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    Are cholesterol values important?
    josvin84 posted:
    I have just passed the seven years mark since a heart attack and being diagnosed with several clogged arteries. First four years I was on Lipitor and the last three I dont take any medication.

    I have tried to raise HDL numbers with execise, vitamin d etc. in combination with Ornish/Fuhrman diet without success.

    My lipid results during these last three years have been :
    Total Ch. = 160, LDL = 101, HDL= 35 and TG = 106.

    What do you think, are these numbers in the good range for someone trying to reverse heart disease?

    DeadManWalking56 responded:

    Congrats on 7 years.

    They are certainly better numbers than many people have. I see a picture of what appears to be EG's Green Glop, so you blend salads, too, for nutrient density.

    My own choice was to look at food lists for niacin content, and go with those, and work at getting more anti-oxidants.

    I found laste last year or early this year that two things we, heart patients, need is to boost endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and to boost paraoxonase. EPCs are the bodies own stem cells for repairing arteries. Paraoxonase is an enzyme group responsible for a large amount of the action involved in reversing heart disease. Paraoxonase acts to 1) boost the efficiency and effectiveness of HDL in reverse cholesterol transport to take LDL back to the liver; 2) act as a strong anti-oxidant to prevent LDL from being oxidized and then potentially being used to increase blockages; and 3) is actually involved in causing expulsion of ox-LDL from existing blockages, allowing them to slowly shrink back in size.

    That 3rd item is the real face of reversing heart disease.

    The lower your LDL, the greater the chance you halt progression of heart disease by eliminating the presence of ox-LDL. More anti-oxidants in the diet does the same thing. The two together make it almost a sure thing.

    Not many things seem to boost paraoxonase that I have yet read. But boosting paraoxonase is one of the things accomplished by pomegranate products, which is why the regular addition of pomegranate juice aided reversal of heart disease.

    On my strict low fat, low salt diet, with plenty of fruits and vegies and whole grain fiber, a few ounces of pomegranate juice 3-4 times a day, plus almost daily exercise, I show no signs of advancing heart disease. I don't have clinical evidence of reversal, but based on how I feel, it is highly likely.

    My most recent numbers were LDL = 69, HDL = 47, TG's in 50's.
    rubystar2 replied to DeadManWalking56's response:
    Thank you for this information. I am currently trying to lower my cholesterol and LDL numbers. I am not a heart patient but I do have type 2 diabetes. I'm soaking up any information you can share with me. I do eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and have recently increased my intake of beans. I know I am not as diligent in my dietary choices as I should be. I could use all the advice and encouragement you folks can offer me. Thank you.
    xring responded:
    Hi, josvin,

    I realize some doctors believe that patients with already existing heart disease (or diabetes, which I have) should have different numbers, but based on my recent labs (4-2010) and my doctors comments, your numbers are very good. Your numbers are close to mine (except for the HDL) and your total cholesterol is 34 pts. lower than mine.

    When my doctor phoned with my results before mailing them, she said "Your cholesterol is perfect." Mine were "Total: 194, HDL: 61, LOL, 109, TG: 116. (I've never taken any cholesterol-lowering medication.) All these numbers were in abnormal ranges 18 months ago. The only "treatment" I've had was following Dr. Fuhrman's program since 1-09, mainly to stay off diabetes medication, which I have.

    Also, if you haven't already, I'd read "Overdo$ed America" by John Abramson, MD. There is a very interesting chapter on cholesterol guidelines, including details on the studies and, more importantly, who paid for them. One of the most interesting sections describes how, in some areas of the world, the population has very high cholesterol and very little heart disease, and in other areas, very low cholesterol and high heart disease rates. IMO, that indicates that cholesterol is not the whole story, and may not be much of the story at all - although pharmaceutical companies (naturally) have doctors and patients convinced otherwise for obvious reasons.

    Another great read: "Selling Sickness" written by two pharmaceutical policy researchers.
    DeadManWalking56 replied to xring's response:

    You've got a ratio of LDL/HDL of less than 2.0. That is one reason your numbers while not super low, are still very good.

    EPCs help keep arteries safe, and also repair them. They are affected by all the risk factors of heart disease.

    Keeping cholesterol down is a bit like the Allies bombing ball bearing factories in Germany in WW2. It is a critical point for machinery. without ball bearings at that time, no moving parts of major machines could function or be repaired.

    If LDL is low, then Ox-LDL is low, and blockages will grow far slower or possibly not at all. People can still do other bad things to themselves, but not that one.

    Thus the goal of lower cholesterol.
    josvin84 replied to DeadManWalking56's response:
    DMW and Xring.
    Thank you both for your encouraging words as it ceratinly helps to hear positive feedback.

    DMW lets see if I understand what you write: low LDL helps with EPC process and pomegranate juice helps boost paraoxonase. I tried the juice few years ago but did not really notice any change but I will give it another ago. I used to drink between 4-6 ounces once a day. How much juice do you drink per day?

    EngineerGuy replied to josvin84's response:
    Hi Josvin,

    Excellent questions, and excellent info by all.

    Maximizing nutrient intake, certainly including the EPC's as DMW discusses, is just as profound a benefit to the heart and cardiovascular system, as low cholesterol numbers. Maximizing nutrient intake is accomplished by following Fuhrman's program. As you know, there is a lot to it. This means more EPCs, but also more of many many plant based nutrients, over a very wide spectrum of beneficial antioxidants and phytochemicals.

    Fuhrman does like to see LDL below 100.

    He does offer a natural supplement to lower cholesterol. It is effective. It contains plant sterols (clinically shown effective at lowering cholesterol) and pomegranate extract. If you are already taking in pomegranate, perhaps you could save money and use Cholest-Off, available at Sams and drug stores. Cholest-Off was recommended at the Pritikin Center, as an effective way to lower cholesterol 5%, on the average.

    Make sure you are taking fish oil or algae oil, for 100mg of DHA daily.

    Make sure you have adequate vitamin D blood levels.

    Omega-3 fish oil, and vitamin D, are the 2 supplements that nearly everyone should take, especially people concerned with heart disease.

    I believe it is a good idea to take an IMT (carotid artery ultrasound) every 2 years. This tracks changes, is very cheap, and completely safe, just like a baby ultrasound. I plan to take one more, in a year, and if my improvements have held up, I can quit. Be sure you get the IMT (Intra-Medial Thickness) test, which provides a thickness measurement, as well as pictures of any blockages. There is a more common, more expensive doppler test, which does not provide a thickness reading.

    Best regards, EngineerGuy
    DeadManWalking56 replied to josvin84's response:

    " low LDL helps with EPC process and pomegranate juice helps boost paraoxonase. I tried the juice few years ago but did not really notice any change but I will give it another ago. I used to drink between 4-6 ounces once a day. How much juice do you drink per day?"

    I have about a six ounce cup of Langer's 100% with breakfast and lunch on work days, and about 2-4 ounces POM Wonderful twice in the evening, diluted in a big glass of water. Weekends, only Pom, and 2 or 3 more of the evening serving size.

    Have you read the pubmed links I have posted in Tips regarding Endothelial Progenitor Cells (EPCs) and paraoxonase ?

    Not many foods have been isolated as boosting EPCs directly, but they can be assisted pretty easily with good will power. Its amazing that with each reduction or elimination of a lifestyle risk factor for heart disease, EPCs are increased and function better to heal and protect the arteries. Its like "hiking" with a backpack so heavy that it requires you to crawl on the ground. As you lighten the load, you discover you can do more than barely move, then you can actually crawl, then you can finally stand, start to discern a pace, then begin to walk, and to run, and to be able to play.

    Paraoxonases' functions in reversal of athersoclerosis are equally impressive. Green tea also seems to boost it, as does ... OLIVE OIL. Even better, an olive oil with a green tea extract was more effective at boosting paraoxonase. That is in another tip or resource I have posted. Perhaps just olive oil on the salad with green tea on the side as a beverage has the same effect.

    Atherosclerosis reversal is a slow process. Fuhrman's studies noted an average of 5% a year, but that was without any focus on increased paraoxonase. But with paraoxonase as the major active factor for reversal, besides the passive factors of other lifestyle risk reductions, it may be much faster than 5% a year. We all hope so. Turbocharging HDL for LDL removal, an anti-oxidant boost, plus stimulating ox-LDL expulsion from blockage foam cells are individually pretty amazing results for a small dietary change.

    Pomegranates are actually written about in the Bible, and have been and still are very popular in the Middle East. A co-worker has told me of families splitting an 8-inch pomegranate as dessert for an entire family. They seem to be perhaps one of the most critical fruits on the planet to eat for good health and to preserve the heart. Now we know at least one major function in what they do for health. Talk about a gift from Heaven.

    DeadManWalking56 replied to josvin84's response:

    Lower LDL helps EPC count and function, probably on a linear scale. So the higher LDL is, EPC function is continually impacted. Not nice to reduce one's own arterial repair system.

    As LDL concentrations go up, prevention of ox-LDL becomes more difficult.

    As ox-LDL concentration goes up, danger of foam cell expansion and blockage development increases.

    With arterial damage, it is then a race for EPCs to repair damage in a benign manner, or for foam cell occurrence to plug the site first, but with its subsequent malignant expansion for arterial blockage through capture of ox-LDL and other residual objects captured from the blood stream.

    Amazing processes.

    EngineerGuy replied to DeadManWalking56's response:
    Hi DMW,

    Re: Fuhrman's studies noted an average of 5% a year,...

    I think that was Ornish' studies. Fuhrman has not published any studies of that sort. Fuhrman did publish the greatest cholesterol reduction, 33% on average, of any diet ever published.

    There was a study of Ornish heart patients versus control group of standard medical care. The Ornish group had 4x greater reduction of angina, compared to the standard medical group. But both groups had no change in their average IMT (carotid artery ultrasound) results. That's why my reversal of my IMT, with Dr. Fuhrman, is all the more impressive.

    Are you taking Olive oil? I am sure you are aware of Dr. Esselstyn's work and very negative observations with olive oil.

    Best regards, EngineerGuy
    DeadManWalking56 replied to EngineerGuy's response:

    Wow, I was thinking Ornish, and wrote your man's name instead ! I know that was Ornish !

    No, I still leave all oils alone.

    My personal LDL reducton was 59% on Vytorin, exercise and very low fat diet.

    I should re-check on Esselstyn's and Fuhrman's work and recommendations. But with my sensititivities, I mainly stick to my system, as do you with yours.

    What do you think of the information on EPCs and paaraoxonase ?

    EngineerGuy replied to DeadManWalking56's response:
    Hi DMW,

    Re: What do you think of the information on EPCs and paaraoxonase ?

    Absolutely excellent. I absolutely include foods to provide these, and follow your suggestions here.

    When pomagranates come into season again, I'll buy a few at at time, cut the little juice and seed pouches out, and freeze them in a zip lock bag. A person can take out a tablespoon at a time, and put it into the morning smoothie. I actually think I felt an improvement in my running from it !! We probably absorb more from the seeds by blending them (in a blender), rather than chewing them.

    This has been mentioned on the Fuhrman website also. When pomagranates are not in season, I take the LDL Protect, which contains a pomagranate extract. When the pomagranates are in season, I'll do as mentioned above.

    I would only add that there are many other phytochemicals and antioxidants all over the plant kingdom that are beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Replacing meat with beans, as you mentioned, is an excellent way to increase nutrition and phytochemicals.

    Flour products are at the bottom of the nutrition ladder, as another example. A meal full of vegetables, but where most of the calories come from bread, is a lost opportunity to take in healthful nutrition, but instead gives a blast of empty calories, which promotes inflammation and sub-optimal health.

    Best regards, EngineerGuy
    DeadManWalking56 replied to EngineerGuy's response:
    Pistachios, pomegranates, and green tea ?

    RE: "Flour products are at the bottom of the nutrition ladder, as another example. A meal full of vegetables, but where most of the calories come from bread, is a lost opportunity to take in healthful nutrition, but instead gives a blast of empty calories, which promotes inflammation and sub-optimal health."

    Wow. That's really taking a hammer to the whole grains.

    Exercise is of course anti-inflammatory with the interleukin production. So skipping days is giving inflammation an opportunity to take advantage.

    Initial studies on all parts of the pomegranate showed that there appeared to be no active nutritional benefits coming from the seeds. Flowers, skin, juice, pulp yes, but seeds no. I'm sure there will be further research to confirm it.

    Since pomegranate aids reversal and turbocharges reverse cholesterol transport, regular use should help one feel better. Congratulations, you seem to be normal !

    jc3737 replied to DeadManWalking56's response:
    It is a hammer to whole grains and appears to run contrary to the science.Let Fuhrman show us the science before he makes such statements.
    DeadManWalking56 replied to jc3737's response:
    With a couple 4 ounce whole grain bagels a week for the better part of four years, you'd think I at least would see bad effects.

    I had only a dozen french fries a couple years ago, and had short sporadic sharp angina for about 6 days, which then went away.

    Just four different nuts a day for about three weeks resulted in me needing nitro spray with exercise for the first time in 3 years. And I needed to keep using it with exercise for about 3 months.

    No such issues with the whole grains.

    I may be just one person, with extreme blockages, but I am where others do not want to be, and most never get to.

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