Heart Disease is Much More than High Cholesterol
If you listen to all the Lipitor drug ads, lowering cholesterol is all it takes to eliminate heart disease.
This could not be further from the truth, say the most learned minds on the subject. According to all of the latest research, the real danger is inflammation from two compounds found in the blood of heart attack victims; Homocysteine and C-Reactive Protein.
And you don't get these compounds from certain foods - your body makes them in response to other substances.
Why aren't doctors telling us about this? Do they even know? Is it because drugs won't control Homocysteine and C-Reactive Protein?
Checking Your Cholesterol is so Last Century!
For much of the 20th century, doctors and patients tracked the ups and downs of cholesterol levels to determine the risk of having a heart attack. But the evidence supporting the link between high cholesterol and heart disease has been flimsy from the get go.
Certainly, people with extremely high cholesterol levels or familial
hypercholesterolemia do have a higher risk of heart disease. But elevated cholesterol levels appear to be more of a symptom, than a cause - a sign that something, somewhere is awry.
In the late 1990s, researchers at the Harvard Medical School were on the trail of a new, and more likely, factor in coronary artery disease. Paul Ridker, MD, and his colleagues suspected that inflammation was a key player in heart disease. They developed a test for high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) that was able to detect chronic low-grade inflammation, something missed by all other medical tests.
Lipitor-Statin Drug Madness
In the 1990s, to hoodwink the public at large, drug companies
introduced cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, such as Lipitor,
practically cementing the largely unsubstantiated link between
cholesterol and heart disease. That began a high-pressure sell to get
both consumers and physicians interested in using statins to lower
cholesterol levels, and Lipitor alone now accounts for $13 billion in
But nearly everyone seems to ignore a key fact: half of people with heart disease have normal cholesterol levels. So there must be other big risk factors, but what are they? C-Reactive Protein and its kissing cousin, Homocysteine.
What is C-Reactive Protein Anyway?
Heart disease, like all health problems, is multifaceted. There are many
contributing causes, and many of them directly or indirectly involve
For example, oxidation of LDL cholesterol is an
established risk factor - and a sign of inadequate intake of
antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E. Trans fats found in
hydrogenated oils, sugar and refined carbohydrates all increase
inflammation. So does elevated blood sugar, a characteristic of
pre-diabetes and Type-2 diabetes. Deficiency of B-vitamins increase blood
Homocysteine levels, which are also intertwined with inflammation.
C-Reactive Protein is a byproduct of interleukin-6 or IL-6, one of the
most pro-inflammatory molecules made in the body. Both IL-6 and CRP are
signaling molecules - they essentially tell the body to rev up
inflammation by activating other substances, such as arachidonic acid.
Some physicians have argued that CRP is a marker of inflammation, not a cause, but in another article, Ridker demonstrated that CRP is a very
active molecule. It stimulates the production of other substances that
promote inflammation, triggers the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and
reduces the activity of nitric oxide, which protects blood vessel walls.
The Good News: Vitamins, Herbs & Minerals to the Rescue!
Research on inflammation and heart disease shows that inflammatory
affect more than arthritis, asthma, allergies and the
As the evidence continues to mount, the
risk of Alzheimer's, diabetes and many other serious diseases have
strong inflammatory underpinnings. Take the necessary lifestyle, diet
and supplement steps to reduce low-grade chronic inflammation.
Here's my top recommendations of nutritional supplements that can reduce inflammation:
- Vitamins and minerals with natural antioxidant properties have
immediate effect on all inflammation, particularly C-Reactive Protein
Aphrodite is our mega-nutrient formula for women, and Zeus is the counterpart for men.
- Omega 3 fatty acids are widely recognized by researchers for their
anti-inflammatory actions, particularly against C-Reactive Protein. Everyone thinks of salmon for Omega 3 fatty acids, but firm tofu, spinach, chia and ground flaxseed all are fabulous sources of dietary Omega 3's. If you want to supplement, get our
Omega 3/6/9 formula and take 2 gelcaps daily with a meal.
Vitamin E - A proven antioxidant for overall health, hair and skin, vitamin E is also shown to lower C-Reactive Protein levels by as much as 30-50%. Amazing! Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E. So is brocolli, spinach, butternut squash and avocado.
- The spice from India that is new here in the west, but used for
centuries in India has broad-spectrum anti-inflammatory benefits. Some
research indicates that curcumin might reduce the risk of cardiovascular
Super Curcumin C3 Complex is a special, patented extract of 3 forms of curcuminoid compounds for proven bio-availability. Take 1-3 tablets a day.
- Vitamins A (or beta carotene,) C and E are considered the key antioxidants that mop up free radicals, singular oxygen molecules that are byproducts of oxidative stress. Antioxidants are intimately involved in reducing cellular damage -- the pathway for cancer, aging, and disease.