Cholesterol is one of the most maligned substances in
history (with the possible exception of plutonium, which didn't ask to
be made into bombs! :0)
What is abundantly clear, though, to those who are willing to look with anything more than a fleeting glance at official statistics, is that cholesterol is not the "axis of evil" it has been made out to be my the medical, and more importantly, the Bigh-Pharma / Big-Food establishment.
Cholesterol is a naturally-occurring fat (or group of fats) which is fundamentally required for good health. It is the precursor to both the male hormone testosterone and the female hormone estrogen, which cannot be made without it. In addition, it performs other vital functions in the body, but more of that later.
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Contrary to popular belief, in most people, the levels of cholesterol
found in the blood have little or nothing to do with the amount of fats consumed in
the diet. Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver in the amounts
required by the body to perform its various functions. It therefore
follows that either reducing the amount of fat in the diet or taking
pills to reduce cholesterol is absolutely pointless and may, indeed be very harmful, as mainstream medicine is finally beginning to realise.
The main reason cited for the desirability of reducing blood cholesterol is the massive increase in ischemic heart disease (IHD) seen during the 20th century. IHD, the main consequence of which is angina and myocardial infarction (MI, also known as heart-attack) was virtually unknown at the beginning of the 1900s. In fact, one well-known Doctor who practised for many years from the mid-1920's is quoted as saying that he didn't see a single case of MI for the first 7 years of his practice.
Subsequent examination of the increasing numbers of those who died of MI showed that their arteries had been "clogged up" with fatty deposits that were high in cholesterol. The connection between cholesterol and IHD was made and that was that. Ever since, Doctors have been trying to invent ways to reduce blood cholesterol levels, but have not stopped to consider why they were elevated in the first place!
If they had done so, they might have been surprised. In order to explain, we need to take a quick look at the physiology of blood vessels, particularly arteries.
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Arteries are the large, elastic blood vessels which
carry blood away from the heart, both to the lungs (deoxygenated blood)
and to the rest of the body (oxygenated blood). They are composed of
three layers, whose names are not relevant to this discussion, but
which, in varying degree are made up of various structural components,
the most important of which is collagen - a soft, pliable, elastic
substance, which allows the artery to stretch and contract as the blood pressure varies with each stroke of the heart "pump".
Like all other cells in the body, the artery cells are constantly under attack from free radicals, inflammation and other cell-damaging forces and are in a continual state or replacement and repair. As a consequence, they need a constant supply of new collagen to replace the damaged cells, so as not to "spring a leak". Collagen is, itself, constructed of a number of components, not least Vitamin C, which is about 60% of the collagen molecule.
When there is insufficient Vitamin C in the body, new collagen cannot be formed to repair the damaged artery cells. this causes a problem for the body, which does not plan for future problems, but is only interested is surviving the "here and now". It therefore has to find something else to repair the damage and uses what could be referred to as the body's "band-aid", namely cholesterol. Molecules of cholesterol actually bind to the damaged sites, preventing blood loss and its disastrous consequences.
Ischemic Heart Disease
As time goes on, this process repeats itself (in the absence of Vitamin C) and gradually the arteries become clogged with cholesterol "bandages", restricting the blood flow until something blocks the remaining space , causing ischemia (lack of blood flow) and infarction (cell-death due to oxygen "starvation").
Hence cholesterol is a sign of a problem, not the cause of the problem - and the problem is (at least partially) vitamin C, or, more specifically, lack of it! this led one of the very few men who has ever won two Nobel prizes, scientist Dr Linus Pauling to suggest that heart disease was in fact chronic scurvy and could be treated with vitamin C.
Pauling was ridiculed by the medical establishment, which clung to it's
shoddy science and did nothing to test his hypothesis. Incidentally, the symptoms of acute scurvy (that is a total lack of vitamin C) are.....leaky blood vessels, leading to massive hemorrhage!
Others were not so ignorant.
Pauling and his colleague, Dr Matthias Rath, spent many years
examining this situation. They found that the problem of IHD (and high
cholesterol) was one that was specific to a very small group of mammals,
man included, and the one thing that these animals had in common, which
differed from ALL other animals was that they could not make
their own vitamin C. EVERY single other animal in the whole planet makes
its own vitamin C in the liver. Man and the other few animals which
suffer from IHD do not!
The result is known as chelation therapy - the only known method of reversing IHD, and one that is almost totally ignored by modern medicine in favor of drugs which do nothing but control the symptoms of the problem.
Others have suggested that, if the problem is a chronic lack of vitamin C, perhaps ischemic heart disease can be prevented by increasing vitamin C consumption. The only practical method of doing this is by supplementation, and adherents take anything from 3g (3,000mg) to 12g (12,000mg) of Vitamin C per day - hundreds of times the "recommended daily allowance" used by most Governments of 90mg/day..
The answer of the medical establishment was somewhat different. they decided the best thing to be would be to invent cholesterol-lowering drugs to reduce the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. According to the physiology above, this will have disastrous effects, as the body will not be able to perform its normal healing processes.
Scientific studies are now showing that cholesterol-lowering drugs have serious long-term effects
which bear out this hypothesis. (It has taken years for "modern
medicine to realize this, though we wrote about it in the early 2000's).
What (if anything) should you do if you have "high-cholesterol"
The decision is yours.
Try to reduce sources of stress
and inflammation and perhaps consider trying a natural herbal remedy for
raised cholesterol, which will support normal functioning, rather than
just artificially reducing cholesterol manufacture.
Ask your Doctor about chelation therapy or "Pauling therapy".
Bear in mind that during his 7 years training, it is likely your
physician has had no more than 1 or maybe 2 HOURS of training on
nutrition is it any wonder we are so reliant on pharmaceuticals?
For a medical view on the dangers of cholesterol-lowering drugs, visit Dr Mercola's website.
If you plan to increase your vitamin C intake, inform your Doctor and make sure you read the section on Vitamins to ensure you know which minerals and trace elements are necessary to absorb vitamin C.