As far as the reasons behind heart attacks are concerned, the science behind cholesterol looks to be very fishy and undiscovered, although there is a flood of medications, especially statin drugs, that claim to reduce the number in test results, but do not reduce the risk substantially.
The reasons being explained for plaque formation in the arteries that block the blood supply are basically food and drink, smoke and pollution, stress, and no physical activities. There are many cases I have come across where all those said reasons are not true for victims of MI. The very early-age heart attack does not justify the “over a period of unhealthy lifestyle” as the cause. There seems to be very many people with perfectly normal LDL cholesterol levels who suffer heart attacks and strokes, and many people with high LDL cholesterol that suffer neither. Also, there are quite a few examples of those with reckless lifestyles; they look obese, but the test results come almost normal, and they lead a fun filled life.
But for sure, in recent days, adulterated food and unhealthy lifestyle are the reasons for all these problems. Cardiac disease has become a national burden for all countries, which has hit almost every home. The family has to struggle with the angst of losing a family member, and at the same time, education of the children is massively affected if the victim was the only wage earner of the family. Modern lifestyle makes it no easier, what with unhealthy packaged foods being the cheapest and quickest, and fresh foods being the most expensive. Our working hours have increased, and we are looking for extra hours to work to make life easy with some extra income, which leaves us no longer with free time to cook healthy meals and to work out.
In addition to the heart, blocked arteries can create issues in the kidneys—their failure requires dialysis and kidney transplantation; or stroke, which causes paralysis and long-term illness, and these are more heavy burdens than straight death. Hence, these conditions are not just of academic interest, as they have devastating consequences for real families.
Cholesterol is avoidable in most cases, and the steps required to avoid it should be made familiar to everybody. It has become mandatory to have lifestyle changes, and the “holy” knowledge to master a lifestyle that keeps cholesterol under control and allows our arteries to remain functional into our old age.
In this article, I would like to initiate a discussion and want to draw the attention of experts in the field about the need for making laypeople aware about fat metabolism and cholesterol management. It is said that the correct theory of cholesterol holds that oxidized cholesterol, not normal cholesterol, poses health risks. Cholesterol and fat become oxidized, they lodge in the arteries, and this is dangerous. The point here is—oxidation of fat in the arteries is the only culprit as per the new findings of cholesterol and plaque formation, the cause of atherosclerosis.
The emphasis on changes in dietary and lifestyle habits that promote and inhibit fat oxidation has become a key factor to stay heart-healthy. The issue of rampant use of statin drugs that have collusive side-effects, yet are ineffective in preventing the dangerous oxidation process, needs to be well explained by the researcher and the scientist. Knowledge about the benefits and dietary sources of antioxidants, the differentiation of good and bad dietary fat sources, and awareness about the destructive oxidizing effects of smoking, along with the extremely beneficial way of life through exercise, sound sleep, yoga, and pranayama to lower stress, are important for a heart-healthy life.
With this article, I am trying to seek some progress on clinical practices that help us to substitute foods that lead to unhealthy oxidized cholesterol by healthy foods. The clinician should start talking about the dangers of saturated and trans-fat, and about how unsaturated fat needs to be consumed on a daily basis. We must train people to read the specifications and ingredients of food products, and the process of manufacturing and preserving them.
Here is a short but important compilation of excerpts from several studies from the last 35 years:
Refutes Relationship between Cholesterol Levels and Heart Attack
Scott Davis, in his popular book, The Oxidized Cholesterol Strategy, writes, “Atherosclerosis is arguably a condition that arises because the macrophages responsible for removing cholesterol from blood vessel walls become overwhelmed, and they become foam cells and die, adding their contents and their remnants to grow an atherosclerotic plaque, attracting more of their fellows to the same location to repeat the cycle. It is argued that foam cell is the result of oxidized cholesterol. They have decreased ability to migrate, while displaying enhanced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, foam cells participate in maintaining chronic inflammation in the lesions.”
SENS Research Foundation has had some early success in their search of bacteria capable of consuming these damaged forms of cholesterol. However, the mode of action of the most prescribed drug, statins, does not work into the root cause. SRF’s statement on their research work is directed towards repair of damaged cells. “Many things go wrong with aging bodies, but at the root of them all is the burden of decades of unrepaired damage to the cellular and molecular structures that make up the functional units of our tissues. As each essential microscopic structure fails, tissue function becomes progressively compromised, imperceptibly at first, but ending in the slide into the diseases and disabilities of aging.”
The New Scientist, Feb 8, 2017, writes in Cholesterol Wars, “We may be fighting the wrong enemy. Few people doubt cholesterol is a factor in heart disease, but by fixating on it, we might be ignoring things that matter more. Not everyone is convinced that cholesterol really is all that bad for your heart.”
“The cholesterol campaign is the greatest medical scandal in modern time,” says Uffe Ravnskov, a Danish independent researcher. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed papers about cholesterol’s biological role, and claims there is no link between blood-cholesterol levels and levels of atherosclerosis, the furring of the arteries that precipitates heart attacks.
It’s certainly true that half of all heart attacks and strokes occur among apparently healthy people with normal or low levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, so it’s clearly not the sole factor. Drugs beside statins that lower LDL-C levels, such as fibrates, ezetimibe, and bile acid sequestrates also have little if any effect on heart-related deaths. Statins happen to lower both LDL-C levels and reduce deaths from heart attacks among those with diagnosed heart conditions, but that might just be coincidence, says Richard Lehman of Cochrane, a non-profit organization that reviews available medical data. “The association may or may not be causal,” he says.
In the 1980s, Doctor Daniel Steinberg, who died at the age of 92 in 2015, wrote a book called The Cholesterol Wars, and also published more than 400 papers related to lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis. He commented that while LDL cholesterol seemed to increase the risk of atherosclerosis, the numerous cases of people with high LDL without atherosclerosis seemed to suggest that LDL alone was not responsible for this form of coronary artery disease.
The most recent research-based article published in Health Impacts News, by PRWEB, on August 20, 2019, states the following:
During his cardiology training over thirty years ago, Dr. Ernest N. Curtis saw hundreds of patients with coronary heart disease and heart attacks. He was struck by the fact that most patients with fairly advanced atherosclerosis had a wide variety of cholesterol levels. He began to question what he had been taught on the subject and to research the origins of the Cholesterol Theory.
“If one takes the occurrence of heart attacks and strokes as an index of the severity of atherosclerosis, then there are some statistics that argue strongly against a role for cholesterol. For example, men suffer heart attacks at a rate 3-5 times that of women. Yet, women on average have higher cholesterol levels than men. If you examine the statistics closely, you will see that the incidence of heart attacks is spread pretty evenly throughout the entire range of cholesterol levels.”
People taking statins may be surprised to learn that, according to a California cardiologist, cholesterol levels have nothing to do with whether a person develops heart disease or has a heart attack. “Everybody has atherosclerosis to one degree or another,” states Dr. Ernest N. Curtis. “It is simply a biological fact of aging.”
The idea that cholesterol causes disease comes from a set of closely related theories known as the Lipid Hypothesis, the Cholesterol Theory, and the Diet-Heart Theory. These theories claim that too much cholesterol in the blood is the major causative factor in atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. The Diet-Heart Theory maintains that too much saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet raises the cholesterol level, causing atherosclerosis and leading to the two most dreaded complications of atherosclerosis—heart attack and stroke.
However, many doctors and patients have a seriously mistaken view of what atherosclerosis actually is. Cholesterol is not deposited on the inner surface of the arteries and built up over time like sludge in a pipe. Actually, the process is initiated by a proliferation of smooth muscle cells from the middle layer of the wall of the artery. These sheets of cell form a firm plaque which rigidifies that portion of the arterial wall. Nothing is deposited upon or sticks to the inner lining of the artery. Some have hypothesized that the breakdown of cells within plaque gives rise to the cholesterol that is often found there, which is to say that cholesterol is a result of the plaque, and not the cause.
Many contemporary researchers now believe that blaming cholesterol alone for clogging of arteries needs to be changed, and new method of treatment must be researched and introduced. Only some forms of cholesterol pose a health risk, other forms are either helpful or harmless.
Without knowing the fact, we tend to consume, or are being advised, either low-fat diets or vegetables instead of animal fats. Once we understand the exact nature of the fats that pose health risks, we will see that a low-fat diet is unnecessary, even harmful, and that a diet high in vegetable oils is unmistakably hazardous.
Oxidized cholesterol and oxidized fat are the enemies. In brief, these are fats that have lost so many electrons that they are no longer in their natural forms. If we eat too much of the substances that are oxidized and in turn oxidize others, we make it impossible for our bodies to maintain this balance. On the other hand, if we eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables that contain natural antioxidants like vitamins C and E, we make it easier for our bodies to maintain this balance.
Cholesterol-reducing drugs are not enough as a solution to atherosclerosis; hence, let’s find a way to resolve this calamitous health condition’s root cause.