Last week I wrote an article about Dietary Fat, Cholesterol and Your Heart Health, if you missed it, catch up here. Coincidentally, the last practitioner seminar I attended (Sunday afternoon the 12th of July 2015) was about Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic conditions (seeing as these 2 go hand in hand). Firstly, I am happy to say that the key concepts I discussed in last week’s article were reiterated at the seminar with extensive research to back these concepts up. There was a great deal of time spent focusing on the following important points:
1. Dietary fat does not cause CVD (cardiovascular disease):“From the original Farmingham study to the Women’s Health Initiative, as well as more than a dozen additional studies, have failed to show an association between dietary lipids and risk of CVD. The very strong recommendations from health agencies predicted that none of these trials should fail. In fact, almost all of them have failed.” (Fienman RD et. al. Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: critical review and evidence based Nutrition. 2015 Jan 31st (1) 1-13)
2. Cholesterol levels are not raised by diet: A study over 3 months compared 2 groups of individuals, about 70 individuals in each group. 1 group consumed in excess of 2 eggs per day, the other group consumed less than 2 eggs per week. No between-group differences were shown for total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides or glycemic control. This is certainly not the first and only study of its kind.
3. Inflammation as a key driver for high cholesterol: this was by far the most interesting part of the seminar. As I mentioned last week in my article, cholesterol has protective properties against inflammation and infection. One of the most common infectious drivers that may elevate cholesterol is dental infection, making oral hygiene of the utmost importance. Hence I ask clients with sudden elevation in cholesterol levels, ‘when did you last see a dentist!?’
I believe, along with many other health professionals (hence why there are many books published on this topic) it’s very important to share this information. Why? Because I think we are doing a great job at treating symptoms (extremely important!) but we are not looking at the key drivers of a condition. For example, drugs and supplements can bring down dangerously elevated cholesterol. Great. BUT how often are we stopping and thinking ‘why has that actually occurred in the first place?’ If we don’t treat the driver of the condition, it will manifest as another symptom and the overall health of that particular client will continue to decline. I see this in clinic a lot… if a client has elevated blood cholesterol, this has always been accompanied by at least 2 other complications as well, such as high blood pressure, thyroid imbalances etc.
This article does not replace medication or whatever other precautions you may currently be prescribed for whatever symptom you may have. However, symptomatic treatment needs to come hand in hand with a long term strategy to firstly ascertain the actual cause and secondly correct the cause. Some long term correctional strategies may include looking at diet, specific nutritional deficiencies (e.g. magnesium is a big one), stress, sleep disturbances, bacterial infections, fitness, muscle / fat ratio and dental health. I would say long term term wellness would be my ultimate goal with all of my clients. Sometimes, they don’t come to me with the goal of ‘near perfect health’ it may be 1 simple symptom they want to fix, but I have other ideas ;). It’s a ‘1 step at a time’ process but if they stick with me, we get there in the end! I will add that I don’t buy into the whole ‘you’re just getting old’ thing and so its inevitable that your health will decline. No, this is NOT acceptable.
Again, please do not take this article as individual advice because its not. Instead if it applies to you, ask yourself what long term lifestyle, nutritional, stress management and exercise strategies you may be putting in place to improve your markers in the long run because these are some of things you may be able to look at incorporating on your own. If you are stuck or its more complex, then book in with mefor consultations please. Investing in your own long term health NOW could save you a LOT of issues down the track.
In closing, let’s return to that point around inflammation as a driver of cholesterol and in particular the idea that periodontal disease may drive up biomarkers. If this is the first time you have heard of this and you are thinking ‘whaaaattt?’ check out the link to this medical article here. And now you need to start to realise that we are all just one big jigsaw puzzle. If you make a mistake with one piece of the puzzle, then its impossible to get the whole puzzle complete, correct? Same with the body. It’s INTERCONNECTED. It’s 1 SYSTEM. You can not just throw a band aid over 1 problem and hope it goes away because it’s going to manifest somewhere else and that may be physical and emotional. FIX it. Strive for the BEST version of YOU. Do what you can every single day to make good choices for a long, happy and healthy life.