We have been falsely led to believe that having high cholesterol is a dangerous thing, particularly when it comes to heart disease. As a result of this inaccurate advice, the food industry has removed cholesterol from foods - creating dangerous foods such as margarine, low-fat dairy and lean meats. And, the pharmaceutical industry has created the most bogus and harmful yet, incredibly lucrative drug of our time: statin drugs.
STATIN DRUGS ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS PHARMACEUTICAL OF OUR TIME
Statin drugs are cholesterol lowering drugs. They are routinely prescribed to individuals with high cholesterol, those who have 1 or more risk factor for cardiovascular disease (obesity, hypertension, smoking, etc.) and to those approaching middle-age and older.
Unfortunately, we have been misguided in regard to cholesterol. Since we have been falsely led to avoid this "dangerous" nutrient, we have created more health issues for ourselves by avoiding cholesterol rich foods and taking statin drugs.
Individuals taking statin drugs often experience "benign" symptoms soon after starting them. Most doctor's bat an eye at these complaints because the side effects of these drugs are what we refer to modern day as signs of aging. And, that's exactly what statin drugs do - they speed-up your body's aging process.
The side effects of statin drugs typically start as general muscle pain or discomfort - this is because statin drugs eat away the muscles. This pain tends to worsen overtime and is almost always misdiagnosed as a muscle injury leading many individuals to undergo unnecessary back, shoulder, neck and/or knee surgery.
Eventually, many long-term statin drug patients move toward a debilitating muscle condition called Rhabdomyolysis ( rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue ). This is not a sign of aging, but a sign of significant and dangerous imbalance in the body.
A SIDE NOTE ON AGING
We have taken on the belief that aging has to be hard, difficult and painful. We have taken on the belief that as we get older, we must get sicker. We have taken on the belief that aging equals an increase in surgery, pharmaceuticals and mental decline.
However, these blind beliefs that we have taken on around aging are a direct result of poor diet (rich in carbs, starches, processed and packaged foods, low-fat foods and sugar), stress, and a steady build-up of poisons and toxins (pharmaceutical drugs, over-the-counter drugs, heavy metal exposure, pesticide, herbicide exposure, etc.) that never received appropriate attention.
Aging does not have to mean these things. We create our aging experience based on our addictions, habits and choices we make throughout our life. The good news is, we can create new, more accurate beliefs with the intent to make our aging experience much more easeful.
SIDE EFFECTS OF STATIN DRUGS
Common ("age" related) side effects of statin drugs include (but are not limited to):
- Memory loss (forgetfulness, dementia, confusion, disorientations and even Alzheimer's)
- Muscle pain, atrophy and weakness
- Depressed immunity (propensity to catch anything going around)
- Low sex drive
- Congestive heart failure
- Fluid retention
- Sepsis (rates of sepsis have increased 8.7% per year since the introduction of statin drugs)
- Type II diabetes
- Anger and irritability
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Poor vision
When statin drugs first hit the market in the late 1980’s, they were recommended to individuals over the age of 75. Today, they are now recommended and routinely administered to everyone over the age of 40 - regardless of whether they are at risk for cardiovascular disease.
The statin drug industry rakes in around $29 billion dollars per year so, you could say their incentive to keep pumping this stuff into people is pretty high. However, patients are not benefiting from this drug in the same lucrative way. In fact, they are getting the very short end of the stick. While the pharmaceutical industry is winning, statin drug patients are losing...big time.
The thing is, these drugs are prescribed for a made-up condition that was created off of false science to develop a theory that people (including medical doctors) would believe so the drug company's could make money. The made-up condition that stain drugs were originally designed to "treat" is high cholesterol.
THE REAL CAUSE OF CLOGGED ARTERIES
Many people fear cholesterol because we have been told that high blood cholesterol is the single greatest predictor of a heart attack. We have been told that it is cholesterol that clogs arteries. This, however, is very inaccurate. It is a false accusation based on biased, one-sided, false science.
Clogging of the arteries is not caused by one thing, but by many things. And, the cause needs to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine each individuals reason for having blocked arteries (one way this can be achieved is through my Primal Energetics work).
Blaming clogged arteries on one thing (cholesterol build-up) is very limiting and inaccurate at that. One individual may have arterial plaque build-up primarily due to an old bacterial infection or virus that tucked itself in the warm, cozy endothelial lining of the arteries.
Another individual may have plaque build-up primarily in the form of glycations. Glycations are a modern day occurrence that contribute to the formation of plaque in the body. It is created as a result of eating carbs, sugars, grains, vegetable oils and processed and packaged foods.
Whereas, someone else may primarily have arterial plaque build-up due to metal fillings in the mouth and exposure to environmental toxins that, overtime, have become situated in the arteries.
We have placed the cause of clogged arteries in a box and this has given us tunnel vision to seeing anything beyond that scope. However, to really get to the root of arterial plaque, we need to remove the blinders and look below the surface.
Cholesterol is delivered to numerous areas throughout the body to help repair and heal damage. The arteries are just one area where cholesterol is delivered. For example, as plaque forms in the arteries, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is sent from the liver to the area of injury to begin its duties of mending and repairing.
Cholesterol is an antioxidant and its job is to repair these injuries. In regard to arterial plaque, professionals observe this pattern, witnessing cholesterol at the site of damage, and inaccurately blame cholesterol as the cause of arterial plaque formation. Whereas, if we look closely, underneath the cholesterol is a mountain of junk piled-up in the form of bacteria, viruses, fungus, toxins, sugars, vegetable oils, glycations, etc. that the cholesterol is attempting to remove.
Taking a statin drug prohibits cholesterol from being released to these damaged areas to clean-up the mess. They keep cholesterol in the liver and, by doing so, it is never released to the area of injury. For individuals on statin drugs, healing in the body virtually stops as does hormonal activity, digestion, energy levels and mental clarity. This is one main reason why statins are a really, really bad idea.
WHY WE NEED TO EAT MORE CHOLESTEROL, NOT LESS
Each one of our cell membranes are composed of over 50% saturated fats and cholesterol. When we deprive our cells of the nutrients they require to thrive, we deprive our entire body of vital nutrients and energy. There are countless areas of the body that rely on cholesterol to function optimally. This is why the liver produces its own source of cholesterol (unless one is on a statin drug) as the body needs.
Eating cholesterol rich foods helps to reduce the supply of cholesterol that the liver produces. This is a good thing because it free's up energy and allows the liver to focus on other important tasks such as detoxification, digestion, blood building and so forth.
Cholesterol is a very misunderstood molecule as it is vital to every single aspect of our well-being. Here are some reasons why we need an abundance of cholesterol in our diets:
- Brain Wellness. 25% of our body's cholesterol is located in our brain - the brain needs cholesterol as a nutrient and fuel source to function optimally.
- Vision Support. Our eyes are composed largely of saturated fats and cholesterol. One of the first anatomical areas to "go" on a modern diet, when saturated fats and cholesterol are deficient in the diet, is vision.
- Hormonal Wellness. Cholesterol is the mother of all hormones - meaning our hormones are made of cholesterol. Without cholesterol, sex drive will be low, fight-or-flight responses will likely be more intense, pregnancy related issues will increase, blood sugar levels will swing out of balance, mood issues are likely to increase and menstruation issues will occur.
- Depressed immunity. Cholesterol is an antioxidant and a wound healer. Numerous studies have shown that those with the lowest cholesterol numbers actually have much weaker, more compromised immunity than those with high cholesterol.
- Fetal, Infant and Childhood Development. Without ample amounts of cholesterol in the diet, a child's organs will not form properly (the intestines and other organs are largely composed of cholesterol), neurological development may be compromised and mental development may be hindered.
HEART ATTACKS DIDN'T EXSIST WHEN WE ATE A PRIMAL FOODS DIET
Our ancient ancestors, 7 generations ago and beyond, ate a diet rich in saturated animal fats and cholesterol. Today, if we were to sit down at the table with our ancient ancestors, our jaws would drop to the floor thinking these individuals would soon drop dead of a heart attack.
However, our ancient ancestors didn't experience coronary artery disease. The first recorded heart attack in the US didn't occur until the early 1900's (in-step with our increased consumption of sugar and vegetable oils). Our ancient ancestors, whose diets were abundantly rich in full-fat, grass-fed dairy, pork, pork fat, bacon fat, pasture egg yolks, grass-fed beef, lamb and wild-game - didn't get heart disease.
But we do. And in epedemic numbers.
If we want to truly reverse the heart disease epidemic, we need to re-evaluate our diets. Returning to a Primal Foods based diet is at the heart of this matter. Medical and government professionals may think this is erroneous, but just like you and I, they too are fed false information regarding cholesterol from the pharmaceutical reps.
Eating a Primal Foods based diet is one huge way to begin calling back your power around your well-being. And, digging a little further down the rabbit hole to discover accurate, non-biased findings can always be a self-empowering journey. I know it has been and continues to be for me. You are the author of your own life, no-one else can ever take that away from you, unless you hand it over to them.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it and digging down the rabbit hole to discover research that seemed more accurate and balanced in regard to our hearts. Here's to reclaiming your power!
For the love of lard and egg yolks,
Interested in working with me to help bring your nutrition and wellness into balance? Contact me to schedule a free phone consultation to learn how Primal Foods may benefit your entire well-being!
Heathar is a primal foods enthusiast and expert. She has studied food and nutrition for over 15 years and continues to do so to this day. When Heathar isn't in the kitchen, she's either writing, hiking or doing her primal energetics thing. If you are interested in discovering how Heathar's nutrition work may benefit you, contact her to schedule a free 45-minute phone consultation. Until then, Eat, Live and Be Primal!