Chris Masterjohn

No.

End of post?  Well, perhaps not, as so many people seem to think there are.  I have written about cholesterol before (“On Statins, Cholesterol and the Like“) but I am still getting questions, so perhaps I’d better explain.  But first a simple test.  Can you tell the difference between the various pictures below?

[hr] [clearboth]

Bus

Taxi

People

People

[hr] [clearboth]

We hear about cholesterol and we hear about HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.  HDL and LDL are not cholesterol. They are vehicles for transporting cholesterol, hence the silly question above.

For cholesterol: think “people”.  For HDL think “bus” and for LDL think “taxi”.  HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) are the vehicles used to carry cholesterol around your body.

Cholesterol is vital: it’s in pretty much every cell of your body, and it is nearly all (over 80%) manufactured in your liver.  The amount of cholesterol derived from dietary sources is pretty low.  After your liver has manufactured cholesterol it is loaded into taxis and shipped out to whichever part of your body needs new cholesterol.  Worn out cholesterol is loaded onto buses and shipped back for repair or discard.

Now, what is of interest is, do you have big taxis or small taxis, and how crowded is the highway?  Buses are no problem, big taxis are no problem; it’s having rush-hour numbers of small taxis that causes hardening of the arteries.

High LDL-P

High LDL-P (Mumbai tuk tuk taxis)
(Courtesy Joel Duncan Photography)

The big taxis come from eating animal-based food, by and large.  The tuk-tuks come from eating carbohydrates. Don’t take it from this old man.  Hear a top expert on “It’s not the passengers, it’s the cars”.  You will hear them talk about particles.  Those are particles of LDL: that’s taxis.  LDL particles come as big and fluffy (big taxis) or small and hard (tuk tuks).  When they talk about LDL-P that’s a count of particles: how crowded the road is.  When they mention atherosclerosis, that’s what we non-medical folk call “hardening of the arteries”.

Here’s Dr Tara Dall:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fLuxjQ2s6s

For more information, the “go-to” place is Chris Masterjohn’s http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/, but he’s not the only one.  The good folks at http://coconutoil.com/ are also talking about it: “Putting The Myth To Rest: There Is No Such Thing As Bad Cholesterol“.

[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="1592335217" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51R-yS5yFkL._SL160_.jpg" width="142"][simpleazon-image align="right" asin="B009PKIPOE" locale="uk" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fZtEUPHEL._SL160_.jpg" width="142"]

I put together a page of information for a friend who has furred arteries and whose doctor wanted to put them on statins.

Since we have had experience in our family of the harm that statins can do, I put together a page of information for my friend, and then thought that others might find it useful, so decided to post it here.

Usual warning: I’m not a doctor nor nutritionist nor qualified in any way, other than having hung around this world for the last 64 and a bit years with my eyes and ears open!

If this stuff interests/concerns you, I suggest you go buy copies of the books listed here and lend them to your doctor!  And if your doctor won’t read them, there’s a list of “low-carb doctors” on Jimmy Moore’s blog.

But before we go on, I thought you might appreciate this (recently seen on Facebook):



Statins and your Brain

First, there is currently a lot of concern that doctors the world over seem to be handing out statins like candy.  Many people believe that they do little or no good and may well do harm, in particular causing “cognitive impairment”.  One of the leading voices in this area is Dr Duane Graveline: (http://spacedoc.com), a doctor and retired NASA Astronaut.   He became interested in statins when he started to experience Transient Global Amnesia.  He has written four books:

  • [simpleazon-link asin="0970081790" locale="us"]Statin Drugs Side Effects and the Misguided War on Cholesterol[/simpleazon-link]
  • [simpleazon-link asin="1424301629" locale="us"]Lipitor Thief of Memory[/simpleazon-link]
  • [simpleazon-link asin="1424338697" locale="us"]The Statin Damage Crisis[/simpleazon-link]
  • [simpleazon-link asin="B004774MN8" locale="us"]The Dark Side of Statins[/simpleazon-link]


The Cholesterol Controversy

Chris Masterjohn is a PhD nutritionist and maintains a blog www.cholesterol-and-health.com.  These are just a few of the articles on his blog that I found interesting:



HDL / LDL Good?  Bad?  Ugly?

Most people seem to have got the message that High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C) is good and Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL-C) is bad.  But there seems to be more to it than that because LDL-C comes in different sizes: no “one-size-fits-all” for cholesterol!

Here’s a very quick summary:

  • there’s LDL-C Pattern A (think A-OK) which may or may not be good for you, but it certainly isn’t bad.  The particles are large and fluffy.
  • then there’s LDL-C Pattern B (“B” for Bad) where the particles are small and hard (think Bullets or Ball Bearings).  Those small particles burrow into your artery walls, I am told, and cause serious plumbing problems.

Pattern A comes from eating Animals, hence the messages we have had about saturated fat may have been misleading, and Pattern B comes from excess carBohydrates, and so the messages about eating healthy carbs may have been way beyond misleading.  That’s it in a nutshell, but if you have a hankering for more detailed academic words, here is an article on effects of low-carb diet on LDL particle size:

Effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet program compared to a low-fat diet on fasting lipoprotein subclasses



Will a Low-Carb Diet Wreck or Refurbish Your Metabolism?

I’m betting my life, at the moment, that the answer is “refurbish”.  If you’d like to explore that in depth, here’s an article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism.  This almost definitely contains more information than you will ever want or need, but if you have any questions about the science behind all this stuff, that’s probably where you’ll find the answers!



Do We Need Carbs in our Diet?

There is much frustration amongst doctors in the low-carb camp with those who say that carbohydrates are a required macro nutrient, and we need a lot of them.

No they are not, and there’s a lot of backward reasoning used to support the “we need carbs” hypothesis that goes something like this.

Type 1 diabetics can suffer from something called keto-acidosis.  In fact people with very serious long-term type 2 diabetes (and who are not taking their medication) can also get into keto-acidosis.  It’s not a nice thing and needs immediate attention.  It is characterised by having extraordinarily high levels of ketones in the blood.  Having much lower levels of ketones in the blood is called ketosis, and isn’t dangerous.  In fact many people would regard it as desirable state and work quite hard to get there and stay there (“nutritional ketosis” that state is called).

To give a parallel case, there is one class of macro-nutrient that most medical people and nutritionists would not regard as a macro-nutrient, and that’s alcohol.  But I have seen “macro nutrient” defined as something that your body can burn to produce energy, and alcohol is quite energy dense; about the same as fat, I am told.  We all know that one can have different levels of alcohol in the blood, and that will have different effects, from the single glass of wine with dinner that may just serve to relax you up to the bottle of vodka that will probably land you either in hospital or jail, depending on what you are doing having drunk the vodka.

The nutritionists would concede that point and say that the reason they would not count alcohol as a macro-nutrient is that we can live perfectly well without it if we never touch a drop in our entire lives.

Gotcha!

The same is true of carbohydrates!  The powers that be in the USA define the minimum daily requirement for carbohydrates as 150 grams, on the basis that this amount will stop you going into ketosis and ketosis is bad.  But ketosis ISN’T bad!  It’s keto-acidosis that’s bad.  Well, they would say, humans can’t exist without eating carbs, and this is the point at which we introduce the Inuit paradox into the conversation.

The Inuit Paradox: How can people who gorge on fat and rarely see a vegetable be healthier than we are?  I found this article in Discover magazine.

Emily Deans, MD

Oh, and, it is increasingly recognised that our brains run better on ketones than carbs.  I have experienced this myself, but here’s an article by Massachusetts psychiatrist Emily Deans that explains the advantages of running our brains on high-octane ketones as opposed to low-octane glucose.



 Born to Run?

I have never thought of myself as born to run.  It took me quite a while to appreciate the advantages of walking further than from the house to the car, but I came around eventually (even founded the Walking for Happiness website).  But I stumbled upon the video below and it greatly excited me.

I posted that on Facebook and a friend said that he had enjoyed the book: [simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0307279189" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5117MxRQidL._SL160_.jpg" width="104"] “[simpleazon-link asin="0307279189" locale="us"]Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen[/simpleazon-link]” by Chris McDougall, so I bought it for[simpleazon-link asin="B0083PWAPW" locale="us"] Kindle[/simpleazon-link] on my[simpleazon-link asin="B00746UR2E" locale="us"] iPad[/simpleazon-link].  Enjoyed it?  It changed my life!  And it puts a lot of what we are learning here into a whole new light.  Try the video: if it intrigues you, get the book.  Here’s the 15-minute video of him doing a TED talk.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-iGZPtWXzE



[simpleazon-image align="left" asin="0983490708" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OSaAmDQJL._SL160_.jpg" width="107"][simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0983490716" locale="us" height="160" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51jgvabe32L._SL160_.jpg" width="107"]And finally, here are two books that are our current study focus, Jeff Volek’s and Stephen Phinney’s “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living” and “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance”.

If any of this grabs your attention, those two should be on your bookshelf, right up there with Gary Taubes and the Eades‘ [simpleazon-link asin="0553380788" locale="us"]Protein Power[/simpleazon-link].



Lastly, Dr Jeffry Gerber talks about obesity.  If it wasn’t a 3,700-mile round trip drive from here to Dr Jeff (and balmy and warm here, and all snowy up there), I’d be signing up as a patient of Dr Jeff’s, to help me get through my current “plateau”!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hebO_htTfY

http://jgerbermd.com/

Jeffry N. Gerber, M.D. – Denver’s Diet Doctor
South Suburban Family Medicine
South Suburban Occupational Medicine
7780 South Broadway, Suite 250
Littleton, CO 80122

Telephone: 303-346-9490
Fax: 303-346-930

PS: I had finished this page and sent it off to the editor for review and was getting ready to shut down for the night, when I came across an e-mail telling me that these people were following me on Twitter.  So I couldn’t resist adding this page: Putting The Myth To Rest: There Is No Such Thing As Bad Cholesterol.


[maxbutton id="2"]

Ready to consider change?
Click here to find out more.
Health-care professionals: would you like to be able to help your obese patients, and save on your practice budget, too?
Click here to find out more.

BMI Calculator

[calculatornet_bmi_calculator]

You can download a healthy weight chart here.

Health & Beauty Therapy Directory