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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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