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Do normal LDL cholesterol levels protect us from cardiovascular disease?

Posted by on 10:48 am Blood Pressure, Body fat, Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Diseases, Eating, Fat, General Health, HDL, HDL Level, Health, Health Risk, Heart disease | 0 comments

The correct term for LDL is Low-Density Lipoprotein and it is also called the “bad cholesterol” because LDL tends to create plaque in the arteries and atherosclerosis.

There are however different opinions about the risk of cholesterol and LDL.

I think you will find the following research data interesting.

What most laboratories are reporting as normal for LDL cholesterol are values below 99 mg/dl and it used to be even higher than that.

Let’s take a closer look at that. What do so-called “normal” people die from?

They die from cardiovascular disease in western societies. Knowing that, do you really want to be normal?

The normal low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol range is 50 to 70 mg/dl for native hunter-gatherers, healthy human babies, free-living primates, and other wild mammals (all of whom do not develop atherosclerosis (O’Keefe JH Jr, et.al., 2004).

The same researchers stated that no major safety concerns have surfaced in studies that lowered LDL to this range of 50 to 70 mg/dl.

There is a consistent relative risk reduction in major vascular events in patient populations starting as low as an average of 63 mg/dL and achieving levels as low as a median of 21 mg/dL, with no observed offsetting adverse effects (Sabatine MS, et.al., 2018).

The only factor required to cause atherosclerosis is cholesterol (Benjamin MM, Roberts W, 2013).

Other factors like genetics (1 in 500), cigarette smoking, diabetes, overweight, inactivity and stress will not by themselves form plaque. They will, however, contribute to and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease if cholesterol and LDL are elevated. This is according to what Benjamin MM and Roberts W reported at the at the 39th Annual Williamsburg Conference on Heart Disease.

What can you do to keep cholesterol and LDL low?

A low glycemic index, high nutrient, plant based diet will do that for most people.  Statin drugs will also do it, but it is preferable to use food.

References

Benjamin MM, Roberts WC.Facts and principles learned at the 39th Annual Williamsburg Conference on Heart Disease.Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2013 Apr;26(2):124-36

O’Keefe JH Jr, Cordain L, Harris WH, Moe RM, Vogel R.Optimal low-density lipoprotein is 50 to 70 mg/dl: lower is better and physiologically normal.J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Jun 2;43(11):2142-6.

Sabatine MS, Wiviott SD, Im K, Murphy SA, Giugliano RP.Efficacy and Safety of Further Lowering of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Patients Starting With Very Low Levels: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Sep 1;3(9):823-828.

 

 

Learn to Eat Program

Based on the most effective scientific strategies, this program was created to help
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Reasons for eating a plant based diet

Posted by on 10:45 am Cardiovascular Disease, Diet, Eating, Fat, General Health, Health Risk, Vegetables, Wellness | 0 comments

There are many reasons why eating a plant based diet makes sense.  This research included 131, 342 participants. Of this, 85 013 were women (64.7%) and 46 329 were men (35.3%) (Song M, et.al., 2016).

The researchers found that high animal protein intake was positively associated with cardiovascular mortality, and high plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.  Processed red meat was the most harmful form of animal protein these researchers found.

The type of fat we eat is also important because we react differently depending on the source.  We know that it is important to have a healthy endothelial function because the endothelium is the inner layer of the blood vessels.

 

We also know the importance of having low inflammation since that’s a risk factor for all chronic diseases and especially cardiovascular disease.   This study indicated that exchanging saturated fat from butterfat for a plant-based fat consisting of polyunsaturated fatty acids in a mixed meal may decrease inflammation after the meal when measured with the inflammatory markers IL-6 and TNF-alpha (Masson CJ, Mensink RP, 2011).  Soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, a protein related to the endothelium and a marker of atherosclerosis, was also decreased after the meal containing the plant-based fat.

 

References

Song M1, Fung TT2, Hu FB3, Willett WC3, Longo VD4, Chan AT5, Giovannucci EL.  Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality.  JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Oct 1;176(10):1453-1463. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182.

Masson CJ, Mensink RP. Exchanging saturated fatty acids for (n-6) polyunsaturated fatty acids in a mixed meal may decrease postprandial lipemia and markers of inflammation and endothelial activity in overweight men. J Nutr. 2011 May;141(5):816-21. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.136432. Epub 2011 Mar 23.

 

 

Learn to Eat Program

Based on the most effective scientific strategies, this program was created to help
you reduce inflammation and feel great.

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Is fat from dairy like butter and cheese decreasing or increasing cardiovascular risk?

Posted by on 9:25 am Body fat, Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Diet, Eating, Fat, General Health, Stay healthy, The Learn to Eat Plan, Tissue Recovery Blog, Wellness | 0 comments

Fat from butter and cheese is mainly saturated fat. We used to be warned about saturated fat and it was recommended to reduce the intake of saturated fat because it increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. Now many are recommending to eat saturated fat claiming it is healthy, and that it will not increase cardiovascular risk.
So what does the science say?

When 43,652 men and 87907 women and another 90675 women were followed for several years, a total of 5,158,337 person-years of follow-up, this was the results (Chen M, et.al., 2016).

The replacement of 5% of energy intake from dairy fat with an equivalent energy intake from polyunsaturated fat was associated with 24% reduction in cardiovascular risk. You find polyunsaturated fat in some fish like salmon, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

Are all saturated fats producing the same results? This is the results when extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter were compared (Khaw KT, et.al., 2018).

LDL cholesterol was significantly increased on butter compared with coconut oil and olive oil. LDL is the harmful lipoprotein and is associated with increase cardiovascular risk.

It’s interesting while coconut oil is a source of saturated fat, it did not increase LDL like butter.  The coconut oil needs to be processed in such a way that the nutrients are still intact because there is other research showing it may increase LDL.

References

Chen M, Li Y, Sun Q, Pan A, Manson JE, Rexrode KM, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Hu FB.Dairy fat and risk of cardiovascular disease in 3 cohorts of US adults.Am J Clin Nov;104(5):1 209-1217. Nutr.2016 Nov;104(5):1209-1217.

Khaw KT, Sharp SJ, Finikarides L, Afzal I, Lentjes M, Luben R, Forouhi NG.Randomised trial of coconut oil, olive oil or butter on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy men and women.BMJ Open. 2018 Mar 6;8(3):e020167.

 

 

Learn to Eat Program

Based on the most effective scientific strategies, this program was created to help
you reduce inflammation and feel great.

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Can nuts reduce the formation of vascular plaque?

Posted by on 9:54 pm Antioxidents, Cholesterol, Diet, Eating, Fat, Health, Low glycemic meals, The Learn to Eat Plan, Wellness | 0 comments

 

Plaque formation in the vascular system is something we are better off without, not only because it will increase cardiovascular risk, but we need good blood circulation to all tissue we have. Blood vessels in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients have, for example, been found to have a lot of plaque.

What can we do to help reduce plaque formation?

A high nutrient, low-glycemic index plant-based diet is a good choice, but is it possible to only add one food, and see a significant reduction in vascular plaque?

That’s exactly what the researchers of the following study investigated.

They measured the internal carotid intima-media thickness and plaque height using ultrasound at the start and after an average follow up of 2.4 years(Sala-Vila A, et.al, 2014).

Carotid intima-media thickness is the thickness of the inner layer of the blood vessel.

The participants consumed a Mediterranean diet. One group added either virgin olive oil or 30 grams of nuts every day to their diet. The control group consumed a low fat diet.

These were the results:

Compared with the control diet, consumption of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts was associated with delayed progression of  intima-media thickness and plaque.

It is also interesting that there were no changes after the Mediterranean diet with the added virgin olive oil.

What could be the reason for that?

A good assumption would be that nuts contain nutrients the olive oil is missing, especially antioxidants.

Oil even if it is a good oil is not as good as natural unprocessed food.

30 grams of nuts is only one big handful.

Get in the habit of reducing your intake of grains and use some nuts instead. That will work a lot better for you (unless you are allergic to nuts). 

Reference

Sala-Vila A, Romero-Mamani ES, Gilabert R, Núñez I, de la Torre R, Corella D, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, López-Sabater MC, Pintó X, Rekondo J, Martínez-González MÁ, Estruch R, Ros E.Changes in ultrasound-assessed carotid intima-media thickness and plaque with a Mediterranean diet: a substudy of the PREDIMED trial.Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Feb;34(2):439-45.

 

 

Learn to Eat Program


 Based on the most effective scientific strategies, this program was created to help
you reduce inflammation and feel great.

Read more

How and when does cardiovascular disease start?

Posted by on 8:55 pm Anti-aging, Cardiovascular Disease, Cholesterol, Eating, Fat, HDL, Heart disease | 0 comments

 

The clogged pipe analogy is the old, but outdated model of explaining cardiovascular disease which still is used most of the time because of lack of understanding and lack of exposure to research (Rothberg MB, 2013).

According to this model, cholesterol plaque in the arterial walls slowly reduce the opening of the artery, first causing decreased blood flow without symptoms, then it causes angina (chest pain), and eventually it results in an infarction.

Treatments based on this theory include both coronary bypass surgery and angioplasty opening the blood vessel with a stent or a balloon.

While a massive plaque eventually can close up an artery, a heart attack is usually caused by unstable plaque thatmay not be easily detected, but can rupture and form a clot.

This is what happens according to more in depth research.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) mainly produced in the liver may infiltrate the vascular endothelium (the inner wall of the blood vessel), where it can initiate a complex inflammatory response. This inflammatory response can lead to arterial remodeling, in which plaque growth within the vessel walls is accommodated by outward enlargement of the vessel.

In that case, large plaques may not reduce the opening of the blood vessel and are therefore hidden from angiography.

These plaques are particularly dangerous both because they are prone to rupture, they are unstable, and because before rupture they do not limit the blood flow and therefore do not induce formation of protective collaterals.

If the blood flow slowly gets restricted as in stable plaque, the body will compensate by making new blood vessels to support the area in need, that’s why stable plaque is less dangerous.

A lot of people apparently have several plaque ruptures in their vascular system without symptoms.These ruptures can heal and is later impossible to detect.

For these reasons it’s very difficult to use available scanning methods as reliable tools to predict  a deadly plaque rupture.

There is however strong evidence that addressing the extent and activity of the atherosclerotic burden and thrombosis-promoting risk factors will improve risk (Arbab-Zadeh A, et.al., 2015).

Oxidized LDL is especially damaging to the endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels (Gradinaru D, et al., 2015).

Oxidized LDL cholesterol is associated with early atherosclerosis (Calmarza P, et.al., 2014).

When does atherosclerosis start?

It start at a very young age.

Atherosclerosis varied from 17% in individuals less than 20 years old to 85% in people 50 years old or older (Tuzcu EM, et.al., 2001).

If you have children, this is something to keep in mind. It is very important to have a healthy diet even for a child.

References

Arbab-Zadeh A, Fuster V.The myth of the “vulnerable plaque”: transitioning from a focus on individual lesions to atherosclerotic disease burden for coronary artery disease risk assessment.J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Mar 3;65(8):846-855.

Calmarza P1, Trejo JM, Lapresta C, López P,LDL oxidation and its association with carotid artery intima-media thickness and other cardiovascular risk factors in a sample of Spanish general population.Angiology. 2014 Apr;65(4):357-62.

Gradinaru D, Borsa C, Ionescu C, Prada GI,Oxidized LDL and NO synthesis–Biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction and ageing.Mech Ageing Dev. 2015 Nov;151:101-13.

Rothberg MB,Coronary artery disease as clogged pipes: a misconceptual model.Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2013 Jan 1;6(1):129-32.

Tuzcu EM1, Kapadia SR, Tutar E, Ziada KM, Hobbs RE, McCarthy PM, Young JB, Nissen SE.High prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis in asymptomatic teenagers and young adults: evidence from intravascular ultrasound.Circulation. 2001 Jun 5;103(22):2705-10.

 

 

Learn to Eat Program


 Based on the most effective scientific strategies, this program was created to help
you reduce inflammation and feel great.

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Change The Structure Of Your Brain And Improve Your Memory With This Fat

Posted by on 11:29 am Body fat, Fat, Fish Oil, General Health, Memory, Omega-3, fish oil, Stay healthy | 0 comments

 

You may think it sounds too good to be true to be able to change your brain structure by only eating a certain type of fat.

The following research is however of very high-quality and included structural neuroimaging, cognitive performance testing, vascular markers and additional blood tests (Witte AV, et.al., 2014).

65 healthy participants 50 to 75 years took either fish oil or a placebo for 26 weeks.

 

The results showed a significant increase in executive function after taking the fish oil for 26 weeks when compared to the placebo.

Even more interesting, the fish oil had beneficial effects on white matter microstructural integrity and gray matter volume.

Not only that, it also had beneficial effects on the carotid intima media thickness and diastolic blood pressure.

The carotid intima media is the inner layer of the blood vessel wall.

How much fish oil did they take?

They only took 2.2 g a day to get all those benefits.

 

If you want to add more things which will have a beneficial effect on your brain structure, you can add aerobic exercise and cognitive stimulation.

The participant in this study had mild cognitive impairment.

Compared to the control group, the participants taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement and participating in aerobic exercise and cognitive stimulation increased or preserved gray matter volume (Kobe T, et.al., 2016).

Gray matter volume decreased in the control group.

Sometimes you don’t have to make a lot of changes to get a lot of benefits.

 

 

References

Köbe T, Witte AV, Schnelle A, Lesemann A, Fabian S, Tesky VA, Pantel J, Flöel A. Combined omega-3 fatty acids, aerobic exercise and cognitive stimulation prevents decline in gray matter volume of the frontal, parietal and cingulate cortex in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Neuroimage. 2016 May 1;131:226-38.

Witte AV, Kerti L, Hermannstädter HM, Fiebach JB, Schreiber SJ, Schuchardt JP, Hahn A, Flöel A,

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids improve brain function and structure in older adults.
Cereb Cortex. 2014 Nov;24(11):3059-68.

 

 

Better Fish Oil

The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega 3 fatty acids are well known. Most people that eat a western diet can benefit from increasing the intake of Omega 3 fatty acid since their diet usually contains too much Omega 6 from vegetable oils and saturated fat from dairy and other animal sources.

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