Anyone in the hospital should have an advocate present
- Created on Friday, 25 October 2019 04:48
I mean someone who will act to protect you while you are in the hospital- like a lineman protects his quarterback. That’s because hospitals are dangerous, and Medicine is likewise dangerous.
For instance, let’s take the issue of scans. CT scans are very popular today. They are a $100 billion a year industry. They entail a large amount of radiation. A single CT scan is equivalent to about 120 chest x-rays, and that’s according to Consumer Reports. If you need one, you need one, but you shouldn’t do it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
But, who is to be the judge of that? The doctor? Well, if that’s what you think, then go ahead and let them CT the hell out of you. But, I guarantee you I am going to decide for myself. And if I am unconscious, then my advocate can decide, who shares my attitude and convictions.
I had the privilege of knowing Dr. John Gofman, M.D. I never met him in person, but I corresponded with him. He was a medical luminary, a heart doctor, an anti-war and anti-nuke advocate, and he wrote the 1000 page tome RADIATION AND HUMAN HEALTH, which I have. And the gist of it, the bottom line, is that every radiation exposure counts; it increases your risk of developing cancer, if only slightly. Dr. Gofman went so far as to determine the increased cancer risk from a single dental x-ray, and it exists. And I am very cautious about dental xrays too. I have never submitted to full mouth xrays. The four bitewing x-rays, to see between the teeth, are all I have ever consented to. And I don’t do them every year. It’s more like every 2 or 3 years.
But, if you are in the hospital, you may not be feeling too well, and your ability, your strength to exert your will when it comes to medical actions may be compromised. Hence, you need an energetic advocate to oversee everything that is done to you.
Besides excessive and unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation, there is the issue of drugs. Are you going to take every drug the doctors want to give you? That could be a lot of drugs. If you have a raging infection, and they want to give you antibiotics, I’m not saying you should refuse that. But, if they want to give you pain meds, that should be up to you. I know the harm the pain medicines do, especially to the kidneys. If it’s a low level of pain that I think I can handle, I will. Now, I realize that not everyone feels that way. Some people are quick to take a painkiller at the slightest headache. Or if they have strained muscles from playing tennis, they’ll start downing pills. Of course, if the pain is excruciating, I’m not saying you should endure it. But, it’s for you to decide.
And there are plenty of other drugs that are given that may not be necessary, such as, drugs to sedate you, drugs to make you sleep, drugs to stimulate your bowels, or diuretics which are given for all kinds of cockamamie reasons which offer exceedingly little on the positive side and much harm on the negative side. I have written an article about diuretics that I am proud to say is very well read, and I say that because I hear from people from all over the world who have read it. Here’s the link:
Then, there is the issue of your food. For as long as I can remember, people have been making jokes about hospital food, but the truth is, it hasn’t gotten any better, which is to say, any healthier. You need an advocate there to make sure they give you decent food, or, if necessary, to bring it in from the outside.
And what about water? There are still hospitals that provide nothing but tap water for drinking. In most countries of the world, and all the ones that I have been to, nobody drinks the tap water. But, here in the U.S., they encourage us to drink tap water.
The hospital may use a crude filtration system, such as a carbon filter, which is certainly better than nothing. But, if there is any doubt, have your advocate bring you in good bottled water.
And finally, I will point out that you should want to get out of the hospital as soon as you possibly can. I’ll be honest with you: I wouldn’t leave that decisions to doctors either. And even if there is some risk in leaving- there is also risk in staying. So, for me, I would rather err on the side of getting out of there as soon as I can.
If I seem to have a bad attitude about hospitals, I do. And if I seem to have a bad attitude about doctors, it goes beyond that. The number of them who are capable of thinking outside the box of their medical education is very small. And fortunately, I know some medical doctors whom I respect very much. I consider myself lucky to know them and to have access to them. But, frankly, I have very little respect for the average M.D. And it’s not that there are no good things done in Medicine. I know there are. And some of the things they do are amazing. But, there is an awful lot of routine medical practice, “Oh, your blood pressure is up to 140, time to start you on drugs for the rest of your life.” That kind of Medicine I despise.
Hospitals are dangerous, so if you are in one, you need a bodyguard.
A lessen from Bernie
- Created on Sunday, 06 October 2019 04:58
On the campaign trail, Senator Bernie Sanders had an attack of angina, so they rushed him to the hospital and found that he had two blocked coronary arteries which they stented. So, in other words, he has heart disease.
Without a doubt, he’s been getting the very best of medical care all along, right? We take care of our Senators, don’t we? And he’s a rich man otherwise, so, he was going to have access to top flight medical care.
So, what has he been doing medically up to now? Has he been taking a statin drug? Has he been taking one or more blood pressure medicines? I don’t know, but I do know that rich men like him get the same medical advice that poor people get, which is to take those drugs. And a lot of people who take those drugs wind up having cardiovascular events. The drugs don’t prevent them.
But, the point is that if he can get heart disease, don’t you think you can? Don’t you think anybody can? The best thing, I think, is to just assume that we are all headed towards getting heart disease. And every morning that we wake up, we should be determined to do everything in our power to prevent it.
So, what does that entail?
1 Don’t ingest poisons that provoke heart disease, such as tobacco smoke, which is a powerful prgenator of heart disease. And the same is true of every kind of smoke, including marijuana smoke. Including the burning incense you may be breathing in at church. Including the smoke from your fireplace. Burning carbonaceous material releases toxic polycyclic hydrocarbons which trigger plaquing within the arteries. So, don’t breathe smoke
2 Don’t drink alcohol. I know you were told for years and decades that a little alcohol is good for your heart, but the latest research shows that it was all bull, that when you compare moderate drinkers, not to people who quit drinking and may have damaged themselves severely from it, but to lifelong abstainers, that lifelong abstainers have much less heart disease than moderate drinkers. The only good thing you can say about moderate drinking is that it’s better than heavy drinking.
3 Eat a lot of whole, natural, unrefined plant foods. Those are the only foods that I can tell you, with certainty, do not cause heart disease, and everything else is suspect. Fresh fruits, leafy greens, steamed vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, and cooked beans and legumes are the best foods, and I recommend going light on meats and fish, if you wish to eat them, and to avoid dairy completely, since you certainly don’t need it and are better off without it.
4 Avoid oils except for a very high quality and reliable extra virgin olive oil used sparingly.
5 There are quite a few supplements which can potentially contribute to heart health. How many you take depends on how comfortable you are taking supplements and of course, your income. But, the following supplements are worth considering: a good multi-vitamin/mineral formula, a good omega 3 supplement (either an excellent fish oil such as our Eicosamax, which I take, or, if you don’t like the idea of taking fish oil, take one of the algae DHA supplements) the ubiquinol form of Co10, green tea extract, pycnogenol from grape seed extract or French pine, Vitamin D3, the methylcobalamin form of Vitamin B12 taken sublingually, magnesium, resveratrol, and optimized turmeric. Those are the supplements that I am currently taking, and I feel very good about all of them, both from the standpoint of safety and making a meaningful contribution to my program. It may seem like a lot to take – and a lot of money; but realize that there is a lot that other people spend money on that I’m not spending. I spend zero on alcohol, drugs, and that includes over the counter drugs. I spend zero on doctor visits. I am 68. I am 5’6”, 134 pounds without clothes first thing in the morning; my resting heart rate is 64, and my blood pressure (just taken) was 106/58. And I really do feel good.
6 Limit your sodium intake to no more than 1500 mgs/ day, and if you know you have any heart or kidney problems, limit it to 1000. And anyone who tells you that salt is harmless is not someone you should be taking health advice from. Realize that just about everybody consumes an excess of sodium, and the healthier you are, the more likely you can get away with it. But, even if you are healthy, don’t push it. If you get 1500 mgs/day, even that is 3x as much as you need. You certainly don’t want to go above that.
7 Take care of your teeth and gums. Rotting teeth and inflamed, infected gums provoke heart disease. They provoke inflammation, and the inflammatory chemicals released provoke heart disease. So, take care of your teeth by practicing good nutrition, practicing good dental hygiene (brushing, flossing, water pic) and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. I don’t have a doctor (except me) but I do have a dentist. And I am diligent about taking care of my teeth, for their sake, and for the sake of my general health.
8 Exercise regularly and vigorously but not to an extreme. Obviously, exercise is important, but increasingly, the evidence shows that over-exercising takes a toll- even on the heart. Just recently, we got the news that Mark Spitz has atrial fibrillation. Is it from years and decades of over-exercising? I certainly wouldn’t rule that out. And when you consider how vulnerable we are to injuries, especially as we get older, it certainly behooves us to be cautious about not overdoing it when it comes to exercise.
9. Consider taking anti-aging hormones. I take 25 mgs DHEA every morning and have been doing so for years, and it is known to be cardio-protective. And I take melatonin at night before bed- to aid with sleep and because it is cardio-protective. Milligram for milligram, melatonin is the most powerful antioxidant of them all. And speaking of hormones, everyone over the age of 50 should have a thyroid panel run at least every two years, and if there is any suspicion of thyroid problem, more often than that. Millions of people are destined to become hypothyroid, and the sooner you find out about it the better. If it happens, I favor the use of the natural desiccated thyroid over the synthetics.
10. And finally, I do make it a practice to have blood work done on myself every April. It costs me a few hundred dollars, but there are tests available today that are very specific for the heart and can tell a lot about the health of your arteries. I am referring to what is called VAP testing, includes things like the size of your LDL particles, and the larger they are the better. Another very efficient test is carotid artery ultrasound, which tells you about the condition of your carotid arteries, whether there are blockages. It does not involve ionizing radiation, and it’s not that expensive, usually a few hundred bucks. The coronary calcium test I would NOT do because that involves a tremendous amount of ionizing radiation.
All right, I’ll quit there since we reached 10. But, the main point is, and I’m very serious about this, is that you should wake up every morning of your life determined to do all you can that day to prevent heart disease from developing within your body. Because: you look around you at the number of people who succumb to it, including multi-millionaire Senators who are running for President. If he can get heart disease, you shouldn’t think you can’t.
Why treating high blood pressure with drugs is always dangerous- even when it works
- Created on Monday, 23 September 2019 04:07
First, I am opposed to treating high blood pressure with drugs except in cases of malignant hypertension where the pressure is so high that there is an imminent threat of stroke or other catastrophe that could result in dire harm or death. That is a medical emergency, and I am not going to say how it should be treated because that is not my domain.
But, that’s a very small percentage of cases. Probably 1% or less.
In the usual cases of high blood pressure, I don’t think you want to go the drug route. Do you realize that sometimes the body does things to cause higher blood pressure? That the body sometimes wants higher blood pressure?
Why would it want higher blood pressure? Think about how the circulation works. It involves large wide arteries that connect to smaller narrower arteries. It’s pressure that makes the blood go into those arteries. And the arteries continue getting smaller and narrower, until it finally gets down to the capillaries which are 8 microns diameter, where the red blood cells have to squeeze through one at a time. If it went from narrow to wide, it wouldn’t be a problem, but when it goes from wide to narrow, you need a head of pressure to keep it going.
But, what if besides the arteries getting narrower, they are also plaqued, which narrows them even more? Then, you need even more pressure to get the blood in there.
The kidneys are especially sensitive to blood pressure because the way they create urine is to pass blood into special circulatory beds with capillaries that are extra porous, that allow a large quantity of filtrate to be formed. But again, it takes pressure. So, if there are blockages in the renal arteries, it may take more pressure than normal for the kidneys to form urine. And when the kidneys need more blood pressure, they release angiotensin hormones which increase the pressure. They have drugs which block those hormones, preventing the kidneys from raising the blood pressure. The result is that the pressure is reduced, but at the same time, the kidneys don’t get what they need. Over time, could this damage the kidneys? I suspected it, and my suspicions were right. This article reports that ACE inhibitors angiotensin blockers may be causing kidney failure.
The troubling fact is that these drugs are dangerous because of their toxic, adverse effects, but even their desired effect of lowering the blood pressure may be doing harm.
And when you harm your kidneys, there is no reversing it. That only goes in one direction. You are born with about a million nephrons in each kidney, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Once the number of nephrons goes below the threshold that is needed to form urine to clean your blood, you are frucked. It’s either kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant for you, and neither one is pretty.
And hey, we are all basically heading towards kidney failure. If you live long enough, the natural attrition is going to get you eventually, although you may have to live over 100. But, could it be that the drugs we take, including the medical drugs we take, are hastening the decline of our kidneys? Absolutely. Without a doubt.
And even some of the side effects from taking hypertension drugs may be related to them working, that the lower blood pressure that they are forcing on the system is actually causing the fainting spells and blackouts and weakness and confusion. The body may need more pressure to force the blood into blocked arteries in the kidneys, the brain, and elsewhere.
This is an example of a medical fix that doesn’t really fix anything. No matter what drug or drugs the doctor prescribes, it is not going to restore normality to your system. It is never going to create an ideal situation. It is never going to create a normal condition within the body. It’s just a different kind of wrong.
So, unless the blood pressure is extremely high and you are having symptoms of a medical emergency, I think it’s better to pass on drugs for high blood pressure. What should you do instead? Well, I would definitely take it as a wake-up call, that it’s time for you to start getting your act together for the sake of your health. Cut out all toxins, including alcohol, drugs, and caffeine. Start eating a high fruit and vegetable diet, and also include other whole natural plant foods, such as raw nuts and cooked beans. Eat plant-based foods as much as possible. If you can’t do it completely, do it as much as you can. Reduce your sodium intake to 1200 mgs/day or less. Shed extra weight if you are carrying it, which is to say: lose body fat. Start exercising if you are not doing it. Start doing everything right for your health. And if you’re going to take anything, take safe supplements which may help lower your blood pressure. For example, just taking magnesium may lower the blood pressure by 5 or more points. And that’s not going to hurt anything. There is no train of evils that follows it. Other supplements that may help lower the blood pressure naturally and safely are high-quality fish oil (such as our Eicosamax) Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinal), Vitamin D3, resveratrol, and curcumin (which is from turmeric). I’m not saying this because I sell supplements. I’m saying it because they really may help and without causing harm.
And if you have the bodily reserves for it, you could also undergo therapeutic fasting to lower your blood pressure because that is very effective, and it is also very safe compared to taking drugs.
So, you have options. But, the option of starting on one more drugs to force the pressure down and remain on them for the rest of your life- that is NOT an attractive option in my opinion, and I wouldn’t do it. I would pass on it if it were me. But, for me, it’s a moot question because I am 68, and my blood pressure is 108 over 64. And I am not saying it to brag because there is nothing I am doing that others can't do. But, if I did have high blood pressure, I know what I would and wouldn’t do. I really think that it’s likely that these blood pressure drugs are doing more harm than good.
But hey, if you would rather follow your doctor's advice and start taking drugs for the rest of your life to lower your blood pressure, get used to seeing him, because you're going to be seeing a lot of him. Welcome to the medical phase of life.
Hypertension drugs are not tested
- Created on Wednesday, 28 August 2019 18:49
Many times I have pointed out vaccines are not tested, and by that I mean that they don’t do double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of vaccines. They say it would be unethical. So, how do they know if they are effective? They don’t. They do tests to see if they raise the antibody titer, as desired, but does that translate to protection from disease? They hope it does. But, I readily admit that vaccines are not 100% effective. They work, except when they don’t. However, they claim that If you do get the flu after getting a flu shot, that it’s likely to be milder. Is that a big consolation to you? It’s no consolation to me.
It’s similar with hypertension drugs. They say it would be unethical to do double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. But, how dangerous can it be when millions of people have hypertension and don’t even know it?
It’s all about reducing the risk of catastrophic events: heart attacks and strokes. So, how much do hypertension drugs lower the risk? Again, they don’t know because they refuse to test it. They just say that all hypertensives should take drugs.
But, which drugs? It depends entirely on the whim of your doctor. There are many different kinds of hypertension drugs and many different drugs within each class. One doctor may start you off with a diuretic which lowers your blood pressure by pharmaceutically dehydrating you and disturbing the composition of the urine. It throws a monkey wrench into the machinery of your kidneys. It may lower your blood pressure a little, but probably not much, and it certainly isn’t worth the havoc that it causes.
Before I proceed any further, let me clarify that I am talking about the usual mild-to-moderate hypertension that affects millions. I am not talking about acute malignant hypertension, where the pressure spikes up so high, it causes headache, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, etc. That’s a medical emergency, and I am not going to second-guess what the emergency docs might do for it.
I am talking about the non-emergency, garden variety hypertension that affects millions, where you go to the doctor for your annual physical, and he tells you that you now have hypertension, and you need to start taking medicine for it, and for the rest of your life. Usually, there are no symptoms.
So, he might give you a diuretic to tamper with your kidneys. He might give you an ace inhibitor to suppress certain hormones, and that is intended to reduce vascular tension. He might give you a beta blocker to weaken your heart so that it can’t contract as hard, so that it will move less blood with each beat. Or, he might give you a calcium channel blocker, which is the most dangerous hypertension drug of all. Or, he might give you a combination of drugs.
But, If you go to 5 different doctors, there is a good chance they will give you 5 different drug regimens. Do you see how arbitrary the whole process is? You are managing your health according to someone’s whim.
I don’t like any of the blood pressure drugs. They each, in their own way, cause havoc within the body. And in the case of mild to moderate hypertension, especially younger to middle-aged persons, for whom the risk of having a vascular accident is very low, even if left untreated, how many heart attacks could the drugs be preventing? That it is very few knows of no doubt, but whether it is any at all is the big question. But again, they won’t test. They think it’s a crime to leave anyone with even mildly elevated blood pressure untreated.
The real crime is starting these people on lifelong drug regimens. Most doctors won’t even reevaluate over time. It’s drugs, drugs, drugs, for the rest of your life.
Well, just think about this undeniable fact: the drugs do not remove or correct the causes of high blood pressure. They just play tricks on the body to lower the pressure. They just tamper with something else- that isn’t broke- in order to force the pressure down. It’s really a misguided way to handle the problem.
So, what should a person do when they get the word that they have mild to moderate hypertension? They should take it as a wake-up call to change their ways and start taking better care of themselves.
That means eating better, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and other whole plant foods, such as raw nuts and cooked beans and legumes. It means stopping all bad habits, including smoking (anything) vaping, drinking alcohol, and drinking coffee. It means getting your salt consumption down, way down. It means shedding body fat if that‘s an issue for you. It means exercising regularly, and there is nothing better than walking. And it means addressing the stress level in your life and getting enough rest and sleep.
So, you start doing all those things as soon as you get the news that you have hypertension, and if you’re smart, you’ll do them anyway. Why wait?
And then, if you want to do more, you could consider taking some safe supplements which support and encourage the lowering of blood pressure, such as magnesium, which has a relaxing effect on the smooth muscle of arteries: CoQ10, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D3, resveratrol, melatonin, and there are other things you could take. The nice thing about these supplements is that they can’t hurt you. They don’t throw a monkey wrench into your machinery. Rather, they gently coax a better blood pressure through normal physiological adjustment.
And I can tell you from experience that for the vast majority of people, this approach is going to work. And it is far superior to taking drugs.
So, if you get caught with mild to moderate blood pressure, and your doctor tries to put you on drugs, just tell him or her: no thanks. Then get started doing the right thing.
Why walking is the best exercise
- Created on Friday, 16 August 2019 17:13
Let me tell you something that is absolutely true: if you walk, and if you make a point of including some hills in the walk, where you are walking uphill, you will be giving your lower body all the exercise it needs. You need do nothing more.
Obviously, walking doesn’t do a lot for your arms. It does tone your arms, but it won’t pack muscle on your arms. But, if you do the walking that includes hill work, then add a little upper body resistance training, such as weights, or pull-ups and push-ups, to strengthen your upper body, it is all you are going to need to look great and be fit.
As far as stamina and heart health, walking does it all. As far as improving sleep, enhancing immunity, elevating mood, improving digestion, controlling weight, burning fat, walking does it all. Walking delivers all the benefits that exercise can achieve for the body and mind. It does everything but strengthen your arms. So, you have to add a little bit of upper body work; and that’s it. Then you’ve covered everything.
Walking has so many advantages. You can’t get hurt. Well, I suppose you could trip over the curb and fall, or get bit by a dog, but we’re talking low probability. Walking is the safest exercise there is. Anything else you can name is more dangerous than walking.
Walking is the least expensive exercise there is. A pair of good walking shoes is the total expense, and it’s worth it to get good ones. But hey, you’ve got to buy shoes anyway. So, in reality, walking is free.
What’s really nice is if you can walk right from your door. So, when people are out to buy or rent a home, they should make it a factor. “What’s this neighborhood like for walking? Will I be able to take a peaceful, attractive, comfortable walk? Are there hills nearby so that I can get in some hill work?” It’s great for walking where I live, and I would never move into a place where I couldn’t take nice walks right from my door.
Of course, if you have to drive a little to a park or greenbelt to walk, that's fine too. There's nothing wrong with it. But, it's really nice if you can do it from home.
Of course, you’ve got to be diligent about it. When you’re out on a fitness walk, don’t stop to talk to the neighbors. Wave, be friendly, but indicate that you’re on a fitness walk and you’ll talk to them later. Don’t stop to smell the roses or read the house sale flyers or anything else. Walk briskly; keep going; and don’t stop until you’re done. And if you’re not in good shape to begin with, then start with shorter walks and build up.
Walking lowers your blood pressure, helps keep your prostate healthy if you are a man, helps prevent cancer (by relieving the pooling of blood in the abdomen in pelvis, where most cancers occur) helps you think more clearly, helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and it even helps relieve and prevent acid reflux.
Walking is the most natural movement, and the cadence of walking (which is biomechanically complex) is hard-wired into your brain. It’s a beautiful mechanism.
And the older you get, the more sense it makes to make walking the primary and central exercise that you do. There is simply nothing better.
Most people misunderstand osteoporosis
- Created on Friday, 26 July 2019 05:24
Most people think that osteoporosis is the lack of calcium in bone, but no; that’s osteomalacia. Osteoporosis is the degeneration of the protein matrix in bone, and the calcium loss takes place secondarily to that. Osteoporosis starts with a loss of protein in the bones.
But, how can bones lack protein when most people, in countries such as the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia eat plenty of animal protein?
Well, you know that muscle wasting happens to people in those countries as they age. I get queries from people in their 30s asking why their once firm toned butt is now flat and saggy. Did I mention that they’re in their 30s?
The fact is that muscle protein retention peaks about age 25 and then it starts going down. Naturally, if you do heavy exercise, you may be able to counter it. But, when you reach your 40s, muscle atrophy accelerates and with each passing decade. And it’s insidious because if you replace muscle with fat, your weight may not go down. It could even go up, even though you are shrinking where it counts.
And it’s true of everything: your brain shrinks; your organs shrink. Women are well aware that their breasts tend to shrivel up with age. Guess what else can shrivel up, guys?
Age-related atrophy is a natural tendency, and it occurs in nature in wild animals. In a herd of elephants, the older males look shriveled compared to the younger ones.
That’s what osteopenia is about. It is the age-related degeneration of bone, the whole bone, and it corresponds to sarcopenia, the age-related degeneration of muscle. And as with muscle, it starts with the loss of the protein matrix.. And there is a lot of protein in bone.
The point is that downing a lot of calcium as a strategy to treat or prevent osteoporosis is not going to work. It requires a comprehensive program that addresses total nutrition and not just calcium. It requires exercise, of course, and also Vitamin D3, and you are never going to make enough from the sun alone. Forget about it.
Getting enough sleep is extremely important because lack of sleep hinders anabolic processes, and that’s what we’re talking about.
Maintaining optimal hormone levels is also very important. I take 25 mgs DHEA every morning, and I have for years, for decades, and I believe it has contributed a lot to maintaining my bone and muscle. I have my blood level of DHEA Sulphate tested every year when I do my blood tests in April.
Osteoporosis is a curse, and it’s a waterfall that we are all heading for. The prevention of it pertains to preventing the wasting processes of aging, in general. Throwing calcium at it will never suffice.
- Created on Monday, 01 July 2019 04:01
Perhaps you are aware that I am very much in favor of plant-based diets. I don’t say people have to be strict vegetarians. But, I do say that eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and other unrefined plants is a very good idea whether or not you also eat meat. People need to load up on plants, and the more the better.
However, having said that, I also think it is insane what is going on in the world of Medicine where cholesterol is demonized.
You realize that cholesterol is a vital substance, that every cell in your body relies on it to build its membrane and maintain its intra-cellular environment. Without cholesterol, animal cells would just dissolve. Cholesterol is also the building block for all the sterol hormones, and there are quite a few. Cholesterol, as cholic acid, is the main component of bile acids, which are important to digestion. Cholesterol is also extremely abundant in the brain, and it’s so important that the brain has the ability to make its own cholesterol. And it makes a heck of a lot of it. .It does not depend on the liver.
So, how could such a vital substance, so essential and crucial to human life, also be our doom? And the simplistic way in which they claim it is our doom is really childish. They think that just the amount of cholesterol in the blood determines whether plaque is going to be deposited in your arteries. But, that is ridiculous because a cholesterol above 200 is considered high today, whereas 150 is considered healthy. So, why would a 25% reduction of the amount of cholesterol in the blood make any such difference? Don’t you think it’s far more likely that if there is a tendency for plaquing to occur that it’s going to occur just as readily at blood cholesterol 150 as at blood cholesterol 200? There is still plenty of cholesterol available in the blood at 150.
Here is what the stupidity comes down to: they act as though there is a gradient going on in which having a little more cholesterol in the blood pushes the gradient so that plaque formation occurs, just from having the higher level of cholesterol, and getting below a certain threshold makes all the difference and stops the process. That is really stupid. So, what is the reality?
The reality is that they are confusing cause and effect. It’s not that having more cholesterol in the blood causes plaquing; it is that the conditions which cause plaquing cause more cholesterol to be in the blood.
Arteries plaque because of irritation, and that irritation can be chemical from toxins, or it can be the damaging effect of high blood pressure.
An example of a chemical irritant that causes plaquing is cigarette smoke. You know about the toxins in tobacco, but in addition, there are toxins in smoke, and it’s true of any and all smoke. Carbon combustion involves the formation of polycyclic hydrocarbons and other toxins which are very irritating. They are so irritating to the very delicate cells of the endothelium, which is the inner lining of your arteries. So, the body lays down plaque as a response to irritation; it’s a coping mechanism, a kind of insulation.
And there’s no doubt about it because there is no cholesterol in tobacco or tobacco smoke, and yet, we know that smoking tobacco is a powerful instigator of the atherosclerotic process.
And we know that high blood pressure is involved in plaquing because plaquing doesn’t occur in veins, which have low pressure. However, when you take a vein and make it do the work of an artery, such as when they use the saphenous vein to bypass a clogged coronary artery, that vein, now under high pressure, plaques very quickly, and I mean within months.
So, how much does cholesterol itself induce atherosclerosis? Probably not at all in its proper form. However, if cholesterol becomes oxidized, then that’s another irritant, and plaquing may be increased by it.
So, I think the medical practice of forcing the blood level of cholesterol down with a statin drug is extremely misguided. And yet the current President of the United States takes a statin drug and has for years. So, it goes to show that even a billionaire can’t get decent health care in this country.
I have blood work done every April, and this April my total cholesterol was 162, and I’m happy with that. But, even if it was 262, I wouldn’t take a statin drug.
And I think the people who celebrate super-low cholesterol, such as less than 100 are misguided too. They act like the stuff is poison. I’d be curious to know how much testosterone a man with super-low cholesterol has. His testosterone is probably low too, and who wants that? We need to stop demonizing cholesterol. I would be concerned if my cholesterol was below 130. I don't want it lower than that.
I mentioned oxidized cholesterol. For instance, frying animal foods can cause the cholesterol to oxidize. So, the best way to cook eggs is to boil the water; turn the heat off; then put the eggs in the hot water and let them seep for 7 or 8 minutes. And I think it’s a good idea to get the pastured eggs too.
Studies have shown that taking statin drugs barely lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke at all, that 100 people have to take statins for a year to prevent one heart attack. The very meager benefit, if it exists, is surely due to the anti-inflammatory effect of statins, which is in addition to their cholesterol-lowering effect. Cholesterol lowering probably has nothing to do with it.
But, at the same time, statins raise your risk of diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, and dementia. So, is it worth it to take them? Not to you. To the pharmaceutical companies, yes, but not you.
I predict that someday, the anti-cholesterol campaign is going to be seen as one of the biggest follies in the history of Medicine, and Medicine has had a lot of follies. Let me be crystal clear; I would never ever take a statin drug or any other cholesterol-lowering medicine, ever.
Calcium supplements? Not for me.
- Created on Friday, 21 June 2019 20:02
I don’t take any calcium supplements, and I don’t eat dairy either I’m content to get the calcium in green vegetables, nuts, and beans and leave it at that. I don’t want any more than they contain, and I’ll tell you why.
First, one of the universal processes of aging involves pathological calcification, where soft tissues become calcified. You know what it does to your arteries; it hardens them. The most definitive test for arteriosclerosis is the coronary calcium test. I believe it’s accurate, but I don’t recommend it because it involves a large amount of radiation.
But, it’s not just your arteries that get calcified. Calcium deposits in the skin cause wrinkles. Calcium deposits in the joints cause arthritis. Calcium deposits at the end of the tendons cause rotator cuff and frozen shoulder. The pineal gland becomes calcified in just about everybody. And the list goes on and on.
So, every time you put calcium in your body, you have to wonder: is it going to go someplace good or someplace bad?
But, there’s another reason I don’t want to take calcium. You know that Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, and when there is a lot of calcium coming in, the body gets lazy about activating Vitamin D. But, it’s the activated Vitamin D that has the potent anti-cancer effect, for instance, to deter prostate cancer in men. So, since I think prostate cancer poses a bigger threat than osteoporosis, I’d rather err on the side of less calcium.
I have been avoiding calcium supplements forever. I never got into it. So, what are the results? Have I suffered? I don’t think, and I’ll tell you why. First, I haven’t lost height, and for being 68, that’s amazing. Well, maybe I have lost a small fraction of an inch, but that’s it. I’m short, 5’6”, but I’ve always been this height. And I meet people my age all the time who have lost 2 or more inches of height. Second, I’m doing well with my teeth, and my dentist says I’ve got good mineral density in my teeth, and remember that teeth are just specialized bones. And three, I’m doing well holding on to muscle. I’m not experiencing sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle loss. And know that sarcopenia and osteopenia go together. Bones and muscles tend to deteriorate simultaneously. So, if my muscles are strong, and they are, then my bones are probably strong too.
So, I am very content not to take calcium supplements, and I am not losing any sleep worrying about my bones. But, am I saying that nobody should take calcium supplements? Well, if a slender, light-weight, small-boned woman asked me if she should take calcium supplements, I would feel compelled to tell her to take some, since she is at high risk for osteoporosis. But, I wouldn’t recommend 1000 mgs or even 800, as you commonly hear. I’m thinking more like 200 to 300 mgs a day.
But, even though I don’t take calcium, I do take some magnesium, which is the second most abundant mineral in bone and in the body. There is no disease comparable to pathologic calcinosis relating to magnesium. And magnesium does a lot of good things, including help prevent diabetes, which, as you know, is extremely common. Magnesium also helps keep your blood pressure low because it has a relaxing effect on the arteries. And it actually helps you relax overall and may help you sleep better at night, and without any adverse effects. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in your body, and although it is widely distributed in foods, it is actually a bit challenging to reach an optimal level from diet alone. You can easily do it if you eat a lot of kale and collards, but you really have to load up. I eat those foods and I recommend them, but I also take some magnesium, just for insurance, because there is no harm in doing it, and it’s not expensive.
So, the bottom line for me is that I don’t think I need to take calcium supplements. If my condition changes, I am open to changing my mind, but at this point in time, I have no qualms about avoiding calcium in pill form.