People whose constitution does not require extra food protein in order to be healthy (mostly the Kapha and Pitta types) don’t have a very efficient enzyme system for breaking down food protein. Since constitutional body-types are mostly hereditary, this genetically determined “inefficiency” is passed on from parents to children. Those with a family history of heart attacks appear to be at risk because of possible hereditary factors, but the role of genetics in heart disease is only marginal. The primary reason is family members sharing a similar diet, lifestyle and constitutional body type, with possibly the same “inefficient” enzyme systems for destroying excessive, unused proteins. The proteins are desposited in the basal membranes of the blood vessel walls, thus inhibiting the nourishment of cells and damging the blood vessel walls.
I have devoted an entire chapter on this subject (heart disease, cholesterol, etc.) in my book the Key to Health and Rejuvenation. The story you hear in the media, it not the story that the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, etc. report in the published studies. Cholesterol has never been proved to causes heart disease, and in the latest large studies, they actually stopped short of recommending reducing cholsterol levels as a means to prevent heart disease. All they recommended was a change of diet, regualr exercise, and quitting to smoke. Cholesterol should never be lowered artificially, it is a dangerous game and can lead to serious damge of the liver, kidneys, and, yes, the heart.
The following is a small excerpt from my writings on the this complex subject:
Cholesterol is Not the Culprit After All
"...But as INTERHEART and other studies have shown, cholesterol isn’t even a major risk factor for heart disease. An earlier study sponsored by the German Ministry of Research and Technology showed that there is no exact link between food cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Even more surprising, in Japan, the cholesterol levels have risen during recent years, yet the number of heart attacks has dropped. The largest-ever health study ever conducted on the risks of heart disease took place in China. Like so many other similar studies, it found no connection between heart disease and the consumption of animal fats.
All the major European long-term cholesterol studies confirmed that a low fat diet did not reduce cholesterol levels by more than 4% percent, in most cases by merely 1-2%. Since measurement mistakes are usually higher than 4% and cholesterol levels naturally increase by 20% in autumn and drop again in winter, the anti-cholesterol campaigns since the late 1980s have been very misleading, to say the least. A more recent study from Denmark involving 20,000 men and women, in fact, demonstrated that most heart patients have normal cholesterol levels. The bottom line is that cholesterol hasn’t been proved a risk factor for anything.
The current medical understanding of the cholesterol issue is more than incomplete. The argument that animal tests on rabbits have confirmed that fatty foods cause hardening of the arteries sounds reasonable, but only when the following facts are omitted:
1. Rabbits respond 3.000 times more sensitively to cholesterol than humans do.
2. Rabbits, which are non-carnivorous animals by nature, are force-fed excessive quantities of egg yolk and brain for the sake of proving that cholesterol-containing foods are harmful.
3. The DNA and enzyme systems of rabbits are not designed for consumption of fatty foods, and if given a choice, these animals would never eat eggs or brains.
It is obvious that the arteries of these animals have only an extremely limited ability to respond to the damage caused by such unsuitable diets. For over three and half decades the Western civilization assumed that animal fats are the main cause of dietary heart disease. This misinformation is highlighted by the fact that heart attacks began to rise when consumption of animal fats actually decreased. This was verified by British research, which revealed that those areas in the UK where people consumed more margarine and less butter had the highest numbers of heart attacks. Further studies revealed that heart attack patients had consumed the least amounts of animal fats.
In this context, it is important to differentiate between processed and unprocessed fats. It has been discovered that people who died from a heart attack were found to have many more of the harmful fatty acids, which are derived from the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils of margarine, in their fat tissue than those who survived. These so-called “faulty” fats (trans-fatty acids) envelop and congest the cellular membranes, including those of the heart and the heart arteries. This practically starves the cells of oxygen, nutrients, and water, and eventually kills them. In another more comprehensive study, 85.000 nurses working in American hospitals observed a higher risk for heart disease in patients who consumed margarine, crisps, biscuits, cakes, and white bread, all of which contain “faulty” fatty acids.
Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter according to a recent Harvard Medical Study. While Increasing LDL cholesterol, margarine lowers the beneficial HDL cholesterol. It also increases the risk of cancers by up to five fold. Margarine suppresses both the immune response and insulin response. This highly processed and artificial product is but one molecule from being plastic. Flies, bacteria, fungi, etc. won’t go near it because it has no nutritional value and cannot be broken down by them. It can last for years, not just outside the body, but inside as well. It is very apparent that eating damaged, rancid fats or trans-fats can destroy any healthy organism and should be avoided by anyone.
Healthy Today – Sick Tomorrow
Unfortunately, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) has become the dominating health of the 21st century. It is actually an invented disease that doesn’t show up as one. Even the healthiest people may have elevated serum cholesterol and yet they remain healthy. But they are instantly turned into patients when a routine blood test reveals that they have a “cholesterol problem.”
Since feeling good is actually a symptom of high cholesterol, the cholesterol issue has confused millions of people. To be declared sick when you actually feel great is a hard nut to swallow. So it may take a lot of effort on a behalf of a practicing physician to convince his patients that they are sick and need to take one or more expensive drugs for the rest of their lives. It may actually have a depressing effect on these healthy individuals to be told that apart from having to take side effect causing drugs to lower their cholesterol levels, they also learn that they will require regular checkups and blood tests. The worry-free, good life is now over.
These doctors cannot be blamed for the blunder of converting healthy people into patients. Behind them stands the full force of the U.S. government, the media and the medical establishment, agencies, pharmaceutical companies, etc., that have created this relentless pressure to disseminate the cholesterol dogma and convince the population that high cholesterol is it’s number one enemy that it needs to combat by all means to keep it save from the dreadful consequences of hypercholesterolemia.
The idea what constitutes a healthy level of cholesterol has been changed over and over during the past 25 years, which certainly does not give me much confidence in a system of medicine that professes to be founded on scientific principles. In the early days of measuring cholesterol levels, a person at risk was any middle-aged man whose cholesterol is over 240 with other risk factors, such as smoking or being overweight.
After the adjustment of parameters during the Cholesterol Consensus Conference in 1984, the population was hit by a shock wave. Now, anyone (male or female) with overall cholesterol readings of 200 mg% (200mg per 100 ml) could receive the dreaded diagnosis and a prescription for pills. The claim that 200 blood serum cholesterol is normal and everything above is dangerous was scientifically unfounded, though. At least, this is what all the major cholesterol studies showed. In fact, in a 1995-issue the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that there was no evidence linking high cholesterol levels in women with heart conditions later in life. Although it is considered completely normal for a 55-year-old woman to have a cholesterol level of 260 mg%, most women that age are not told about this. Also healthy employees are found to have an average of 250 mg% with high fluctuations in both directions.
The lack of evidence linking elevated cholesterol with increased risk of heart disease, however, didn’t stop the brainwashing of the masses. From one day to the next, 84% of all the men and 93% of all the women aged 50-59 in the U.S. whose cholesterol levels are 220 mg% and more, were suddenly told they needed treatment for heart disease. The totally unproved, but rigorously promoted cholesterol theories turned most of us into patients for a disease that we probably will never develop. Fortunately, not everyone has followed the advice to have their cholesterol levels checked.
To make matters worse, the official, acceptable cholesterol level has now been moved down to 180. If you already have had a heart attack once, your cardiologist will tell you to take cholesterol-lowering statins even if your cholesterol is very low. From the viewpoint of conventional medicine, having a heart attack implies that your cholesterol must be too high. Hence you are being sentenced to a lifetime of statins and a boring low-fat diet. But even if you have not experienced any heart trouble yet, you are already being considered for possible treatment. Since so many children now show signs of elevated cholesterol, we have a whole new generation of candidates for medical treatment. So yes, current edicts stipulate cholesterol testing and treatment for young adults and even children. The statin drugs that doctors use to push cholesterol levels down are LIPITOR (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), and Pravachol (pravastatin). If you decide to follow your doctor’s advice and take one of these drugs make certain to read the list of side-effects so that you know the risks you are taking.
If you want to obtain objective and untainted information on cholesterol, agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Cardiology are certainly not the places to obtain it from. Until not too long ago they wanted you to keep your overall level below 150. Then, in 2001, they finally admitted that measuring overall cholesterol levels makes no sense at all. So they began recommending to keep your LDL level below 100. Now their aim is to keep LDL lower than 70. Every time they lower the target, the number of “patients” requiring treatment jumps dramatically. Being officially backed by these agencies, doctors feel motivated, if not obliged, to prescribe these expensive drugs to these new patients. The extensive promotional campaigns by the pharmaceutical giants have already brainwashed the masses to believe they need these drugs to be safe from sudden heart attack. Even if a doctor knows the truth about the cholesterol issue, these anxious patients will demand a prescription from him. That the massive sales of these best-selling drugs of all time drive up health care costs to levels that undermine economic growth and make basic health care unaffordable to an ever-increasing number of people doesn’t seem to be their immediate concern.
In 2004, there were already 36 million statin candidates in the U.S., with 16 million using LIPITOR alone. When the official LDL target level drops to 70, there will be another 5 million people eligible for their use. At the consumer markup price of $272.37 and cost of $5.80 for a month supply of LIPITOR, for example, you can imagine how much incentive the pharmaceutical industry must have to push their products and make it a mass commodity."