That was then. This is now.
Here's a few myths versus facts:
Myth: Those with higher total cholesterol experience more heart attacks.
Truth: Cholesterol is only a minor player in the cascade of inflammation which is a cause of heart disease. Cholesterol is an inflammatory marker. It is sent to inflamed arteries to patch and heal damaged arteries. Lowering cholesterol is like eliminating firemen. Instead, discover the source of the fire. Excess blood sugar is the most common cause of inflammation and triggers the liver to release cholesterol. Cholesterol is vital to our survival.
Insulin resistance is a huge common precursor to heart disease. Elevated triglycerides are a better indication of excess glucose (sugar) creating an inflammatory response. Simple processed carbohydrates and sugars predispose you to heart disease.
- Cortisol, the stress hormone creates elevated glucose in the blood. Lowering both internal and external stressors is essential to lowering cholesterol.
Myth: The higher the cholesterol the shorter the lifespan.
Truth: "Lower cholesterol is a robust predictor of mortality..." (2) Higher cholesterol protects you from gastrointestinal disease, pulmonary disease and hemorrhagic stroke. It also has a protective influence against dementia. The most protective range for cholesterol appears to be between 200 and 240. (3)
Myth: Saturated fats are dangerous.
Fact: Saturated fats are not dangerous. The killer fats are trans-fats from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Please empty your cupboards of them. These are omega 6 oils and inflammatory. Hydrogenated means oxidized. This causes oxidative stress which can lead to DNA damage. DNA damage leads to mutated genes, a precursor to cancer. If you have cardiovascular disease you are more prone to cancer.
Myth: Fat makes you fat and is bad for your health.
Truth: Monounsaturated and saturated fats protect you from metabolic disease (insulin resistance and pre-diabetes). Sugar is the culprit in cardiovascular disease.
Myth: Common Thinking, "I eat a clean healthy diet so don't need to worry about cardiovascular disease."
Truth: See above. Stress causes the liver to convert glycogen to glucose. Chronic stress can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. My own history is a personal example of this. Diet is only one factor. Uncovering hidden stressors (like food sensitivities and gut issues) and how you react to the daily external stressors are equally powerful and important interventions.
Myth: Cholesterol is the most important marker determining heart disease.
Truth: Other important markers include homocysteine, CRP, HgA1c, Triglycerides, fibrinogen, fasting insulin, glucose, eAG, LDLIII, LDL IV and VLDL levels. I like Spectracell Laboratories Cardiometabolic profile for a more complete picture. If you are local you can go to Golden Health Pharmacy in Sterling for blood draws on Wednesday mornings.
Fortunately, my client is going to a savvy practitioner who did most of the above tests. All were well within normal limits indicating her dietary changes over the last couple of months were making a big difference!
What was elevated and a bigger concern to me was her SHBG. Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is a stress marker. Stress is most likely the culprit of her elevated cholesterol as well a her hormonal imbalances.
Here's a picture explaining why:
Please note that to make any sex or stress hormones, you must first ingest, digest, and assimilate healthy fats and b vitamins. Second, cholesterol is the precursor to all of your steroid and sex hormones. If you want to feel good you need the basic nutrients to fuel your body.
Your body is interested in your survival. Your body will respond to whatever stress you give it. It will prioritize the stress response over rest and digest, rest and repair or mate and ovulate. You don't need to digest food or repair or make babies if you are running for your life.
Here's a slide from my Holy Hormones lecture.
Stress hormones affect your sex hormones which affects your metabolic hormones. You cannot lose weight or meet your health goals if you are stuck in fight or flight or stress mode.
So Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is a serum blood test that when elevated tells you that your body is prioritizing the stress cascade over sex hormones. This will affect your ability to lose weight and your libido. It also means your body is prone to storing belly fat.
So for quality of life, what do you think is a more important marker? Also know, that you are NOT your lab tests or diagnosis. You are the witness and you have the power to heal from within.
May this weekend be full of family, meaningful and nourishing conversation and food.
1.http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/23/6/847 and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0002870362900637 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7114080
2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.53106.x/abstract and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15006277
2, 3 http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/majority-of-hospitalized-heart-75668.aspx http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664115/