Now that I have your attention, and possibly pissed a few MD’s off in the process (oops), let me backup my statement. Heart disease isn’t CAUSED by cholesterol. 70% of heart disease is directly related to the insulin resistance gene. Yet another good reason to have your DNA done.
- 30% of caucasians are insulin resistant
- 50% of asians are insulin resistant
- 100% of those with darker skin have the propensity to be insulin resistant
Insulin resistance increases your risk of diabetes, blood pressure issues, cholesterol issues, abdominal fat (the bad kind), certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. Only 20% of heart disease is related to elevated lipoprotein. I should also add that we don’t get heart disease from cholesterol but rather it’s evil cousin hypertension.
There is not a pharmaceutical solution to every issue despite what we, the public have been lead to believe
Many in the medical community believe that: If you can’t fix it with a script pad or a scalpel it doesn’t exist. Those of us in the functional medicine community know this not to be the case.
This simply is unacceptable, we need to start with the foundational work. You can’t have health without the major pillars, this means:
- Adequate sleep, no exceptions. It must be good quality sleep and it needs to be between 7-8 hours, for some this may even be 9-10 if suffering health issues. When I was recovering from my own autoimmune condition I needed a solid 10 hours in order to be able to function.
- Nutrition, keep it simple. Whole food, not from packages. Get back to common sense eating, eat less. Stop being afraid of fat. Don’t worry about what your neighbour is doing, eat for your own body composition and DNA (look another reason to test your genetics).
- Manage your stress. Stress is everywhere, it’s chronic and we cannot escape it. We have so many choices and fast decisions that we are faced multiple times per day that is it any wonder we have stress through the roof? We can CHOOSE not to flip out at the guy who cut us off, we do have control of our reactions.
- Exercise, I don’t mean over training… I mean proper exercise. I’m not a trainer, don’t ask me what that looks like for you, go see a qualified professional.
Each and every second of the day you have a choice to make, do you eat that desert, do you take the stairs, do you park farther away, do you eat out or go home and cook…. what is also fantastic is that with each choice you do not have to say the hell with it, you don’t have to let the one snack dictate the theme of the whole day. Oh and tomorrow you get to hit the reset button.
OK back to it. So why is elevated LDL such a scary thing? If you have nothing clogging up your arteries then it isn’t’ scary… at all. Granted some of you might have absolute shit DNA where this could be of some concern, but for the general public this is just not the case.
Let’s look at a study published in The Journal of American College of Cardiology form 2015. This was a 10 year trial done on those who met the criteria for statins, which happen to be 77% of those in the study. Of that 77% 1/2 had a ZERO coronary calcium score (coronary calcium score is the best predictor of heart disease risk, not to be confused with IV CT coronary angiography). Those who had no arterial calcium were essentially at no risk of heart disease making statins useless to them. This is where the term “Don’t treat the cholesterol, treat the risk” comes in.
Let’s be blunt, if you have a family history of heart disease or you show on a DNA panel that you are in the high risk category due to variations etc then you will want to find out what your coronary calcium score is. I know I tend to say we get too hung up on the numbers, this is the medical model we were raised with though and it still does hold some merit. Just stop freaking out about having LDL that seems to be elevated when there is no other risk factors. Look, I’m not a doctor (disclaimer) and I have no clue what your health history is but when you look at what some of the leading cardiologists are saying (like Dr Ross Walker in the UK) you have to stop and wonder why other docs just don’t get it. Why are we pushing statins when they will be useless under the circumstances? As a matter of fact if you are over the age of 70 starting statins does nothing except speed up your rate of mortality… no thanks. If you have lived to the age of 60 with elevated LDL and no cardiovascular episodes I wouldn’t be panicking about it now.
Studies have shown that the higher the number your LDL is after the age of 60 (without heart disease) the better your chances of living longer with less cancer, with less gastrointestinal disease and with less infectious disease. I’m not pulling this out of a hat, there was a study done in 2016 published in the UK medical journal that stated this very thing. But how is this possible? Well let me explain. In a healthy individual the membrane (the covering of the cell) is made up of 75% fat. This coating acts as a protection against many toxins. If you do not have enough fat (LDL) coating these membranes you will be at higher risk of gastrointestinal disease, some cancers, and infectious diseases. There is a fantastic book called “The Cell Factor” if you want to know more about this.
I’m all about preventative care so if you have a strong family history then test earlier, if not then you can run this test around the age of 50 for men and 60 for women. If you have a high score then yes implementing aggressive risk management such as statins is something you may very well need to consider. But if you do need to be on a statin be sure you are supplementing on the things needed to protect you from the negative effects of this nasty drug.
What do you do if you need to be on a statin? My advice is look into adding the following:
- Bergamet is recommended to use this and reduce the amount of statins you are on.
- Coenzyme Q 10 in the form of ubiquinol not ubiquinone. Over the age of 50 we slow in the production of an enzyme needed to convert ubiquinone into ubiquinol so you may as well skip straight to the good stuff. This protects the mitochondria from the damage done by statins as well as the aches and pains (legs especially) associated with statins.
- Magnesium orotate, this is needed for uptake of the ubiquinol into the mitochondria (Orotate is essential for this).
- You will also want to start taking k2 (in mk7 format) at a dose of 180 mcg/day. You can read my article on this here
A study of over 400 people showed that those taking ubiquinol (ubiquinone) over 2 years had a reduction of cardiac events by 50%
Something else to consider adding if you have elevated LDL (even without knowing which particle it is that is elevated) is adding Vitamins E and C, be sure to get the non synthetic versions or it won’t work worth a damn. You want food versions of vitamin C, camu camu is a great option. This also reduces some of the risk of arterial calcification according to some of the literature. You will also want to add some short acting nicotinic acid. Grab a 250 mg pill and cut it into 4, taking 1/4 in the AM nd a 1/4 in the PM working your way up gradually to 1-2 capsules. You want to get a slight flush but nothing lasting longer than 5-10 minutes. You want to know it is working not go crazy with the itch.
Another issue we face is compliance. We want immediate effects that won’t happen with supplements the same way it does with pharmaceuticals. They have done studies which show zero results from supplements in a ten year span yet after 15 years the results were fantastic and even more astounding at the 20 year mark. This means we need to commit to the long haul, problem is most of us are just not that compliant.
We have been taught that everything to do with health is associated to lowering a number found in the blood, this simply is not always the case.