Dr AL SEARS MD
I’m Proud Of My High Cholesterol
Cholesterol does not cause heart disease. Cholesterol is what heart disease acts upon.
Cholesterol is a good thing. The more you have, the longer you’ll live.
In fact, the prestigious medical journal The Lancet did a study that looked at 724 people and followed them for 10 years. Researchers found that higher cholesterol meant a lower chance of dying from any cause.1
Cholesterol is a part of your body, and it’s a bad idea to declare war on a part of your body.
Unfortunately, many people who rely on mainstream medicine for health information haven’t gotten the message.
The way modern medicine treats cholesterol is the same as saying, “You have Alzheimer’s disease, let’s cut off your head.” It’s like if you come to me to have your bone mineral density measured, and I say, “We’ve found a problem with your bones. We have to take them out.”
You treat the problem, not the part of your anatomy that the problem is affecting. But that’s what we’ve done with cholesterol. Because it’s diseased doesn’t mean you want to get rid of it. You want to get rid of the disease.
All things being equal, the more cholesterol you have the better. A study from the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University found that elders with low cholesterol died twice as often from a heart attack as did elders with high cholesterol.2
Cholesterol is a normal and important part of your anatomy. You need your cholesterol. It becomes diseased because there are unnatural inflammatory and oxidative pressures that are distorting it and causing it to be diseased.
Cholesterol isn’t the bad guy. It’s the oxidation and inflammation that are the bad guys.
And you don’t remove the part of your body that the bad guys are acting on.
The solution I use with my patients who have inflammation is to try and get their HDL to be as high as half of their triglycerides.
There’s no evidence that high cholesterol increases heart risk if your HDL is at least half your triglycerides.
If you can make your HDL higher than your triglycerides, that’s even better.
My HDL is twice as high as my triglycerides, and I’m proud of my high cholesterol.
A pretty good HDL level is about 45. And we want your triglycerides to be below 150, normally. But if you can get your triglycerides down to 100, and your HDL up to 50, then it doesn’t matter what your total cholesterol is. There is no risk.
In my case, I actually had my HDL at twice my triglycerides.
Here’s how I got my triglycerides down to 50 and I got my HDL up to105, and you can, too:
Step 1) Use my four secrets and be proud of your high cholesterol:
I ate even more. I put it in my omelet for breakfast. I used garlic and olive oil dressing on a chicken salad or fish salad I would have for lunch most days. In the evening I would use garlic in a side dish like stir-fry vegetables.
And you know the odor that garlic produces? Your body tends to handle it better with time. It comes from the sulfur, but your body gets better at processing it. I only noticed a garlic odor at the beginning and after a few days it went away.
Studies also show that triglycerides weaken HDL, and stop it from having its full protective effect on your heart.4 That makes omega-3 HDL’s best friend. And taking it is simple and easy. It doesn’t have the fishy taste it did when your grandmother may have forced you to take it years ago. My cod liver oil has a clean lemon-lime flavor.
Step 2) Eat low-glycemic foods to drive down your triglycerides.
A good idea I use with my patients – and it’s the way I eat, too – is to stick with low-glycemic foods, which can really get your triglycerides way under 150.
Here’s how it works…
Usually, insulin helps you convert triglycerides into energy. When you constantly eat starchy grains or sugary food, your body produces lots of insulin to try to process all the blood sugar. Over time, you become resistant to the effects of all that insulin, and you don’t convert triglycerides into energy. They stay in your blood.
A new review from the Framingham Heart Study followed almost 3,000 people for 14 years. Those who were more insulin resistant had higher triglycerides and lower HDL.6
To raise HDL and lower triglycerides, I have my patients stay away from carbs that come from grains, refined sugars and processed foods. I also have them avoid trans-fats, caffeine and high fructose corn syrup, which all increase insulin resistance.
Instead, I have them eat mostly protein from animals. Animal protein has zero effect on your blood sugar. It also raises your insulin sensitivity and lowers your triglyceride levels.
One incredible study on the effect of eating protein instead of carbs is from the Southern Medical Journal. They gave people foods consisting mostly of beef and beef fat. They ate no sugars, milk, or grains. Their triglyceride levels dropped 35%, while their percentage of HDL jumped 50%.7
Click here for my glycemic index that shows you which foods spike your blood sugar and cause you to make waves of insulin.
As you can see from the chart to the right, high glycemic-index foods make your blood sugar go wild, and can even cause you to have a low blood sugar “crash.”
Eating low-GI foods stabilizes your blood sugar. This makes your insulin work better, keeping your triglycerides low, and your HDL high.
Dr Al Sears
She burst into my office today with a stack of papers and folders.
I was on the phone, but I could see my friend A.N. just couldn’t wait to talk to me.
So I put the person on hold, and it all started pouring out of her.
“Dr. Sears, Dr. Sears, we got the results!”
I helped A.N. convert her farm in Loxahatchee, Florida - a few miles from my clinic - over to producing organic eggs.
Pretty soon, the hens she and her husband tend started producing the most delicious eggs I had ever tasted. Then she started bringing them to my staff by the dozen.
The containers disappear in about two minutes flat. She makes me and my staff organic yogurt, too.
Not long after her eggs became such a big hit, I decided to have a study done on them. We had a lab in Chicago test them and measure to see how they compared to eggs you can buy at a grocery store.
Turns out there’s more to eggs than protein and the right kind of fat. They’re antioxidant powerhouses, too.
Protein from eggs is important, don’t get me wrong. Modern advice on eggs is not to eat them at all, or at least to throw the yolk away because it will kill you.
It’s a shame because eggs used to be the standard by which all other proteins were measured.
The protein value of a food is measured on the BV (biological value) scale. It tells you what percentage of a given nutrient source your body uses. Since eggs were considered the best source of protein because your body completely digests and uses them, they have a value of 100. A perfect score.
Soy, considered so “healthy” and full of protein by nutritionists and conventional doctors, scores only a 47 on the BV scale. Whole wheat has a protein score of only 49.
But there’s more going on with eggs than just protein.
A new study from Canada shows that egg yolks, the part of the egg you’re warned not to eat at any cost, doesn’t just have protein and minerals like calcium and selenium, but it also has antioxidants.
The researchers discovered that two egg yolks have almost twice as much antioxidant power as an apple, and about the same power as 25 grams of cranberries.1
And the results from the lab tests A.N. brought me on her eggs show they have even more antioxidants than the eggs from the Canadian study.
Her eggs are off the charts with omega-3s, antioxidant nutrients and protein.
The organic eggs my staff and I eat have:
You can tell right away organic eggs have more carotenoids because the yolks are more yellow. It has a lot to do with the fact that A.N.’s hens are allowed to run around in the warm sunshine instead of being caged up like commercial chickens are.
When I go there I see them fly over the fences and roam all over her farm, getting into everything. They scratch the dirt with their feet, flapping their wings and clucking softly, just like nature intended them to. You get the feeling they’re content.
You may not know this but modern hen farmers will tell you that their hens are prone to ovary problems. I think it’s because they’re fed too much soy. A.N. tells me hers have very few ovary problems since she stopped feeding them soy.
And the chickens produce more eggs and the eggs are bigger, too.
So while I always recommend eating eggs for strong, healthy bones, heart, muscles and a sharper mind, free-range organic eggs give you even more benefit. We now know they’re antioxidant powerhouses that can improve your vision, and fight inflammation.
Many grocery stores will have eggs marked as organic for sale. But it makes me feel good to know where my food is coming from, and I don’t feel comfortable buying eggs at the grocery store. I read one report where a few “organic” egg sellers in California were getting their eggs from huge industrial chicken farms that pack a coop with 36,000 birds that never see the light of day.
Al Sears, MD
DR Mercola on Asthma
Are Inhalers the Best Treatment for You?
The conventional asthma treatment typically consists of a non-steroidal bronchodilator – an anti-inflammatory agent that you inhale. It causes the smooth muscle cells in your lungs to relax, which opens up your airways.
If that doesn't t work, the next level is typically an inhaled steroid, which is a very potent anti-inflammatory agent. The reason these aggressive types of intervention are performed is because asthma is indeed a serious condition. It can be fatal, so you need to be serious about treating it.
Unfortunately, as usual, Big Pharma wants you to believe that their inhaled asthma drugs are the magic bullet you need to combat this disease, but the truth is asthma medicines don't work and can be dangerous to your health. In fact, a new box warning on one long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) clearly states that LABA can actually increase the rate of asthma-related death!
It is not that fast-acting inhalers are without any benefits as they have no doubt saved the lives of asthma suffers during acute attacks and do have an important role in managing this debilitating and chronic condition. But they should be used as a last resort.
I'll tell you why.
Fast-acting asthma inhalers can lose their effictivenesswhen overused, the medical term is tachyphylaxis, and this can start to happen after as little as one dose. Also, all beta2-adrenergic agonists have been shown to have negative effects on your heart and your body's metabolism.
Because asthma is a disease involving allergic reactions and inflammation, a much better strategy for you is to prevent asthma in the first place through keeping inflammatory conditions in your body to an absolute minimum.
Keeping inflammation in check includes properly regulating your omega 3 to omega 6 ratios. One great omega 3 fatty acid I want you to think about including in your healthy diet is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
How CLA Helps Asthmatics
Asthmatics get asthma because they produce much higher levels of leukotrienes, which are fatty molecules of the immune system and at least 1000 times more potent than histamine at causing bronchial constriction.
These highly inflammatory leukotrienes are produced when an enzyme known as 5-lipoxygenase (5-lipox) acts on a particular fat called arachidonic acid (AA). Many of the inhaled drugs that treat your asthma work by reducing leukotrienes.
But there's a more natural way for you to fight leukotrienes.
With nutrition you can reduce the precursor molecules (5-lipox and AA) in your body, thus preventing the inflammation from ever being produced.
CLA is an omega-3 fat found in both animal and plant sources that fights 5-lipox and AA inflammation without harming your arteries. CLA does this by converting inside your body to both DHA and EPA, both of which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
One of the best things you can do for your health right now is to balance your omega 3 to omega 6 fat ratios, and CLA from organic, grass-fed meats can play a big part in this.
The Best Source of CLA
Frequent readers of my newsletter know that I am a strong advocate for getting vital nutrients and healthy fats from whole natural food sources as opposed to taking supplements. In fact, I've long said that substituting supplements for good nutrition could be hazardous to your health.
CLA is no exception. While plant-based sources are good, a better natural source of CLA is grass fed beef. In fact, grass fed beef is the source I recommend above all other sources for naturally supplying your body with CLA.
You'll notice I said grass fed beef, not grain fed beef.
Because grain is not a natural diet for cows, and grain fed cows have been shown to produce meat significantly lower in healthy CLA.
Real Beef Eat Grass – Not Grains
Grass fed beef:
· Has higher CLA profiles than grain fed beef
· Has overall better fatty acid and anti-oxidant profiles than grain fed beef
· Is more nutritious than grain fed beef
· Is better for your body than grain fed beef
Other CLA Health Benefits
CLA offers a whole host of healthy benefits that have been virtually eliminated from kitchens in America thanks to the rise of corporate grain fed beef farms.
The CLA found in grass fed beef can also:
· Help you gain muscle and lose fat
· Inhibit growth of cancer cells
· Provide relief for arthritis
· Build endurance, improve body composition and regulate insulin levels
You can support both your own health and the livelihood of the farmers out there who are trying to do things the right way, by eating grass-fed beef and organic food. It is best to obtain your grass-fed beef locally as shipping costs can be very high, but if your local grocery store doesn't carry grass-fed meats yet, check out the options at our Web store.
How to Prevent Asthma Naturally
Although asthma is a serious disease, safely treating your asthma is not a complicated affair. Here are some basic, simple strategies that can help treat the root of your problem:
· Optimize your vitamin D levels – We now know that there's a very strong connection between vitamin D levels and asthma, as vitamin D can be a very powerful immune modulator. However, I don't suggest just taking the recommended daily allowance, which is a mere 400 units a day. You really need to make sure you're getting therapeutic levels.
This is ideally obtained from exposing a significant amount of your skin -- not just your hands and face - to appropriate amounts of sunlight.
I do recommend oral supplements if you don't have regular access to the sun or a safe tanning bed. But if you do, make sure you monitor your blood with an accurate test . The one caution here in the US is to be certain your test is performed at a lab like Labcorp, that uses the gold standard Diasorin test for checking vitamin D levels. Due to information published by the New York Times about Quest labs, where they admitted to inaccurate results, I no longer recommend using them.
If you get your levels to about 60 ng/ml, there's a strong likelihood -- especially if you combine it with exercise and balancing out your omega 3 and omega 6 fats as described below -- that you will not experience the symptoms of asthma anymore.
· Increase your intake of animal-based omega 3 fats – I can't emphasize enough the importance of getting sufficient amounts of high quality animal-based omega 3 fats in your diet. Because although I strongly believe we all need plant-based omega 3 fats (and I consume some virtually every day myself, like hemp seed or flax seed), the difference is that most of us do not possess the metabolic machinery to rapidly convert the ALA in these plants to the higher order fats DHA and EPA, which are potent anti-inflammatories.
· Although I still recommend fish oil in some instances, I believe krill oil is an even better source of omega 3 fats for most people.
· Reduce your intake of omega 6 fats – In addition to adding omega 3 fats to your diet, you also want to reduce the amount of omega 6 fats you consume because the ratio between these two fats is very important.
If you use a lot of processed foods, the balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fats will become distorted, which can cause the type of inflammation that leads to asthma.
· Avoid processed foods – Processed foods tend to unbalance your microflora, which researchers have recently linked to increased asthma in children.
· Consider the hygiene hypothesis – There's a tendency in our modern culture to be obsessive about cleanliness, especially in children. However, this may not be as healthy as initially thought. It appears that being exposed to common bacterial and viral infections as a child can be instrumental in providing the stimulus to your immune system to prevent asthma naturally.
· Get regular exercise – Exercise (especially out in fresh air if you're an asthmatic) is actually crucial as it helps to moderate your insulin levels. It increases your insulin receptor sensitivity, and as a result your body produces less insulin, which tends to optimize it. Research has also shown that asthmatics who exercise tend to show improvement in:
o Maximum ventilation
o Maximal oxygen uptake
o Work capacity, and
o Maximum heart rate
You can also use allergy testing to build up your immune system. My experience is that conventional testing does not work very effectively and there is a fair amount of risk. A far better intradermal skin test would be provocation neutralization testing. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has a list of physicians who are trained in this highly effective technique.
If you follow these simple strategies mentioned above, you can virtually eliminate your need for bronchodilators and steroid drugs.
"Queen of Fruits" Stops Leukemia in Its Tracks
Leukemia is cancer of the blood. A brutal disease, it attacks the bone marrow... Replaces good cells with bad ones... Depletes blood platelets... Disrupts the immune system... And makes you prone to infection, anemia, and uncontrolled bleeding.
In the United States, it kills 20,000 people annually. And strikes 43,000 new victims each year.
But now there's hope. It comes from a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia.
The Asians call it the "Queen of Fruits" – and they've used it for years to treat skin infections and wounds.
The fruit has powerful phytonutrients called xanthones. They fight free radicals in the body and boost the immune system. They also ignite antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties.
In 2003, Japanese scientists found that these xanthones also inhibit the growth of leukemia cells. The study was conducted at the Gifu International Institute of Biotechnology in Kakamigahara.
Looking for a Cure
The Japanese researchers used six xanthones extracted from the dried and ground hulls of the fruit. (One of the study's authors had collected the hulls in Indonesia in 1993.)
They applied the xanthones to leukemia cells and then examined them under a florescent microscope. All six of the xanthones seemed to inhibit the growth of the cells to some degree. But one in particular stopped it completely. It did it by inducing "apoptosis" – a natural process that causes cells to self-destruct.
The results of this study supported the findings of research on other types of cancer.
In 2002, for example, Chinese scientists from the Department of Medical Research & Education, Veterans General Hospital were looking for a safe alternative to chemotherapy.
Working with a compound derived from those same six xanthones, the researchers tested it on 14 different types of human cancer cells. The compound – garcinone E – appeared to have a powerful toxic effect on liver, gastric, and lung cancer cells.
An Exotic Fruit Worth Seeking Out
So what is the "Queen of Fruits?" It's the mangosteen (not to be confused with the mango).
You probably won't be able to find it at your local grocery store, but it is available at Asian markets in the US. It's dark purple on the outside and white on the inside. It has a delicious, sweet taste. And it can be eaten just like any other fruit.
You can also purchase mangosteen as a supplement. (Check with your doctor, of course, before taking it.) It comes in 500 mg capsules. The recommended dose is one or two a day.
Mangosteen is just one of the promising new developments on the cancer front. We will continue to keep you updated.
To your best health,
Managing Editor, NHD "Health Watch"
From Dr Mercola
This is a great example of how many common theories on nutrition can be seriously mistaken. Saturated fat has been wrongfully vilified as the cause of high cholesterol and heart disease for the last 60 years, when in fact the converse was true all along.
The result of people following the misguided advice to replace saturated fats (like coconut oil) with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as soybean oil) is reflected in the statistics for heart disease today. Prior to 1920, coronary artery disease was actually a rarity. In the 1950's, rates began to rise in step with the increased consumption of hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fat), which replaced saturated fats like butter and lard that had been the norm in previous decades…
Today, soybean oil makes up 68 percent of the vegetable oils and fats consumed by Americans.
Double-Blind Clinical Trial Puts Coconut- versus Soybean Oil to the Test
In the featured 12-week long study, researchers evaluated the effects of coconut oil and soybean oil on the biochemical profiles and waist circumference on 40 obese women, aged 20-40. Belly fat, known as visceral fat, is the type of fat linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke, among many other chronic diseases.
Divided into two groups of 20 participants each, the women received a daily supplement of 30ml (about two tablespoons) of either soybean oil or coconut oil. They also followed a balanced low-calorie diet, and walked for 50 minutes per day. The end result?
The coconut oil group presented:
· Increased levels of HDL (good cholesterol)
· Decreased LDL/HDL ratio
· Reduced waist circumference/abdominal obesity
The soybean oil group presented:
· Increased total cholesterol
· Increased LDL (bad cholesterol)
· Increased LDL/HDL ratio
· Decreased HDL (good cholesterol)
· No reduction in waist circumference/abdominal obesity
The authors concluded:
"It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia [an abnormal amount of cholesterol and/or fat in your blood] and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity."
This is exactly what I've been writing about for the last 15 years, and if you've been a long-time reader of this newsletter, you already knew that these kinds of results were to be expected.
The Truth about Soybean Oil
Polyunsaturated fats (soybean- and other vegetable oils) tend to go rancid (become oxidized) during cooking and processing, and once this happens, the free radicals created can wreak havoc in your body, attacking cell membranes and damaging DNA/RNA strands. Arterial plaque is the result of free radical damage in your blood vessels, which is the hallmark of cardiovascular- and heart disease.
Excess consumption of polyunsaturated fats has also been linked to other diseases and health problems, including:
Increased cancer risk
Immune system dysfunction
Liver and lung damage
Damage to reproductive organs
Reduced learning ability
Several years ago, in response to the increased demand to reduce trans fats in food, and the mandatory labeling of trans fats, the food industry began switching over to a modified soybean oil from so-called 'low linolenic soybeans.' This low-linolenic oil does not require hydrogenation, a process that increases shelf life and flavor stability, but also creates trans-fat. How much of the food supply now contains this low-linolenic type of soybean oil is unknown, but I think it's fair to guess that the prevalence would be quite high.
However, please do not be fooled, because these so-called "healthier" vegetable oils are still a disastrous choice for most people, as they can significantly distort the sensitive omega-6/omega-3 ratio that controls many delicate biochemical pathways, resulting in accelerating many chronic degenerative diseases.
Besides this traditionally-bred 'low-lin' soybean, over 90 percent of all soy, corn, and canola oils are made from genetically engineered seeds created to withstand otherwise lethal doses of Monsanto's Roundup weed killer, which is yet another reason to steer clear of these harmful vegetable oils.
These genetically modified (GM) foods pose enormous hazards to human health, and according to Dr. Joseph Hibbeln at the National Institutes of Health, it's estimated that soybeans, usually in the form of oil, account for 10 percent of the average person's total calories in the United States! This is a double-whammy of bad news, because not only is most of this soy bean oil genetically modified, it's also an unhealthy fat in and of itself, even if it's organic, as you can see by the results of the featured study above.
Why Coconut Oil is "Special" Among Saturated Fats
Now on to coconut oil; a rare gem among saturated fats, with numerous health benefits. First, did you know that multiple studies on Pacific Island populations who get 30-60 percent of their total caloric intact from fully saturated coconut oil have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease
Coconut oil can be helpful for pregnant women, nursing moms, the elderly, those concerned about digestive health, athletes (even weekend warriors), and those of you who just want to enhance your overall health. One of the explanations for its broad health applications is because it's rich in lauric acid, which converts in your body to monolaurin – a compound also found in breast milk that strengthens a baby's immunity.
Its medium chain fatty acids, or triglycerides (MCT's), also impart a number of health benefits, including raising your body's metabolism and fighting off pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungi. Capric acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, is another antimicrobial component.
Coconut oil is also excellent for your thyroid. Additionally, a very exciting and recent discovery is that coconut oil may even serve as a natural treatment for Alzheimer's disease, as MCT's are also a primary source of ketone bodies, which act as an alternate source of brain fuel that can help prevent the brain atrophy associated with dementia.
Previous Studies Confirm: Coconut Oil Helpful for Fat Loss
Going back to the results in the featured study for a moment, previous studies have also found that the medium chain fatty acids (MCT's) found in coconut oil promote weight loss, and are helpful for shedding adipose fat in particular. One such study showed that rats fed long chain fatty acids (LCTs, found in vegetable oils) stored body fat, while rats fed MCTs (found in coconut oil) reduced body fat and improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Specifically, MCT's were found to down-regulate the expression of adipogenic genes.
Another 2003 study found that MCT's increased energy expenditure and decreased adiposity in overweight men—a similar finding as in the study above. Here, 24 overweight men consumed diets rich in either MCT or LCT for 28 days, and those consuming MCTs lost more weight and had more energy than those consuming LCTs (in this case olive oil, as opposed to soy bean oil).
Coconut Oil and Cholesterol
Most of the conventional advice relating to coconut oil and cholesterol are false and misleading. Coconut oil has been repeatedly shown to be beneficial rather than detrimental on cholesterol levels and heart health. As explained in a previous article written by Ray Pete, it's been clearly established for over 80 years now that suppression of the thyroid raises serum cholesterol (and increases mortality from infections, cancer, and heart disease), while restoring the thyroid hormone brings cholesterol down to normal.
As mentioned earlier, coconut oil does both; it balances your thyroid and normalizes your cholesterol levels.
"As far as the evidence goes... coconut oil, added regularly to a balanced diet, lowers cholesterol to normal by promoting its conversion into pregnenolone," he writes. "Coconut-eating cultures in the tropics have consistently lower cholesterol than people in the U.S."
Mary Enig with the Weston A Price Foundation has also written at length about the beneficial effects of coconut oil on heart health and cholesterol levels.
Are You Ready to Make the Switch?
Generally speaking, foods that are likely to contain health-harming trans fats include deep-fried foods, processed baked goods, snack foods and processed foods, including fast foods. Aside from soybean oil, other varieties to avoid include corn and canola oil, so make sure to read the labels when shopping. If you want to avoid dangerous fats of all kinds, your best bet is to eliminate processed foods from your diet. From there, use these tips to make sure you're eating the right fats for your health:
· Use organic coconut oil for all your cooking needs. It is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits. Make sure you choose an organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain GM ingredients.
· Use organic butter (preferably made from raw milk) instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads. Butter is a healthy whole food that has received an unwarranted bad rap.
· Be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw dairy products, and olive oil, and also take a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fat, such as krill oil.
Following my comprehensive nutrition plan will also automatically reduce your trans-fat intake, as it will give you a guide to focus on healthy whole foods instead of processed junk food.