We would all love to be in perfect health all the time, but being able to live in a way that would make that happen can be incredibly tough. It only becomes more difficult as you get older, with work, family, and other commitments taking up most of your day. That makes it virtually impossible to eat the foods that can help keep you healthy, meaning that junk and processed foods tend to be the order of the day. The human body needs a certain number of vitamins and minerals in order to maintain a healthy balance. The fact that we can’t get enough of the foods we need to help us achieve that goal means that turning to supplements is often necessary. One supplement that is becoming increasingly popular is Gamma-Linolenic Acid, or GLA for short.
The body is not able to naturally produce GLA, but it can be introduced into the system by regularly eating vegetables. That brings us back to how difficult it can be to eat these types of foods every day, which is why a GLA supplement should very much be considered part of your daily vitamin regimen.
Just about everyone can benefit from taking the GLA, but considering that it can help specific ailments, the benefits that you see from it may vary. Where the real GLA benefits are to be found are in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or diabetic pains. It is also effective in helping those who are suffering from eczema or breast cancer, as well as being beneficial to people who suffer from osteoporosis or other bone issues. There have even been studies done that show that bond density is improved in elderly folks who regularly partake of the GLA supplement.
The list of health benefits from using GLA goes on and one, but there are probably still many of you out there wondering about potential GLA side effects. While you may assume that since GLA is derived from the natural oils of plants, the possibility of side effects would be lessened, you still have to be careful with how you use it. Of particular note is taking GLA supplement with other medicines or supplements that are known to increase the risk of bleeding. These include such items as aspirin, blood thinners, and the ginkgo biloba supplement. As is the case with any supplement, you should always check with your doctor before taking it.
When it comes to weight loss, there are many supplements that have undergone various trials to see how well it will work. Fortunately there have been some researched supplemental breakthroughs that have successfully been very effective for weight loss. GLA is a fatty acid which stimulates the burning of fat instead of the storage of fat by jump starting the metabolism. That is why people use GLA for weight loss more and more often. GLA benefits include the burning of specific tissues that are common to obese or overweight people, along with using up some of the body’s calories.
When a person is healthy, GLA can be extracted from the linoleic acid, which is usually found in essential oils such as evening primrose, black currant and other seed oils. Depending on the a person’s diet and nutritional intake, the GLA may not be able to extracted in this manner. The reason for this may be that if a person lives an unhealthy lifestyle where their diet is filled with alcohol, smoking, trans-fat and habits like smoking. These habits will put a halt on the conversion from linoleic acid to GLA. Fortunately, it’s fairly simple to provide the body with the appropriate amount of GLA that is necessary to burn the essential amount of fats that are accumulated from a high calorie, high fat diet. Since GLA originates in seed oils, the body can actually skip the need to be extracted from the linoleic acid and fortunately go directly to burning the body’s extra fat.
If a person is looking to increase the amount of Omega fatty acids when they are extracting the GLA from the linoleic acid, it’s highly suggested to use black currant seed oil in order to begin this process. Most recommended dosages of GLA that is extracted from the black currant seed oils should be approximately 200 to 3,000 milligrams maximum daily. Essential fatty acids are some of the healthy fats that are naturally in some food. They serve as an essential part of the body’s nutritional intake in order for the body to function and weight loss to happen naturally. GLA comes in the form of supplements, which is one of the most concentrated ways to consume it and thus yield the quickest results for the losing weight process. In order for the GLA supplement to begin successfully stimulating the weight loss process, it’s important for consistent exercise and a well-balanced diet to be implemented.
Weight loss due to GLA supplementation has been due to the decrease in appetite that it renders. It also has the ability to decrease body fat by effecting the enzymes that metabolize glucose and fats that the body takes in. Most people who suffer from depression or anxiety tend to eat a bit more, which is due to a lack of serotonin. GLA for weight loss supplements assist with regulating an individual’s levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain which let the body know when it’s full after eating. GLA will balance out the level of serotonin, so that the individual will not feel the need to eat more when they are depressed or feeling anxious.
Advocates for the use of GLA supplements believe that a wide range of maladies may be helped from their use. People with breast cancer or colon polyps may find relief from daily usage. High cholesterol may be lowered and the effects of chronic fatigue may be lessened when GLA is used on a regular basis. Studies of GLA’s effect on heart disease and attention deficit disorder are also being done.
There are several areas where the use of GLA has been documented with varying degrees of success. Many women who suffer PMS symptoms monthly have experienced less irritability, breast pain and tenderness and bloating after taking GLA. It has also been noted that hot flashes seem to lessen after taking the supplement.
Other interesting benefits include those found in the areas of the skin. With aging or exposure to the sun the skin becomes dry and less smooth. The elasticity of aged skin lessens and sagging occurs. GLA benefits the skin by aiding in cell repair and giving the skin the ability to retain more moisture. This in turns produces skin that is smoother and skin that shows fewer wrinkles.
One of the best known benefits is its ability to reduce inflammation. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis have availed themselves to the properties of GLA to help reduce joint pain and stiffness. It should be noted that it takes one to three months for any lessening of symptoms to occur. Others who suffer with eczema or psoriasis have also experienced a noticeable difference after using GLA supplements.
There are presently laboratory tests being done that hope to show how GLA benefits will include the slowing down of the growth of cancer cells. There are other lab tests being done that hope to prove that GLA will be beneficial in reducing high blood pressure and the pain that is brought about by fibrocystic breast syndrome. Others tests hope to show how diabetics with nerve damage may be helped by taking the supplement.
One more thing to pay attention to GLA is the daily dosage you take. There should be very clear instructions on the bottle outlining the recommended daily dosage. The most common daily dosages for adults fall in the 500 to 1,000 mg range, usually depending on what they are taking the supplement for. Those taking GLA for high cholesterol tend to go with higher doses than those taking it for arthritis pain, but again, this is something that you should discuss with your doctor.
The Best Multivitamin – What is In It and What is Not?
Nearly 50% of adults take a multivitamin. How do you know you are getting what you need? How do you know are not getting what you don’t need? Most vitamin companies that sell their wares in the grocery and health food stores, do not have proof or studies showing that they actually work. Some even contain dangerous toxins like sodium selenite and selenate that do more harm than good. Taking some multivitamins does nothing good at all for our bodies, they just drain the bank account and make you think multivitamins don’t work.
If many of us use a multivitamin anyway why not re-route the money going toward dangerous and ineffective pills to a product that actually works and has the proof to back it up? I came across an article and comments that help back up the philosophy I am talking about. If you are going to buy vitamins, arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make the best product decision possible. Changing brands can change your life.
Read the label; not all vitamins are the same. Some are made with synthetic fillers and modified forms of the nutrient. The only kind of vitamin supplement you should be taking is the one most like whole food. The best way to get your nutrition is by eating non-genetically modified foods so that you know the nutritional value of that food is not diminished. The soil nutrients are being depleted of selenium. To remedy this most companies add back in the lost selenium with a synthetic one. Opening the door for synthetic tampering of supplements and foods. When people genetically modify food the nutritional value of that food goes down; that is another reason taking a high quality supplement is so important in today’s day of food quantity instead of quality.
Quality is the most important ingredient in a supplement. Not many companies do quality testing on their products, let alone third party tests. Only Shaklee does over 1,000 quality tests each time they make Vita-lea; a convenient and easy open packet of every vitamin and mineral your body needs to feel its best every day. Not only do they do their own tests, they have many third party laboratories study their products as well. Since January of 2011 Shaklee already has 3 clinical studies published that are more than most vitamin companies have in total. And the studies and proofs keep coming.
Here is some information on what to look for in your vitamins and the kind of supplements you are using…
If Your Multivitamin Contains These Ingredients – Dump them now
Both sodium selenite and selenate are classified as dangerous and toxic to the environment. They can be carcinogenic and genotoxic, and may contribute to reproductive and developmental problems in animals and humans. Nonetheless, they are the primary forms of the mineral sold on the mass market today.
Most mass-market vitamins actually contain chemicals that the EPA has banned from public drinking water at levels above 50 parts per billion. That’s the equivalent of a tablespoon of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool.
If supplements are so good for us, why aren’t we getting healthier?
Part of the reason could be that many people mistakenly believe that a vitamin is a vitamin, and one form of a mineral is equal to any other, failing to understand the inherent differences between synthetic chemicals and whole food nutrients. Many also mistakenly use supplements as a way to avoid having to change their dietary habits. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say, because if you eat a diet consisting primarily of processed junk food, and take cheap synthetic vitamins and minerals, you’re not likely to see a major change in your health status…
It has always been my belief that supplements should be used in addition to, NOT in place of, a sound diet. You simply cannot cover your nutritional- or lifestyle “sins” by taking a handful of supplements.
Why Selenium Supplements have Become More Popular
Selenium is an essential trace mineral found primarily in plant foods, and is known to have powerful antioxidant activity. Past studies have shown it can play a beneficial role in:
- Heart disease
- Cognitive decline
- Cataracts and macular degeneration
- Cold sores and shingles
The selenium content in whole plant foods depend on the level of the nutrient in the soil, and, unfortunately, many farming areas around the world are becoming increasingly selenium depleted. Most of the selenium is also lost when the food is processed or refined, so unless you consume lots of whole organic produce, you may be at risk of selenium deficiency.
It is because of these facts that supplements containing selenium have increased in popularity in the United States, to the extent that close to 25 percent of Americans over 40 take a selenium supplement or multivitamin that includes selenium. However, supplementing with sodium selenite and selenate may do more harm than good…
Beware of Inorganic Selenium
As explained earlier, sodium selenite and selenate are two potentially problematic ingredients found in many multi-vitamins. According to PAN, a database for pesticide chemicals, both sodium selenite and sodium selenate are classified as “Highly Toxic,” based on oral administration trials using rabbits and rats. And according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the highest allowable level of selenium in public drinking water is 50 parts per billion, which is equivalent to 50 micrograms, dry weight.
Studies have shown that:
- Long-term exposure to selenium, sodium selenite, sodium selenate, or selenium dioxide may cause paleness, coated tongue, stomach disorders, nervousness, metallic taste and a garlic odor of the breath. Damage to the liver and spleen in animals has also been observed, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
- According to the 1986 edition of the Handbook of the Toxicology of Metals, daily intake of about one milligram of selenium as selenite can be toxic.
- In one study, sodium selenite was found to induce substantial DNA damage in human fibroblasts.
- More recent research also indicates that too much selenium may contribute to the onset of diabetes.
It’s very important to realize that these potentially toxic chemicals are some of the primary forms of selenium sold as dietary supplements on the market today. As discussed in earlier, such inorganic minerals cannot replace biologically active trace minerals.
Other Problematic Ingredients Found in Many Multi-Vitamins
In the U.S., many supplement makers add so-called ‘flowing agents’ into their capsules. Two common additives are:
- Magnesium stearate
- Titanium dioxide
Now, neither of these will cause any major harm in small doses. But they do add up over time, and magnesium stearate can cause a biofilm to be created in your intestine, which will prevent the absorption of nutrients. The only purpose of it in the supplement is to help the raw materials become more slippery and easily flow through the machines that create the supplements.
Magnesium stearate is not a supplemental source of magnesium but rather a form of stearic acid. It’s essentially chalk, and previous research has shown that it suppresses your natural killer cells, which are a key component of your immune system. Unfortunately, this chalk filler stimulates your gut to form a biofilm – a sort of sludge lining – that acts as an effective barrier to the absorption of not only that particular vitamin but all the nutrients you’d normally get from food sources as well. This is a major reason for focusing on nutritional foods rather than taking handfuls of vitamins each day.
Titanium dioxide is another absolutely unnecessary color agent you don’t want to see in your supplements, as it has been shown to cause autoimmune disorders.
The Problem with Synthetic Vitamins
Most natural health experts agree on one thing: No matter which foods you eat, whole foods are far better for you than refined foods. So why do some people believe the rules of nutrition would suddenly change when it comes to vitamins and other nutritional supplements?
Whole food supplements are what their name suggests: Supplements made from concentrated whole foods. The vitamins found within these supplements are not isolated or synthetic. Rather they are highly complex structures that combine a variety of enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, trace elements, activators and many other unknown or undiscovered factors that work together synergistically, to enable this vitamin complex to do its job in your body.
Synthetic nutrients, on the other hand, are not natural, in that they are never found by themselves in nature. When you take these isolated nutrients regularly, especially at the ultra-high doses found in formulas today, it’s more like taking a drug… At best, they will not benefit you as much as high quality food and food-based supplements. And at worst, they may cause problems.
Nature does not produce any nutrient in an isolated form. The nutrients in foods are blended together in a specific way and work best in that format. For an isolated nutrient to work properly in the body, it needs all the other parts that are naturally present in the food too. If the parts are not all there from the start, they are taken from your body’s stored supply. This is why isolated nutrients often work for a while, then seem to stop working.
Once your body’s store of the extra nutrients is used up, the isolated nutrient you’re taking just doesn’t work as well anymore. Worse yet, a deficiency in these extra nutrients can be created in your body.
Studies also show your body treats these isolated and synthetic nutrients like xenobiotic (foreign substances). This is why your urine will oftentimes turn some shade of glow-in-the-dark yellow when you take certain synthetic vitamins, as your body simply flushes these foreign substances out.
How to Identify High Quality Multi-Vitamin Supplements?
We do believe that dietary supplements — including vitamins and minerals — can help compensate for some of the damage your body incurs through modern living. However, it’s not wise to use supplements to justify a poor diet. In my experience no amount of supplements will ever be able to substitute for healthy food choices…
There are times when supplements can be quite useful, such as a high quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, for example, are essential for nearly everyone. This is because the main source of animal based omega-3 fats in your diet comes from fish – most of which is now so grossly polluted with heavy metals, PCBs and other environmental toxins that no longer are recommended sources for optimal omega 3 levels. Another supplement that many people need is vitamin D3, unless you can get sufficient amounts of safe sun exposure year-round, or use a safe tanning bed.
Another incredibly useful supplement is probiotics, which influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner. You can get these healthy bacteria from eating fermented foods, and if you eat them enough you will keep your digestive tract well supplied with good bacteria, but there may still be times when a probiotic supplement is necessary, such as when you stray from your healthy diet and consume excess grains or sugar; if you have to take antibiotics; or when traveling to foreign countries for example.
There are other instances when supplements may be useful as well, such as in the case of CoQ10 if you’re taking statin drugs, but their effectiveness depends largely on the quality of the supplement itself.
You may also want to take one or more food-based supplements to ensure you are getting an adequate variety of nutrients. However, I strongly recommend you make whole food supplements your first choice, and steer clear of synthetic vitamins. How do you tell whether or not a supplement you’re looking at is a good choice?
For starters, make sure it has the following characteristics:
- It is as close as possible to its natural (whole food) form.
- Use independent third party labs that check the raw materials for contaminants and correct dosage.
- Follows industry standards for quality assurance including ISO 9001, ISO 17025 and NSF Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certifications.
- The utmost care has been taken in all phases of its production, from growing its ingredients, to manufacturing, testing for potency and quality control.
- It works! Always try to select from companies that have a long track record of providing high quality products that produce good clinical results.
If you are interested in optimizing your health your BEST solution is to choose the highest quality foods possible, and eat a wide variety of whole organic foods. Once you have addressed your diet and are looking for further improvement, odds are you would likely benefit from some supplements, like an animal-based omega-3 supplement and a probiotic, for example. There are many others you could consider depending on your specific circumstances, but just about everyone would benefit from these two.
Just remember to do your homework first and use only those that come from a reputable manufacturer using whole-food, natural ingredients that are free from additives, and have gone through a vigorous quality control process.
Hawaiians call coconut water “noelani” which means “dew from the heavens.” Many tropical cultures prize coconut water above all other beverages due to its rehydrating and health renewing properties. Not only is coconut water good for you, it’s good for plants too, having been traditionally used as a growth supplement in plant propagation. As a result of the rich volcanic soils and mineral-rich seawater in which coconut palms grow, coconut water’s nutritional profile is very impressive.
Coconut water is:
- Rich in natural vitamins (especially the B vitamins), minerals, and trace elements (including zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, and manganese). Vitamins are necessary for the enzymatic reactions your cells need in order to function.
- Full of amino acids, organic acids, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
- Rich source of electrolytes and natural salts, especially potassium and magnesium.
- Light, low calorie and nearly fat-free, as well as low in sugar but pleasantly sweet—contains about a fifth of the sugar of other fruit juices, like apple or grape juice, as well as containing a little fiber to moderate absorption.
- Rich in cytokinins, or plant hormones, which have anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-thrombolytic effects in human.
Coconut water also has an alkalizing effect on your body, which can help correct the cumulative effects of acidifying foods that make up most diets today. For a complete nutritional profile, refer to the tables at the Coconut Research Center site. The list of health benefits of coconut water is impressive, and growing by leaps and bounds with each new scientific study.
Coconut Water’s Abundance of Health Benefits
Addressing every one of these areas is beyond the scope of one article, but we would like to touch on a few of the most impressive areas where coconut water may give your health a boost. According to Bruce Fife, author of Coconut Water for Health and Healing and one of the leading coconut experts, scientific research and clinical observation have shown coconut water to have the following broad-spanning health benefits:
- Rehydration (water and electrolytes)
- Increased exercise performance
- Cardioprotective (rich in potassium and magnesium); helps regulate blood pressure, improve circulation, reduces plaque formation
- Anti-inflammatory; reduces swelling in hands and feet
- Prevents abnormal blood clotting
- Aids in kidney function (preventing and dissolving kidney stones, UTI remedy)
- Helps balance blood glucose and insulin levels
- Digestive tonic (rich in enzymes); feeds friendly gut flora
- Remedy for constipation and diarrhea
- Anti-aging properties
- Enhances skin health (elasticity, age spots, wrinkles), improves wound healing
- Enhances eye health (cataracts, glaucoma)
- Supports good immune function; antimicrobial (contains monolaurin)
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
- Anti-cancer properties
- Perfect Electrolyte Balance from Mother Nature
Electrolytes are inorganic compounds that become ions in solution and have the capacity to conduct electricity. They are important for electrical signaling—and of course your brain, heart, muscles and nervous system are all bioelectrical systems. Your cells use electrolytes to maintain voltage across their membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells.
Things like water balance and blood pH depend on your body’s proper electrolyte balance, and you can suffer severe medical problems if your electrolytes fall out of balance.
Fresh coconut water is one of the richest natural sources of electrolytes and can be used to prevent dehydration from strenuous exercise, vomiting, or diarrhea. You lose electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) when you sweat, which must be replenished with food and water intake. Because coconut water naturally contains so many electrolytes, it’s been called “Nature’s Gatorade.”
Coconut water has five electrolytes your body needs:
- Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function; coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
- Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
- Magnesium: important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
- Phosphorous: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
- Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)
The ONLY “Sports Drink” Recommended
For most average exercisers and athletes, sports drinks are not only a waste of your money, but more importantly, can actually worsen the health of most who use them. Less than one percent of those who use sports drinks actually benefit from them. Most sports drinks are loaded with things you DON’T want, like refined sugars, artificial colors and chemicals, none of which are in natural coconut water.
If you exercise for 30 minutes a day at a moderate to high intensity, fresh, pure water is the best thing to help you stay hydrated. It’s only when you’ve been exercising for longer periods, such as for more than 60 minutes, or in the heat, or at extreme intensity levels, where you are sweating profusely, that you may need something more than water to replenish your body.
Besides plain water, coconut water is one of the best and safest options to rehydrate yourself after a strenuous workout. If you need the electrolytes, it will provide them. If you don’t need them, then it certainly won’t hurt you. And as you’re learning, coconut water has a mountain of other health benefits in addition to rehydration, which no commercial sports drink in the world can provide. Depending on how much salt you’ve lost through sweating, you might even add a tiny pinch of natural Himalayan salt to your glass of coconut water.
One study in 2007 found sodium-enriched coconut water to be as effective as commercial sports drinks for whole body rehydration after exercise, with less stomach upset.
Coconut water is sterile when it comes out of the coconut, and extremely similar in composition to human blood plasma. These unique properties make it so completely compatible with the human body that it can be infused intravenously into your bloodstream. Physicians have actually used coconut water successfully as an IV fluid for more than 60 years, especially in remote regions of the world where medical supplies are limited and it has saved many lives. You can appreciate how safe and beneficial this natural beverage is, if it can be used intravenously!
Cytokinins: Secret Fountain of Youth Revealed!
Possibly the most important nutritional constituent in coconut water—more beneficial than the electrolytes vitamins and minerals and amino acids—is something you’ve likely never even heard of: cytokinins.
Cytokinins are phytohormones, or plant hormones. These hormones regulate the growth, development, and aging of a plant. Coconut water has been an important horticultural resource, used in the propagation of several plants, including orchids and traditional Chinese medicinal herbs. The cytokinins found in coconut water support cell division, and thus promote rapid growth.
But what does this have to do with humans?
Cytokinins have actually been found to exert an anti-agingeffect on human cells and tissues. When human cells are exposed to cytokinins, aging slows down considerably. Cells treated with cytokinins don’t undergo the normal degenerative changes, so they don’t “act their age.” Researchers have suggested that if you consume a diet rich in cytokinins, you may experience anti-aging effects and have less risk for degenerative and age-related diseases. And coconut water is the richest natural dietary source of cytokinins.
Cytokinins have also been found to have anti-thrombolytic properties so may lower your risk for blood clots. But coconut’s heart benefits don’t stop there. They have also been shown to have anti-cancer effects.
According to Bruce Fife:
“In regulating cell growth, cytokinins prevent the mistakes that may lead to the development of cancer. Normal cells are kept healthy while cancerous cells are programmed to die, preventing them from growing and spreading. Subsequently, the anti-cancer effects of cytokinins have been well documented.”
Benefits for Your Heart and Urinary Tract
High levels of mineral ions, especially potassium, in coconut water have been found to help prevent heart attacks. And coconut water has been found to have blood pressure benefits. In one study, 71 percent of people who drank coconut water experienced lower blood pressures.
Similar benefits have been found if you have problems with urinary stones. Dr. Eugenio Macalalag, director of the urology department of the Chinese General Hospital in the Philippines, reported that coconut water was effective in treating his patient’s kidney and urethral stones. He reported that his patients who drank coconut water two to three times a week experienced a significant reduction in stone size and expulsion, eliminating their need for surgery.
Pesticide, Chemical and Environmental Considerations
The most common variety of coconut being grown today for harvesting coconut water is a high-water yield dwarf hybrid variety that CAN be heavily fertilized and sprayed with pesticides. This makes it very important for you to select organic coconut water and organic fresh coconuts.
It is important to make sure the coconuts and coconut products you purchase are certified organic and sustainably raised. Regular coconut palms grow to be 80 to 100 feet tall, and because workers have to climb up and pick the coconuts, more manageable dwarf varieties have been cultivated that average about nine feet tall. There are environmental concerns as well, related to the intense market demand for coconuts and their products.
SO Much More Than a Sports Drink
Coconut water is one of Nature’s perfect foods—it is hard to say enough good things about it. It’s the perfect replacement for juice or soda. Please remember to read the label, to make sure it’s as pure and unprocessed as possible. Of course, drinking it fresh from the coconut, as opposed to bottled, is the ultimate choice.
Another alternative to easily enjoy the pure hydration drink with safely is Shaklee Performance Drink which has equally benefit as coconut water! Shaklee Performance is clinically proven to hydrate better than water. Plus, it has more electrolytes and provides more energy than the leading hydration drink. It proprietary OPTI-LYTE™ electrolyte blend plus unique mix of carbohydrates delivers instant and sustained energy and supports optimal hydration.
So next time you’re searching for a cool, refreshing after-work out beverage, crack open a coconut or mix 3 tablespoons of Shaklee Performance with cold water and experience its rejuvenation for yourself!
Did you know that before 2004, a 130mg LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy? Then the drug companies pushed for those levels to be reduced to 70 to 100, so people would need “help” in lowering those numbers. Lowering cholesterol drugs are worth roughly $29 BILLION to those who manufacture them. Yes, USD $29 BILLION!
What they don’t tell you is that 75% of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol! Most of the time you don’t even need the drugs.
The truth is, your body NEEDS cholesterol. It is important in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function. Cholesterol levels that are too low cause all kinds of problems.
Here are the two ratios you should really pay attention to:
- HDL/Total Cholesterol Ratio: Should ideally be above 24 percent. If below 10 percent, you have a significantly elevated risk for heart disease.
- Triglyceride/HDL Ratio: Should be below 2.
You can get heart healthy fats from olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
Other great information on ALL the truth you need to know about your cholesterol is in the following article by Dr. Mercola. Read on to the end, you may be surprised by what you learn.
- The current value of the cholesterol-lowering drug industry is estimated at around $29 billion, but research suggests the drugs have little beneficial effects, and can often cause more harm than good
- Much of what is commonly believed about high cholesterol and how it relates to saturated fats, heart disease and strokes is wrong; scientific research linking high cholesterol to heart disease is actually weak
- Statin drugs can wreak havoc with your health, and there’s compelling evidence that most people who currently take them simply do not need them
- The best ways to optimize your cholesterol levels and your heart health have to do with lifestyle measures, including eating healthy saturated fats
Millions of people around the world take medications known as statins to lower their cholesterol.
The current value of the cholesterol-lowering drug industry is estimated at around $29 billion — and this is clearly a conservative estimate considering spending on cholesterol drugs in the United States alone reached nearly $19 billion in 2010.
But have the facts about cholesterol and heart disease been distorted by drug companies eager to increase their profits?
A new documentary film project is underway to look for answers, and get the truth out about cholesterol once and for all…
Why Haven’t You Heard the Truth About Cholesterol?
There may be $29 billion very good reasons why … and this is the premise behind the new documentary film $29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol (based on a book by the same name, authored by Justin Smith). As the film’s synopsis explains:
“So many resources are currently directed at cholesterol-lowering, however, a huge body of evidence suggests that this cholesterol-lowering is having little or no effect on people’s health. In fact, it may even be doing more harm than good.
We want to present the facts about cholesterol to the general public. These facts are fully supported by published studies within the medical literature, but unfortunately they are hardly ever discussed.
The pharmaceutical industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year promoting the idea that high cholesterol causes heart disease. The other side of the story receives very little attention. As a result, even doctors may have been misled; since they have only been exposed to the pharmaceutical industry’s viewpoint.”
Could it be possible that nearly everything your doctor and the media is telling you about high cholesterol and how it relates to saturated fats, heart disease and strokes is wrong?
Could it also be possible that the makers of statin drugs are generating massive ill-gotten profits of this completely misguided and patently incorrect medical dogma — while patients, maybe even you or someone you love, are risking poor health or even death as a result? Yes! And it’s time the word got out.
Does Lower Cholesterol Really Lead to Better Health?
A major clue that something is very off with the notion that high cholesterol causes heart disease can be found in this: even as cholesterol levels have become lower, rates of heart disease deaths have not followed suit!
In a report by Smith, it’s noted:
” … between 1994 and 2006 the percentage of men aged 65 to 74 with ‘high’ cholesterol decreased from 87% to 54% … Despite this, the rate of coronary heart disease for this age group stayed about the same … Other age groups have experienced an increase in the rate of heart disease as the number of people with ‘high’ cholesterol has decreased.”
Now here’s something you might find surprising: it turns out evidence linking high cholesterol to heart disease is actually weak, including the results of the Framingham Heart Study, which is often cited as proof of the lipid hypothesis (the notion that dietary fat leads to high cholesterol and causes heart disease).
The Framingham Heart Study began in 1948 and involved some 6,000 people from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts who filled out detailed questionnaires about their lifestyle habits and diets. The study is credited with identifying heart disease risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, lack of exercise and, yes, high cholesterol.
Despite being widely publicized, the cholesterol link was weak, as researchers noted those who weighed more and had abnormally high blood cholesterol levels were slightly more at risk for future heart disease. What you don’t hear about is the fact that the more cholesterol and saturated fat people ate, the lower their cholesterol levels. In a 1992 editorial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. William Castelli, a former director of the Framingham Heart study, stated:
“In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol … We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.”
Cholesterol is simply not the main perpetrator causing heart disease. Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a board certified cardiologist and a prominent expert in the field of natural cardiology, explained in a recent interview:
“Let’s face it, cholesterol is something your body needs. If you look at the MRFIT study [Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial] where they looked at 180,000 men over a period of… 13 years (1973-80); men with cholesterol of 330 had less hemorrhagic stroke than men with cholesterol less than 180. If you look at cholesterol numbers, the higher cholesterol number would give you protection from hemorrhagic stroke. (I’m not talking about ischemic stroke now but hemorrhagic stroke.)
… [We need cholesterol in our skin to activate vitamin D3 from sunlight. We need cholesterol to make our sex hormones… to make our adrenal hormones. We need it for lubrication. We need it for neurotransmitter function in the brain. When LDL is driven too low, it’s no wonder that a lot of patients develop memory problems or pre-Alzheimer’s, or even total global amnesia, which is really losing one’s memory. It’s very frightful and I have seen several cases.… There are so many other aspects that in my mind play a much bigger role that I put cholesterol down at the low end of the spectrum.”
Most of Your Body’s Cholesterol is made by Your Liver, Not “Ingested” Via Your Diet
If high cholesterol and high-fat diets are really NOT the cause of heart disease, then how did this massive misinformation campaign start? It actually started more than 100 years ago when the lipid hypothesis was developed by a German pathologist named Rudolph Virchow. After studying arterial plaques from corpses, he theorized that cholesterol in your blood led to the development of plaques in your arteries.
Meanwhile, in 1913 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nikolaj Nikolajewitsch Anitschkow fed rabbits cholesterol and determined that it led to atherosclerotic changes (apparently no one questioned the fact that rabbits are herbivores and do not naturally consume cholesterol!).
This started the notion that eating cholesterol leads to plaque deposits in your arteries, and at that time it was believed that all cholesterol in your blood was due to dietary sources. This, however, is not true, as it’s now known that your liver makes about 75 percent of your body’s cholesterol.
That’s right! Even if you didn’t eat any cholesterol, you would still have cholesterol in your body, which is a good thing considering it’s needed by every one of your cells to produce cell membranes.
Your diet is actually an afterthought when it comes to what your cholesterol levels will be, but this simple truth is largely ignored or unrealized even by many physicians. In fact, statins are actually HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, that is, they act by blocking the enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol (HMG-CoA reductase).
How Low Should Your Cholesterol Go? Official Guidelines Unsupported by Research, Influenced by Drug Company Dollars
The other interesting point to the cholesterol myth has to do with how low your levels should actually go; this, too, is a product of misinformation. In 2004, the U.S. government’s National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL cholesterol to new specific, very low, levels.
Before 2004, a 130mg LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy.
The updated guidelines, however, recommended levels of less than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk — levels that often require multiple cholesterol-lowering drugs to achieve. In 2006, a review in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that there is insufficient evidence to support the target numbers outlined by the panel. The authors of the review were unable to find research providing evidence that achieving a specific LDL target level was important in and of itself, and found that the studies attempting to do so suffered from major flaws.
Several of the scientists who helped develop the guidelines even admitted that the scientific evidence supporting the less-than-70 recommendation was not very strong! So how did these excessively low cholesterol guidelines come about?
Eight of the nine doctors on the panel that developed the new cholesterol guidelines had been making money from the drug companies that manufacture statin cholesterol-lowering drugs — wouldn’t you know it, the same drugs the new guidelines suddenly created a dramatically larger market for in the United States.
The Washington Post reported:
“The extent of the connections was stunning: Of the nine members of the panel that wrote the guidelines, six had each received research grants, speaking honoraria or consulting fees from at least three and in some cases all five of the manufacturers of statins; only one had no financial links at all. If all the members with conflicts had recused themselves, in fact, only two would have been left.”
Did You Know Statins Can Actually Harm Your Heart?
While statin drugs do lower cholesterol very effectively, if cholesterol is not the culprit in heart disease, what purpose does this serve? A new look at statin cholesterol-lowering drugs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claims that no study has ever proven that statins improve all-cause mortality — in other words, they don’t prolong your life any longer than if you’d not taken them at all. And rather than improving your life, they actually contribute to a deterioration in the quality of your life, destroying muscles and endangering liver, kidney and even heart function.
According to Stephanie Seneff, author of this stunning revelation:
“Statin drugs inhibit the action of an enzyme, HMG coenzyme A reductase, that catalyses an early step in the 25-step process that produces cholesterol. This step is also an early step in the synthesis of a number of other powerful biological substances that are involved in cellular regulation processes and antioxidant effects.
One of these is coenzyme Q10, present in the greatest concentration in the heart, which plays an important role in mitochondrial energy production and acts as a potent antioxidant …
Statins also interfere with cell-signaling mechanisms mediated by so-called G-proteins, which orchestrate complex metabolic responses to stressed conditions. Another crucial substance whose synthesis is blocked is dolichol, which plays a crucial role in the endoplasmic reticulum. We can’t begin to imagine what diverse effects all of this disruption, due to interference with HMG coenzyme A reductase, might have on the cell’s ability to function … There can be no doubt that statins will make your remaining days on earth a lot less pleasant than they would otherwise be … “
Take one study in Clinical Cardiology, which found heart muscle function was “significantly better” in the control group than in those taking statin drugs! The researchers concluded:
“Statin therapy is associated with decreased myocardial [heart muscle] function.”
What’s often the end result when your heart muscle function is weakened or decreased? Heart failure! The study did not address causes, but it’s widely known that statins lower your CoQ10 levels by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production — the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports CoQ10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.
The loss of CoQ10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage your mitochondrial DNA, effectively setting into motion an evil circle of increasing free radicals and mitochondrial damage. As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure, so it is imperative if you take statin drugs that you take CoQ10 or, if you are over the age of 40, the reduced version called ubiquinol.
Statins Increase Your Risk of Chronic Disease
Statins appear to provoke serious risks of chronic disease, including diabetes, through a few different mechanisms. One primary mechanism is by increasing your insulin levels, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Chronically elevated insulin levels cause inflammation in your body, which is the hallmark of most chronic disease. In fact, elevated insulin levels lead to heart disease, which, ironically, is the primary reason for taking a statin drug in the first place!
It can also promote belly fat, high blood pressure, heart attacks, chronic fatigue, thyroid disruption, and diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. These drugs have also been directly linked to over 300 side effects, which include:
- Cognitive loss
- Frequent fevers
- Sexual dysfunction
- An increase in cancer risk
- Pancreatic dysfunction
- Immune system suppression
- Muscle problems, polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), and rhabdomyolysis, a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition
- Hepatic dysfunction. (Due to the potential increase in liver enzymes, patients must be monitored for normal liver function)
Are You Ready to Stop Buying Into the Cholesterol Lie?
The bottom line is this: your body NEEDS cholesterol — it is important in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function. Further, there’s no doubt that statin drugs can wreak havoc with your health, and there’s compelling evidence that most people who currently take them simply do not need them.
If your physician is urging you to check your total cholesterol, then you should also know that this test will tell you virtually nothing about your risk of heart disease, unless it is 330 or higher. HDL percentage is a far more potent indicator for heart disease risk.
Here are the two ratios you should pay attention to:
- HDL/Total Cholesterol Ratio: Should ideally be above 24 percent. If below 10 percent, you have a significantly elevated risk for heart disease.
- Triglyceride/HDL Ratio: Should be below 2.
The fact is that 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol! By modifying your diet and lifestyle in the following ways, you can safely optimize your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease at the same time:
- Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your diet, replacing them with mostly whole, fresh vegetable carbs. Also try to consume a good portion of your food raw.
- Make sure you are getting enough high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil.
- Other heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
- Exercise daily.
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
- Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.
One final point to chew on, Dr. Seneff actually believes it’s difficult to get “too much” cholesterol in your diet, particularly in the standard American diet. But you may very well be getting too little, and that can cause problems.
Foods that are very high in cholesterol, like caviar, liver, and the adrenal glands of bears, were highly valued in some cultures that also had very low rates of heart disease and other modern diseases.
Likewise, many foods that are today shunned because they are high in saturated fat, such as grass-fed beef, egg yolks, coconut oil and butter, and therefore “bad” for your cholesterol are actually among the healthiest fats you can eat!
This article was written by Dr. Mercola and can be viewed at $29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol
Introducing Shaklee PHYTOCOL-ST –The Healthy Choice with 2,000mg of Phytosterols Per Day
Shaklee PHYTOCOL-ST is a proprietary formulation with clinically proven ingredients that help block the absorption of cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.
- Made with a powerful blend of phytosterols, which are found naturally in plants, fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- Delivers 2,000 mg of plant phytosterols daily.
- Plant phytosterols have been clinically proven by more than 80 studies to lower LDL cholesterol.
- Delivers daily 100% of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommendation for phytosterols.
- No added preservatives, colors, flavors or sweeteners
So how exactly Phytosterols Work?
Phytosterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and compete with cholesterol for absorption in the intestines, leaving cholesterol behind. This means the more Phytosterols you have; the less cholesterol is absorbed by the body and the better your chances for lowering your LDL cholesterol.
So, take action today, naturally with Shaklee’s Phytocol-ST to control your cholesterol level!
Vitamin E is our number one fat soluble antioxidant and the first defence against lipid peroxidation. Vitamin E protects against the damage and breakdown of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which we will call PUFA for short, that are predominant in our cell membranes. E is also essential in cancer prevention by protecting cell DNA from free radical attack. It is also of note that the type of E is very important; there is a natural form and a synthetic form of E.
The natural form of E is called d-alpha-tocopherol and the synthetic is called dl-alpha-tocopherol. In a study of men taking the natural form of E compared with men taking the synthetic form; the blood level results showed that the level of E was higher in men taking the natural form. Why is this the case? Availability, plain and simple.
The body uses the d or natural form much more efficiently than the dl or synthetic form. The letters d, “dextro” means right and l, “levo” means left and they have to do with the direction a beam of polarized light rotates when it passes through a natural and synthetic solution of vitamin E. Polarized light is light that is reflected or transmitted through certain media so that all vibrations are restricted to a single plane and not at random. The body prefers the natural d form. Using a synthetic form of E is like putting a right handed glove on a left hand. It will work but not as well.
Requirements vary on the amounts of vitamin E needed based on exposure to free radicals and if there are high levels of polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) in your diet. The Daily Value (DV) for E is a mere 30 IU. The minimal amount for optimal disease protection is 400 IU. A study by Dr. Lawrence Machlin and co-workers at the Cornell Medical School showed that healthy people could take up to 3,200 IU a day and not have any problems.
A summary of 15 excellent studies on vitamin E reported reduction in the incidence of cancers of the breast, intestines, stomach, lung, colon, pancreas, liver and oral cavity. Add to that the fact that low blood levels of both the co-factor selenium and E seems to increase breast cancer 10 times that of normal and two times as much if you have a low level of just E in your blood, and you have all kinds of reasons to look further into the benefits of E.
Studies have shown that those with the highest levels of vitamin E have lower rates of heart disease and certain cancers. For instance; two prominent teaching hospitals followed 87,000 women for eight years. Those who took the most antioxidants had the lowest rate of heart disease. In fact those with the highest levels of vitamin E had an astounding 41% protection from heart disease. This was published in the New England Journal of Medicine along with another study indicating that for the most part the results also applied to men.
The problem is the amount needed to prevent these diseases is practically impossible to attain from the diet alone. Food sources for vitamin E include: fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower and other oils, turnip, collard, mustard and other greens, beets, collard, tomatoes, pine nuts, peanut butter, wheat germ, avocado, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangoes, broccoli, and asparagus to name a few. Most of these foods are eaten in small quantities at a time. Try to incorporate these foods into other dishes you normally prepare. Explore your grocery store’s seasonings aisle and buy spices and herbs to add flavour and a health boost to your food instead of just salt and pepper.
Other vitamin E actions:
- May slow aging of the cells
- Stimulates the immune system
- Protects against some toxic pollutants in the environment
- Needed to form red blood cells
- Supports healthy skin and lung function