The Center for Disease Control states that Heart Disease is the number one killer in the U.S. at approximately 600,000 deaths per year. Pharmaceutical companies in the meantime state that High Cholesterol is the main cause of heart disease yet to date there has not been a single research article proving that high cholesterol causes heart disease. This should make someone question why the pharmaceutical industry keeps touting this unproven “fact” while they push Statin drugs as a treatment of choice.
In addition, we are told that LDL is “Bad” heart disease causing cholesterol and HDL is “Good” heart promoting cholesterol. The reason they say LDL is “Bad” cholesterol is that this is the cholesterol that gets blocked in our arteries and causes atherosclerosis and leads to heart attacks and strokes. The pharmaceutical companies then come in with their Statin medications which are designed to block the action of a chemical in the liver that is necessary for making cholesterol. Therefore the theory goes something like this; High levels of LDL cholesterol causes atherosclerosis, atherosclerosis causes heart attacks and stroke therefore, take a medication so your body can’t make anymore cholesterol and you won’t have a heart attack or stroke. On the surface this seems logical except for one small problem… this is NOT the whole story.
LDL is not “Bad” and HDL is not “Good”. Both are critical for important functions within the body. Let me explain. When damage occurs to our arterial walls from toxins found in our environment and food supply body makes LDL’s in the liver. These LDL’s sole purpose is to go to the damaged site and deposit the waxy type substance (the cholesterol) on the damaged area so it can heal! HDL’s then come along and pick up left over cholesterol from this healing process and transports this waxy substance back to the liver to be recycled so the body can make another LDL if the damaging process continues.
LDL’s are a protective mechanism designed by your body to help you, they are not “Bad”! The reason they get such a bad rap is that sugars, bad fats (man made fats NOT natural saturated fats) and toxins cause damage to the arterial walls. If we are exposed to any of these things over a short period of time then the LDL’s come out to fix the damage and the HDL’s bring it back to the liver to wait again for the next battle. The problem arises when our exposure to sugars, bad fats and toxins continues indefinitely and the body has to keep making more and more LDL’s in an attempt to combat the damage that we are continually enduring. Over time the HDL’s can’t keep up and the LDL’s start to block the arteries. However, is it the LDL’s that we should blame for trying to help repair the damage to our arterial walls or should we look at stopping the damage to the arterial walls that is causing the release of LDL’s in the first place?! I often tell my patients that this theory on cholesterol causing heart attacks is like saying flies cause garbage. If every time you go to a dump you find a bunch of flies is it true that the fly’s caused the garbage to be at the dump? Of coarse not, the flies are at the dump because of the garbage. If we want to get rid of the flies then we must take out the garbage. Likewise, if everyone is having heart attacks because chronic damage to our arterial walls is causing our protective LDL cholesterol to build up then we fix what is causing the damage to the arteries… not try to kill our body’s defense mechanism that helps us combat the problem.
We do know that the oxidation of cholesterol does in fact contribute to heart disease but again, this oxidation is caused by the chronic damage and exposure to sugars, bad fats and toxins as well. In our office we focus not on the symptoms of the condition but the root cause of problems and on improving body function through the use of our RENEW program. We see patients get off of their high cholesterol medications on a daily basis because we focus on what is causing the problem., not the symptom.