High Cholesterol is Good

There are several long term studies that have indicated having a high cholesterol level (defined by mainstream medicine as being over 200 mg/dl) lowers your risk of death from all causes (stroke, cancer, diabetes, CHD).

MRFIT

The 1986 MRFIT study was widely touted as proof that the rate of mortality increases as cholesterol levels increase.

However, the relationship between high cholesterol levels and heart disease mortality was shown in only one age group – men aged 37-54. Overall mortality rates weren’t reported.

When another team of researchers looked at the MRFIT data and compared overall mortality rates for each successive category of cholesterol levels, the results were very different.

Those participants in the lowest cholesterol level category had a greater “all-cause” death rate than participants in the other cholesterol level categories, with an exception for the group with very high cholesterol levels (>300 mg/dl).

 

The lowest “all-cause” mortality rates were seen in the group whose cholesterol levels were in the 160 – 219 mg/fl range.

Here are a paper and a blog with more information about the inadequacies of the MRFIT data.

Framingham

This result parallels the results from a 30-year analysis of the Framingham Study, a study often quoted as proof of the hypothesis that high cholesterol causes heart disease.

The results of the Framingham study were published in 1964. At that time, researchers claimed to have found a weak association between mean cholesterol levels and heart disease in people under the age of 50.

However, when you look at the cholesterol levels of those who developed CHD and those who didn’t, the actual data was inconclusive. Some of the participants with low cholesterol developed heart disease, and some with high cholesterol did not.

However, more importantly, the Framingham researchers found NO correlation for high cholesterol and heart disease in those participants who were over 50. Since 95% of all CHD deaths occur in people over the age of 55, this was certainly significant.

But here’s the most important result: In 1987, the Framingham researchers published a 30 year follow up report on the “all-cause mortality rates” of the Framingham residents.

They looked not only at coronary heart disease deaths, but deaths from stroke, cancer, and other illnesses.

The researchers reported a surprising outcome.

For those participants who were over age 50, lower cholesterol rates were associated with a higher risk of death from CHD and all causes. In fact, for every 1 mg/dl drop in cholesterol levels, there was a 14% increase in heart-related death and an 11% increase in overall mortality.

 

In other words, declining levels of cholesterol increased the risk of death from all causes, not just CHD.

This newer information from the Framingham study, and indeed most study results that don’t support the low-fat hypothesis, have been largely ignored by the National Institutes of Health, the AHA, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the mainstream media. You won’t find mention of this 30 year follow up paper on the Framingham website. And you certainly won’t find it on the American Heart Association’s website either.

Evidentially, after 30 years of scaring people into believing that high cholesterol levels are deadly, advising physicians to prescribe dangerous statin drugs which override the body’s natural mechanisms to maintain cholesterol as a protective mechanism, and building huge financial structures on this advice, these groups can’t confess to having been wrong.


The Protective Nature of Cholesterol

If we consider the supposition that cholesterol is a necessary and protective substance, it’s not a big leap to suppose that forcibly lowering it with drugs might cause injury to your body.

Unfortunately, that is just what is happening to people taking statin drugs to lower their high cholesterol levels.

Dr. Duane Graveline writes:

“There is no doubt that the present notoriety of cholesterol has all but obscured its physiological importance and necessity in our bodies. Cholesterol is not only the most common organic molecule in the brain, it is also distributed intimately throughout the entire body.

 

It is an essential constituent of the membrane surrounding every cell. The presence of cholesterol in this fatty double layer of the cell wall adjusts the fluid level and rigidity of this membrane to the proper value for both cell stability and function.

 

Additionally, cholesterol is metabolized into other essential body steroids known as the steroid hormones and is, therefore, the sole source for the formation of the very powerful chemicals in our body that determines our sexuality, control the reproductive process and make possible our very existence.

 

In its misguided war on cholesterol as the primary cause of atherosclerosis, the pharmaceutical industry would lead us to believe that a rapid bottoming out of our natural cholesterol levels through the use of statin drugs is a relatively innocuous process of definite benefit to society. But as we learn more each day of this ubiquitous and unique cholesterol substance, we must question the veracity of this advice. Cholesterol is perhaps the most important substance in our lives.”

Here’s some science to back that up… This recent study highlighted the “paradox” of why patients with high cholesterol levels survive hospital stays more often. (Paradox, in this case, is short for “hmm, this result doesn’t fit our belief that cholesterol is a killer.”)


Cholesterol-Lowering is Big Business

Given all the evidence which confirms that cholesterol is protective and necessary for good health, I find it bizarre that the US government and most physicians work very hard to get people to lower their cholesterol levels as much as possible. The message that high cholesterol is harmful is embedded deeply in the American psyche, and so the public doesn’t question this misguided and harmful agenda.

But make no mistake, the drive to lower cholesterol is a very big business. Billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, and a multitude of agencies are involved in the overall goal of lowering American cholesterol levels. Huge amounts of money are spent to educate patients on the false benefits of low fat, low cholesterol diet. Big pharmaceutical companies spend millions on developing and marketing drugs that lower cholesterol, often with injurious or lethal consequences.

For example, statins, drugs design to interfere with cholesterol production in the body, cause serious and sometimes fatal nerve, muscle and kidney damage. They are being prescribed in mind-boggling numbers. Between 2000 and 2005, the total prescriptions for statin drugs nearly doubled, bringing the 2005 yearly total to 174 million.

And there are individual perks for physicians who participate in this cholesterol-lowering business too. Pharmaceutical companies pay doctors huge amounts of money to “educate” other doctors about the benefits of drugs. In a story from New York Magazine, one doctor speaks of the addictiveness of the $750 he was paid each time he briefly mentioned a particular cholesterol-lowering drug to colleagues during a lunch break.

That’s a great deal of money and effort being spent on a goal that in the end, is extremely harmful to the patient.

And here’s the real kicker: the original “healthy” cholesterol levels weren’t set by doctors using scientific trials and medical results. In classic American political style, it was chosen by three men trying to get funding from Congress to continue cholesterol trials at the NHLBI. (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute). They reasoned that a cutoff of 200 mg/dl would provide the largest population for use in future studies.

Mary Enig, Ph.D. was there and heard the whole conversation. She writes about it here.


The New Cholesterol Guidelines

The new cholesterol guidelines have turned tens of thousands of healthy people into patients, “eligible” for cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

Most disturbing is that the development of these new health standards is shrouded in mystery. No one thinks to ask who is involved or how the guidelines are set.

When a correspondent asked the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) why there were no open meetings required for the development of the new standards, and why the New Guidelines were not published in the Federal Register, he received the following amazing reply:

“. . . the guidelines for cholesterol management released on May 15, 2001 were developed by a panel of experts–the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III [ATP III])–convened by the National Cholesterol Education Program, an educational program coordinated by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

 

The ATP III panel is not an advisory committee to the NHLBI but rather a group of recognized experts providing their scientific judgment about cholesterol management to clinicians.

 

The panel’s recommendations for clinicians are based on a thorough review of the scientific evidence by the panel. The guidelines developed by the ATP III are not regulations and health professionals are not required to follow them.”

The “recognized experts” include Drs. Grundy, Hunninghake, McBride, Pasternak, Stone, and Schwartz, all of whom have received consultant fees from the producers of statin drugs. (source: Weston Price Foundation).


Why is the Truth Hidden?

The truth about heart disease and healthy cholesterol levels is obscured by the American government, the mainstream media, national medical associations, and the drug companies for reasons of financial income and prestige.

These organizations have major financial and credibility issues at stake in making sure the public believes in the importance of lowering blood cholesterol levels.

They ignore the contradictory evidence and research about the true causes of heart disease to keep the “high cholesterol causes heart disease” myth alive because they depend on it for financial gain and credibility with the American public.

If these organizations were to suddenly reverse position on the dangers of high cholesterol, all of that money and prestige would disappear.

Have no doubt that these organizations are choosing to put your life and the life of every American citizen at risk, every day, so they can stick to their lucrative, but the mythical story about heart disease.

The fact is heart disease is NOT caused by high cholesterol levels and saturated fat intake. This fact is supported by a multitude of controlled scientific studies commissioned and funded by some of these mainstream organizations trying to tell you otherwise.

Elevated cholesterol levels have been wrongly accused as the cause of heart disease for the past 40 years to the detriment of our national health. Our nutritional “experts” have given us advice based not on science, but on financial gain and plain old pride.

Alternatively, recent studies point to a strong correlation between heart disease and high blood sugar and insulin levels. Chronically high blood sugar can be measured with a test called the hemoglobin A1c or HBA1c.

The EPIC study results state:

“In men and women, the relationship between hemoglobin A1c and cardiovascular disease (806 events) and between hemoglobin A1c and all-cause mortality (521 deaths) was continuous and significant throughout the whole distribution. The relationship was apparent in persons without known diabetes. Persons with hemoglobin A1c concentrations less than 5% had the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality…these relative risks were independent of age, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol concentration, cigarette smoking, and history of cardiovascular disease.”

Yet, organizations like the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and the National Institutes of Health are still recommending that people eat a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet, and take drugs to lower high cholesterol.

Low-fat diets have the end result of raising blood sugar levels for most people. Given the facts about cholesterol and the dangers of high blood sugar, this “eat low-fat foods–lower your cholesterol” recommendation is tantamount to fraud and unbelievably shameful in the light that so many physicians and consumers depend on these nutritional authorities for drug and health advice.

Low Carb Foods

Low carb foods are foods that are low in sugars and starches and high in protein and fats.

Foods which are low in carbs include:

  • Foods that are high in protein: beef, pork, lamb, veal, fish, shellfish, chicken and other poultry, eggs, and other animal-based foods. Cold cuts, bacon, and sausage are also allowed.
  • High Fat Dairy Products: creamy, soft cheeses such as cream cheese, aged cheeses such as Parmesan, Blue, Brie and Cheddar, and other high-fat dairy products such as butter, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and full-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables: These include all green leafy vegetables, salad greens, mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, cabbage, and bok choy. Cauliflower and broccoli are also good, but tomatoes, avocados, and onions have some carbs and should be limited. Starchy, sweet vegetables should be avoided; this group includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, winter squash, corn, carrots, and peas.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Macadamia nuts are the lowest in carbs, while Cashews are high in carbs. In between are pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts, and seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin.
  • Fats and Oils: Natural fats such as butter, lard, olive oil, and organic virgin coconut oils are the best. Avoid refined vegetable oils, margarine, and other hydrogenated fats.

Atrial Fibrillation: Alternative Treatment

Atrial fibrillation (heart arrhythmias) is a condition in which the heart’s electrical impulses are abnormal, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.


Some arrhythmias are life-threatening medical emergencies that can result in cardiac arrest and sudden death. Others cause aggravating symptoms such as an abnormal awareness of heartbeat (palpitations) and are merely annoying. Others may not be associated with any symptoms at all but could cause a potentially life-threatening stroke from slow blood circulation.

Heart arrhythmias (uh-RITH-me-uhs) are common and usually harmless. Most people have occasional, irregular heartbeats that may feel like a fluttering or racing heart.


Alternative Treatments

A higher fat, low carb diet has been shown to reduce cardiac rhythm abnormalities. This study shows that a high carb meal induces increased activity in the sympathetic nervous systems and increased levels of adrenalin, which can cause cardiac arrhythmia. In addition, a higher fat, low carb diet will also reduce the incidence of reactive hypoglycemia, which can cause heart palpitations.

Getting the necessary nutrition can also help. The daily intake of sufficient essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, the B vitamins, and a general multi-vitamin are all necessary for proper heart rhythm.

Magnesium, especially, is an important nutritional factor for proper heart function. In her book The Magnesium Factor, Dr. Mildred Seelig discusses at length the correlation between A-Fib and a magnesium deficiency.

In addition, Bruce West, D.C. says the body needs adequate stores of iodine for the heart to beat smoothly. In his practice, he has found that most of the stubborn cases of cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation that he was unable to correct with his cardiac protocols were resolved when adequate supplies of natural iodine were given. The iodine he uses is in the form of Prolamine, a natural iodine supplement.

Mainstream medicine shuns the use of natural iodine, but the most popular mainstream anti-fibrillation drug is Amiodarone, which is a toxic form of iodine in a sustained-release form.

Wikipedia has this to say about Amiodarone: “The FDA was reluctant to officially approve the use of amiodarone since initial reports had shown an increased incidence of serious pulmonary side-effects of the drug. In the mid-1980s, the European pharmaceutical companies began putting pressure on the FDA to approve amiodarone by threatening to cut the supply to American physicians if it were not approved. In December 1985, amiodarone was approved by the FDA for the treatment of arrhythmias. This makes amiodarone one of the few drugs approved by the FDA without rigorous randomized clinical trials.”

This is a prime example of how mainstream medicine chooses to ignore the utility and benefit of natural nutritive substances and alternative health strategies in order to prescribe toxic and dangerous drugs instead.

If you are experiencing atrial fibrillation, you should see a physician. But be aware that a change in diet may work wonders.

Processed Food and Health

The relationship between food and health is a strong one, and knowing the health costs of the food you eat is important for long term wellness.

Most processed foods contain high levels of sugar, high fructose corn syrup or white flour. These highly refined carbohydrates are extremely concentrated and have a tremendous effect on your blood sugar and insulin.

Consider the fact that at any one time, your body only has ONE teaspoon of sugar circulating in your bloodstream.

When you consume foods rich in refined carbohydrates, it’s very easy to consume great amounts of sugar in a very short time.

Drinking just one regular 32-ounce soda will dump just over 1/2 cup of sugar into your bloodstream in the two minutes it takes to drink it. That’s over 24 teaspoons of sugar, 24 times the normal amount in your blood.

In contrast, when you eat fresh fruit, it’s much harder to take in that much sugar all at once. For instance, you would have to eat 6 large apples in one sitting to get the same amount of sugar that is in that 32-ounce soda.

Consuming refined carbohydrates on a regular basis results in elevated blood sugar levels over time.

These constantly elevated blood sugar force the body to increase the levels of insulin being circulated to stabilize that blood sugar.

Constantly increased levels of insulin “numb” the body’s normal process of insulin secretion and glucose use, and can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

The high levels of circulating insulin inflame the arteries and stress the internal organs. Numerous studies have shown that this inflammation is a major factor in the development of heart disease and other food and health-related issues.

In addition, high blood sugar impairs the immune system, causes vitamin uptake dysfunction, inhibits the breakdown of blood clots, and increases hemoglobin glycation, a process that is implicated in aging.

Even in healthy volunteers, inducing a high blood sugar episode produces a substantial rise in blood pressure, heart rate and artery constricting chemicals.


What’s Wrong with Processed Food?

Processed food is NOT real food. These foods are the products of chemical and mechanical manipulation, and many contain residues of pesticides, genetically altered ingredients, and synthetic chemicals.

Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, writes that

“pesticide residues are omnipresent in the American food supply: the F.D.A. finds them in 30 to 40 percent of the food it samples. Many of them are known carcinogens, neurotoxins and endocrine disrupters — dangerous at some level of exposure. The government has established acceptable levels for these residues in crops, though whether that means they’re safe to consume is debatable: in setting these tolerances the government has historically weighed the risk to our health against the benefit — to agriculture, that is. The tolerances also haven’t taken into account that childrens’ narrow diets make them especially susceptible or that the complex mixtures of chemicals to which we’re exposed heighten the dangers.”

Processed foods are created with the express purpose of extending product shelf life so the manufacturers can make as much money as possible from the original food source, which is usually corn or soybeans.

There are huge surpluses of corn and soybeans harvested in the USA every year, and food processors have found hundreds of ways of manipulating corn and soybeans into all kinds of new forms to use in processed food products. The goal is to get you to eat as much of these products as possible, and companies spend millions of dollars trying to spin the food and health aspect of their unhealthy products, (zero fat grams!) and find new ways to get you to buy corn and soybeans in the form of packaged food products.

The human body needs fresh whole foods that are rich in nutrients to maintain natural health and energy. This is evident if we view populations around the world who don’t eat processed, refined or chemically altered foods.

These people eat traditional diets of clean, whole, vital foods, and they are healthy, strong, and free of the diseases while plague industrialized countries (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke).

Food and health are intimately associated. Food really is medicine, and eating the best quality whole foods will do more than any drug or doctor to keep you well.

If we all avoid buying processed products, maybe these giant, money-oriented food processors will start offering real foods instead.

NFkB: Nuclear Factor-kappa B

Nuclear Factor-kappa B, also stated as NFkB is a protein complex that resides in the cytoplasm of almost every cell in our body. It waits there until a signal is given for it to move into the nucleus of the cell and direct (through DNA transcription) the cellular DNA to manufacture the correct proteins to mount an inflammatory response to infection or bacterial invasion.

NF-κB is found in almost all animal cell types and is involved in cellular responses to stress, free radicals, ultraviolet irradiation, oxidized LDL, and bacterial or viral antigens.

This critical protein plays a key role in regulating the body’s immune response to infection by foreign agents. When it is correctly activated, it successfully directs our cells in fighting off an infection or bacterial invasion. However, if NF-κB is incorrectly activated, it may result in increased cancers, uncontrolled inflammatory responses, autoimmune diseases, septic shock, overwhelming viral infection, and inappropriate immune development.

Recently, the statin drug companies have been spinning the idea that statin drugs are wonderful because they work to lower inflammation in the body.

Statins do this by interfering with the body’s production of NF-kB. While reducing inflammation is a good goal overall, accomplishing that goal by reducing the body’s natural response is, in fact, nothing more than treating a symptom, and ignoring the underlying cause. It seems to me that interfering with the body’s immune response will have serious and unintended consequences through incorrect gene transcription.

Indeed, statin use has been implicated in the increase in several types of cancer. This cancer response has been shown in the Prosper study, the CARE study, and the Japan Intervention trial, and this increase in cancers may be linked to the reduction of overall serum cholesterol levels, indicating that the inflammation itself is not the danger, but merely a symptom. See this paper for more information.

In addition, Duane Graveline’s latest book, The Statin Damage Crisis, has an excellent chapter on this subject, in addition to being an excellent resource for those how to want to know the truth about statin drugs.

This website is also a comprehensive resource of excellent information.

Diabetes Management

A good diabetes management program can help diabetics avoid the complications caused by high blood sugars over time.

First and foremost, every diabetic has to know what foods affect his or her individual blood sugar levels. Since we are all different, the same foods that one person finds neutral may have a different effect on your blood sugar control.

Fortunately, finding out how foods affect your blood sugar levels is easy to do. Here are the steps:

  1. Buy a glucose monitor. They are available at any drug store, usually for less than $20.
  2. Keep a food and blood sugar journal. Take your first blood sugar reading when you wake up. This will be your “fasting blood sugar”.
  3. After every meal, write down what you ate, and what your blood sugar was 1 hour after eating, and 2 hours after eating.

Evaluating the Results

Over time, you’ll be able to see what foods make it easier to control your blood sugar. In most cases, the results will show that:

  • Consuming foods that are high in carbohydrates (whole grains, crackers, bread, fruit, pasta, sweets, root vegetables, and grains like rice and corn) will make blood sugar control harder.
  • Eating moderate amounts of protein and more high-fat foods at each meal will make blood sugar control easier since moderate amounts of protein and fats have little effect on blood sugar.

You can evaluate your readings based on being at or below these normal blood sugar levels:

  • Fasting blood sugar should be under 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/L)
  • One hour after meals, blood sugar should be under 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L)
  • Two hours after meals, blood sugar should be under 120 mg/dl (6.6 mmol/L)

Once you determine how to eat to control your blood sugar, and your fasting blood sugar is consistently under 100 mg/dl, this indicates you no longer have diabetes, technically speaking. But be aware that if you return to your old eating patterns, more than likely diabetes will also return.

Here’s a case study that highlights how beneficial lowering carbohydrate intake is for diabetics.

The Paleolithic Diet

The Paleolithic diet is a way of eating based on the ancient diet that various human species consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture.

Strong anthropological evidence indicates our ancestors consumed a diet that included meats, fish, seafood, eggs, non-starchy plants, nuts, and fruit. Humans evolved eating this way, and evidence from DNA studies indicates that the human genetic blueprint (or genome) has changed very little in even the past 40,000 years. Hence, proponents contend that our bodies have been genetically coded to maintain the best health on a paleolithic diet.

The main idea is that we are not genetically adapted to eat the processed foods invented in modern times, and when we eat these foods, they make us sick. Paleolithic proponents point to the fact that modern human tribes eating traditional diets similar to those of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers are largely free of modern diseases.


What You Can Eat on a Paleolithic Diet

The Paleolithic diet is simple and straightforward. Foods should be as close to their natural state as possible. For example, grass-fed domestic animals would be the better choice because the fat ratios would be closer to the ratios found in wild game. You can eat any of the following foods, in any amounts that satisfy your hunger:

  • Any domestic meat and poultry, including organ meats. Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey are good choices and grass-fed meats and poultry are preferred.
  • Any wild game meats or poultry such as elk, buffalo, boar, quail, duck, goose.
  • Fish and shellfish, preferably wild-caught.
  • Eggs especially pastured eggs.
  • All non –starchy vegetables – salad greens, celery, carrots, mushrooms, cucumber, spinach, broccoli, summer squash, peppers, onions, tomatoes, chard, etc. (Peas and green beans are actually legumes and are not allowed. All types of potatoes and winter squash are high in starch and should be avoided.)
  • All fruits
  • All nuts such as cashews, filberts, pecans, walnuts, macadamias, pine nuts, and pistachios. (Peanuts are legumes and so are to be avoided.)
  • Seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower.

Foods to Avoid on a Paleo Diet

Paleolithic diets AVOID the following foods:

  • Cereal grains such as corn, wheat, and rice,
  • Processed foods including any foods which contain any form of sugar or flour
  • Vegetable oils
  • Legumes and beans, such as green beans, peas, peanuts, dried beans of any sort
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt

But Aren’t Whole Grains Good For You?

The agricultural revolution, (Neolithic period) during which grain-based foods became part of the human diet, only occurred 10,000 years ago, which is a very short time compared to the fact that the true human species has been walking the earth for more than a million years. There is clear skeletal evidence which shows that once grains were introduced into the diet of modern human populations, bone and teeth structures were weakened, malnutrition became rampant, and infectious diseases developed.

In addition, a recent analysis updating the picture of relative brain size changes in humans during our evolutionary history has revealed that human brain size has decreased by 11% in the last 35,000 years, with most of the decline happening in the last 10,000 years. Reference: Ruff C.B., Trinkaus E., Holliday T.W. (1997) “Body mass and encephalization in Pleistocene Homo.” Nature, vol. 387, pp. 173-176. (Figures for brain mass across human evolutionary time found in Table 1 on p. 174.)


What About Dairy Foods?

Dairy foods have only been in the human diet for about 7000 years. Some Paleolithic diet enthusiasts avoid milk because it contains a protein called casein which breaks down in the digestive system to a substance called casomorphin. Casomorphin acts as an opiate substance within the body, and it has been linked to autism in children and as a trigger for the development of diabetes.

Personally, I think that milk products are essential for good health. However, if your gut health has already been compromised by eating grains, and your stomach pH has been altered by chronic antacid use, diary products may aggravate the situation.

Normal stomach pH allows for the full function of the enzyme pepsin, which can easily break up milk proteins into smaller amino acids that have no bioactivity. If stomach pH is too high, pepsin cannot work correctly, and the bioactive dairy casomorphines are left intact.

Grain-based foods cause gut inflammation, leakage, and heartburn, which necessitates the use of antacids, interferes with pepsin, and this starts a cycle of gut problems in which the intact milk proteins may aggravate (not cause).


Resources for Further Reading

Blood Sugar Level Chart

A blood sugar level chart can help you understand the levels of healthy blood sugar. Some of the tests must be prescribed and administered by a doctor or medical clinic

But you can also use these charts along with a glucometer (a tool to test blood sugar) to decide which foods cause blood sugar spikes, and which to avoid to maintain low levels of blood sugar and hence, good health.


Fasting Blood Sugar Test

Fasting blood sugar is a measurement of your blood sugar after not eating for 8-12 hours. This test is normally included with a CBC (complete blood chemistry) blood test. A CBC is a test often ordered by doctors when doing a complete health evaluation. Fasting blood sugars are evaluated as follows:

Fasting blood sugars after 8-12 without food:
Normal blood sugar range: between 60- 100 mg/dL
Pre -Diabetic range: between 101- 126 mg /dL
Diabetic range: more than 126 mg/dL on two different blood test occasions

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

An oral glucose tolerance test is used to test the body’s ability to metabolize a specific amount of glucose, clear it from the bloodstream and return blood sugar levels to normal.

The patient is asked to eat normally for several days before the test. No food should be taken for 8-10 hours before the test, and there is no eating during the test. To begin the test, a fasting blood sugar is taken. Then the patient drinks a sweet liquid which contains approximately 75 grams of sugar in the form of glucose. The drink must be finished in 5 minutes. After sitting quietly for one to two hours, the patient’s blood sugar is re-tested and evaluated as follows on this blood sugar level chart:

Blood values for a 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test:

Blood values for a 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test: 2-hour measurement
Normal: less than 140 mg/dL
Impaired glucose tolerance (Pre-diabetic range): between 140-200 mg/dL
Diabetic range: over 200 mg/dL

Gestational Diabetes Screening:

Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a condition in which blood sugar control gets worse during a woman’s pregnancy. The test for GDM is generally given between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. The screening test most commonly used in the United States is an initial 50-gram 1-hour glucose challenge test (GCT). If the result on the GCT is abnormal (greater than 140 mg/dL after one hour), the patient will be given a 100-gram 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Two or more abnormal values on the OGTT are considered a diagnosis of GDM.

Blood values for a 100-gram oral glucose tolerance test:

Blood values for a 100-gram gestational oral glucose tolerance test: Measurements indicative of diabetic range:
Fasting 95 mg/dL or higher
One hour measurement: 180 mg/dL or higher
Two-hour measurement: 155 mg/dL or higher
Three-hour measurement: 140 mg/dL or higher

Personal Blood Tests

Blood sugar testing is a great tool to determine your potential for high blood sugar and diabetes. If you are diabetic, personal blood testing can help you control your blood sugar and insulin intake more accurately.

You can measure your blood glucose levels with an inexpensive glucometer and test strips at home. To gain an accurate picture of your blood sugar control, four or more tests a day can be taken. You should record the food you eat at each meal and then the blood sugar readings afterwards. This information gathered can then be used to adjust food intake and exercise to greatly improve blood sugar levels. Diabetics can use this method to adjust insulin levels as well. Testing can improve your blood sugar results, and help you maintain healthy blood sugar ranges. Using this method, you can quickly determine what foods spike your blood sugar and make it harder to control.

Use this blood sugar level chart to evaluate your personal blood sugar readings:

Blood Glucose Level Normal Targets:
Before each meal: 80-120 mg/dl
2 hours after meals: less than 180 mg/dl
At bedtime 100-140 mg/dl

Glycosylated Hemoglobin or Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C)

This test reflects average blood sugar levels over the previous 2-3 months.

HbA1c Test Results:
Normal range: less than 6.0
Pre-diabetic range: between than 6.5 and 7
Diabetic range: greater than 7

The formula used to calculate the average blood glucose level from the HbA1C test is as follows:

  • HbA1C level x 33.3 – 86 = average blood glucose level for the past 90 days. HbA1C can be helpful to track diabetic control over time.
  • Example: If your HbA1c level is 5.9, the formula would be (5.9 x 33.3)-86 and would tell you that your average blood sugar was 110 over the past 90 days or so.

This HbA1c page has more information about this test and its importance in avoiding heart disease.

Fatty Liver Disease

Hepatic Steatosis is a medical term for a fatty liver, a condition in which there is an abnormal and excessive build-up of fat in the cells of the liver. When the fat in the liver accounts for more than 10% of the liver’s weight, then it is called “hepatic steatosis” and this condition could lead to more serious complications for the patient.

Most people know that alcoholics develop liver damage as a consequence of chronic alcohol consumption. But not all fatty, inflamed livers are caused by excessive alcohol consumption. It’s estimated that over one-third of Americans suffer from fatty liver disease that is unrelated to alcohol consumption. That’s over 60 million people.

This type of liver disease is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and it’s a concern because just like the type that alcoholics get, NAFLD can lead to an inflamed liver, a disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, and set the sufferer up for higher risk of liver cancer.

Worse, a fatty liver produces no symptoms on its own, so people often only learn about their fatty liver when they have medical tests for other reasons.

What Does Your Liver Do For You?

The liver is the largest organ in the body. It is found high in the right upper abdomen, behind the ribs. It is a very complex organ and it has a serious impact on your health because it performs many important functions, such as:

  • Storing energy in the form of glycogen
  • Storing vitamins, iron, and other minerals needed for good health
  • Making proteins, including blood clotting factors, which help with growth and body health
  • Breaking down worn-out red blood cells and cleansing the blood
  • Making bile needed for the digestion of fats from the diet
  • Metabolizing medications and alcohol
  • Killing germs that enter the body through the intestines.

The liver takes on the majority of body maintenance tasks and it even has a remarkable power to regenerate itself. Keeping your liver healthy is a very important goal!


What Causes Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

There are many different causes of NAFLD. Most sites, including the American Liver Foundation, mention elevated triglycerides, but they don’t tell you what to do.

So then, what causes elevated triglycerides? As it turns out, a diet high in carbohydrates, especially a diet high in fructose, has been shown to elevate triglyceride levels, and as a consequence, worsen NAFLD. Here’s a study that demonstrates the effect of fructose.

On average, Americans eat about 75 pounds of fructose per year, mostly in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is added to just about every processed food, and it’s in foods that you wouldn’t suspect, including artificial crabmeat, soups, and other supposedly non-sweet foods.

Study after study has shown that fructose elevates blood pressure, triglyceride levels and increases inflammation in the liver. Fructose is metabolized exclusively in the liver, and a diet high in fructose damages the liver and makes it insulin resistant. This includes fructose found in natural foods such as fruit and honey.

Here’s a video from an expert on the dangers of fructose:


Other Causes of NAFLD

In addition, high consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats also contributes to fatty liver disease. Omega-6 fats include vegetable oils such as corn, canola, and soybean oils (see the ingredients in mayonnaise and commercial salad dressing). Omega-6 oils do not include olive oil, and nut oils; these are monounsaturated oils.

In addition to contributing to NAFLD, many studies (see below) have shown that omega-6 polyunsaturated oils are highly inflammatory, and can cause liver inflammation and scarring. This includes fish-oil if taken in excess!

In fact, linoleic acid, the main fatty acid found in vegetable oil, has a suppressive effect on the immune system and on thyroid function. See this article for more details.


Choline is Critical

A deficiency of choline, one of the B vitamins, has been shown in several studies to be the root cause of a fatty liver. In one study, men and women fed intravenously (IV) with solutions that lacked choline developed signs of liver damage consistent with a fatty liver. When they were given choline, the damage was alleviated.

These blog posts discuss this in more detail:


Treating NAFLD

At least two studies, one from Duke University, and one from Cambridge in London have shown that reducing carbohydrate consumption and increasing saturated fat intake helps the liver shed excess fat in as little as three days. CAVEAT: Chris Masterjohn, in his posts on this subject notes that sufficient choline needs to be available for cleansing.

Read the Duke Study here.

Read the Cambridge study here.

In a third study here, the authors write: “Several lines of investigation indicate that dietary fat can modulate the severity of the alcoholic liver injury… In experimental animals, for example, diets enriched with saturated fatty acids protect against alcohol-induced liver injury, whereas diets containing polyunsaturated fatty acids promote liver injury. Saturated fatty acids have also been reported to reverse established alcoholic liver injury.”


Building a Healthy Liver

For a healthy liver, you should:

  • Cut your overall carbohydrate intake (see this paper)
  • Avoid consuming fructose, especially high fructose corn syrup, white sugar (50% fructose), honey (40% fructose), and agave syrup, which can be up to 90% fructose
  • Avoid consuming refined vegetable oil (oils from corn, canola, and soybeans) which are rich in inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Avoid excess intake of fish oils
  • Eat more egg yolks and liver from clean, grass-fed animals. These foods are high in choline.
  • Eat other foods rich in choline such as beef, cod, shrimp, broccoli, dairy products, and almonds.
  • Eat foods rich in an amino acid called methionine. The body can make choline from methionine. Meat, fish, sesame seeds and Brazil nuts are rich in methionine.

Myogenic Theory of Myocardial Infarction

For many years, the accepted theory on the cause of heart attacks or myocardial infarctions (MIs) has been the Coronary Blockage Theory.

This theory states that a heart attack is the result of a lack of blood supply to the heart cells from the network of arteries that supply the myocardial (heart) tissue. There are four main arteries. Each supplies blood to a different region of the heart.

Medical experts believe that when one or more of these arteries gets blocked with atherosclerotic plaque, the blood flow is compromised and, in times of heart stress (such as during exercise or emotional trauma), the insufficient blood flow causes damage to the particular region of the heart fed by the blocked artery.

Interestingly, in the 1940s and 1950s, when the coronary blockage theory was first proposed, the majority of cardiologists did not accept it. They pointed out that while coronary arteries are not the only arteries to have plaque, they are the only tissue to suffer from decreased blood flow during a myocardial infarction. There are no reports of a spleen attack or a kidney attack, yet the arteries feeding these organs also get plaque buildup.

Recent research has suggested a different theory of heart failure, and it is strongly supportive of what experts know about death from coronary disease. This new theory is called the Myogenic Theory of Myocardial Infarction.

Briefly, the Myogenic Theory of Myocardial Infarction states that the major etiologic (cause and effect) factor in a heart attack is not a blockage, but a destructive chemical process within the heart muscle itself.

Specifically, in situations of stress on the myocardial (heart muscle) tissue, the heart cells, which are very active metabolically, suffer from inadequate oxygen and nutrient supply. This lack of oxygen and nutrients occurs as a result of the failure of smaller vessels supplying the heart. These capillaries and arterioles are compromised by various factors, and in turn, compromise the supply of nutrition and oxygen to the heart.

When this happens, the heart cells revert to their backup system for nutrients and energy, which is a process called anaerobic fermentation.

You may be familiar with this process if you exercise regularly. It’s what happens in your leg muscles when you run too far or too hard. The anaerobic fermentation produces lactic acid which collects in the muscle tissues. Resting your leg muscles allows the lactic acid to be metabolized, and the pain and stiffness eventually go away.

But the heart, unlike your leg muscles, cannot rest, and the lactic acid builds up in the heart muscle. If this acidic condition is left untreated, it leads to the death of the heart cells, and a heart attack ensues.

This theory was developed by a Brazilian cardiologist, Quintilaino H. de Mesquita, who passed away several years ago. His son in law, Carlos Monteiro, is carrying on his father-in-law’s work and has gathered information about the work on the Infarct Combat Project website.

Dr. Thomas Cowan, a physician in private practice in San Francisco has been working with Mr. Monteiro and has written about this theory extensively. Dr. Cowan states:

“The myogenic theory points us to a very different kind of preventive treatment for heart disease, one that focuses on small vessel disease and the prevention of heart tissue acidosis.

 

The theory also explains why stress, diabetes, and smoking are such strong risk factors for myocardial infarction because these factors have all been shown to primarily affect small capillaries and small blood vessels, not the large coronary arteries. But the story gets even more interesting.

 

It turns out that there are simple, inexpensive and very effective compounds that effectively prevent lactic acidosis in the heart tissues. These medicines have been known for centuries as cardiotonic and have been used for treating heart disease in every traditional medical system in the world.

 

The two best known are digitalis (the common foxglove) and strophanthus, an African vine. These plants are the source of so-called cardiac glycosides: digoxin and digitoxin from digitalis, and ouabain from strophanthus. The function of these compounds is to regulate the rhythm and power of the cardiac contraction and to prevent or reverse lactic acid buildup in the cardiac tissue. This is why these plants have been used for centuries to treat congestive heart failure, rhythm disturbances and other disorders of heart function.

 

The amazing thing is that these compounds are exact chemical copies of hormones made by our adrenal glands. And our adrenal glands produce these cardiotonic out of…cholesterol!

 

Now we know why all the draconian dietary and pharmaceutical measures to lower cholesterol have not resulted in a decrease in the rates of myocardial infarction, and why numerous studies have shown that as we age, those with the highest levels of cholesterol live the longest.

 

When we lower cholesterol, we are depriving our bodies of the very substance they need to manufacture cardiotonic.”


Keeping Your Capillaries Well

So, given our small vessel’s critical role in keeping the heart well, how do we take care of our capillaries?

Dr. Cowan suggests the following:

  • Avoid high blood sugar: Diabetes is a serious risk factor for capillary damage. A high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is your best defense against diabetes.
  • Don’t smoke! Smoking is a risk factor for capillary damage.
  • Engage in moderate outdoor exercise.
  • Avoid commercial liquid vegetable oils, which are full of free radicals that can damage capillaries.
  • Follow a nutrient-dense traditional diet. You can find out more about traditional diets here on this site or through the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Resources For Further Reading

For more information on the Myogenic theory, visit the Infarct Combat Project website.

Also, you can read Dr. Cowan’s complete essay here and another article by Dr. Cowan and researcher Carlos Montiero here.