Ignore Cholesterol Readings

[Guest Blog Post from Jackie Patti of Deductive Seasoning.]

Someone posted elsewhere about her husband having high cholesterol and a history of heart disease in his family and a doctor wanting to put him on statins. I decided to answer here so I could share my answer with everyone. I have HAD a heart attack and do not take a statin. Statins are useless as lowering cholesterol is not the issue.

A long time ago, doing autopsies on people, some doctors noticed the stuff clogging their arteries was cholesterol. We now know that arteriosclerosis is caused by inflammation damaging the arteries, cholesterol is the "bandaid" the body uses to plug the damage. Thinking cholesterol causes heart disease is like thinking plaster casts cause broken bones!

  • If you really, really can't convince someone to ignore cholesterol readings, the drug to take instead of statins is Niaspan. It's been around for decades, not only lowers LDL cholesterol but raises HDL, and has extremely minimal side effects. The worst side effect it has is a minor flushing which you can get rid of easily with a glass of water. It won't cripple you with the muscular side effects nor shut down half your endocrine system.

If a loved-one insists on doing a statin, you should encourage them to take 100-150 mg CoenzymeQ10 2-3 times daily. This will largely mitigate much of the side effects of a statin. But really, where statins are concerned, my primary advice is: Just Say No.

If you have a concern about heart disease, the most important thing in your regular lab work is your fasting bG and your HbA1c. The A1c, even when not near diabetic ranges, is much more tightly correlated with heart disease and stroke than is cholesterol. A higher A1c greatly increases your odds.

Elevated bG is very inflammatory, as is elevated serum insulin; this is much more important in preventing cardiovascular disease than cholesterol.

FACT: a diagnosis of T2 diabetes has the SAME odds of having a heart attack as SOMEONE WHO ALREADY HAD ONE! Blood glucose levels are THAT critical. If anyone has questions about bG control, I have lots of references I can provide.

If you have reason for concern, better yet would be having a heart scan. A heart scan shows the actual amount of clogging in the primary arteries to the heart. This gives you an actual indication if you have a likelihood towards heart disease (and indirectly stroke) or not. And it gives you a "number" to try to beat with interventions and a way to measure the usefulness of those interventions since it is directly measuring the "clogginess" of your arteries.

  • The dietary issue is not cholesterol, but inflammation. Trans fats are so bad because even in miniscule amounts, they cause horrid inflammation. Most industrial fats (cottonseed, corn, canola, soy oils and even nuts and seed oils) have a lot of omega 6 fatty acids, which are inflammatory.

    We need a lot of omega 3 fatty acids (mostly fish oil) as they are antiinflammatory, to counter the inflammatory ones. This is why fish oil and cod liver oil are so often recommended.

Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of antioxidant and antiinflammatory compounds, so the diet should consist mostly of these.

  • I recommend to EVERYONE that half your food, by volume, should be non-starchy veggies. Fruit and starchy veggies are on TOP of that, and may even need to be limited depending on bG issues. But non-starchy veggies are for everyone, all the time.

Protein should be primarily from pastured meat, truly free-range eggs and pastured dairy. These contain high amounts of the omega 3 fatty acids, as opposed to most grocery store meat which is mostly crappy inflammatory fats (and filled with fat-soluble toxins, which you don't need). They also contain a lot of vitamins A, D3 and K2 which you NEED to prevent arteriosclerosis.

  • Going low-fat has deprived us of these nutrients, thus the calcium is in our blood, hardening our arteries, instead of in our bones and teeth.

Fear of cholesterol and saturated fat made people stop eating things like pastured butter, chockful of vitmains D3 and K2 which PREVENT heart disease, and eat things like margarines made of vegetables oils, which CAUSE heart disease. We have to knock this off! Thus my participation in the real food movement in the first place.

Other labwork I'd recommend for those with concerns about heart disease... have sex hormones checked, if testosterone is low, you need to supplement to get it in range. The thyroid HORMONES must be checked (not just TSH): FT4, FT3 and rT3 - an imbalance here also increases the risk of heart disease (what to do with poor results depends on the results and is complicated, I can give references if someone has an issue). And everyone should test serum D3 levels, if low, supplement to get > 60 ng/dL. These things are PROVEN to lower heart scan scores, improving arterial health directly.

If you have elevated bp, try raw milk if it's available to you; it lowered my bp better than both ace-inhibitors and beta-blockers, of which they prescribed more and more. And if that's not enough, check your serum potassium (or rbc would be better). If serum is < 4.0 (or rbc < 70% of the range), ask your doctor for K-dur, and take until your labs improve; your bp WILL go down without need for diuretics or other drugs.

As I said, I actually HAD a big old myocardial infarction, followed by an unsuccessful angio, and a CABG... and have been disabled since. While disability sucks, I had LOTS of time to research heart disease.

This is what I take for my heart right now IN ADDITION to a healthy real food diet:

  • 1000 mg fish oil 2x/day
  • 1000 mg cod liver oil 2x/day
  • 150 mg CoQ10 2x/day
  • 1000 mg Niaspan 1x/day
  • 81 mg aspirin 1x/day
  • 10,000 IU vitamin D3 1x/day (I wouldn't recommend this much to most, but lesser amounts did not raise my labs)

I also take metformin, Lantus (long-acting insulin), Novolog (fast-acting insulin) and just began on Invokana for diabetes. And I take a GOOD B-supplement (all bioidentical vitamins) and milk thistle also for diabetes.

  • And I consider about a half pound of good, local, pastured butter each week a "supplement" too, it's the last real food I'd give up.

Diet comes first - these things will not improve heart health if you eat french fries fried in peanut oil, spread your sandwich with mayo made with canola oil, eat "heart-healthy" grains enough to raise your blood glucose, and don't get in loads of veggies and fruits for the great phytochemicals they contain.

This is a distillation of what I've learned in 7 years of research, there is so much more detail. But it's a starting point.