observed that rates of heart attack rose during the period of the year when levels of these fat-soluble vitamins in local butter went down. (Winter snow covered the grass).

Deficiencies of B6, B12, and Folic Acid:

Kilmer McCully, MD, Ph.D, demonstrated that these deficiencies lead to elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid marker for heart disease.

Transfatty Acids:

Fred Kummerone, Ph.D., and many others have linked heart disease to the replacement of saturated fats with trans fatty acids from processed polyunsaturated vegetable oils; saturated fats actually protect against heart disease in many ways.

Mineral Deficiencies:

Deficiencies of magnesium, selenium, copper and vanadium have been linked to heart disease.

Milk Pasteurization:

J.C. Annand, a British researcher, observed an increase in heart disease in districts that implemented pasteurization compared to those where milk was still sold unpasteurized.

Emotional Stress:

Heart attacks often occur after a period of emotional or physical stress, which depletes the body of many nutrients, primarily Vitamin C.

Unfortunately, little research money is available for researchers to do double blind studies to prove these observations to satisfy registered dieticians and other mainstream scientists. Most research on heart disease is funded through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes, which are firmly committed to the flawed hypothesis that cholesterol and saturated fat cause heart disease. It is more efficient to educate the public with scientific truths than wait for money to made available by philanthropists.

How to Avoid Heart Disease

  1. Don't worry about your cholesterol. The stress of unnecessary worry can cause heart disease.
  2. Do not take cholesterol-lowering drugs - they contribute to heart disease.
  3. Avoid processed food, especially foods containing processed vegetable oils and trans fats.
  4. Eat the meat, fat and organ meats of grass-fed animals to get vitamin A and D and K2.
  5. Eat plenty of wild caught scale fish and sea foods to avoid shoreline pollutants.
  6. Do not consume protein powders without eggs to get fat to utilize the protein, do not consume lean meat, egg whites without the yolks, or skim milk. High protein diets lacking fat can deplete vitamin A, leading to dry skin, infections, heart disease and cancer.
  7. Eat liver at least once a week to ensure adequate levels of B12, B6, folic acid, iron and copper.
  8. Take cod liver oil and consume plenty of butter from grass fed cows to ensure adequate levels of vitamins A, D, and K2.
  9. Maintain a healthy weight - neither too heavy nor too thin.
  10. Engage in moderate exercise in the outdoors.
  11. Do not smoke; avoid exposure to any environment that is toxic, including EMF pollutions, toxic air, water and soils, and toxic emotions.

Please see www.holistic-cooking.com for more accurate and independent research on prevention of many other diseases, as well as contact our local Holistic Teaching Chef in Calgary, Barb Thomas at barb@love2eat.com.

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