The History of Cholesterol Demon
Back in the 1960’s when only a few mavericks in the medical profession and some people in the fledgling natural health foods movement were claiming that cholesterol was a problem. The average medical doctor totally ignored cholesterolemia unless it exceeded 300. Before long, the anti-cholesterol uproar became impossible to ignore, and so the establishment condescended to acknowledge the problem of high cholesterol. Now, anything above 250 was considered a problem, and it was generally recommended that people should avoid eating too many eggs or too much meat because of the risk of heart disease from cholesterol intake. Interestingly, it wasn’t the medical profession that was spearheading this anti-cholesterol movement; it was the processed food industry, lead in particular by the seed oil industry. Archer Daniels Midland wanted to sell an ocean of soybean oil, and thus lead the charge against cholesterol in particular and saturated fat in general. Coconut and palm oils were banned from importation, and everyone “knew” that margarine was going to save our nation from what was sure to have been an epidemic of cardiovascular disease from eating dreaded saturated fat. The billions of dollars worth of propaganda from the processed food industry was enough to sway the minds and change the lifestyles of millions of Americans, but the medical-pharmaceutical establishment continued to largely ignore the perceived cholesterol threat.
Then what happened? The Statin drugs were invented, (predictably) accompanied by a paradigm shift in the establishment. Now, cholesterol was the demon of the century, and our doctors and pharmacists were going to exorcise the evil that lurked within us all from our ill-advised intake of meat and eggs. The all-out war against cholesterol has been waged for over 25 years. The intensity of that war has not waned in the least despite the fact that for at least 5 years now it has been known that cholesterol is not (never has been, and never will be) a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
“The Cholesterol Farce”
Functional Medicine University
To this day, cholesterol is a villain to most medical doctors and statin medications are the miracle drugs to help manage this problem. If it’s not cholesterol that is the problem, who are the real villains? Clotting factors like Homocysteine, Lipoprotein (a), C-Reactive Protein, and Fibrinogen are some. Triglycerides can plug you up, and LDL (the bad cholesterol) create problems for patients when it’s the dense type LDL. A VAP Cholesterol Panel, which measures the density of the cholesterol sizing, is the only way to know if your LDL is the dense type or the less harmful, buoyant type. There are not many doctors checking this and they are just putting most patients on statins if they fall outside of the normal lab value ranges. Some doctors consider this preventative medicine, and even if your lab values are in the normal range, they still want to pursue statin treatment.
So how can we address cholesterol naturally? First off, we need to rule out the genetic clotting factors listed above. A VAP Cholesterol Panel would be the next step to see if Triglycerides or LDL factors are creating problems. To emphasize, this is NOT checking for total LDL like everyone else chases. In my personal case, as I have mentioned at previous lectures, my homocysteine, LDL-dense, and Triglycerides have had a tendency to fluctuate quite a bit. My numbers are very sensitive to sugar and carbohydrate intake. That is why a paleo based diet works better for me. Insulin resistant individuals will present increased cholesterol, increased LDL, low HDL, and increased glucose/A1C. That is where Gluco Sugar Balance and Berberine play a vital role. Berberine has shown well in the literature to help with elevated lipid factors and prediabetes. Increasing your Omega 3s, and supplementing with a green drink like Nitrogreens has helped me maintain my normal numbers. Cataplex G has fat digesting properties in it to help individuals who genetically have higher numbers. This has proven well for me. A few years back, my total cholesterol was 310. In one month, I got it down to where I consider my normal range to be, about 228. It’s the other factors I’m more concerned with, like my LDL-dense cholesterol and Homocysteine. These are more problematic than total cholesterol. Those factors came down dramatically as well. Aged garlic works outstanding for many patients and is also highly researched. I’m not a big fan of doing niacin supplementation with patients with high cholesterol, but would consider it over the side effects of statins today. Same goes for Red Yeast Rice. I would consider it over a statin, but don’t use much of it with patients as it will deplete CoQ10 out of you like most statins do today. These are my tips and secrets from the front line. My Paleo Cardiologist lecture combs through much of what I talked about in further depth.
The Paleo Cardiologist