A Little History of Cholesterol Treatment
During the Korean War doctors thought they had discovered the “real” cause of heart disease. Doctors analyzed the plaque found in the arteries of young soldiers killed in action and found it was a saturated fat containing quite a lot of a familiar waxy substance – better known as cholesterol.
No one asked why cholesterol formed the plaque. But since cholesterol was the prime ingredient of this plaque, it must (obviously?) be the culprit and cause of heart disease. They knew that cholesterol is a natural and needed part of the body. So, it must be that when there is too much of it that the excess is deposited on the artery walls. Never mind that there was no proof to connect all this together, drug companies went ballistic to come up with drugs to lower cholesterol (and create the greatest source of profits in the history of the pharmaceutical industry).
This theory of the cause of cardiovascular disease became known as the “lipid theory” (lipid fats are what carry cholesterol through the blood system). For the next 60 years, the lipid theory has been the foundation of medical explanations, research and treatment for cardiovascular disease.
Simply put, the lipid theory believes that a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat causes sticky cholesterols to be deposited in arteries, clogging them up. These clogged arteries restrict blood flow to the heart, ultimately causing angina. Eventually a piece or “clot” will break loose, causing strokes or a heart attack.
As a result, conventional medicine has centered on removing cholesterol and bad fats to stop coronary heart disease. For decades we have used diet and drugs to attempt to reach ever-lowering cholesterol levels recommended by the American Heart Association. However, prescribing statin drugs for decades now has not lowered the rate of heart disease! Statistics show that heart disease continues to be on the rise.
Scientists are now finding that many people with normal cholesterol still have artery plaque buildup and heart attacks. Can you suffer a heart attack with “normal” cholesterol? It happens over 1,150 times every day across the U.S. (according to a American Heart Association, 2004 Update).
The unproven science, side effects and (rarely publicized) lack of positive results of reducing heart failures has been increasing. The final nail in the coffin of statin drugs comes next with the “NNT” results.
Statin Drugs and Their NNT – “Number Needed to Treat”
Arguing about cholesterol is like arguing over what college teams are the best. The arguments end when the teams play each other because the highest score wins! The medical field has something similar that helps it determine a winner. It is called the “Number Needed to Treat”(or NNT). This refers to the number of people you have to treat to prevent one bad outcome.
For example, a really great treatment that had a 100% cure rate would only need to treat 1 person to prevent the bad outcome. That equals a 1:0 NNT rating. The antibiotics for treating H. pylori, which causes stomach ulcers, have a 1.1 NNT rating. That means it heals 10 out of 11 people! That is also a very successful NNT.
On the other extreme, statin drugs attempt to prevent heart attacks by lowering high cholesterol. They can lower cholesterol levels 2-35%, but does this accomplish the goal of preventing heart attacks? Some studies have given them a success range of 250:1 to 500:1 – that is a treatment that prevents a bad outcome in only 1 out of 250-500 cases! This means that people spend thousands of dollars a year for a very ineffective treatment – and they come with many potential bad side effects!
In fact, NSI reported the following facts regarding anti-cholesterol drugs were reported at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association:
- For most people, these drugs don’t work! An alarming study of 5,600 patients using cholesterol-lowering drugs revealed that a full 62% did not reach their target levels at all.
- The side effects are horrendous. These include liver toxicity, muscle cramps, nausea, heartburn and hair loss. (That’s quite a price to pay for something that might not even work.)
- Anti-cholesterol drugs diminish your mental capacity! Doctors who studied adults using cholesterol-lowering drugs found that the medications are “making their patients stupid”! After just six months of use, the study group showed a marked decline in their mental sharpness as well as their attention span.
If I had high cholesterol, I think I would be looking for better answers.
Cholesterol is Not the Enemy!
You will hear us say this more than once. Cholesterol is a natural nutrient that is needed by the body – or we would die! So what happens that causes cholesterol to become bad for our bodies? The usual answer given is just that some of us just have too much cholesterol. “It is the high level of cholesterol that causes heart attacks.”
However, there are many groups of people, some countries and most other mammals that have chronic high cholesterol – yet they have great arteries and lower heart attack rates! This doesn’t fit with the standard cholesterol picture – but the anti-cholesterol campaign keeps up anyway.
We do thank the medical industry for making emergency procedures, such as bypass surgery, much safer. There are many drugs meant to treat the symptoms or even heal an illness once it occurs. However, it is well known that much of the medical industry, especially the pharmaceutical companies, is not especially active in the prevention of heart disease.
There is little financial profit in prevention of disease!
This is especially true if the prevention or healing of disease can come through inexpensive natural nutrition instead of expensive (and highly profitable) drugs. It is difficult to patent nutritional products. It can even be profitable for drug companies to pay for misleading studies to discredit natural remedies! Natural products can interfere with multi-billion dollar drug sales! If you don’t think the medical industry might act unethically here, remind yourself of the tobacco industry that showed studies that “proved” tobacco didn’t harm us.
Fortunately, there are some medical doctors, clinics and researchers that are more concerned about people’s health than profit. Some of these researchers have made exciting discoveries about how the arteries get injured in the first place. This helps us understand what can be done to help prevent it and help the healing process.
Researchers are now realizing that cholesterol doesn’t clog your arteries unless it has something to attach to – such as a lesion, rip or tear. Now their focus is on what causes those rips and tears and how cholesterol can then attaches to them. We want to look at these discoveries and the healing process to see how we can co-operate with our bodies in healing them. We also want to go one step further:
If tears do happen in the arteries,
we want to use the body’s preferred way to heal them!
Slowing the liver’s production of cholesterol, especially the harmful types of cholesterol, is one part of the equation. This is where the statin drugs usually come in, but this can also be done naturally – without the bad side effects!
The bigger question comes with the liver’s production of cholesterol. Why is the liver producing so much of this harmful cholesterol in the first place? What is often left out in understanding why the liver does this is that…
The liver’s increased cholesterol production
is simply a response to signals the body sends it!
Yes, a genetic link in some family lines can cause a person to be more susceptible to this. However, it is still an over-response by the liver. The signals are still being sent to the liver by the body! It only makes sense to find out why the liver does this. Then we can see if there is anything we can do to change it (and, of course, there is).
We want you to experience real lasting results in having healthy arteries. We want your arteries to stop the plaque buildup and even reduce what plaque is already there. If you are going to make this effort, it is very helpful if you understand a little more about why all this happens. Then our natural solutions recommended will make more sense.
In other articles, our goal is to help you understand:
1. How the arteries are built and heal themselves.
2. What tells the liver to produce bad cholesterol and cause plaque?
3. What things harm the artery lining?
4. What nutrients help the body to heal its arteries?
5. What can be done to reduce cholesterol production?
6. How we can encourage the removal of existing plaque?
A-Z Index, – under “Artery Plaque Reduction”, and “Cholesterol – High Cholesterol Formula“, or:
Artery Plaque Reduction – to help dissolve and remove artery cholesterol.
High Cholesterol Formula – how to lower and maintain cholesterol levels.