Archive for the ‘LDL/HDL’ Category

Food isn’t the only cholesterol source……we produce about 60% of it in our bodies!! The more cholesterol we eat, the less we produce. Reducing or increasing our cholesterol intake will alter the cholesterol levels in our blood by only about 15%. Cholesterol in the body doesn’t cause heart attacks…..the problem is when it sticks to the arterial walls.

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?

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.

From CTV.ca http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080116/calcium_study_080116/20080116/

“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)

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=86453http://www.abc.net/ audio http://www.abc.net.au/health/minutes/stories/2008/01/29/2148719.htm

Calcium Citrate and Calcium Carbonate…..lots of info here http://www.mongabay.com/health/medications/Calcium_Citrate.html

Coral Calcium http://www.abc.net.au/health/minutes/stories/2008/01/29/2148719.htm

Interesting links on 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

Atherosclerosis http://www.healthmad.com/tags/atherosclerosis

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….

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Much of the carbohydrates we eat are processed into triglycerides which are supposed to be converted into energy. When we eat more carbohydrates than the body can use, the carbohydrates are still converted into triglycerides….then to fatty acids…then stored as FAT.

I found some great reading material on carbs and the roles they play as energy foods. (See the bottom of this paragrah) There is a BIG difference in the types of carbohydrates we eat. If we can reduce our intake of refined carbohydrates (sugar, pasta, rice, flour, cereals, etc.) this will definitely help to reduce our blood cholesterol levels better than eliminating fats from our diets.

Most of us city dwellers gravitate towards the multitude of shops that cater to the quick meal and sweet snack foods. Our overindulgence in mass produced foods is leading to illness, weight problems, diabetes as well as low physical and mental energy. With all the Listeria and bacterial scares of late, (especially in Canada), this seems to be telling us to limit our eating patterns of processed and refined foods. Are we listening?

“High intake of refined carbohydrates enhances the formation of VLDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol” and reduces levels of HDL, [ the “good cholesterol”]. Many metabolic studies have shown that high-carbohydrate diets increase levels of fasting triglycerides as well as increase fat deposits by facilitating the conversion of excess carbohydrates to fats. High blood glucose and increased insulin output are associated with a high carbohydrate diet can also lead to high blood pressure, as well as inflammatory responses that are predictive of increased cardiovascular disease risk and can also cause digestive disorders and general discomfort.”

Great links
The Role of Carbohydrates

Refined Carbohydrates Up Diabetes Risk

Refined Carbohydrates/Cholesterol/Diabetes/High Blood Pressure

Carbs Are The Cause of High Cholesterol?

Low Carbohydrate Nutrition


Fats and oils are collectively termed as LIPIDS. Fats are usually solid at room temperature and the Oils are in a liquid form. Lipids have another chemical name……TRIGLYCERIDES!

There are three basic types of LIPIDS…..Mono Unsaturated, Poly Unsaturated and Saturated.

Mono Unsaturated fats do not increase the cholesterol levels of the blood, examples of these fats are olive oil, and certain nuts such as macadamia, hazelnut, almond, canola, pistachio, peanut and sesame.

Certain polyunsaturated fats are known to have the ability to lower the cholesterol of the blood as well as the prevention of hardened arteries and heart disease. Sunfllower, corn, soy, peanut, all contain Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body and needs to be supplied by our diet. The problem with polyunsaturated fats is that they oxidize every easily. Oxidization occurs when the body lacks antioxidants……oxidation of goods lead to the release of free radicals which can alter cells and have been linked to the aging process and cancer. Also some polyunsaturated fats can be potentially harmful…specifically margarine, shortening and heated oils.

“Polyunsaturated oils are chemically unstable. This is because they have a number of loose, double carbon bonds in their atomic strucutre. When subjected to heat orair, they oxidize rapidly to form harmful free readicals. The more unsaturated the oil the more potentially hazardous it is in this regard. Examples of oils that are predominantely polyunsaturated are safflower, sunflower, soy, corn and walnut.

The most hazardus vegetable oils of all are the ones used in restaurants and deep frying. These oils are heated and reheated many, many times over. They are rancid, but you cannot taste or smell that rancidity because of deodorants that manufacturers purposely add……

Even the highly touted so-called ‘cold pressed’ oils can be potentially harmful. For one thing, many of them are procssed at a ‘cold’ temperature of over 100 degrees celsius. For another, as soon as they are exposed to air they deteriorate rapidly — and if heated their destruction is virtually guaranteed.”
David W. Rowland, PhD

Polyunsaturated fats can be as bad for your heart as saturated fats if a diet does not include a full complement of antioxidants. (see list below of foods rich in antioxidants)

Saturated Oils are found in meats, pork, dairy products, cheese and palm oil. Thse fats raise your total cholesterol level, especially LDL cholesterol, but they are not the cause of the heart disease. In fact these natural fats are known as stable and do contain tiny amounts of essential fatty acids. The thing is we can only convert a limited amount of Saturated Fats each day…..some will be eliminated from the body and some will be stored in various different areas of the body.

“All fats and oils are made up of a mixture of saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Calling animal fats “saturated fats” is very misleading, as many animal fats are actually more than 50% unsaturated, and chicken fat is actually 70% unsaturated. If a fat were completely saturated it would be very solid with the consistency of hard wax. For example, beef fat or tallow is made up of about 50% saturated fatty acids (25% palmitic acid, 22% stearic acid and others), 40% monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olive oil), and the balance polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic, the ratio depending on the diet of the cattle).

Saturated fatty acids are critical to maintaining the structure and rigidity of our cells by making cell membranes out of phospholipids and cholesterol, and they act as enzyme and hormone regulators thereby playing an integral role in cell messaging. When the body is fooled and incorporates trans fats into the cell membrane instead of saturated fats, cell messaging no longer works, which is one of the reasons trans fats are so dangerous.

Saturated fats are necessary for calcium to be incorporated into our bones, so no-fat or skim milk won’t work as a calcium source, unless you eat some saturated fat in your meal. Saturated fats are needed to boost immune function, and to build a healthy nervous system and digestive tract. Saturated fats are the base material out of which the body makes cholesterol, which is the precursor to such critical hormones as vitamin D, cortisol, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, as well as bile acids which are necessary for the digestion of fats. Fats also are needed as carriers for the fat soluble vitamins (the antioxidant vitamins), like vitamin A, E, D, K, and a low fat diet can lead to deficiencies in these nutrients. Saturated fats are also needed to be able to utilize omega 3 fatty acids easily. Breast milk is high in saturated fat for a reason – it is vital for the healthy development of the baby! Does it make sense that saturated fats which are vital for a baby are suddenly poison for an adult?”
From: http://trusted.md/blog/vreni_gurd/2007/04/06/saturated_fat_the_misunderstood_nutrient

So-o-o we need a healthy combination of monounsatured, polunsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Some of the best sources of fat in our diet are butter, olive oil, avocadoo il, peanut oil as well as eggs, fish and poultry. We need to avoid unprocessed meats and eat more of the natural occuring oils that are in nuts, seeds, and yes, the avocado.


Why Saturated Fats are Good for You

Saturated Fat – The misunderstood nutrient

What if Bad Fat is Actually Good for You?

Good News on Saturated Fat

Polyunsatuated Fats Are Not Good Cooking Oils

Vegetables Oil Are Not Good For You

Fats in Nuts

Monounsaturated Fats

CNN – Fast facts on fats


Some of these are……

Wheat germ oil, corn oil, soya oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, olive oil, wheat gern, hazelnusts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, wild rice

Rosehips, black currants, parsley, kiwi, broccoli, sorrel, raw greens/red peppers, tarragon, cabbage, watercress, lemon, orange,

Raw carrots, watercress, spinach, Mango, cantaloupe, apricots, broccoli, peaches, tomatoes, oranges, dandelion, parsley,

oysters, beef liver, veal liver, mutton liver, mussels, cocoa powder, wheat germ, white beans, hazelnuts, dried peas, oatmeal, walnuts, sweetbreads

Codliver oil, liver, butter, cooked eggs, fresh apricots, cheese, salmon, whole milk, sardines, sour cream,

Oysters, chicken liver, beef liver, fish, eggs, mushrooms, onions, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, lentils, sweetbreads,

Oysters, dried peas, duck liver, brewer’s yeast, legumes, kidneys, eel, lentils, meat, whole-wheat bread.

wine, grape seeds, green tea, ovile oil, onions, apples,

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