Cholesterol levels not highly correlated with heart disease - Recent study indicates that the two most commonly used risk algorithms (based primarily on blood cholesterol levels) correlate poorly with heart disease. Lead author Dr. Kevin M. Johnson says the risk profiles based on Framingham score or the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) are "weak discriminator of the overall atherosclerotic plaque burden and may lead to over- or undertreatment of patients."
Johnson points out that the Framingham risk estimate is derived from epidemiologic observations. As other studies have shown, Framingham predicts the risk of a coronary event only 60% to 65% of the time. "When you turn around and you try to use that kind of epidemiological data to make a clinical decision in the doctor's office, it falls apart....[T]here will be a lot of people who have a low Framingham risk who have a lot of atherosclerotic plaque, and a lot of people with high risk, by Framingham score, with no plaque,"
Cholesterol Myth / Heart Disease Myth - I've become suspicious of the current model that high blood cholesterol (particularly LDL) is directly related to coronary heart disease risk (CHD). Operating from this belief, doctors prescribe drugs which reduce blood LDL levels thinking this effect also reduces the heart disease risk (CHD). Specifically, I'm referring to the widespread acceptance of statin drugs (Crestor, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.).
Statins clearly reduce LDL, but they carry with them other effects that may be more relevant to reducing CHD risk than reducing LDL levels. It's like trying to stop aging by stopping hair from turning gray. Gray hair is a symptom of aging, but not necessarily part of the cause. Similarly, LDL may be a symptom of CHD risk, but NOT likely a cause.
However, as I make clear below, I don't think high LDL is necessarily a symptom of high CHD risk.
Work in progress. I hope to have study citations to support each assertion listed below in what I hope will be a more comprehensive model of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Get the Most from Your Statin - Everyday Health reports that when and how you take your statin can influence its effectiveness and absorption.
- Mevacor - Take with food. This almost doubles the amount of medication absorbed into bloodstream.
- Mevacor, Pravachol, Zocor, Lescol - Take with your evening meal. These statins block a one of the liver's key cholesterol-making enzymes, and that enzyme is most active at night.
- Crestor, Lipitor - Take at any time, as these statins stay in the body and bloodstream long enough that you can take them any time.
- Pravachol - If on other medications, try Pravachol, which is less likely to interact with other medications than other statins.
Found this in Robert Kowalski's website. Lists in detail the cholesterol fighter's current regimen of vitamin, mineral, and other supplements.
Nine volunteers, with a reality TV camera crew taping, decided to go ape with their diet (sometimes called the EVO diet). For 12 days the volunteers avoided all processed foods and ate only from a generous ration of fruits and vegetables -- a diet of the apes.
The results: Blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels dropped significantly for all.
What they ate: 2,300 calories of fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey
Typical 3-day Rotation included:
- Broccoli, carrots, radishes
- Cabbage, tomatoes, watercress
- Strawberries, apricots, bananas
- Mangoes, melons, figs, plums
- Satsumas, hazelnuts
Interesting stories of the volunteers' experiences.
Just one meal of saturated fat can inflame the inner lining (endothelium) of blood vessels. This reduces the vessels' ability to expand and increase blood flow. Further, the inflammation can lead to lesions or cracks between the cells in the vessel lining, which are repaired by the body using cholesterol (oversimplification). When bad cholesterol (LDL) is used for the repair, plaque buildup and arteriosclerosis can result. When good cholesterol (HDL) is used for the repair, plaque buildup is less likely.
Just one meal of high saturated fats can reduce good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Conversely, one meal of unsaturated fats can increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
Take a gander at the total fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol content in this mother of a breakfast from Swanson. It's called the Hungry Man All Day Breakfast--sure to give you arteriosclerosis.
I'll take two.
Guggulsterone from Guggul Tree Sap - This is an older (2002) article on the medicinal and chemical properties of a substance found in the sap or resin of the Asian Indian Guggul tree. The compound, called guggulsterone, blocks the FXR receptor (where?). The FXR receptor controls bile levels (and production) in the liver. By blocking the FXR receptor, the guggulsterone compound prevents the uptake/recycling of cholestrol laiden bile from the small intestine, thus breaking the metabolic cycle for bile. That's my best understanding from the article. May need more research. Sounds like the guggul sap is available in health food stores, particularly in India, where it's been used for the last 40 years to treat heart disease. Another "natural" remedy.