From the April 5th issue of this blog….
“According to Dr. Paul Ridker, a Harvard University medical professor, those of us who express a highly tuned immune system – and therefore a faster and more intense inflammatory response – may be at greater risk for a heart attack than those who have higher levels of cholesterol but lower levels of inflammation. This may answer the question: why do some people with advanced heart disease (i.e., badly blocked arteries) survive years, while others, whose levels of cholesterol and arterial congestion is relatively low, had heart attacks? Further it drives home how important it is to your health to control excess inflammation.”Alive Magazine, February 2007, No. 292
Cholesterol is a steriod substance (Steroids include such well known compounds as cholesterol, sex hormones, birth control pills, cortisone, and anabolic steroids) present in the blood, the brain, and all other tissues throughout the body and as we know, in foods. Pure cholesterol looks like white crystals, something like sugar, but dissolves in fat not in water. It is manufactured and regulated mostly in the liver and adrenal glands, formed into an alkaline digestive fluid called Bile and then taken to the Gall Bladder which stores this Bile, until it is required for the break down of Lipids (foods that contain fats and oils) Bile also assists the digestive action of the pancreas gland which produces three essential digestive enzymes…Lipase, Amylase and Trypsin. The amount of cholesterol is minute…..Bile consists of mostly water. Understanding this, we can see the possibility of how gallstones (too much cholesterol) could be formed. It is undoubtedly one the key ingredients in the metabolism of the body as well as keeping fluids fluids in the body from leaking out and from external fluids from seeping in. In other words, we need it! The question is…..how much??
(The Solar Plexus (ruler of the stomach, liver, pancreas, etc.) is one of the most important chakras because it controls and energizes and affects so many vital organs…especially the Heart!. Although it’s been deemed yellow, the 3rd chakra also contains red, yellow, green and blue energies……more on this in the next segment)
“Metabolism refers to the physical and chemical processes that occur inside the cells of the body and that maintain life. Metabolism consists of anabolism (the constructive phase) and catabolism (the destructive phase, in which complex materials are broken down). The transformation of the macronutrients carbohydrates, fats and proteins in food to energy and other physiological processes are parts of the metabolic process. ATP (adinosene triphosphate is the major form of energy used for cellular metabolism.”
The Good and Bad Cholesterol/HDL/LDL
Most of the fats that travel around the body are in the form of lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are basically water and fat-like lipids that are so tiny, they float around in the liquid portion (plasma) of our blood. Three important lipoproteins are cholesterol, phospholipids (polyunsaturated fats/lecithin) and triglycerides (fatty acids/coconut oil) .
Lipoproteins are produced mainly in the liver as VLDLs (very-low-density lipoprotein). Our muscles use Triglycerides immediately to generate energy; fat cells store them for future use…when we really really need them. If we take away triglycerdes out of the VLDL package….we are left with smaller particles called LDL also known as ‘bad cholesterol’ or ‘cholesterol litter bugs’ that think nothing of dropping excess cholesterol via the bloodstream, along the busiest pipelines/arteries of our body. This excess litter/buildup is known as plaque.
HDL is known as the ‘good cholesterol’. They are the clean up crew that pick up the excess cholesterol and take it back to the liver to be reprocessed or excreted. So LDL distributes cholesterol and trigylcerides and HDL picks up what was left behind and takes it back.
What have we learned from this? Cholesterol does not cause heart attacks…..it is the excess sticking to the arterial walls that does it! What we want is our HDL count to be high and our LDL count low.
When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, the blood gets thicker. And when blood gets thicker it doesn’t circulate as well through the body…..it makes the heart pump harder. Over time, the cholesterol (fat) gathers in the nooks and crannies of the the arteries causing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis happens when fat and calcium build up in the arterial walls. So why and how does calcium start building up in the arteries in the first place?
THE PARATHYROID GLANDS
In the April 24th issue of this blog, I quote from http://www.parathyroid.com/parathyroid-function.htm
“The sole purpose of the parathyroid glands is to control calcium within the blood in a very tight range between 8.8 and 10.2. In doing so, parathyroids also control how much calcium is in the bones, and therefore, how strong and dense the bones are. Although the parathyroid glands are located next to (and sometimes inside) the thyroid gland, they have no related function. The thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolism and has no effect on calcium levels while parathyroid glands regulate calcium levels and have no effect on metabolism. Calcium is the element that allows the normal conduction of electrical currents along nerves–its how our nervous system works and how one nerve ‘talks’ to the next. Our entire brain works by fluxes of calcium into and out of the nerve cells. Calcium is also the primary element which causes muscles to contract.”
The reason I repeated this information on the parathyroids is because so many of us as we reach our middle years, start taking vitamins, especially calcium to supplement our diet. Men and women alike are prone to bone loss and possibily osteoporosis. Osteoporosis means porous bones. And what is the primary mineral of bone……calcium. So we eagerly add calcium to our diets but if our parathryoids aren’t working as they should…..or if we can’t utilize large quantities in the body….where does it go?
This leads us back to the original question….why and how does calcium build up in the arteries.
“Calcium supplementation in healthy postmenopausal women is associated with upward trends in cardiovascular event rates,” reads the study, published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal.
Overall, 1,471 healthy older women — with an average age of 74 — participated in the five-year study led by Ian Reid of the University of Auckland………
Researchers confirmed 36 heart attacks in 31 women who took the calcium supplements, compared with 22 heart attacks in 21 women who took the placebo………
The study suggests that calcium supplements accelerate the formation of deposits in the arteries that could lead to a heart attack because the supplement increases blood calcium levels….
Vieth contends that postmenopausal women should simply take vitamin D to counteract any potential risk of heart attack associated with calcium supplements.
“Take the straightforward calcium carbonate, incorporate vitamin D with it, because that is associated with protection against cardiovascular disease,” he said.”
More links on Calcium supplementation and heart disease (most are related to the study above)
Calcium Citrate and Calcium Carbonate…..lots of info here http://www.mongabay.com/health/medications/Calcium_Citrate.html
UNCONTROLLED INFLAMMATION vs. HIGH LDL CHOLESTEROL
From Active Magazine – February 2007 http://www.alive.com/5860a15a2.php
“Most of us know the effects of being overweight where the heart is concerned. Unfortunately, what is less well known is the effect of excess inflammation on the heart. You may associate inflammation with the redness, swelling, or heat you see or feel when you get a cut, bite, or minor infection, or with the pain you feel in a swollen joint (as in arthritis). But uncontrolled inflammation is also at the root of heart disease…….
Because modern practitioners believe that a high LDL cholesterol level (the “bad” kind) is the main cause of heart disease, they prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) to people who are at risk for heart disease. However, ongoing studies have revealed that more than half of the individuals who experience heart attacks have LDL cholesterol levels within normal range. It turns out that uncontrolled inflammation has been linked to heart disease since 1985, yet we are only now beginning to accept this realization.
It is important to understand that inflammation is normally a controlled reaction initiated by the immune system to help correct or repair a problem. Inflammation can begin with a small tear in an arterial wall, causing the immune system to send specialized cells and cholesterol to repair the damage by covering it with plaque. However, over time, the plaque builds up, causing a narrowing of the arterial space (atherosclerosis). Excess inflammation can cause plaque to break free, which may result in the formation of a blood clot that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Numerous researchers believe that excess inflammation may be the trigger for a heart attack.”
This informative article suggests asking your doctor to check for C-reactive protein in your blood as well as increasing omega 3 fatty acids such as flax seed, hempseed and fish oils. It also says to avoid excessive consumption of meats, egg yolks and dairy products. It also advices taking supplements that can reduce inflammation such as tumeric, ginger, rosemary and thyme.
More interesting links from Alive Magazine
Coronary heart disease http://www.alive.com/5861a15a2.php
10 tips for a healthy heart http://www.alive.com/5864a15a2.php
After reading all this you decide you’ll increase your milk intake……think again! Milk is high in calcium, unfortunately when it is pasteurized the bonds that hold the minerals in it are altered and the calcium cannot be assimilated as well in our bodies. There have been many tests done to this point. Twin calves for example were used in a study where one suckled from its mother and the other drank pasteurized milk. The calf that drank pasteurized milk died within sixty days. Why? It is believed an important enzyme (phosphatase) which helps assimilate minerals in milk was destroyed during pasteurization.
Interesting link on Pasteurization http://www.1800naturalhealing.com/pasteurization.html
And another http://www.realmilk.com/whichchoose.html
I don’t want to get off the topic of this blog – Cholesterol….but hopefully you can see that before we start supplementing our diets with anything, we have to do our homework! There are some really great health stores out there, however they also want to sell, sell, sell! What may be beneficial to one customer may be detrimental to another.
“The key to all learning, all balance in all areas of our life, lies within that precept, “Know thyself’ –a simple enough azium–and yet it is one that creates tremendous difficulty with many. Most people are unwilling to take the time to know themselves and thus they give that responsibility and power over to others. They hire others to know for them…..Theoretically, it sounds good, but ultimately it cannot be done.” Ted Andrews, The Healer’s Manual
If you are due a blood test or considering have one, ask your doctor to include the parathyroids and C-reactive proteins in the list……also have him/her check your vitamin D levels.
We’ll be covering the topic of Osteoporosis, calcium supplements,minerals, protein and more soon.
to be continued….