Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

The Cholesterol Buzz}

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

The Cholesterol Buzz


Stephen Sinatra

The health field is really humming and, if you listen closely, everyone seems to be talking about cholesterol. Nowadays, everyone seems to be declaring all-out war on the substance. The rally to lower cholesterol levels and eliminate it from our diets has taken on the fire and brimstone, reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century religious debate.

Practically every medical, government, and health organization in the country has jumped on the band wagon. And, if you’ll notice, all of this always seems to coincide with the release and the FDA’s approval of some miraculous new anticholesterol drugs. The timing is almost uncanny.

Normally, an outpouring concern of this magnitude would come on the heels of some new breath-taking research. Has medical research finally discovered that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease? Hardly. It appears instead that the breakthrough concerning cholesterol has more to do with the development of new drugs to get rid of it than it does with it being the primary cause of our number-one killer—heart disease.

Make no mistake, I’m all for stopping heart attacks, which kill more than 500,000 people in this country every year, but let’s attack the causes of the problem instead of training the public to treat symptoms. It was established years and years ago that one of the constituents of artery-clogging plaque is most definitely cholesterol. What has never been established is that cholesterol causes plaquing or clogging of the arteries. Let me say it another way. Before cholesterol, calcium and other substances in your blood attach to the walls of arteries and lead to plaque formation, something has happened to that portion of the artery wall. Damage to the wall can come from rancid oxidized fats (which also may cause blood cells to become sticky, slowing blood flow and promoting clotting), pounding or friction from blood moving through blood vessels under high pressure, loss of blood vessel elasticity from aging, hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, improperly digested nutrients traveling in the bloodstream, chemical toxins, and probably a hundred other factors.

This may sound like a contradiction to what I’ve been saying, but I am in favor of lowering cholesterol levels. Not because anyone has determined cholesterol is the cause of heart and artery problems, but because eating and lifestyle habits that increase blood cholesterol levels also have direct links to atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Saturated animal fats, fried foods, insufficient dietary fiber, certain mineral and vitamin deficiencies and low intake of unsaturated fatty acids have all been shown to impair overall cardiovascular health, regardless of the cholesterol levels.

We’re approaching the problem from the wrong direction. Trying to eliminate cholesterol only is side-stepping the real problem of improper diets and lifestyle. Abnormally high cholesterol levels are symptoms of bigger problems, and when you treat the symptoms instead of the causes, it becomes a never-ending exercise in futility.

Don’t think the drug companies are ignorant of the fact that the majority of the American public wants the easy way out when it comes to their health either. The public spends billions of dollars on antacids, headache remedies, laxatives, and appetite suppressants to treat problems directly linked to improper diet and lifestyle. It’s much easier (and more profitable) to market an after-the-fact “cure” than it is to convince everyone that they are ultimately responsible for their own health.

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