The Cholesterol Myth
Cholesterol has been one of the hottest topics in health care. It has been associated as a cause of heart attack, hypertension and even diabetes. So, don’t dare take more than 1 egg in a week or use butter in your bread or your cholesterol might increase and your risk of dying prematurely of myocardial infarct increases. I remember sitting in front of my class when I was third year medical school discussing about cholesterol. My teacher back then an old woman who specializes in laboratory medicine telling us story how that morning she ate a very small piece of pork fat. The same day she had her blood drawn and lo and behold, her cholesterol went to 250 mg/dl. I never forgot that. I associated cholesterol to death and that is how I felt for many years. Cholesterol is the devil in disguise.
I was wrong.
What is cholesterol? Why was it depicted as one of the worst evil of mankind? Who was behind this medical mythology?
Cholesterol is a lipid, organic compound found in all animal and human cells. It is important in maintain the integrity of the cell membrane, in the production of hormones, Vitamin D and bile acids and repair of the damaged cell. In fact, in the presence of a cholesterol-free diet our own cell will make its own cholesterol. 75 % of cholesterol in the body is produced in vivo while the remaining 25% comes from food. Cholesterol is thus not only important but is essential to survivability of an individual.
What is LDL and HDL?
LDL(low density lipoprotein) and HDL(High density lipoprotein) are not cholesterol. They are neither bad or good. These organic molecules are lipoproteins. LDL and HDL are carriers and cholesterol is the passenger. For cholesterol to move in a hydrophilic medium like the blood it needs a carrier molecule and that’s the function of lipoproteins. From the liver to the site of damage LDL carries cholesterol and from the peripheral circulation to the liver HDL carries cholesterol back for recycling.
In 1950, a researcher named Ancel Keys did a study linking heart disease to intake of fat. He had less a dozen countries and showed the correlation that the higher their fat consumption the higher the risk of heart attack. His reward was, he was named the person of the year by Time magazine. Unbeknownst to everybody else the countries were originally 24 in number. Ancel Keys deliberately left these countries who had a high fat intake but low incidence of heart attack. This is the biggest sham in medical history and has deceived until today thousands if not millions of people, worst majority are doctors. He manipulated the data and in fact there is no research up to date that links cholesterol to heart attack.
If cholesterol is not the cause of heart attack, what is?
In 2004, Time magazine cover “The Secret Killer” points Inflammation as the major cause of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart attack, hypertension, auto-immune diseases and even the deadly cancer.
In 2015, the USDA (United States departments of Agriculture) stated that cholesterol is no longer a dietary concern.
There are numerous studies that links Cholesterol intake to longevity, lower cancer rates and fewer memory disorders and autoimmune diseases.
I encourage my patients to eat eggs and enjoy it while giving glory to the Lord.
When I was in medical school I remember my teacher, who is a famous cardiologist in Baguio City showing us a diagram of how salt is very bad for health. Salt causes water retention. The higher the hydrostatic pressure in the body the higher the risk for hypertension. Thus, every patient I saw when I was a young medical doctor, I encouraged them to follow a strict low salt and low- fat diet. I put them on maintenance drugs, the prescription sometimes amounting to 3 or more pages. I told them not to stop taking these medications or they will die. (Yes, I scared my patients.)
A study published in The Lancet showed that salt intake of less than 1.5g and more than 5g led to death associated with cardiovascular diseases such as stroke.
Salt is important to life. Salt regulates inside and outside the cell. It is important in enzymatic activity and acid-base balance. It also is needed in muscular contraction, brain signaling and nerve transmission. Without salt a person will perish.
So, sprinkle your salt, be righteous about it and enjoy a glorious meal from the earth.
I often hear that sun blocks can minimize and prevent our exposure to the harmful rays of the sun that leads to aging and skin cancer. Thus, everybody was on board with this idea. Some people before heading to the beach would slather themselves tons of sunscreens. It created such fear that most people didn’t even want to go outside as much as they used to.
I remember listening to my teacher back then discussing about the harmful effects of sun. She was an old dermatologist. She had a lengthy discussion of how the sun is so evil, she encouraged us to protect our skin by drowning our bodies every often as we can with sunscreens.
Oxybenzone is one of the chemicals found in sunscreen that has been associated with the cancer. Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals or substances that disrupts hormone release from the endocrine gland. These results either to an inhibited or increased amount of the hormone inside the body. This in turn can cause cancer.
Life is impossible without the sun. In fact, plants will die without sunlight as it is needed for the production of their food known as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process of conversion of light energy to chemical energy. The waste product is oxygen which is needed by animals and humans for survival.
Sunlight has been revered for centuries for its healing properties. It’s a source of Vitamin D which numerous research claims to heal depression, skin diseases and even cancer. It is safe to know that the best way to harness the sun’s healing powers is early in the morning, depending on which part of the world you are.
The Saturated fat Myth
Ancel Keys, made a lot of mistakes in his life. One of them is to denigrate saturated fat as the devil in disguise. For decades, people have turned their backs from butter, red meat and coconut oil and was replaced by margarine, canola oil, trans-fat and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Fads came out.
But the health of the society deteriorated.
What is saturated fat and unsaturated fat?
When we talk about fats, we describe them in their chemical structures. Fatty acids are known due to the presence or absence of double bonds. Saturated fats have no double bonds, more closely packed and linked and more resistant to oxidation on the other hand the unsaturated fatty acids can be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated depending on the number of double bonds it has.
Trans fat is another type of fatty acids that evolved due to hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids. This made the shelf life of unsaturated fatty acids longer. However, trans fat has been proven to harm our health and the consumption of thus has been discouraged by scientists and researchers.
Safe Amount of Radiation
I remember that my teacher in Radiology often tells us that X-rays are safe as the amount of radiation is just minimal to cause harm. So, I would request X-rays, CT scans and other radiologic test without regard to the deleterious effects it has on my patient knowing that they are “too minimal” to cause damage.
Later on, during my many researches I discovered that there is no safe amount of radiation that a patient should be subjected to. Even a single X-ray can cause DNA damage and might lead to cancer. In fact, the first scientists who used radiation mostly died of radiation poisoning, blood cancer, burns and depression.
Stop the radiation exposure and opt for safer diagnostic modalities.