As published in the February 2009 issue of Vitality Magazine
If you are like most people, you believe that avoiding saturated fats and keeping your blood cholesterol level low is the key to combating heart disease. You’ve been avoiding eggs for years, trimming the fat off all meats, and eating low fat or non-fat dairy products. You may even be taking cholesterol lowering drugs, believing that you are taking good care of your health.
You will be surprised to learn that these are all misconceptions. According to a growing number of medical researchers, scientists and medical doctors, the cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis (high cholesterol and triglycerides being key risk factors in heart disease) is one of the biggest scams in the history of medicine. Saturated fats and cholesterol are actually essential to good health and maintaining a strong immune system. Furthermore, there is no tangible evidence that high cholesterol contributes to heart disease.
A consistently high level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood is indicative of an underlying health problem. Rather than fighting to keep your blood cholesterol levels low, you need to address the root cause. This root cause could be a stressful job, depression, anxiety, suppressed anger, or something physical such as chronic pain, inflammation, indigestion or insomnia.
Homeopathy is one modality that can help heal deep emotional wounds as well as eliminate chronic physical ailments. Once the underlying stressors have been eliminated, the body will begin to regulate and maintain healthy levels of blood cholesterol.
Present in every cell in the body, cholesterol is a fat-like substance produced by the liver. The body produces cholesterol as it is needed. In fact, approximately 85% of cholesterol is produced by the body and only 15% comes from food. Scientific studies have confirmed that cholesterol from food has no effect on the level of our blood cholesterol. It is such an essential part of our physiology that the body has very efficient mechanisms of producing and regulating cholesterol levels. When we eat more cholesterol, the body produces less; when we eat less cholesterol, the body produces more.
Cholesterol levels in our blood can vary at different times of the day. People tend to have higher levels of cholesterol in the winter than summer. The level of cholesterol skyrockets after surgery and dental work. It also goes up when we’re under stress and diminishes when we are happy and relaxed. The reason for the fluctuations is that cholesterol is a healing agent. When the body has some healing jobs to do, it produces cholesterol and sends it to the site of the damage. Depending on the time of day, the weather, the season and our exposure to various environmental agents, the damage to different tissues can vary. As a result, the production of cholesterol in the body also varies.
Most of the billions of cells in our body constantly produce cholesterol throughout our lives. It regulates many vital functions in the body, including brain health and good memory. (If you’ve been on cholesterol-lowering drugs for a while, you may have noticed that your memory has started to fail.) Cholesterol is also essential in the production of hormones: testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, estrone, corticosterone, aldosterone and more. These hormones regulate our metabolism, energy production, mineral assimilation, brain, muscle, and bone formation, emotional responses and behaviour.
What your doctor may not tell you is that people with high cholesterol are protected from infections; they are four times less likely to contract AIDS, rarely get common colds, and recover from infections more quickly than those with “normal” or low blood cholesterol. People with low blood cholesterol are prone to infections, suffer from them longer, and are more likely to die from an infection. A diet rich in cholesterol has been demonstrated to improve people’s ability to recover from infections. In fact, people suffering with infections need to consume foods rich in cholesterol to heal. Cod liver oil, the second richest source of cholesterol (after caviar) has long been prized as the best remedy to boost the immune system. Until the discovery of antibiotics, one of the common cures for Tuberculosis was a daily mixture of raw egg yolks and fresh cream.
When our bodies are exposed to any damaging organism – chemicals, viruses, bacteria, free radicals, etc. – these organisms end up in our bloodstream. The first point of contact is the endothelium: cells which line the blood vessels. The endothelium immediately sends a message to the liver. When the liver receives a signal that a wound has been inflicted upon the endothelium somewhere in our vascular system, it sends cholesterol to the site of the damage in the form of Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol. Since this cholesterol travels from the liver to the wound, it was erroneously called “bad” cholesterol. After its mission is accomplished and the wound heals, the cholesterol returns to the liver in the form of High Density Lipoproteins (HDL). HDL was mistakenly called “good” cholesterol. This is like calling an ambulance travelling from the hospital to the patient a “bad ambulance” and the one travelling from the patient back to the hospital a “good ambulance”.
One of the biggest causes of high levels of LDL cholesterol is general stress. Our stress hormones are made of cholesterol. When we experience stress, the liver sends cholesterol to the adrenal glands for stress hormone production. At the same time, a storm of free radicals and other damaging biochemical reactions occur in the blood. As a result, the liver works overtime to produce and send out as much cholesterol as possible to deal with the free radical attack. In these situations our blood cholesterol will measure high, which means that the body is dealing with some kind of damage or stress. Once the damage is dealt with, the blood cholesterol will diminish naturally. In cases of chronic illness the blood cholesterol is constantly high. Rather than attacking the cholesterol, what your doctor should do is look for the underlying illness or the cause of the cholesterol problem.
Homeopathic treatment can help reduce the LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol by helping the body to heal the underlying illness. When the organism is healthy and balanced, the liver stops producing high levels of LDL because there is no longer healing work to be done.
One patient who came to see me about her fibromyalgia was also taking the commonly prescribed drug Lipitor. Anita had been on this cholesterol lowering drug for nearly ten years. She felt the cholesterol issue was under control with the medication and was only seeking homeopathic help for her fibromyalgia. After discussing her medical history, it became apparent that Anita was diagnosed with high blood cholesterol and prescribed Lipitor shortly after a very stressful period in her life – the passing of her mother. The fibromyalgia symptoms had developed shortly thereafter.
I proceeded as I normally do, asking detailed questions about her symptoms, personality and general nature, and then prescribed a homeopathic remedy. During the following four-month period Anita’s aches and pains disappeared while she gradually weaned herself off the pain killers she had been taking. She reported feeling calmer and happier than she had in twenty-five years. She then decided to ask her doctor to wean her off the Lipitor. After being drug-free for six weeks, her first physical exam showed “normal” cholesterol levels.
Start welcoming cholesterol rich foods into your diet. Foods high in saturated fats can help you build a strong immune system and even live longer.
There is no scientific evidence that animal fat and cholesterol play a role in arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS) is an online group of scientists, medical doctors and academics who share this view. Visit their fascinating web site at http://www.thincs.com and review the reference books listed below.
Chronically high levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood are indicative of an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed. Consider homeopathic treatment in maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle and optimum levels of blood cholesterol.
(Editor’s Note: While the cholesterol content of animal fats appears not to be a health issue, the high levels of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics in commercial animal fats can definitely pose a health risk. So if you choose to use animal products, do so in moderation and choose organic where possible.)
 Campbell-McBride, Natasha, MD, Cholesterol; Friend or Foe? http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/cholesterol-friend.html
 Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD, The Cholesterol Myth; Exposing the fallacy that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease, New Trends Publishing, 2000
 Mary Enig, PhD, Eat Fat, Lose Fat, Penguin Books, 2006
 Anthony Colpo, The Great Cholesterol Con; why everything you’ve been told about cholesterol, diet and heart disease is wrong, 2006.
 Malcolm Kendrick, MD, The Great Cholesterol Con; the truth about what really causes heart disease and how to avoid it, 2008
 Duane Graveline, MD, Lipitor the Thief of Memory; Statin drugs and the misguided war on cholesterol, 2006
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