Cholesterol Essential for Great Health, and Is Not the Mythical Boogy-Man

The Hypothesis
Let us say that an inspector witnessed many large fires and noticed that at every fire, firemen were present, and therefore concluded that just on the weight of their presence, firemen were the cause of fires. This specious logic seems to be the thinking of the mainstream medical community when it arrives at the conclusion that the mere presence of cholesterol in arteries as plaque is the cause of heart disease, stroke and arteriolosclerosis—this has been the prevailing wisdom.

The American Heart Association’s website states, “High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.” And, “High blood cholesterol: As blood cholesterol rises, so does risk of coronary heart disease.” This is called the lipid hypothesis, where the only accepted therapy for heart disease was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and severely restrict the ingestion of saturated fat, and any deviation from this protocol for several decades now, has been considered heresy.

Doubts Abound
Apparently humans have consumed large amounts of saturated fats for centuries in the form of meat, eggs and full-fat diary without the incidence of heart disease… up until about the 1900′s. As we reduced these foods in our diets replacing them with loads of sugar, vegetable oils and processed foods, heart disease made its debut with a vengeance and became the number one killer in America.

Large companies are not nefarious entities, yet it would be prudent to be cognizant of the fact that pharmaceutical and processed-food companies bring in mega-dollars as long as this hypothesis is alive and kicking; reminding me of what Sydney J. Harris wrote “There is no way of proving your point to someone whose income or position depends upon believing the contrary.”

Here are some interesting facts:
-Cholesterol levels in Briton are the 15th lowest among 45 countries in Europe, yet they still have one of the highest rates of heart attacks.
-75% of heart attack victims have normal cholesterol
-Countries with higher than average cholesterol levels than America like the Swiss, French and Spanish have less heart disease.

Role of Cholesterol
I was quite surprised to learn recently that cholesterol is crucial to glowing health. Wow, who would ever think that, with the way we’ve been conditioned for decades to think otherwise.

First of all, cholesterol is an essential component in our cell membranes, and acts as an anti-oxidant where every cell in our body has the ability to manufacture it, manufacturing more or less of it based on how much of it we consume. These are some of the functions of cholesterol contributing to health:

-Enzymes convert it into vitamin D, bile salts for digesting and absorbing fats.
-Enzymes convert it into steroidal hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
-One quarter of all cholesterol in the body is in the brain essential for synaptic health.
-The membranes surrounding cells and its structure are mostly made of cholesterol helping to maintain cell integrity and communication.
-One-fifth of the myelin sheath coating every nerve cell and fiber is made of cholesterol.
-It contributes to your immune system able to inactivate more tha 90% of the worst and most toxic bacterial products.

New Hypothesis
Cholesterol performs thousands of bodily functions, a crucial component for life, and many in the medical community have become aware it has suffered a bad rap as the cause of heart disease and stroke. A few years ago it was discovered that the real cause of these diseases is something called inflammation in the artery wall. What causes arterial inflammation? It is your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus, and, that cholesterol being the good guy, comes to the rescue as the fireman to put out the fire by forming a scab known as plaque over the area of inflammation.

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Scam, says, “Essentially cholesterol is there to help repair damage.” Cholesterol is present, but it’s not the perpetrator. Dr. Kendrick also saw that the MONICA study ongoing now for forty-years, shows no association with high cholesterol and heart disease.

Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, author of The Cholesterol Myths, goes through study after study destroying the myth that high cholesterol levels are the cause of heart disease. And, a Canadian study followed 5,000 healthy middle-aged men for twelve-years, and found high cholesterol did not at all contribute to heart disease. Another study from the University Hospital in Toronto looking at cholesterol levels in 120 men that previously had heart attacks, found that just as many men having second heart attacks had low cholesterol levels as those that had high.

This new prevailing wisdom seems to be saying in no uncertain terms, that if inflammation isn’t present in the arterial walls, cholesterol levels are irrelevant, and that eating saturated fats like steak, eggs and diary bear no threat to health… and the science that says it does is very weak. Now that it’s known cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern with saturated fat is, as one doctor put it, “even more absurd today.”

Statins
There has been extensive pharmaceutical marketing of statins to both doctors and patients to the tune of $28 billion a year. In 2004 the National Cholesterol Education Program expanded guidelines by recommending that people who don’t suffer from heart disease should take statins to prevent heart disease, increasing the number of people taking them from 13 million to 40 million.

Eight of the nine people on the panel had financial ties to the drug industry. Without side effects from these drugs, it may be justifiable to take the risk, but they’re known to cause muscle damage, sexual dysfunction, and liver and nerve damage among other problems in 10 to 15% of those patients.

If no inflammation is present, despite if your cholesterol count is high, taking statins has zero benefit-statins should only be used for inflammation reduction, and the test to monitor inflammation is called C-reactive protein.

The Main Culprits of Inflammation
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a convert from a pro-statin, anti-cholesterol, paid consultant of statin drug manufacturers to being a cholesterol skeptic, and is the author of, The Great Cholesterol Myth. He says, “I was doing angiograms on people with [cholesterol levels of] 150 who had far advanced heart disease, and the converse, I was doing angiograms on somebody with cholesterol of 280 and they had no heart disease.” The main culprit he identifies is small dense LDL particles, making your typical total LDL number count meaningless. This is the only lipid you need be concerned about, and there is a test for it known as the particle test. In an interview with Dr. Oz, he explains the process in this three-minute video: Dr. Oz and Dr. Sinatra interview.

Another culprit is sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. Inflammation is caused when extra sugar molecules attach to some proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall, and repeated injury to the wall sets off inflammation. Heart surgeon Dr. Dwight Lundell who has performed over 5,000 open heart surgeries and has looked into at least as many arteries, now is a vehement convert to inflammation being the cause of heart disease. He states,dr. Lundell “When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.”

A third main culprit is omega-6 oils. While they are essential and part of every cell membrane, they must be in balance with omega-3 oils. Dr. Lundell goes on to say, “If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation. Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.”
Some of the foods containing high amounts of omega-6 are corn oil, canola oil, soy oil, hydrogenated fats, margarine and shortening. One infamous example that holds a ton of this fat is French fries, of which we consume about 28 pounds each year per capita. Foods loaded with sugars and omega-6 oils for long shelf-life have been the mainstay of our diet for six decades, and are slowly poisoning us. The lipid hypothesis led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that created the foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation.

Conclusion
While all of this may seem confusing at first, we need remember only a few things. As Dr. Lundell writes, “Without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.”

Inflammation is the bad guy. Stay away from sugar and omega-6. And, the two tests to help us monitor inflammation are C-reactive protein and the particle test. This new hypothesis recommends using statins only as a mechanism to alleviate inflammation, not just to lower cholesterol levels-used specifically for the purpose of interfering with cholesterol levels may be detrimental to health. Also, statins aren’t the only game in town to mitigate inflammation, diet modification and other life style changes such as exercise are also effective.

The Importance of Health and Wellness

The importance of health and wellness has certainly come to the forefront of the health industry in the last decade. With the baby boomer generation nearing or entering their senior years, strained health and medical services, and the realization by greater numbers of people of the limitations of medical science, society has developed an increasingly prominent attitude of responsibility towards one’s own health and wellness.

No longer are people solely relying on doctors or hospitals to make them better if they get sick. Instead, the approach has changed to one of illness prevention, to maintain or improve the state of health that already exists. The incredible boom in the health industry overall bears witness to these trends.

The importance of health and wellness is reflected by the fact that diets, weight loss programs, exercise programs and equipment, fitness facilities, spas, nutritional supplements and activity/leisure groups of all sorts are now commonplace in our everyday lives. Some of these changes are driven by the extreme demands and long waits for treatment in the health care system, but also by the desire of the working generation for a more active lifestyle after retirement, with the hope of being fit and well enough to participate in their chosen activities. For these goals to manifest into reality the base of good health must be built up throughout life, not just to try to repair the damage after it’s been done.

So it has become clear why the health industry has turned in its present direction. Only by placing the importance of health and wellness as a priority now can anyone make the most of their future.

The Importance of Health and Wellness Including the Proper Use of Herbal Products

The significance and magnitude of health and wellness has positively come to the forefront of the health business in the preceding decade. With the baby boomer generation approaching or entering their senior years, strained health and medical services, and the understanding by greater numbers of individuals of the limitations of medical science, humanity has urbanized an increasingly outstanding attitude of responsibility towards one’s own health and wellness.

The meaning of health and wellness is reflected by the fact that diets,, fitness facilities, spas, weight loss programs, exercise programs and equipment, nutritional supplements and leisure groups of all sorts are now routine in our everyday lives. A number of of these changes are motivated by the great demands and long waits for treatment in the health care system, but also by the desire of the working generation for a more active lifestyle after retirement, with the hope of being fit and well enough to partake in their special activities. For these goals to manifest into realism the foundation of good health must be developed throughout life, not just to try to fix the damage after it’s been done.

On the other hand, herbal products are everywhere but before you start taking herbal products, ensure that they won’t act together with any other medications that you are already taking. You can inquire to your physician about that. For instance, some herbs will thin your blood and the other will thicken your blood. If you are one of those who need blood thinners to cope with the present health problem, adding either one will not skew your numbers, but may be life-threatening.

If you are using herbal products to deal with an illness, you may also want to be sure in relation to your diagnosis so you’re receiving the right herbal products for your health problem. For example, if you may want to combat bad breath, and then a visit to your physician tells that bad breath is caused by an infection in the sinus cavity. Therefore, a sinus infection will need a different product than bad breath.

Moreover, if you choose to use a processed herbal product, either for convenience or because the ingredients are not those found in your local supermarket, go after the directions and dosages vigilantly. Too much intake is not good for your health. Herbs are nature’s adaptation of drugs, and in bigger quantities they may have negative effects just like an overdose of pharmaceutical drugs will cause problems.

In summary, herbal products can be utilized both as therapy and as prevention for an existing health problem. Knowing the reasons you want to make use of herbs will help you decide on the exact products once you’ve found a highly regarded company. Ensure that the herbs you want to employ won’t cause interaction problems with existing medications that you need to take. It is very important to go after the directions to use herbal products carefully, so read the label.

Content Writer for Health and Medical Articles

Content is king and if you are a webmaster searching for a content writer for health or medical articles to put on websites and get revenues, this piece of information would be really helpful to you.

Before we get on to the topic about who to choose for medical or health article content writing, we should look at the scenario of yesterday and today! Just ten years back, the Internet was considered to be the supreme source of entertainment and information but nobody thought that it would revolutionize the world of business today.

Websites typically related to healthcare or medical niche is on the rage nowadays. This is because most of the computer literate people would search for health tips, causes and treatment online. In addition, they rely on content written for medical and health stuff and go for the treatment accordingly. Ethically, if content related to health or medical care is written by a general (common) writer, it is doubtful. How can you expect a commerce graduate writing genuine stuff about diseases and their treatments? Needless to say that the common writer hired for medical or health related articles would mostly depend upon the blogs and forums available on the Internet. I do not deny that all websites that deal with healthcare or medical science are not up to the par but then, search is search, the process that renders page results depending upon the SEO.

The best way to overcome all such hassles is when you set up your mind to promote health or medical related websites, get content writing service preferably from a doctor or medical domain expert. Though doctors are not so well acquainted with computers and find least time to browse and write genuine content, there are few medical professionals who are in media and publishing services as their hobby or business.

If you want to augment the overall campaign of promoting websites addressing health or medical niche, approach content writer for writing medical health articles in an SEO friendly way. Said this, when you get a final content about healthcare, the information is rich with medical facts and is search engine optimized so as to bring it up on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

A doctor can be hired for writing medical or health articles on different subjects such as diet, home remedies, breast enlargement, penile enlargement, weight loss or obesity, diabetes, signs and symptoms of diseases, causes and diagnosis of the health ailments, alternative medicines and herbal therapies etc.

Health, Wellness and Medical Science – 2007 Top Ten Trends

The Aspen Health Forum just gathered an impressive group of around 250 people to discuss the most pressing issues in Health and Medical Science.

1- Global health problems require the attention of the scientific community. Richard Klausner encouraged the scientific community to focus on Global Problems: maternal mortality rates, HIV/ AIDS, clean water, cancer…

2- “Let’s get real…Ideology kills”. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, on what it takes to stop HIV/ AIDS: “I am from Ireland, a Catholic country. And I am Catholic. But I can see how ideology kills..we need more empathy with reality, and to work with local women in those countries.” This session included a fascinating exchange where Bill Frist rose from the audience to defend the role of US aid, explaining how 60% of retroviral drugs in African countries have been funded by the American taxpayer. Which made Nobel Prize Laureate Peter Agre, also in the audience, stand up and encourage the US to really step up to the plate and devote 1% of the GDP to aid, as a number of European countries do, instead of 0.1%.

3- Where is the new “Sputnik”?: Many of the speakers had been inspired by the Sputnik and the Apollo missions to become scientists. Two Nobel Prize Laureates talked about their lives and careers trying to demystify what it takes to be a scientist and to win a Nobel Prize. Both are grateful to the taxpayers dollars that funded their research, and insist we must do a better job at explaining the scientific process to society at large. Both are proud of having attended small liberal arts colleges, and having evolved from there, fueled by their great curiosity and unpredictable, serendipitous paths, into launching new scientific and medical fields.

4- We need a true Health Care Culture: Mark Ganz summarized it best by explaining how his health provider group improved care when they redefined themselves from “we are 7,000 employees” to “we are a 3 million strong community”, moving from being a cost controller with a paternalistic attitude to a health facilitator, looking underneath symptoms to identify and deal with underlying patterns.

5- You can’t manage what you can’t measure. We heard many times how defining and measuring outcomes, so common in the private sector, is critical to ensuring a good allocation of resources in the health and scientific fields, that use so much taxpayer money. For example. NIH funding grew from $9B in 1994 to $29B in 2007, yet the results are not clear. The same happened with health care as a whole, a sector that now consumes 16% of the US GDP with health outcomes (infant mortality, patient deaths in hospitals) worse than other countries that invest far less.

6- The rising role of public-private partnerships: There are multiple initiatives launched to bridge the increasing gap between academia and industry. The Foundation for the NIH has facilitated key conversation between the FDA and pharma companies. The Gates and Clinton Foundations have launched innovative partnership models to tackle global health problems.

7- From Lifespan to Health-span. Population distribution in developed countries is shifting from a “population pyramid” to a “population rectangle”. The point of much ongoing research is not “how to spend more time on the nursing home” but how to slow down the process of aging, so we can live healthier longer.

8- Patient-advocacy groups are having an impact. We heard many examples on how small groups of motivated individuals have built large patient advocate movements that influence public policy. Michael Milken talked about the Cancer March, that helped increase NIH funding from $1.5B to 5$B. Hala Moddelmog, from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, explained how they have 1 million people engaged in promoting cancer research and prevention. Robert Klein, key advocate of the California Proposition 71 (that will provide $6B for stem cell research through long-term bonds) explained how the proposition was passed, including engaging over 80 patient-advocacy groups.

9- There’s a new emphasis on understanding “how systems work” instead of “how isolated genes make things happen on their own”: Genomics is starting to help predict susceptibility to disease and to therapies. Now, we must keep in mind the role of our experience and environment in turning some genes on or off.

10- The importance of our Lifestyle-Each of us owns our own health. 70% of heathcare costs derive from lifestyle-related diseases (such as smoking-induced cancer). We heard several calls to action for insurance companies to incentivize behavior modification to promote good lifestyle habits that improve quality of life and can delay disease symptoms, resulting in billions of dollars of cost savings.

In short, a very stimulating inaugural 3-day conference. I hope the one next year is even better.