I have never had a guest post on Live Free From Obesity before, but my FB friend, Deborah Dunkerton, posted this on the Ketogenic Diet Group on Facebook and I thought it was so good, I asked her to allow me to post it as a guest post.  Over to you, Deborah:

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16 July 02:55
This will be long winded ;)

Reading James’s post and seeing the comments about cholesterol give me this funny little eye twitch.

First a disclaimer: I am not a professional on this subject but I have studied it INTENSIVELY for more than five years, and I discount any silly sensationalist web sites that make wild claims, I zero in on rational valid studies and even then I’ve spent hours pulling apart the data to draw my own conclusions.

Time for a little cholesterol 101.

Traditional western medicine would have you believe your body is some kind of ticking time bomb primed to self-destruct at any time. Why this is I’m not sure; I’m not one for conspiracy theories but it is in their interest to make you believe that you can’t possibly survive without their help or intervention.

Contrary to that philosophy, CAM (Complementary Alternative Medicine) will tell you that your body is an amazing machine capable of healing itself from just about anything, given the right fuel.

Humans are the most adaptable higher-order animals on the planet: we survive on every continent in every extreme. We can eat anything, from insects to elephants.  The only thing we can’t digest is grass, but we can eat the things that eat the grass.

Because of this adaptability and our superior brain capacity, we have thrived for millennia to become the dominant species on the planet–keep that in mind the next time your doctor tells you to eat some processed chemical-laden food to keep you healthy.

So to cholesterol: cholesterol is essential for just about every function of the human body, for healing, hormone regulation and nervous function.

Without it, you’re dead.

Your body doesn’t produce cholesterol as some kind of self-destruct mechanism, it produces what it needs in response to the requirements of your body – if your cholesterol is high IT’S HIGH FOR A REASON and that almost certainly will not be because you ate too much butter.

The vast majority of cholesterol in your body is produced by your own liver (more than 95% IIRC [James: I think it's more like 80%, but who's quibbling?]), a tiny proportion comes from ingested cholesterol but is normally excreted, and cholesterol has too many specific functions for the body to simply use the cholesterol from another species or plant.

Cholesterol is essential for healthy cardiovascular function – and here is where the issue arises. To cut a long explanation short, your body uses cholesterol to deal with inflammation in your arteries, the cholesterol is not a bystander but it’s also not the cause. When artery walls become inflamed (imagine rubbing them with sandpaper) your liver produces a special kind of cholesterol to smooth and cover the damage, cells then grow over that smoothed layer and the cholesterol is trapped in the artery walls. If you don’t address the cause of the inflammation the body continues to smooth over the damage resulting in a thickening of the artery walls and eventually blockage. Researchers find cholesterol at the site of arterial sclerosis and blame the cholesterol but really that’s like shooting the fireman at the scene of a fire.

To complicate matters further small particle LDL (oxidized cholesterol) tends to get trapped in these narrowed arterial sections exacerbating the problem.

So what is the real cause of arterial inflammation?

High blood sugar is the first culprit and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are now thought to be another culprit (seed oils like sunflower and canola). So the very diet they tell you to eat to avoid heart disease actually causes it in the first place.

If your cholesterol is high you need to go look for the reasons.  It takes a good six months on a ketogenic diet to bring cholesterol levels down to normal, and this depends on you not having any other inflammatory processes as well. Myself for instance, I have a food intolerance, my C reactive protein and cholesterol skyrocketed when that manifested itself quite suddenly after a period of intense stress and a bout of shingles. These days my cholesterol sits slightly above normal because I continue to deal with the food intolerance (which ironically involves green vegetables), but I look on that as fine: it means my body is dealing with the issue.

Another issue and the one that makes my eye twitch go crazy is Statins. [James: me too--"On Statins, Cholesterol and the Like"]

My personal opinion is that taking statins to reduce cholesterol is borderline malpractice.

Even disregarding the issue of messing with a perfectly-tuned system of hormone balance, statins stop the body’s production of CoQ10 which is essential for cardiac health. On top of that, you leave yourself open to liver damage, onset of T2 diabetes, nerve damage, impaired brain function and muscle damage.

Oh and girls, taking statins can lead to early onset menopause because it messes with hormone production.

Coronary Calcium Scan

A word about the “accepted” levels of cholesterol as advised by the health authorities – the level used to be much higher, but because of research by the drug companies (and we know that research is fair and balanced right?) the level was lowered drastically, that coincidentally caused tens of millions of Americans to be classified with high cholesterol and put onto cholesterol lowering medications thereby boosting the profits of the drug companies. Pfizer is actually lobbying the FDA to take Lipitor off the prescription list so it can be bought off the shelf in the US. Lipitor is the biggest selling drug of all time, $3 billion a year last I checked, its in their best interests for you to worry about cholesterol levels.

Bottom line: eat a healthy low-carb diet and stop worrying about your cholesterol.  Iif you’re worried about your heart health then ask for a coronary calcium scan.

If you want to watch a real eye opening documentary on statins I highly recommend you go buy this DVD, http://www.statinnation.net/

OK, now my eye has stopped twitching :)

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$tatin Nation Trailer

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdHQQpcXjf4

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