There's some serious confusion about cholesterol, and whether high cholesterol levels are responsible for heart disease. Chris Masterjohn, who recently received his PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Connecticut, has published five peer-reviewed papers on vitamins and supplementation, and he's currently researching fat-soluble supplements – A, D, and K – at the University of Illinois. Cholesterol has been demonized since the early 1950's, following the popularization of Ancel Keys' flawed research.
As a testament to the power of this incredibly effective marketing system, Lipitor was the number one selling drug for 2011. What this tells us is that cholesterol deficiency impacts virtually every aspect of your health. It also plays an essential role in your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. Furthermore, you need cholesterol to produce steroid hormones, including your sex hormones.
To further reinforce the importance of cholesterol, I want to remind you of the work of Dr. Heart disease is clearly one of the leading causes of death in the US, making it imperative for the vast majority of people to understand the risk factors in order to avoid becoming a statistic.
Your fasting insulin level: Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar.
Your waist circumference: Visceral fat, the type of fat that collects around your internal organs, is a well-recognized risk factor for heart disease. Your iron level: Iron can be a very potent oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levels you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Now, does this mean that a high total to HDL cholesterol ratio causes heart disease? Well, the best way to put that to the test would be to come up with a drug that specifically changes the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio and to see if that drug prevents heart disease.
Now, as just mentioned, thyroid hormone is a communication molecule that helps govern LDL receptor activity. I've long stated that insulin resistance is at the root of virtually every chronic disease known to man, and this again strengthens my position that normalizing your insulin sensitivity should be your top priority if you seek to stop or reverse the progression of any disease process, or to optimize your health and prevent disease in the first place. There's another important contributor to a healthy vascular system and that's vitamin K2, which is responsible for the integration of calcium into arterial plaque caused by oxidized LDL particles.
Calcification basically occurs in two ways in the blood vessels, and both of them we need vitamin K to protect against. It seems from the evidence that we have that insufficient intake of vitamin K2 leads to greater calcification in atherosclerosis and greater medial calcification, which in turn increases the risk for heart disease.
The optimal amounts of vitamin K2 are still under investigation, but it seems likely that 180 to 200 micrograms of vitamin K2 should be enough to activate your body's K2-dependent proteins to shuttle the calcium where it needs to be, and remove it from the places where it shouldn't. As I've discussed on numerous occasions, vitamin D is a critical nutrient for optimal health and is best obtained from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed. Why? Because when you take vitamin D, your body creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins — the proteins that help move the calcium around in your body.

In short, vitamin K2 ensures the calcium is deposited and removed from the appropriate areas. My favorite source of vitamin K2 is fermented vegetables made with a special starter culture designed to cultivate vitamin K2-producing bacteria. As a result, people now spend tens of billions of dollars on cholesterol-reducing drugs each year, thinking they have to lower this "dangerous" molecule lest they keel over from a heart attack.
Price Foundation has been a major leader in helping people understand the truth about cholesterol, and Dr. One of the primary reasons for this widespread effect is because cholesterol plays a critical role within your cell membranes. However, total cholesterol will tell you virtually nothing about your disease risk, unless it's exceptionally elevated (above 330 or so, which would be suggestive of familial hypercholesterolemia, which, in my view, would be about the only time a cholesterol-reducing drug would be appropriate). The simplest way to evaluate your risk here is by simply measuring your waist circumference.
While most people talk about them as if they're different types of cholesterol, these lipoproteins are actually carriers for cholesterol in the blood.
But I think it's important to note that just because these markers tend to correlate with [heart disease] risk, does not mean that one thing is causing the other. Basically, the higher the total to HDL cholesterol ratio, the greater the risk of future heart disease.
The most famous of these was the trials with Torcetrapib, which inhibited the enzyme that transfers cholesterol from HDL to LDL. Masterjohn, the researchers claim this failure was not related to the specific function of the drug, but rather that it had "off-target toxicity" that ended up putting people in mortal danger. Masterjohn points out that just because the total to HDL cholesterol ratio predicts heart disease doesn't mean that it causes heart disease.
Masterjohn, when the total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio increases, it may indicate poor LDL turnover and poor metabolism of the cholesterol, meaning your body is not using the available cholesterol appropriately. The immune system comes along and cleans up those damaged particles by creating a plaque," he explains. So when your thyroid hormone is not working properly, your LDL receptor activity will also be affected. In both cases, wherever we find the calcification, we find defective matrix Gla protein or MGP.
Masterjohn, animal studies have shown you can likely reverse arterial calcification with high doses of vitamin K2.
However, many are taking oral vitamin D, which can actually be problematic unless you're also getting sufficient amounts of vitamin K2. We recently had samples of high-quality fermented organic vegetables made with our specific starter culture tested, and were shocked to discover that not only does a typical serving of about two to three ounces contain about 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, but it also contained 500 mcg of vitamin K2. There are very powerful, financially-motivated forces backing the continued belief in the cholesterol myth.

He mentions another drug, Anacetrapib, which does the same thing as the failed Torcetrapib.
When your cells are not metabolizing cholesterol properly, the LDL carrier particles will stick around in your circulatory system longer, placing them at greater risk for oxidation and damage. The best sources of it that most people consume are egg yolks and cheese, especially hard cheeses.
MGP is a vitamin K-dependent protein responsible for protecting blood vessels and other soft tissues from calcification. In fact, this is a really crucial point that has not been emphasized enough in the past: If you opt for oral vitamin D, you need to also consume in your food or take supplemental vitamin K2.
If they're not activated, the calcium in your body will not be properly distributed and can lead to weaker bones and hardened arteries. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. One of her theories is that cholesterol combines with sulfur to form cholesterol sulfate, and that this cholesterol sulfate helps thin your blood by serving as a reservoir for the electron donations you receive when walking barefoot on the earth (also called grounding). If vitamin K is not present in sufficient quantities in the diet, it cannot activate MGP, so MGP is defective and MGP therefore cannot protect against calcification of the blood vessels, heart valves, and all their soft tissues. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.
For example, cholesterol is the precursor to bile acids, so without sufficient amounts of cholesterol, your digestive system can be adversely affected. Low cholesterol levels have also been linked to violent behavior, due to adverse changes in brain chemistry. She believes that, via this blood-thinning mechanism, cholesterol sulfate may provide natural protection against heart disease.
You can't assume that any fermented food will be high in K2, but some fermented foods are very high in K2, such as natto. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr.
In fact, she goes so far as to hypothesize that heart disease is likely the result of cholesterol deficiency — which of course is the complete opposite of the conventional view.
Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

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