Atherosclerosis and Cholesterol Theory

Hi, this is Dr. Farley. In this blog, I will cover heart disease, heart attacks, the myths behind many of the things we understand, and even the treatment protocols we follow. So the reason for jumping on to this topic is that I just had a patient who told me she had a previous heart attack and had put a stint in the artery. They’ve tested the carotids, and there’s been an increase in the calcification of the plaquing in one of the carotid arteries. So it got me thinking again about some information I’ve read over the years. I also had a situation with a family member who had to do a quadruple bypass because of plaquing and decreased blood flow. The term for that is atherosclerosis. I went back and pulled out a few books that I remember reading along the way, and I mean, the bottom line is that the model that we’re all following is this: that fat clogs the arteries, and that’s the cause, and so we take the statin drugs, and we’re supposed to be doing the low-fat diet, and so on, and yet everyone still drops dead of heart attack and everyone still has atherosclerosis. Yet, everyone is taking statin drugs because the goal is to get the cholesterol under 200. After all, that’s what everybody’s doing, yet everyone is still dropping dead or getting plaque regularly.

So I went back and did a little Google searching, and I went back to looking at some of the concepts. I found that the fat theory of heart disease started about 60 years ago; you will find that a person named Dr. Ancel Keys says everything is fat, and another doctor named Dr. Yudkin says everything is sugar. The sugar concept probably is more about blood sugar issues and probably carbohydrates creating more heart disease than the whole fat idea. However, I went in even further back at some of the concepts that Linus Pauling had put together. Linus Pauling and a few other doctors began ortho-molecular medicine. So I was taught about Linus Pauling by one of my first nutrition teachers, and the book he put out a long time ago was ‘How to live longer and feel better.’ A bit about Linus Pauling: he was a two-time Nobel Prize winner, so you know he is a very smart guy. He was nominated several times but is a two-time Nobel Prize winner. Two other psychiatrists researched him using high-level vitamins and minerals termed ortho molecular medicine. Over time, he says, “why is this information not being published in the mainstream journals?”. The two psychiatrists say we can’t get in. There’s a bias, so he says, “I’m Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner. I will co-author papers with you, and we’ll submit this in.” Well, pretty soon, he realizes that there’s a big bias about vitamins and minerals. Over time, even the great two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling, gets put into the concept that he’s a whack and a quack. What does he know? He’s a science guy, so he knows. So anyway, he’s the person that promotes high levels of vitamin D and takes vitamin D in a way above RDA. RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) is about calculating complete deficiency disease. So take vitamin C, for instance. I think the RDA is 60 milligrams. Sixty milligrams will prevent you from not getting scurvy, but the real question is, what’s optimal production?

So as I’m looking at the entire concept of heart disease again, I plug into this information. I came across a great paper published in the World Journal of Cardiovascular Disease in 2016. The title is, Atherosclerosis and the Cholesterol Theory, a reappraisal. Now you need to realize also the cholesterol concept of heart disease is still just a theory. We don’t have solid proof that lowering cholesterol lowers these blood cholesterol levels by under 200 and that not eating cholesterol lowers heart disease. My thought process says, “Well, it absolutely is NOT a valid theory because everyone is still dropping dead of heart disease, the numbers have not gone down at all, it’s still the number one cause of death in the US, and everyone’s popping statin drugs. How could it be good? How could it be real? How could it? Why are we not seeing results?”. My understanding was that in 1986, the American Heart Association discovered statins, which came out in 1984. The American Heart Association stated that they would eradicate heart disease within two years because they now had this drug. These drugs, called statins, blocked an HMG-CoA reductase enzyme and lowered cholesterol production. So the theory was that we’re going to give it to everyone to lower these levels, and heart disease will stop. The only problem is it doesn’t work! Not only does it not work, you then have massive side effects from those drugs. They’re probably one of the most dangerous drugs to be on because when you lower cholesterol, you lower the production of cholesterol, being a precursor to all your hormones. Cholesterol is the precursor to coenzyme Q10. Cholesterol is 75% of your brain. You create a massive decline in brain and body function. Whether you’re getting significant obvious side effects or not, it is creating a massive allostatic stress load in every single person that uses them plus, the bottom line is this, why am I taking this if it doesn’t work? Why am I taking this if I still got all ‘plaque up’? Please explain to me if I tell you that this is going to fix your leak, and yet the roof still leaks, why would we keep doing it? So this paper states that the cholesterol theory went from fats being the issue to saturated fats being the issue, LDL being the issue, oxidative LDL being the issue, and lipoprotein being the issue. So when we break it all down, we have these different subtypes of cholesterol, and over time, we talk about “these are good, and these are bad,” and the cholesterol types are LDL, VLDL, HDL, triglycerides, and lipoprotein. So it all sounds great. The bottom line is we want to see heart disease going down. I don’t want to see that I’m all plaque up. I don’t want to have to go in for a quadruple bypass. I don’t want to be told that I have an increased risk of stroke. I don’t want to necessarily have to be on blood thinners and statin drugs forever, which carry major side effects.

So let’s go through the entire concept here. Based on the paper, the vascular deposition of large molecules such as LPA and atherosclerosis results from the body’s endogenous protective mechanism to reinforce weakened arterial walls. Wow! I always think about this too. Why is my body raising cholesterol? Why is my body raising lipoprotein A? Why is my body raising my blood pressure? Why are my brain and my body doing that? What’s the purpose of that? If we pull back for a second, we understand this: an innate intelligence inside your brain and body runs everything. There is never a mistake. If you got cancer, it was a choice between the body giving you cancer or you are dying. If you have plaques, it was a choice of the body, the intelligence of the system, saying, “let’s create plaques, or you’re dead.” It’s always life or death, and the intelligence of your system is making the call.

So here, we look at these cholesterol-saturated fats, which again is a theory, and there’s also been an alternative hypothesis about the vascular deposits and the lipoprotein A. According to the literature, “the vascular deposition deposits the plaquing such as LPA and atherosclerotic plaques as the result of the body’s endogenous (inside) protective mechanism to reinforce the weakened artery walls.” The body’s not making a mistake. When you get leaky blood vessels, and over time, the body says, “what can we do to strengthen the weakened artery walls?”. Over time, the body says, “let’s put a patch on,” called a plaque, but if it keeps going, it could kill you. But the plaque is not pathology. This is an intelligent decision by the body to try to reinforce the weakened arterial walls because what’s happening is you are internally slowly bleeding to death.

In the 1950s, we start doing these studies on unsaturated fat. Dr. Ansel Keys produces a paper that later is shown to be fraudulent, but pretty soon, we’re all on the fat this and the fat that. During the 1970s, it was anti-cholesterol, anti-butter, anti-dairy, no red meat, and so on, and we’ve been doing it ever since. Yet everyone is still dropping dead. So then we also come up with nine risk factors of heart disease, and we’re going to try to address all of these risk factors. Number one is smoking. Well, if you’re smoking, stop! That’s obvious. Second is your blood lipids, third is hypertension, fourth is diabetes, fifth is being overweight/obese, sixth is psychological stress, seventh is the lack of fruit and vegetable consumption, eighth is alcohol consumption, and ninth is lack of physical activity. So basically, we barely talk about any of that, and all we do is look at cholesterol only, and we give you statin drugs and lower your blood pressure, and that’s it, and if you die, you die. Then my other question I would say to myself is, “so the person that follows this methodology about the cholesterol theory and doing all the things that the typical allopathic doc tells you to do if I end up getting plaque, do I say to myself, well if I didn’t get the plaque, I would have died already, but at least I’m alive even though I have plaquing now and now I might need a quadruple bypass,” or should I say it, “didn’t work and what am I doing ?!”. I don’t know. I think that’s what I’d be saying.

I want to talk to you about a guy named Matthias Wrath. Mathias Wrath is a German scientist starting to study heart disease and lipoprotein A, and this is the late 80s. He then ends up collaborating with Linus Pauling and taking over to Linus Pauling Institute. He shows over time that lipoprotein A increases proportionately (elevated) as your arteries weaken. This is a protective mechanism of the body to clog up these leaks that will kill you very soon. Over time, he can show that Lipoprotein A increases as Vitamin C levels decrease. He then collaborated with Linus Pauling, and in 1992 they came forward with a new theory that heart disease is almost similar to having scurvy. When Vitamin C is low, lipoprotein A goes up, and these plaques are formed to save your life so you don’t die of scurvy. Over time we now have why the body would do that. If I am depleted in vitamin C, I then say I have to fix the problem: I may increase my lipids called LDL or lipoprotein A or even cholesterol levels because I’m trying to solve the problem of the leaky blood vessels. Over time, I will patch them up, and I might create plaques, but at least I’m alive. That’s the concept. That’s innate intelligence at work. Yes, all kinds of studies came up with the idea that lipoprotein goes up in response to a depleted system of vitamin C. They also showed that only two animals could not and do not have the genetic ability to produce vitamin C: a Guinea pig and a human. We cannot produce vitamin C. We must get it in our food! Do you think many of us are depleted in the foods we’re getting? Yes, absolutely! Over time, if we’re not getting it, the innate intelligence response is to raise the lipids, including lipoprotein and cholesterol; this is not the pathology. If the body has to form a plaque to save your life, it will; it’s not a disease. It is a healthy response to low vitamin C levels! Makes sense to me. By the way, there are tremendous amounts of research; about 77 to 80 different research articles here support this idea.

The next thing is, why does it happen? Why do we find that if it’s the low vitamin C, why don’t we see the leaks and the plaques happening in the venous system? Why is it only in the arterial system, the arteries? If there is a leaky hose, wherever there’s the most pressure, there is a chance it could burst. So if I have ‘hoses’ throughout my brain and my body. I’ve got arteries that carry information, that takes the blood from the heart down to the body, and I’ve got veins that carry the blood from the cells back up to the heart. The most pressure is in the arterial system by far. Now, why is that? Because the heart is pumping and there’s more pressure going out. So do you think that there may be more leaks in the arteries? Yes. Do you think there may need to be more patching called plaquing in the arteries? Yes. Do you think there may need less patching and plaquing in the veins? Yes. That’s why we see plaquing in the arteries and not the veins. Next, why is there so much plaquing around my heart? Why is there not plaquing in the arteries in my arm or my leg? Well, where’s the most pressure right off? The heart! So once the heart pumps, where’s the blood go first? Right back to the heart. So that’s where the most pressure is. If we have leaks all over, and that’s where the most pressure is, would that be the area that the intelligence of the body might repair the most? Yes. Might that be where we see plaques? Yes. Might that create a heart attack down the road? Yes. Is that pathology? Not really. It’s an intelligent decision of your brain and body to save your life. If you put a stint into whatever artery it is and say to yourself, “oh, I feel good again,” you still haven’t corrected the underlying pathology as to why the body is making the plaques in the first place. Does it make sense that you might need to get another stint soon? Yep. Does it make sense that you still may drop dead from a heart attack? Yup. Does it make sense that you’re still going to form plaques? Yep. The cholesterol floating along is an innocent bystander in the plaque. It’s just used as glue to patch up the leaky blood vessels. Makes total sense to me. I love when there’s a common-sense explanation for why our body may do something, and this is a common-sense explanation. You also want to know that Dr. Wrath and his colleagues have shown that if you give vitamin C, plaquing can go away relatively quickly.

Now the question is, what’s the downside of taking vitamin C? What’s the downside? Zero. Zip. Zilch. So could you take 5 to 10 grams of vitamin C a day? Yep. You should also make sure it’s in the correct form, and there are other cofactors, and that’s another whole story, but would you be wrong if you took vitamin C? No. There are a lot of other health benefits, including leaky blood vessels. They have a tremendous amount of research on it. There’s way more research on this concept that I’m explaining to you than the whole cholesterol theory, and you also have to realize there’s common sense. Vitamins and minerals are essential for your health, or you die! Simple! Drugs are not required for health. So every time you take them, they create possible side effects but guaranteed long-term increases in your allostatic stress load. They are driving you down closer to death with every capsule that you take, every single time. So would you be wrong taking some vitamin C? Nope. Would you be wrong in looking at this paper and going through it all and saying, “Hey, that makes reasonable good sense from anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry.”? Yes. The statin drug is the number one drug in the United States. The number of deaths has not decreased, yet everyone follows the model. I always like to say if we’re getting results, if we’ve seen a cut in heart disease dramatically over a time frame, well then we might be able to show something, but if we’re doing this since 1986 to 2016, we’re talking about almost 35 to 40 years. We do not see a decrease, and yet the number one cause of death in the US is still heart disease; I think we need to pick up our heads, take a look and understand anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and the entire concept of health. Health is to adapt. What can we do to let our system adapt better if we look at health from an adaptability point of view and we figure out why we’re not adjusting?

You should look at it, and if you have any questions, let us know. As always, thanks. Bye.