Cholesterol & Atherosclerosis.. Is STRESS the Real Cause?

5 Questions about Cholesterol…

  1. Have you been told you have high cholesterol?
  2. Do you have a friend or loved one diagnosed with high cholesterol?
  3. Have you been lead to believe it’s solely from eating a diet high in saturated fat?
  4. Have you been prescribed a statin drug?
  5. Would you like to know more about the real cause of high cholesterol?

If you Answer YES to any of the above.. then please read on…

The Current Viewpoint is we have Good (HDL) & Bad (LDL) Cholesterol

LDL (low density lipoprotein) is BAD cholesterol, we are told it is caused by dietary fat and builds up in your artery walls making them hard and narrow…. And

HDL (high density lipoprotein) is GOOD cholesterol, this picks up the excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver for storage.

FIRSTLY, LDL & HDL… Although; containing some, they are not actually cholesterol they are “carrier proteins” that escort cholesterol around the body in the blood.

We are lead to believe that LDL cholesterol is bad for us and increases your risk of heart disease.  But at the same time “our body’s needs LDL cholesterol to continue to build healthy cells”.

Atherosclerosis … Cause Still Unknown

As stated by the “National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute.  A heart attack occurs when your coronary arteries become blocked from the build-up of various substances, including cholesterol (called atherosclerosis). Although they also state” the cause of atherosclerosis is still UNKNOWN.

This doesn’t Make Sense

Did you know ? More heart attack than not occur in people with low or “normal” cholesterol levels.

OK… Let’s take a step back…

Why only Arteries?
Why don’t
small veins and capillaries get clogged?
It’s the same
blood & blood is
taken from a vein!

Well that’s because most veins and all capillaries don’t have a muscular layer.

Arteries have 3 layers – inner endothelial layer, middle muscular layer & an outer layer.  Arteries constrict & dilate & are designed for high pressure.

This muscular layer of the arteries has a blood supply called (vasa vasorum); a network of small blood vessels that supply the walls of large blood vessels and large veins (vena cava).

When an artery “clogs” this cholesterol containing substance doesn’t initially      form in the lumen (where the blood flows in the artery).  It forms UNDER this interior layer in the middle muscular layer of the arterial wall.

This suggests damage to the muscular layer of the artery.

ARTERIES CONSTRICT & DILATE TO ADAPT TO A STRESS RESPONSE

The problem is that the stress response is becoming chronic and not returning to normal. Blood pressure stays elevated and the arterial muscular walls are being damaged.

Stress Response or “Fight or Flight” Response

A physiological reaction in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.

Over time the mental, behavioural and physical symptoms of the stress response can wear us down and make us sick.

Cholesterol is a Vital Life Sustaining Substance

Not only is cholesterol NOT BAD, it is one of the most vitally important substances inside of your body. Every cell of your body requires it and ALL of your steroid hormones are synthesized from cholesterol, including all of the sex and adrenal hormones!

Also, 25% of all the cholesterol in your body is found in your brain and well over half of your brain is made from cholesterol.  LDL cholesterol is protective for the brain & is a life sustaining substance.

  • It is a powerful antioxidant
  • It is the body’s repair substance
  • Precursor for vitamin D
  • Bile salts for fat digestion are made from cholesterol
Your cholesterol levels can fluctuate throughout the day

After surgery your cholesterol soars. It also increases when you battle infections, are under a lot of stress, or have had a heart attack.

Reason being, your body relies on cholesterol as a healing agent, to help create new cells whenever they’re needed.

Exposure to environmental agents and toxins can also affect your cholesterol levels.

Cortisol & Cholesterol

Cortisol is a steroid hormone, produced in response to any stimuli. This stimuli can be mild like waking up in the morning, or exercising, or in response to a stressor & danger.

It increases your body’s metabolism of glucose & helps control your blood pressure.

Cortisol is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that requires cholesterol for its production. It is so important that your liver and intestines make about 80% of the cholesterol your body requires.

Vitamin D, Cholesterol & Atherscerosis

Since it’s common to spend much more time indoors;  many people may have a rise in their cholesterol levels in the winter months.  This is due to less exposure to sunshine.

When we are exposed to direct sunlight on our bare skin, the cholesterol in your skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) is converted into vitamin D3.  Vitamin D3 then travels through the bloodstream to the kidneys and liver and there it is converted into a biologically active and usable substance called calcitriol;  to be distributed throughout the body.

Vitamin D plays a key role in preserving and restoring the damage to the endothelium (inside lining of the blood vessels).  Vitamin D Deficiency (a physical stressor in the body) poses a significant risk factor in cardiovascular risk.  Changes to the endothelium have been linked to several serious health problems such as atherosclerosis.

Understanding Stress & Stressors

Every one of us suffers stress from time to time, it’s a normal response to a stimuli (or a stressor). Stressors may be Physical, Chemical and/or Emotional in origin.   Once the stressor has gone though, function should return to normal.

The below is the result of a STRESS RESPONSE (also called the “fight or flight” response)

FUNCTION INCREASES
• Heart rate goes up pushing blood to the muscles
Blood pressure
• LDL cholesterol
• Adrenal function – Cortisol (and other stress hormones)

FUNCTION DECREASES
• Blood supply to the digestive system
Immune function
• Body regeneration (resulting in accelerated aging)
• TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)

Inflammation & Cortisol (Stress Hormone)

Cortisol… A powerful (steroid hormone) anti-inflammatory that requires cholesterol for its production…

Snow Ball Effect

The more STRESSORS you have; the more INFLAMMATION you have.

The more INFLAMMATION you have; the more hormonal (CORTISOL) demand.

The more CORTISOL demand; the more CHOLESTEROL needs to be produced.

The more CHOLESTEROL that is produced and transported around the body in the blood; the HIGHER YOUR  BLOOD CHOLESTEROL reading will be.

The LDL transports this valuable substance called CHOLESTEROL to the site of the INFLAMMATION.

Stress Comes in 3 Forms

  1. Physical Stress
  2. Chemical Stress
  3. Emotional Stress

Normal response to a stimuli (or a stressor).  Function should return to normal after stressor has gone.  The problem is that the stress response is becoming chronic and function is not returning to normal.

1 – PHYSICAL STRESS

  1. Obesity
  2. Nutritional Deficiencies
  3. Existing illness
  4. Trauma
  5. Accident
  6. Abuse
  7. Lack of sleep
  8. Spinal misalignment
  9. Poor posture
  10. Sedentary
  11. Sitting to long
  12. Repetitive movement
  13. Over heated
  14. Too cold

2 – CHEMICAL STRESS

  • Chemical imbalances
    • Brain
    • Toxicities
    • Deficiencies
  • Environmental Toxins
    • Pollution / Smoke
  • Ingested Toxins
    • Prescription drugs
    • Other drugs
    • Food
    • Water
    • Fluoride
    • Chloride
    • Pesticides
    • Herbicides
    • Air
  • Cleaning
  • Personal care

3 – EMOTIONAL STRESS

  • Mental abuse
  • Family’s pressures
  • Change of family dynamics
  • Work pressures
  • Death of a loved one
  • Financial demands

Common Side Effects of Statin Drugs To Be Aware Of

Statin Drugs – Reduce levels of LDL Cholesterol & increase HDL Cholesterol

  • Headache
  • Hoarseness
  • Lower Back Or Side Pain
  • Pain & Tenderness of Eyes & Cheekbones
  • Painful Or Difficult Urination / UTI’s
  • Stuffy Or Runny Nose
  • Diarrhea / Constipation
  • Indigestion / Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Decreased Liver Function
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / Spasms / Swelling
  • Allergic Reaction
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased Cardiovascular Health
  • Throat / Oral Pain
  • Reduced Immunity
  • Hyperglycaemia

Some of these side effects are due to depletion of Co10, a nutrient your body needs for cellular energy production and a healthy immune system.

SO, IF YOU HAVE HIGH CHOLESTEROL, does the doctor say…

“You have an inflammatory process going on and you have tissue damage; and/or a need for excess hormone production.  We need to discuss your diet and address your Physical, Chemical and Emotional Stressors” … NO!!!!

The doctor says “exercise more, eat less saturated fat (in very little detail) and here’s a statin drug to lower the blood cholesterol”… and the damage and inflammation is left to manifest further.

ADDRESS YOUR STRESS

Statin Drugs for the Treatment of High Cholesterol is nothing short of Insane.

BEFORE  YOU GO!

Don’t Panic its Normal… How Medical Misdiagnosis Easily Happens

Is Blood Pressure Testing Flawed & Hypertension Overdiagnosed?

CHRONIC STRESS! How it Damaged my Health.

REAL FOOD FIX…Natural Medicine, Keeping it Real!

DO NOT Ignore The Seriousness of Type 2 Diabetes

Going to the Doctor? Whats Your Expectation.. A SCRIPT?

REAL FOOD FIX … HEALTH MATTERS!