Heart Disease and Blood Lipids

Monday, April 02, 2012

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Yea just thought I would post that first because out of all the things that people debate about surrounding health...Heart disease and CVD are the probably the most argued topics with each side stating different studies, theories, and research to back up their claims. I'm not an expert in this field, much rather prefer talking about insulin and metabolic rate, but this an important topic that Americans are being told false stories and spoon fed outrageous claims that are being cooked up by the ever intelligent FDA and pharmaceutical industry.

Let's start off with the first little myth that started this whole mess about 40 years ago. The hypothesis goes like this:

"If you eat too much cholesterol, the level in your blood rises, the cholesterol then travels through the artery wall causing cholesterol-laden plaques to develop which then rupture and kill you. That’s the initial cholesterol-Heart disease hypothesis."

Well first off let's refer to two important studies: The Framing-ham and Tecumseh

‘In the adult man the serum cholesterol level is essentially independent of the cholesterol intake over the whole range of human diets.’

"There's no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in blood. And we've known that all along. Cholesterol in the diet doesn't matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit." Ancel Keys, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota 1997.

Ok so eating cholesterol will not raise your cholesterol. The human body has approximately 5 liters of blood flowing through it at all times. Eating a couple of grams of cholesterol will not affect the amount of cholesterol in your blood; the volume is just too large for a couple DSL to effect 5 Liters of blood and plus there is no cholestrerol in your blood( unless you inject it) It has to be packaged in the liver first as I explain below.

“I don’t hold the cholesterol view for a moment…For a modern disease to be related to an old-fashioned food is one of the most ludicrous things I have ever heard in my life…If anybody tells me that eating fat was the cause of coronary disease, I should look at them in amazement. But when it comes to the dreadful sweet things that are served up… that is a very different proposition.” -TL Cleave

Ok so moving on, we have been told for years that saturated fat is what causes plaque to build up in your arteries and thus produce a heart attack when the blood can no longer flow and gets "constricted". Well lets go over how this actually works before we talk about how fats play role in human health and CVD.

Plaque does not form on top of the Endothelial Cells, but it forms under the endothelial cells when LDL penetrates the intima( this only happens when the endothelial cells have been damaged or the LDL has benn oxidized, normal circumstances would not lead to the same results as it will be mentioned in Part 2 of this segment). Once there is inflammation and the Plaque begins to grow, white blood cells rush to the spot of the inflammation. Eventually the lesion will burst and blood clot will form over the ruptured area. This blocks the artery completely which may or may not result in your death. (i.e a heart attack) What causes the damage to the heart and makes the lesion form? well alot of people have it in their heads that it comes from things like butter, lard, cheese, Bacon...basically all the awesome stuff in life. Well here is why that theory, the Lipid Hypothesis, is not completely accurate.

Some studies have shown that saturated fat will lower Total cholesterol and others have shown that it raises it. However it has been shown in the largest case study, Framing-ham study, that those who eat the most saturated fat actually have the lowest levels of cholesterol.

"Serum cholesterol and triglyceride values were not positively correlated with selection of dietary constituents."

"In Framingham, Massachusetts, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower people's serum cholesterol...we found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories weighed the least and were the most physically active." Dr William Castelli 1992 (Director of the Framingham study)

What the Eff? This just gets more confusing why is it that eating fat doesn't raise the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
When you eat saturated fat it gets absorobed in the small intestines where it is taken to the liver and then packaged into something call VLDL(very low density lipo-protein) and then as it circulates into your system it gets turned into LDL (eventually, as triglycerides are lost). The LDL is either absorbed back into the liver, to be reused to create more VLDLs, or they are absorbed into other tissues where the contents are used by the cell. So at what point does saturated fat get turned into cholesterol? it doesn't. Cholesterol is made in the liver from a substance called Acteyl-co A which is nitrogen based, its not a fat at all, and is made from proteins. Your body does not make cholesterol from FATS, saturated fat and cholesterol are completely different substances. What we are really after is LDL or what some people call "bad Cholesterol". This is backwards logic as I just explained that LDL is lipo-protein and isn't a form of cholesterol at all. It's is simply the vehicle that transports it,much like a cowboy riding a horse. Two completely different things.

1. Cholesterol and saturated fats are unrelated substances and you don’t make cholesterol from saturated fat, or any other type of fat
2. A raised cholesterol level is, in reality, a raised LDL level
3. A raised VLDL level is called hypertriglyceridaemia
4. The only connection between saturated fats and cholesterol is that, because they are insoluble in water, they sit inside lipoproteins in order that they can be carried around the body
5. The liver doesn’t make LDL - LDL is the metabolic residue of VLDL.

So I guess we have come to the conclusion that High levels of LDL lead to heart disease or show a negative "association". But does consumption of saturated fat lead to high levels of LDL in the plasma?

After a meal VLDL levels go up, as you would expect, but the LDL level remains absolutely constant. Absolutely constant….(and there is no delayed response either).

So, the amount of VLDL in the blood is totally unrelated to the level of LDL in the blood. Despite the fact that you ‘make’ one from the other.

What this proves, beyond any doubt, is that the metabolic system tightly controls the level of LDL in the blood. It doesn’t matter how many VLDLs are converted to LDL, the system takes the excess LDL out of play - instantly. It pulls excess LDLs into the liver where it recycles them.

So, although fat intake can increase VLDL production, it has no effect on the level of LDL. Which means that, not only does saturated fat have no effect on cholesterol production in the liver, it also has no effect on LDL levels. In reality, it has no effect at all.

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"Food-based recommendations are more practical for the general public than is nutrient-based dietary advice. However, the evidence linking individual foods or food patterns to CVD risk is more limited. The epidemiologic data provide strong evidence that a high intake of processed meat products, a major source of SFAs, is associated with an increased risk of CHD (32). There is no consistent evidence that a higher intake of dairy products is associated with CHD risk in epidemiologic studies* (34), but data do support the beneficial effects of dairy products on type 2 diabetes risk (34, 35). However, intervention studies on the effect of dairy fat on the risk of CHD and diabetes are lacking; thus, the role of SFAs in dairy fat still needs to be investigated. There is increasing evidence to support that the total matrix of a food is more important than just its fatty acid content when predicting the effect of a food on CHD risk, eg, the effect of SFAs from cheese on blood lipids and CHD may be counterbalanced by the content of protein, calcium, or other components in cheese. In addition, the special fatty acid profile (rumenic acid, trans vaccenic acid, and short-chain fatty acids) may modify the effect on CHD risk. Another example is dark chocolate, which has a high content of stearic acid, oleic acid, and polyphenols, and observational studies, mechanistic studies, and RCTs show that dark chocolate reduces risk factors of CVD (36)."

*Willett, Hu, and others published a paper earlier this year suggesting milk consumption may have an inverse effect on CVD.

Willett: Total fat doesn’t matter in regards to cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, cancer, or adiposity, but he won’t go so far as to let saturated fat off the hook completely. Increase PUFAs (all types, as n-6 aren’t pro-inflammatory- they down-regulate NF-kB and are an insulin sensitizer) to reduce CVD risk. Higher fat diets may have a slight advantage for weight loss. A low-fat, high refined carbohydrate diet increases CVD risk. HDL goes up and triglycerides down when fat is substituted for carbohydrates. Nurses’ Health Study data suggests no relationship between total fat and CVD. Early RCTs found non-significant reduction in coronary heart disease (CHD) risk from low-fat diets, but replacing saturated fat with PUFA reduced risk. The “focus on reduction of fat in dietary guidelines has been a massive distraction“. Advice for % of energy from fat should be removed from the dietary guidelines and total fat from food labels. -Zelman, K. (2011). The Great Fat Debate: A Closer Look at the Controversy—Questioning the Validity of Age-Old Dietary Guidance Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111 (5), 655-658 DOI: 10.1016/j.jada.2011.03.026

At this point we have confirmed that LDL is the problem...or is it? Yes LDL and HDL can be good "indicators" of risk factors but you can still have a heart attack even if your LDL is low and HDL is high. What we consider normal may very well be abnormal for those people living on a non-western diet who have zero incidence not low or a Small percentage But ZERO incidence of Heart Attacks. When Staffan Lindeberg studied the Kitavan's he found that they had nearly identical LDL, HDL and Triglyceride levels as their western human counterparts yet they do not suffer heart attacks despite their high intake of saturated fat from Coconuts. There is more to it then just the concentration of Lipids in the blood( or lack there of) but a wide spread inflammation which brings me back to my favorite topic in Part 2. The role of the basil metabolism and thyroid gland in proper Lipid metabolism, oxidation of LDL, and possible damaging or blunting of the LDL receptors.

"In truth, if the metabolism is running at it’s appropriate level, the blood does not accumulate fats or cholesterol. In fact, elevated cholesterol levels were originally used to diagnose hypothyroidism (aka a slow metabolism). In studies quoted by Dr. Broda Barnes, the administration of thyroid hormone (only desiccated thyroid, not synthetic garbage) dramatically lowered cholesterol levels, moreso than any statin medication, with nothing but positive side “benefits.” -Matt Stone/Broda Barnes

"In 1890, Viennese pathologists discovered that a thyroid deficiency caused heart attacks. Researchers found that the removal of the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy) brought about a complete blockage of the arteries."

"In 1895, Dr. Von Eiselberg, one of Bilroths’s students, performed thyroidectomies on sheep and goats to study the effects on their arteries. He found atherosclerosis developing in the big main artery, the aorta, and in the coronary arteries. These observations were confirmed by other Viennese investigators who also noted that thyroid administration would prevent artery damage."

"In 1913, a book by Dr. Wilhelm Falta defined myxedema as a condition in which the arteries become prematurely damaged by atherosclerosis. In 1918, a German physician, Dr. H. Zondek, noticed that digitalis could not help some of his patients with heart failure. When Zondek noticed myxedema in those patients, he tried thyroid therapy. Their enlarged hearts shrank to normal size, and their edema disappeared."

"In 1925, Dr. H.A. Christian, of Rhode Island, confirmed Zondek’s findings. His hypothyroid patients with heart failure had improved heart function following thyroid therapy." -

It would seem that thyroid function and metabolic rate are much more important then saturated fat intake so until there is solid evidence to show that Saturated Fat consumption of traditional sources has anything to do with CVD or heart attacks... I will remain a skeptic. With all the scientific jargon above, it's easy to get confused about chemical process in the body. However as I referred to before in previous articles, fresh food from unadulterated sources has never produced a large civilized group of people suffering from heart attacks left and right despite what there cholesterol levels were or how much fat they consumed. I'm stickn with my pork and beans.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Ummm not exactly sure what you are talking about haha sorry. My point of this essay is that Saturated Fat does not have a direct cause and effect to heart disease and never has. o and Scientific Jargon is awesome makes everything sound waaaay cooler and shinier
    2575 days ago
  • REDSHOES2011
    Scientific jargon- I eat lean anyway when 70% of my "thin fat" people drop dead.. They don't get much warning, not even headaches.. "70%" of one side of my family is a huge number not to change my eating habits and eat leaner..
    2575 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/2/2012 7:14:55 AM
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