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The Truth about Cholesterol from a Heart Surgeon

Dr. Dwight Lundell has done heart surgery for over twenty years. When patients on anti-cholesterol drugs came back with a second heart attack, he knew cholesterol couldn’t be the cause of heart disease. Read his book “The Great Cholesterol Lie. Why Inflammation Kills and the Real Cure for Heart Disease” Dr Lundell notes that decreasing fat and cholesterol in the diet had no effect on the incidence of heart disease. He saw that the level of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) in the blood did predict risk of a heart attack. CRP is a sign of inflammation somewhere in the body. He says aspirin helps prevent heart attacks by decreasing inflammation. He says a modern diet high in sugars and omega-6 fatty acids causes inflammation within blood vessels.

Removing a cause of deposits in arteries makes more sense than using a statin drug to block the enzyme in the liver that makes cholesterol. As mentioned in my talks and my book, cholesterol is used throughout the body and is essential for life itself. Heart attacks were rare a century ago. They increased during the 1900s as more people smoked. By 1970 most doctors said not to eat animal fat or cholesterol. This only helped the patients who also gave up smoking, exercised and ate lots of vegetables. Dr. Dean Ornish added yoga, meditation and group therapy. His strict regimen dissolved fatty deposits. Anti-cholesterol drugs and flattening out the fatty plaque with a balloon catheter has become an alternative quick fix. But it doesn’t get at causes of heart disease.

Most doctors ignored factors like excess homocysteine or effects of trans-fats like margarine on arterial walls. As people ate less fat, they ate more sugars. Sugar use went from 20 pounds per person per year in 1900 to 100 pounds in 1970 and is now over 150 pounds of sweeteners, the worst being high-fructose corn syrup. Sugars can combine with proteins and make cell walls stiff in a process called glycation. A stiff wall in an artery makes it prone to injury. If blood pressure goes up, whether from nicotine or stress hormones, vessel walls get micro-injuries, repaired by cholesterol, white cells and other components of inflammation. I agree with Dr.Lundell that we should eat like our ancestors to prevent heart attacks.

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Will You Get a Heart Attack by Eating Eggs?

Statements regarding a connection between the cholesterol in egg yolks and getting a heart attack have been around for over forty years. However, cholesterol is essential to life and has an undeserved bad name. No one should avoid natural sources of cholesterol. It’s in all your cell membranes and is a major component of your brain. Cholesterol is the starting molecule for sex hormones, adrenal hormones and vitamin D. If you don’t get enough in your diet, your liver makes more. However, it can make too much if you’re getting lots of high-fructose corn syrup in your food or beverages. This raises LDL-cholesterol and other fats in your blood.

Just when people were starting to eat eggs again, a study came out that reported that men who ate eggs had thirty percent more heart attacks than those who didn’t. I haven’t seen the article. Were the subjects identical in all their other food choices and general life style? If indeed they were, let’s consider where the eggs came from and how they were prepared.

Humans have been eating eggs for thousands of years without harming their hearts. However, in the past thirty years more eggs have come from factory farms where the hens may have been fed antibiotics and treated with insecticides. Since the 1950s more and more insecticides have gotten into animal products. I would rather pay more for organic eggs and not worry.

If indeed cholesterol is oxidized by high heat I prefer not to break the yolks. Instead of making an omelet, I brown onions, ginger and sliced mushrooms in olive oil, then add other vegetables plus a little water. On top of this I poach two eggs. This makes an ideal supper dish.

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Are You Overdosing on B Vitamins?

You may be tempted to try large doses of vitamins to improve your health. Many doctors say, “You’re now just putting out expensive urine.” Lots of the water-soluble vitamin C or the vitamin B complex is wasted. Beware when you take high doses of all the B vitamins because too much of one B vitamin can make it impossible for another to work properly. They are all important in the production of energy Some help the skin, muscles and nerves. Others help in specific ways to keep you healthy. Your body needs different amounts of each B vitamin so it’s safer to get them in natural foods like organic liver, brewers’ yeast, wheat germ and whole grains. Eggs, mushrooms and nuts have smaller amounts. Note that the livers of animals raised in factory farms concentrate insecticides and other toxins that aren’t good for you.

Vitamin B6, pyridoxine, is involved in over a hundred reactions. An important one is to prevent the accumulation of homocysteine.. Many doctors think that too high homocysteine is more important in causing heart attacks than LDL-cholesterol. But you also need folic acid and vitamin B12 in specific amounts to get rid of the homocsyteine. Also, if you take more than 2000 mg. of pyridoxine for over five weeks, it can damage your nerves causing numbness and tingling of your feet, stumbling and poor coordination. Get back to a normal dose.

Niacin, vitamin B3, is another one to avoid taking too much. It has been used to lower a person’s cholesterol, but it causes an itchy flush. High doses over time might damage your liver.

B vitamins are used every day and any excess of most of them goes out in your urine. However, it makes sense to take only as much as your body needs.

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