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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

Does Cholesterol or Inflammation Cause CHD?

Column #187

What came first, the chicken or the egg? While we ponder that question another egg scare is back in the news. A report from Northwestern Medicine finds that adults who ate several eggs per week with additional high amounts of dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.

Like many studies this one was flawed because it lacked controls. The analysts did interview nearly 30,000 racially and ethnically diverse adults between 1985 and 2016. But only during the initial visit did they establish the dietary habits of each participant. That was accomplished by filling out an extensive questionnaire based on what a participant remembered eating during the previous month or year. The study lasted 31 years with a median of 17.5 years for all participants. During the study the group experienced 5,400 cardiovascular events and 6,132 deaths from any cause.

The study’s greatest flaw was that long-term eating patterns weren’t assessed. The study simply relied on what people remembered eating in the year or month before they were enrolled in the study. And who can remember what they ate in the previous year? So the researchers based their conclusions on two assumptions. 1) The participants correctly recalled what they had eaten in the previous year or month. 2) Eating habits remained unchanged for up to 31 years.

Okay, it’s another bogus study that gained national acclaim. So what is the real low down on saturated fats, cholesterol, and heart disease?

This topic is near and dear to many, especially the medical community which has a huge financial stake in the status quo. Anyone who has discussed saturated fat, cholesterol, and heart health with a doctor knows how adamant they are about cholesterol levels, the need for statins, and their insistence on eating low fat diets. It’s also the primary reason for the war on red meat. But could it be their advice is not addressing the cause?

Doug Kaufmann, host of the “Know the Cause” television show and website, is an expert on fungal diseases. For years he has been suggesting that there are major flaws in some of the medical industry’s assumptions for what causes heart disease. He thinks inflammation and what causes the inflammation should be the focus. For instance, he points out that statins do lower cholesterol levels and reduce death rates. But could that be because statins are powerful antifungals?

He also points out that heart disease has remained the number one killer of Americans for years. Yet for decades we’ve been told that a diet rich in saturated fats, predominantly from high-fat meats, eggs, and dairy, is responsible for heart disease. Therefore, we’re told to eliminate fat and animal protein from the diet in favor of a diet richer in fiber and carbohydrates. Since there has been little if any improvement in the incidences of heart disease, shouldn’t the medical profession ask more questions rather than keep doing what they’ve been doing?

Well, he’s not alone in asking those questions. Many scientists have been asking those questions and the answers they’ve gotten may surprise you. And maybe it won’t surprise you to know that most medical professionals and the mass media ignore the new findings.

For starters, your body (specifically your liver) is capable of regulating the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Consequently, when less cholesterol is consumed, your body makes more. When more cholesterol is eaten, your body makes less. Because of this, foods high in dietary cholesterol have very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in most people.

There are also indications that saturated fats may benefit the blood lipid profile. Saturated fats actually raise HDL (good) cholesterol and convert LDL cholesterol from small and dense particles (bad) to large LDL which is mostly benign. These facts are ignored in the war on red meat, chicken skin, and eggs.

My take is inflammation is a primary culprit behind not only heart disease but many chronic diseases including some cancers. Inflammation has many causes:
                Omega-3 deficiency                                             Stress
                Omega-6 surplus                                                  Inadequate sleep
                Fungal infestations                                              Infections
                Inhaling or eating fungal mycotoxins             Wounds
                Autoimmune issues                                            Environment

A 2017 study sponsored by Novartis for its new drug, CANTOS, showed that an anti-inflammation drug could reduce the risk of the combination of heart attacks, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease in people who had had a heart attack and also tested positive for inflammation. It did that without changing cholesterol levels. (In 2017 CANTOS was priced at about $200,000 a year.)

In a study titled “Excess n6 Fatty Acids . . . ,”  Vasundhara Kain Ph.D, stated: “Aging has a profound impact on the metabolism of fatty acids to maintain heart function. The excess influx of  Omega-6 fatty acids in aging perturbed electrocardiography with marked signs of inflammation and a dysregulated oxidative-redox balance. Thus, the quality and quantity of fatty acids determine the cardiac pathology and energy utilization in aging.”

In other words he says that as you age, a high ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) in your diet leads to inflammation and is a precursor of heart disease. That can happen no matter your cholesterol balances or levels.

Solving, or at least subduing, inflammation should be on everyone’s to do list. It’s certainly possible and it can be accomplished for an infinitesimally small fraction of $200,000 per year. Of course one must address not only their diet but stress, sleep, exercise, and their environment.

Addressing the diet is primarily a two-pronged approach. Balance the EFAs coupled with starving out and killing fungal infestations. The best approach for this is:
●    Eat low glycemic foods. High glycemic foods are foreign to body function, causing weight gain and fungal issues that negatively impact the body.
●    Eat foods that are low in Omega-6 EFAs and higher in Omega-3 EFAs. Seek a 1:1 ratio. A balance of 2:1 or less is best for an effective nervous system, strong immunity, and better brain function.
●    Eat nutrient dense and diverse foods. A diet of nutrient lite foods cannot significantly contribute to the needs of the body.

Sugars of all varieties and carbohydrates are fuels for fungi and cancers. Fungi produce mycotoxins which cause inflammation as they hinder body functions. Lowering the EFA balance to 2:1 or less tends to reverse autoimmune issues, improve the nervous system, significantly reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and strengthen the immune system so that it can better defend the body against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and injuries. Nutrient dense and diverse real foods help in all departments.

Of course there are additional anti-inflammatory steps one can take such as eating fermented foods. For instance sauerkraut has beneficial probiotics (bacteria) that act as the first line of defense against toxins and harmful bacteria. Doug Kaufmann has speculated that instead of statins, maybe taking some apple cider vinegar and other antifungals are better treatments! The list of additional steps is lengthy.

The fundamental point I want to close with is that people can safely eat grass-fed and Omega-3 meats, Omega-3 eggs, and grass-fed cheeses and butters to their heart’s content. Not only are these foods zero glycemic and loaded with nutrients humans require, but their EFA balances are perfect. So the bottom line is: eat red meat for heart health.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don’t miss these links for additional reading:

Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality by VictorW. Zhong, PhD, et al.

Bad News for Egg Lovers by Marla Paul at Northwestern University

Are Eggs Bad for Your Heart? Experts Weigh New Findings on Eggs, Cholesterol and Health by Ashley Welch at CBS News

The Evidence for Saturated Fat and for Sugar Related to Coronary Heart Disease by James J DiNicolantonio PharmD, et al.

Closing the Loop on Inflammation and Atherothrombosis: Why Perform the Cirt and Cantos Trials? by Paul M. Ridker, MD, MPH

Inflammation: Is It the New Cholesterol? By Harlan Krumholz Pharma & Healthcare from Forbes Magazine

Reducing Inflammation Without Lowering Cholesterol Cuts Risk of Cardiovascular Events from Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Why Dietary Cholesterol Does Not Matter (for most people) by Kayla McDonell, RD from Healthline

Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies Evaluating the Association of Saturated Fat with Cardiovascular Disease by Patty W Siri-Tarino et al.

Change in Dietary Saturated Fat Intake Is Correlated with Change in Mass of Large Low-Density-Lipoprotein Particles in Men by Dreon DM1, et al.

Saturated Fat: Good or Bad? by Kris Gunnars, BS from Healthline

Is Depression linked to fungus? by Doug Kaufmann

Is Conventional Wisdom Wrong About Heart Disease? by Michael Smith at Know the Cause

Public Health Collaboration Healthy Eating Guidelines & Weight Loss Advice For The United Kingdom from the Public Health Collaboration

Public Health Collaboration

Excess n6 Fatty Acids Influx in Aging Drives Metabolic Dysregulation, Electrocardiographic Alterations, and Low-Grade Chronic Inflammation by Vasundhara Kain Ph.D, et al.

Fibromyalgia Mystery Solved by Ted Slanker

8 Surprising Benefits of Sauerkraut by Written by Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA) from Healthline

How to Win an Argument About Nutrition by Kris Gunnars, Bsc from Healthline