Heart Health Facts.. Or Fiction?

Watching Your Cholesterol Or Blood Pressure?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both women and men. Regardless of whether your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers look good or not, this silent killer takes more lives every year. Watch this week’s short video as Dr. Greg Peterson addresses both the myths and the facts about heart disease.

Click here for today’s videoHeart Health Facts

Dr. Jason Godo, DC, RN


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New Cholesterol Approach, Size Does Matter

“As it turns out, the size of the HDL and LDL particles is a very strong indicator of risk.”

If the check engine light was on in your car would you rather find the cause or disconnect the circuit? That may sound like a ridiculous question, but that is exactly what we do when we use a statin drug to reduce cholesterol. In crisis situations, statin drugs can increase nitric oxide short term, which is a good thing. But overall, they can cause real problems.

Statin drugs can cause: muscle weakness, sexual dysfunction, reduced thyroid function, memory reduction, reduced immunity and a depletion of key nutrients like carnitine, CoQ10, zinc, selenium, vitamin E and many healthy lipids. With statin drugs causing so many side effects, let’s talk about a different strategy.

Cholesterol has many positive roles. Wait a second Dr. Godo… cholesterol? You heard me right. Cholesterol is the starting material for many of our hormones. As we age our hormones drop and many physicians feel the body is trying to increase cholesterol so that it can be used for repair and hormone repletion. Certainly it is known that some cholesterol is used like a band-aid to repair holes in the cell membranes caused by free radicals. We need cholesterol for healthy cell membranes, mitochondrial function, brain function, hormones, healthy bile, our peripheral nervous system, and vitamin D.

Let me show you a different way to think about cholesterol. When people get their blood analyzed, the first question they ask is, “How’s my cholesterol, doc?” Let’s look closer at this misunderstood lipid. We know that total cholesterol is broken into two major classes: HDL cholesterol, which is used for repair and has always been labeled “the good guy; “and LDL cholesterol which has always taken the rap as “the bad guy.” That is mostly true. But as it turns out, the size of the HDL and LDL particles is a very strong indicator of risk.

There are at least five sizes of each ranging from large to small. So there are large HDL particles, think of them like beach balls, BIG and fluffy; and there are small HDL particles, picture them as hard baseballs. In the same token, there are smaller unhealthy LDL particles and large LDL particles which are healthy. The more “large HDLs” we have the better.

OK here’s the part where I had one of those “Aha” moments. Traditionally, physicians have known the danger of the LDLs is when they become oxidized, like cutting an apple in half, and it turns brown. But instead of oxidized a better word is modified. LDLs can become modified. Glycosylation, a carmelizing or crystallizing effect, is another type of modification. Oxidation and glycosylation will cause Inflammation. It’s only when the LDLs are modified and become risk factors that they cause a problem, and it is the small ones that are at the greatest risk.

Stay with me because now we are getting to the good part. The vascular system has over 14,000 feet of cell membrane exposure. This means the blood has direct contact with the vascular cells. If the cell membrane is healthy, then the cholesterol particles are wisely chosen by the body based on how they are needed. However if the vascular cell membranes are compromised, undesirable particles get in and get trapped into “bottle brush” like structures. That is where they get modified into the destructive oxidized or glycosylated particles.

Let’s use this word picture: a baseball can’t get through a tennis court net, but a golf ball can. The golf balls being the small dense LDLs and the tennis court net being cell membranes. This is why you need healthy cell membranes. Dr. Godo can help you increase healthy vascular cell membrane function. Nutrients are available that have been shown to naturally affect particle size. We want to increase the “size” of the LDLs and HDLs to prevent them from inadvertently crossing the vascular barrier. Also, Dr. Godo can help you reduce the modification of the smaller particles into the dangerous oxidized or glycosylated forms.

By now I hope you see it’s MORE than just knowing your total cholesterol number. If you won’t take statins due to the side effects, there are other options. Work with Dr Godo. You CAN increase the quality of one of your greatest repair substances, cholesterol.