Considered one of the number one killers in America by the CDC, I consider it the number one culprit in iatrogenic disease. High Cholesterol has been touted as the cause of heart disease by the media and the doctors led by the pharmaceutical industry.
Their answer to this cause is a 9 billion dollar industry of statin drugs. The science for these drugs has been built on a house of cards. I believe it is only a matter of time before the house falls. When you read the 5 big studies on cholesterol, statins, and their connection to heart disease, you soon realize that the evidence for statin drugs decreasing heart attacks is based on a small percentage of change. Many experts feel this small difference is not due to the lowering of cholesterol but due to the slight anti-inflammatory behavior of the statin. The true cause of heart disease is NOT cholesterol – it is INFLAMMATION. Therefore, many new studies are showing total cholesterol as being an irrelevant number for a predictor of heart disease. Cholesterol, however, does play some role because it is when it oxidizes that it can cause arterial inflammation and therefore an increase in plaque. Statin drugs lower the total cholesterol but are ineffective for reducing the oxidation. Unfortunately, statin drugs are not reducing the incidence of heart attacks but are actually causing disease in and of themselves.
Statins are now linked to congestive heart failure, because these drugs are designed to destroy the enzymes needed for cholesterol production–one of which is CoEnzyme Q10. CoQ 10 is needed for heart energy and therefore heart contractions. When statins were first developed, it was suggested that it would be necessary to put CoQ 10 in the drug, however that advice was never taken. Today we are causing congestive heart failure as just one of the side effects of these drugs. Added to the list: liver failure, joint pain, fatigue, etc.
In our clinic, we do not concern ourselves with total cholesterol, but the particle number and size of the particle of cholesterol is what we consider to be of importance.
New studies show the more particles of cholesterol, the more oxidation of cholesterol, and therefore the more arterial inflammation. It is interesting to note that people with low cholesterol can have a large particle number of cholesterol and therefore be at risk for heart disease. The inverse is also true that people can have a high total cholesterol and a low particle number and be at low risk for heart disease. I explain it to my patients this way: think of the particle of cholesterol as a car and the people in the car as cholesterol. The particle is designed to carry cholesterol, therefore a car filled with many people is a high total cholesterol. A car with one person would be a low total cholesterol. After drawing this analogy, I ask my patients this question: in a traffic jam, what makes it worse? Is it the total number of cars (number of particles) or the total number of people in the cars (total cholesterol)? Of course the answer is obvious: the number of people in the cars has nothing to do with the severity of a traffic jam but the number of cars in the jam is what matters. Likewise, it is the number of particles, not the total cholesterol, that causes the problem.
In our office we run several different tests dependent upon a patients condition and the Doctor's evaluation.
NMR – (Particle number of cholesterol) Total cholesterol means very little as a predictor for heart disease, however the more particles of cholesterol the patient has, the greater the risk of heart disease. On this test we only assess the P-LDL and the particle size. The particle number should be less than 1000 and the small particle should be less than 600.
Lp-PLA2 – A new inflammation marker very specific for cellular and
arterial inflammation . I like patients to be under 190.
Homocysteine – Elevated homocystine will cause inflammation. I
prefer homocystine to be under 10, optimal is under 8.
Cardiac CRP – Inflammatory marker used as a predictor for heart
disease. Optimal is less than .56, under 1 is good.
Vitamin D – I recommend testing Vitamin D on every patient. It is estimated that 85% of the population is Vitamin D deficient. The range that I prefer is between 60-100. The LabCorp range is between is between 32-100. Low Vitamin D is linked to many hormone problems as well as 17 different types of cancer.
HGBA1C – A much better assessment of glucose because it looks at glucose over a 3-6 month period of time.