Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heart Disease Myths

 "The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, & relearn."       Alvin Toffler 
There are many common and accepted understandings within modern culture that have no true scientific basis.  Some theories 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:  This 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.  Despite trillions of $ of research and the best medical equipment available the American Heart Association said in 2008 thatAmericans have a 48% chance of getting this deadly disease

The Lipid Hypothesis:  Developed by Ancel Keys in the 1950's, this theory states that there is a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat andcholesterol 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. It was fueled by the vegetable oil & food processing industries that sought to benefit the idea.

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.  Read all about this at:

According to Dr. Mary Enig, PhD, expert in lipidbiochemistry:

Saturated fatty acids and cholesterol constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes.They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness & integrity. 
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 & major hormones that regulate stress, energy & sex hormone (estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, etc) function. 
Saturated fat lowers Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol.
Saturated fats 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
Saturated fat & cholesterol 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.
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.
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. 

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.
Cholesterol is extraordinarily important for babies & children as they develop their brain & 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 & inflammatory pathways.  The key to preventing & reversing heart disease is to reduce the inflammatory fire.