Ads for statin drugs to lower cholesterol continue to flood the television. The message is that if you do not take the drug, the “risk” is going to do you in. In reality cholesterol is not the most significant risk factor in heart disease – inflammation is – it is just one factor that is best controlled by diet and lifestyle. With the help of the drug companies, we now live in a fat phobic culture with a “low fat” diet that actually increases the body’s production of cholesterol.
Cholesterol is actually a friend to the body and not the enemy we are led to believe. The word “cholesterol” comes from the Greek word chole, meaning “bile”, and the Greek word stereos, meaning “solid, stiff”. Cholesterol is necessary to produce the bile in order for your body to digest fats from your food. Fats are important for many vitamins like A,D,E,and K. The cascade of consequences when cholesterol is artificially altered is significant. We talk more about how deficiency in essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes contribute to like Diabetes and heart disease. Let’s get back to what cholesterol does. It is a necessary component of the cell wall, important for protection to the cell. It determines what comes into the cell and what leaves the cell. The cell is the foundation for your health! It builds and maintains the cell membranes of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. It is involved in the production of the sex hormones and is essential for production of hormones released by the adrenal glands, It converts sunshine to Vitamin D. and is necessary for the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins we mentioned, A, D, E, K.
Cholesterol is not a toxin; it is necessary for vitality!
An interesting fact is that people ate more saturated animal fats in 1920 and heart disease was almost non existent. What has changed? The use of vegetable oils has increased by about 400%, with hydrogenated oils and trans fats flooding the food supply. Today heart disease is the number one killer. The intake of cholesterol has dropped significantly and yet the “numbers” are still high. We talk about how trans fats decrease the good cholesterol and increase the bad cholesterol in a video series on our online Wellness Center. We also show you the timeline of how vegetable oils came to take hold of the market and the subsequent spin that has most people today still embracing a “low fat” lifestyle. Healthy fats like walnuts, avocados, coconut oil, butter (yes even butter), organic eggs and grass fed beef actually support optimal health! The causes for higher than normal cholesterol today include, diet high in processed food which sets up a cascade of other nutritional deficiencies, not animal fats, hereditary, obesity, under functioning thyroid and stress.
The ads would have you believe it is destiny to take cholesterol lowering medication. There are many ways to naturally lower your cholesterol. In this article we present Red yeast Rice (RYR). This has been used in China for over 1000 years. It is natural, safe and an effective way to lower cholesterol.
For the past twenty plus years many studies have confirmed that RYR lowers LDL-cholesterol levels. A controversy arose 10 years ago when the supplements were found to contain naturally occurring lovastatin, much like the patented and FDA approved cholesterol-lowering drug sold by Merck as Mevacor. RYR has also been shown to contain a variety of other phytochemicals with statin-drug-like properties. The FDA banned the sale of RYR, which contained “lovastatin”. RYR products sold today according to the FDA are supposed to have their naturally occurring lovastatin removed, but recent testing shows most still contain about 1mg of “lovastatin” per 600mg capsule.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut collected data on people who were taking RYR products and found that on average the LDL was lowered by 21% without any muscle weakness or pain. Another group of researchers in Philadelphia conducted a study where participants took RYR, 600mg 3 times a day for 24 weeks and had a 25% drop in LDL.
A large randomized trial in China compared the effects of a crude RYR extract to a placebo over an average follow-up period of 4.5 years. Not only did this RYR extract significantly improve blood lipids but more importantly it was shown to significantly reduce the coronary artery disease events by 45% and total mortality by 33%. The authors of this study concluded “…. long term therapy with [the RYR extract] significantly decreased the recurrence of coronary events.
The take home message here is respect your body, work naturally whenever possible to bring your Whole Person Health into balance and do your own digging to find the truth.