Heart attacks and the ambiguous relationship to cholesterol

By Mike Geary, aka "The Nutrition Watchdog" 
Certified Nutrition Specialist, best-selling author: The Truth about Six Pack Abs & The Fat Burning Kitchen

The REAL causes of heart attacks may not be due to just saturated fats or dietary cholesterol, there is more happening in which you should be interested since heart disease is the number one killer in America. The US and Australia lead in deaths from heart disease. 

No, not a heart attack!

Yes, several medical studies worldwide have shown that higher cholesterol levels in the body actually increase longevity instead of decrease it but under special circumstances and are not necessarily related to heart attacks. 

Yes, that's right. People with high cholesterol have been statistically shown to live longer and healthier than people with low cholesterol in several studies. There are multiple references for this phenomenon in Shane Ellison's controversial book, The Hidden Truth about Cholesterol Lowering Drugs, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov's (MD, PhD) book entitled, The Cholesterol Myths, as well as Sally Fallon and Mary Enig's book, Nourishing Traditions. I've highlighted these books and I suggest you buy them to play a more active role in your health because you will get a greater benefit from doing that then by finishing this short article. You can count on that!

So why in the world are the pharmaceutical and medical industry pushing for practically everyone on the planet to "lower their cholesterol"? Heart attack prevention? Well, the first, and more innocent answer, is flawed medical studies from decades ago that have been accepted as fact and never fully analyzed for their validity. Another answer is that this practice of recommending that half of the damn planet takes a cholesterol lowing medication (such as statin drugs), regardless of whether they truly have any real risk for heart disease, creates insane multi-billion dollar profits for the drug companies. 

As perfectly absurd example of how doctors have been wrongly influenced by the drug companies... about 8 years ago, I was a perfectly healthy 28 year old, in great shape, exercising daily, eating a balanced healthy diet full of antioxidants and quality nutrition, no smoking, and with no real risk factors for heart disease, and just because my cholesterol level has been consistently measured over 200 recently, my doctor recommended I consider using a cholesterol lowering statin drug. I pondered, "How is this possible, I'm 5'11", weigh 147 pounds and work out for over an hour a day with cardio 7 days a week with single digit body fat."? Does this sound like someone in danger of a heart attacks? 

Consider how outlandish this scenario is! The drug companies have hypnotized doctors into prescribing unnecessary prescription drugs to healthy young people with perfectly normal cholesterol levels that just happen to be over this arbitrary number of 200 that they have come up with, supposedly to prevent heart attacks. The drug reps could not possibly be under pressure to earn very high incomes from commissions could they? Luckily, I refused to be a guinea pig and fork over my hard earned duckets for potentially dangerous drugs, and decided to start researching this whole cholesterol and heart disease connection myself. 

High Cholesterol is NOT necessarily the enemy!

As time goes on and scientists continue to learn more about heart disease, it has become quite clear over the recent years that inflammation within the body (NOT Cholesterol levels) is what causes plaque build up in the arteries and eventual heart disease. Inflammation can be caused by many personal factors such as stress, smoking, viruses, consumption of refined and/or hydrogenated fats (man-made trans fats), an imbalance of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats to omega-3 polyunsaturated fats in the diet, excess sugars in the diet, etc. 

Here is a quick and dirty of how it works in general. Wide spread inflammation happens to occur in the body for whatever reasons, if you happen to also have high amounts of cholesterol flowing through your blood then it is possible that a deposit of plague will form lining the arteries of your heart. When this plague builds up enough it occludes the passage of blood in the heart depriving the heart of oxygen and then a heart attack occurs; however, if you happen to have lots of cholesterol floating around without inflammation it does not necessarily warrant the need of a statin.

What is interesting is that a primary care physician or cardiologist can measure your body's inflammatory state with what is called a c-reactive protein (CRP) test. This just may be a better indicator if heart disease is on its way then just a cholesterol test.

The doctor can order another important test that is more important than a cholesterol test and that is a test for serum homocysteine levels. The next time your doctor wants you to get blood cholesterol tests, request CRP and homocysteine tests instead. The doc should know where you are going with this. 

Lowering your cholesterol levels when you are only 28 or 35 and workout 7 days a week with low inflammatory levels seems entirely unnecessary, you may have low inflammatory states even without working out at all because a lot of people are genetically gifted with advantages that help prevent heart attacks. You could end up taking a drug that has side effects, some severe rare side effects like muscular breakdown called rhabdomyolysis which is life threatening. The whole process then makes the drug companies rich because they are so successful at selling their drugs during a short appointment in which they speak to the doctor and tell them all about their wonderful drug and the necessity to keep cholesterol below 200 no matter what! 

Focus on lowering your inflammatory state within your body. Educate yourself about how to do this. 

The fantastic news is that preventing heart disease is about living a healthy lifestyle and controlling inflammation, not about throwing down a dangerous drug pill everyday. Controlling your inflammation to prevent heart disease is as easy as reducing stress in your life (try deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, etc as well as preventing stress in the first place by keeping a calm demeanor,) maintaining a healthy weight, eating a high-antioxidant, highly nutritious unprocessed diet is also really important, this kind of eating can be found in this highly recommend ebook: "The Truth about Six Pack Abs Program), and avoid smoking, trans fat, junk foods, and other causes of heavy free radical production in the body. People on the internet even sell packaged drink mixes that are designed to control inflammation within the body. 

I sincerely hope that this article has given you some helpful info about the causes of heart disease and not the propaganda that has been shoved down your throat for years, based on flawed medical studies from 40-50 years ago, making drug companies excessively wealthy. 

If you or anyone you care about is currently taking statins, or if you just want to learn more about cholesterol and the controversy that is revolving currently around statin drugs, please read the book Cholesterol Myths

› Heart Attacks and ambiguous relationship to cholesterol
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