Can we just throw out the misguided and dangerous recommendations on fat and heart disease – please?
A recent Australian study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), clearly goes against the tide of prevailing dietary advice.
What it says is that saturated fat is not so bad after all!
The BMJ paper was an update of a previous meta-analysis
by the same investigators, looking at the consequences for
cardiovascular health of replacing dietary saturated fats (i.e. butter)
with polyunsaturated, omega-6 fatty acids (PUFAs).
This time around, the
group reassessed the results of the Sydney Diet Heart Study (SDHS), a
randomized, controlled trial involving 458 patients that compared the
rates of cardiovascular disease among subjects who increased the amount
of omega-6 PUFAs – specifically, linoleic acid from safflower oil – in
their diet with patients who continued their normal diet. As well as
reanalyzing the results, the investigators incorporated them into their
The SDHS results were clear: replacing dietary saturated fats with
omega-6 PUFAs increased all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality
and mortality from coronary heart disease.
In addition to that, “An
increase of 5% of food energy from [omega-6 PUFAs] predicted 35% and 29%
higher risk of cardiovascular death and all cause mortality,
Along those lines, the updated meta-analysis found that
increasing dietary omega-6 PUFAs in isolation was associated with
increased mortality risk from both coronary heart disease and
cardiovascular disease overall. And Omega-6’s are the main components of
polyunsaturated fats in the Western diet – and they are found in
vegetable oils and margarines — the very things we were told to start eating more
of forty or so years ago when we were warned that saturated fats would give
us heart disease!
By contrast, the SDHS found that when dietary omega-3 PUFAs were increased alongside omega-6 PUFAs,
to more closely resemble the 1:1 ratio enjoyed by our ancestors, both
coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease risk were reduced.
Time for some new thinking
According to our current dietary wisdom, this shouldn’t have happened – and the so called experts
are busily trying to pretend that they haven’t.
The current mainstream
recommendation still holds fast to the ‘lipid hypothesis’,
which proposes that the cholesterol found in saturated fats raises
blood cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Because the major part of this theory is that raised blood
LDL-C is a major contributor to atherosclerosis and heart disease, then statin drugs can be considered the ‘golden child’ of the lipid hypothesis.
Oxidation is the true culprit
Experts like Dr Dwight Lundell
have for some time pointed to oxidation as the true culprit in
atherosclerosis and heart disease. According to this alternative theory,
dubbed the ‘degenerative hypothesis’,
LDL-C only becomes a problem when it becomes oxidized.
In fact, LDL-C
is a red herring, since all LDL molecules contain cholesterol. LDL isn't ‘bad’ in any way. LDL is absolutely vital for life, since the body
uses it to transport important nutrients, including cholesterol, from
the liver to tissues and organs.
Lipoproteins, such as LDL, consist of a core of fats (triglycerides)
and fat-soluble vitamins, surrounded by a phospholipid
membrane penetrated by cholesterol molecules. This way
water-insoluble cholesterol can be transported around the body in
Some of the membrane lipids are delicate
PUFAs, and these can become oxidized – and toxic – in people who eat a
poor diet or don’t exercise, among other factors. Not only is oxidized
LDL a marker for heart disease risk, it is strongly implicated in the development of atherosclerosis.
Protect your heart by using saturated fats and antioxidants
So it then makes sense that a
diet high in antioxidants will protect against LDL
oxidation. Glutathione has been described as 'the bulletproof vest’ that protects
against dangerous oxidation. Glutathione-boosting strategies include
exercise, cruciferous vegetables, sulphur-containing foods like garlic
and onion, nutrients including alpha-lipoic acid, selenium, vitamins B12
and B6, folate and glycine, and botanicals such as milk thistle,
cordyceps, gotu kola, and broccoli seed.
Also, since it is the delicate PUFAs in the LDL membrane that become
oxidized, a diet high in PUFAs will increase the risk of oxidation,
since more PUFAs will be available to be packaged into LDL
membrane. This is especially true in modern, Western diets with their
high omega-6:omega-3 PUFA ratios.
On the other hand, saturated fats may
well be protective, since their chemical structure makes them highly resistant to oxidation.
Accept the new reality
This new thinking is a long way from arteries are
like pipes and cholesterol is sticky gunk that accumulates and
eventually blocks them up.
As an hormone precursor and constituent of cell membranes,
cholesterol is vital to life, as is the crucial transporter LDL.
You would think that it shouldn't be long before the medical establishment and even dieticians would take notice and change.
All this to say that we make sure that our diet is loaded with saturated fat, especially coconut oil, and full of good anti-oxidants.
A Natural, Inexpensive, Easily Accessible, Safer Treatment for Depression?
St. John's Wort (SJW) has always been a safe and effective way to work with depression.
But if a group of pharmacists have their way, we may not have easy access anymore.
Pharmacists Planning Service (PPS), a “public health, consumer, and pharmacy education” nonprofit, is petitioning the
FDA to change the designation of St. John’s Wort from “herbal dietary
supplement status” to “behind pharmacy counter status” (BPCS)—a
designation that requires pharmacist consultation—citing dangerous side
effects and drug interactions.
Funny thing is, St. John's Wort is far safer than prescription depression medications. Unlike those
medications, it has not been linked to addiction, suicide, or violent
behavior. It also appears to be effective and has been used for many
years in Germany and other countries to treat mild depression, especially in children and adolescents. A meta-analysis found that
“the hypericum extracts tested in the included trials a) are superior
to placebo in patients with major depression; b) are similarly effective
as standard antidepressants; c) and have fewer side effects than
The “fewer side effects” issue is an important one. A 2000 study found
that SJW “was superior to fluoxetine [Prozac] in overall incidence of
side-effects, number of patients with side effects, and the type of side
effect reported.” Similar studies found SJW superior to other SSRIs
(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) as well. This actually
understates the side effects risk issue for adolescents and young
people. Black box warnings on SSRI’s warn of suicide risk for these
groups; they should warn of violent behavior risk but do not. The FDA does not want to admit the evidence linking the drugs to violent behavior, including mass shootings.
Another, older class of antidepressants is
TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants), which, according to a study from
early 2011, are at least as effective against depression as SSRIs (this
is faint praise, since SSRI’s have not been proven to be very
effective). Although TCAs are slowly being replaced by SSRIs, they are
still extremely popular: according to Pharmacy Times, in 2011 the most
commonly prescribed drug in the US was a TCA called amitriptyline (sold
under the trade names Tryptomer, Elavil, Tryptizol, Laroxyl, Saroten,
Sarotex, Lentizol, and Endep).
Amitriptyline’s side effects range
from anxiety, panic attacks, chest pain, sudden numbness to one side of
the body, sudden severe headache, and problems with vision, speech, or
balance, to suicidal ideation, hallucinations, seizures, and bleeding
from the nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum.
Antidepressant drugs of all kinds are huge money-makers for drug
companies: Antidepressants are used by 11% of Americans. Use has
increased 400% over ten years. And, of those taking them, 60% report using for more than two years. Seven of the top eighteen prescribed drugs are antidepressants.
Because it is safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive, SJW poses
serious competition to the US pharmaceutical industry. The thought of
more and more people turning to an over-the-counter herb instead of
relying on pharmaceutical drugs has pharmacists running scared.
If PPS is successful in its petition, St. John’s Wort will no longer be
an easily accessible alternative to prescription drugs. PPS has a
history of putting pharmacists between consumers and even
over-the-counter products as much as possible—for example, the
organization advocates mandatory pharmacist/consumer consultations and
patient history checks.
There is no specific timeline for this petition: FDA has not yet
responded to PPS’s petition, and it is still open for public comment. Action Alert! Please
tell FDA that St. John’s Wort is a safe and time-tested remedy for mild
depression, that the safeguards already built into the system with the
warning on the label are completely adequate, and that druggists do not
have the qualifications to play any such advisory role. No
reclassification to “behind the counter status” is even remotely
warranted. Please write to the FDA today!
Marriage is hard work sometimes, and there are bound to be occasions when your spouse sends your blood pressure sky high.
Well, the next time that happens, just take a deep breath, throw your
arms around your main squeeze, and remember one thing -- it turns out
your sweetie is the perfect tonic for your ticker.
That's right -- our friends from Finland found that if you're married,
you are far less likely to die from a heart attack. Just remember that
the next time your spouse leaves the toilet seat up or insists on
watching that silly romantic movie on the Lifetime channel.
Researchers analyzed more than 15,000 medical records of Finnish
patients aged 35 and older who suffered from an acute coronary syndrome
(ACS) event, such as a heart attack, between 1993 and 2002. They found
that unmarried men and women were up to two-thirds more likely to suffer
a heart attack or other ACS event -- and the news only got worse from
It turns out unmarried patients were much more likely to die within 28
days after a heart attack. Mortality rates were between 60 percent and
168 percent higher in unmarried men, and 71 percent to 175 percent
higher in unmarried women.
Now if you're single, you might be thinking that it's time for drastic
measures. Maybe you should try one of those online dating sites or just
pop the question to the next stranger who darkens your doorstep.
Well, not so fast. You see, I don't think the key to this research was
marriage per se, but companionship. The key to surviving a heart attack
is appropriate after care, and living with someone who can help advocate
for you and nurse you back to health is critical.
Second, companionship just may keep you from having that heart attack in
the first place. You see, as we get older, it becomes very easy to
isolate ourselves. It's a bit more difficult to get around, and we start
to wonder if it's worth the trouble. We become couch potatoes and start
eating three meals a day out of the microwave.
Companionship gets us up and moving, and it stimulates our minds -- and
it doesn't even have to be human variety. A study by Baker Medical
Research Institute found that simply owning a pet could lower your blood
pressure and cholesterol levels.
Humans are meant to be social creatures. If you're spending a little too
much time alone, use this week to make a date with an old friend or
find a club or activity you can join.
And if you're married like me, spend this Valentine's Day appreciating
your spouse in a whole new way. He or she just might be saving your
And if you need a supplement specifically designed for heart health, check out Enriching Gifts Red Heart Algae.
We're cuckoo for coconut oil!
Coconut oil is a good
source of B vitamins, trace minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, electrolytes, and
cytokinins. It aids health in
many other ways, too:
For a long time,
coconut oil had a bad reputation. It's high in saturated fats, so it got lumped in
with foods that contribute to heart disease.
- Coconut oil fights inflammation in your body.
Chronic inflammation is a big culprit when it comes to disease and aging.
- It balances blood glucose, which lowers your risk
of metabolic disorders like diabetes.
- It promotes better digestion. The enzymes in
coconut oil feed the good bacteria in your gut, making your whole digestive
system work better.
- It’s good for your heart. It helps regulate
blood pressure, promotes healthy circulation, and fights plaque build up in your
- It’s even good for your kidneys and can
help to prevent kidney stone formation and the development of urinary tract
But nothing could be farther from the truth. Coconut oil has also been shown to:
Coconut oil is the best oil to cook with. Most oils – even olive oil
– become damaged when you heat them. The damage makes them more oxidative in
your body – basically, the damaged oils can pass that damage along to your
Coconut oil can withstand high heat while still maintaining its beneficial
properties. The best coconut oil in terms of health benefits is unrefined, often
labeled "virgin" or "extra-virgin." The label will usually tell you how the oil
was processed. Centrifugal processing generally produces the mildest coconut
flavor. Expeller-pressed and cold-pressed coconut oils will usually have a bolder
If you're looking to use coconut oil without the coconut taste, choose a
refined oil made with a chemical-free process – again check the label. You
won't get as many of the health benefits, but refined coconut oil is still better
for your heart and metabolism than traditional vegetable oils
Bonus: Coconut oil is great for your skin. Use it
in place of lotion to soften skin and repair age damage
We love coconut oil. It's part of our everyday meal plan. A great source can be found here.
More articles about the benefits of coconut oil here.
contains lauric acid, which your body can convert into a powerful antiviral
and antibacterial compound that can even destroy the influenza virus.
fats in coconut oil are easier for your body to break down than those in
vegetable oils. So, switching from vegetable oil to coconut oil improves your
digestion and helps your body use fat more efficiently.
oil gives you energy without causing your blood sugar to spike, and studies
show that substituting coconut oil for vegetable oil can help prevent additional
weight gain in people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
oil stimulates the metabolism – making weight loss easier.
February is heart health month!
So what can you do to maintain a healthy heart?
Understand that high cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease but remains a favorite target of the health care industry mainly because drugs can be thrown at it. But drugs can't fix heart disease.
A recent study indicated four key dietary factors that cause heart disease.
Processed foods. These foods are loaded with simple carbs
that quickly break down to glucose and cause rapid blood sugar spikes.
This eventually leads to insulin resistance and damages the delicate
inner endothelial lining of the coronary arteries. Cut all breads,
pasta, rice, sugary treats and any foods made with wheat (including
whole grain) or corn.
Excess Omega-6 oils. Vegetable oils are used in virtually all
baked and processed foods to enhance flavor and increase shelf life.
Excess amounts of vegetable fats trigger the release of inflammatory
chemical messengers that increase oxidative and damage the vascular
system. Vegetable oils are only stable at room temperature and should
not be used for cooking. Avoid all fried foods and corn fed meats.
Omega-3 deficiency. Our modern diet is virtually void of
health-sustaining Omega-3 fats that have been a part of the human diet
for countless generations. The proper ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats
is ideally 1:1. Experts agree that many people are closer to a 20:1
ratio. This creates an imbalance and promotes systemic inflammation.
Include tuna, salmon, sardines, nuts and seeds to balance your fat ratio
or include a high potency fish oil supplement.
Oxidative Stress. The normal course of breathing, eating and
moving generates free radicals that can damage our genetic structure
and cause LDL cholesterol to become oxidized. We can`t avoid the process
entirely but we can include healthy quantities of fresh vegetables,
berries and targeted supplements to negate the effects of free radicals
on our heart and other organs.
One of the best supplements available for maintaining heart health even has "heart" in the name.
Red Heart Algae from Enriching Gifts International plays an important part in reducing oxidative stress. It is 500-1000 times more powerful than Vitamin C and 100 times stronger than Vitamin E. Red Heart Algae is produced in bio-dome photo reactors that maintain a 100% controllable environment which creates an extremely clean, pure and concentrated product which is easily absorbed and digested.