The Cholesterol Myth
There are many common and accepted understandings within modern culture that have no true scientific basis, but have just merely been accepted as fact. One of the major issues has to do with the pathogenesis of various common diseases including heart disease and cancer.
Heart Disease was considered a very rare disease in the early 20th century. However, as food processing began to take off so did the occurrence of heart disease. By the 1950′s, it was considered a major health threat. Over the last 50 years, a whole arsenal of drugs and surgeries has been developed to address this increasingly growing disorder. Today, despite trillions of dollars of research and the best medical equipment available, the American Heart Association said in 2008 that Americans have a 48% chance of getting this deadly disease.
The Lipid Hypothesis: saturated fat and cholesterol
Developed by Ancel Keys in the 1950′s, this theory states that there is a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart disease. With questionable evidence, Keys’ went about writing articles and promoting this hypothesis throughout the medical world.
Meanwhile, hundreds of subsequent studies testing this hypothesis have found differing conclusions. Despite the lack of evidence, this notion took off throughout the healthcare world and was fuelled by the vegetable oil and food processing industries that sought to benefit from this finding.
The New Science of Heart Disease:
Close to 90% of all well-planned, properly documented studies investigating the lipid hypothesis do not support the claim that “artery-clogging” saturated fats and dietary cholesterol cause heart disease. Within a clogged artery, only about 26% of the fat is saturated. More than half of the fat is polyunsaturated.
Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are very heart protective and help the body to reduce inflammation and endothelial inflammation. Saturated fat and cholesterol are important for our immune system and new research is indicating that heart disease is linked with a subclinical auto-immune myocarditis.
Enhancing immunity and reducing inflammation is the key to healthy cardiovascular function. One way progesterone does this is to help the body to resist auto immune attack and fight inflammation.
The benefits of cholesterol
According to Dr. Mary Enig, PhD, an expert in lipid biochemistry there are ten known ways that cholesterol is helpful to the body:
1. Saturated fatty acids and cholesterol constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.
2. They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated. Cholesterol is the precursor to Vitamin D and major hormones that regulate stress, energy and the sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, etc) function.
3. Saturated fats lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins
4. They enhance the immune system and act as an anti-depressant by enhancing serotonin receptor function. Low cholesterol is highly associated with violent and aggressive behavior, depression, and suicidal tendencies.
5. They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.
6. Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
7. Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract. Cholesterol plays a vital role in the repair and maintenance of the intestinal wall, preventing leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and a host of other intestinal disorders.
8. Cholesterol is now understood to be a vital anti-oxidant that protects us from free radical damage and helps to heal any arterial damage that may have occurred. Higher levels of free radical damage from oxidative stress = higher levels of circulating cholesterol.
9. Cholesterol produces bile salts that help us metabolize fats in our diet.
10. Cholesterol is extraordinarily important for babies and children as they develop their brain and nervous system. Over half of the brain is composed of saturated fats and cholesterol. Interestingly, one of the richest sources of cholesterol is mother’s milk, which also contains a special enzyme that helps the baby metabolize and use this nutrient.
Get the Real Story:
Cholesterol is one of the most powerful healing foods and molecules your body can ingest and produce. The problem lies in the oxidation of cholesterol from high levels of free radicals and high firing inflammatory pathways. The key to preventing and reversing heart disease is to put out the inflammatory fires.