Leo Tolstoy once wrote that “freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless.”
It takes a strong – and humble – person to be a freethinker.
We were recently reminded of this when a patient sent us an article called “World Renown Heart Surgeon Speaks Out on What Really Causes Heart Disease.”
We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years’ experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.
I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.
The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.
These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible.
We are always grateful for such reminders that minds can be opened, changed; that the truth will out, always. As in so many other cases, change may not come as quickly as we’d like, but it comes. And it’s a reason to remain happy and hopeful.
So if cholesterol isn’t the problem, what is? Chronic inflammation.
Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.
We urge you to read the full article, which includes lots of helpful info on how you can keep inflammation from running riot. Unsurprisingly, much of it has to do with how we eat – another reminder that your body works best when you simply give it what it needs, supporting it’s fantastic ability to keep itself going, healthy and whole.
Yet we’re still bombarded with messages that high cholesterol raises your risk of heart attack and stroke. Statin drugs are routinely prescribed – even to children as young as 8! – even though research has already
[blown] the lid off the theory that “statins” – drugs like Lipitor, Crestor, Mevacor, Zocor and Pravachol – can cut the odds that you will die of a heart attack by slowing the production of cholesterol in your body and increasing the liver’s ability to remove L.D.L., or “bad cholesterol,” from your blood.
It’s true that these drugs can help some people – but not nearly as many as we have been told. Moreover, and this is the kicker, we don’t have any clear evidence that they work by lowering cholesterol.
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“Current evidence supports ignoring LDL cholesterol altogether,” [said] Dr. Rodney A. Hayward, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan….
Yet millions of people go on acting as though cholesterol is a bad thing, The Enemy. In fact, it is a friend – something your body needs. It helps produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and more.
Crucially, much of your brain is made of the stuff. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, the brain alone incorporates about 25% of all cholesterol in the body.
Every cell and every structure in the brain and the rest of our nervous system needs cholesterol, not only to build itself but also to accomplish its many functions. The developing brain and eyes of the fetus and a newborn infant require large amounts of cholesterol. If the fetus doesn’t get enough cholesterol during development, the child may be born with a congenital abnormality called cyclopean eye.
Human breast milk provides a lot of cholesterol. Not only that, mother’s milk provides a specific enzyme to allow the baby’s digestive tract to absorb almost 100 percent of that cholesterol, because the developing brain and eyes of an infant require large amounts of it. Children deprived of cholesterol in infancy may end up with poor eyesight and brain function. Manufacturers of infant formulas are aware of this fact, but following the anti-cholesterol dogma, they produce formulas with virtually no cholesterol in them.
This isn’t weird, out-there stuff but fact established by mainstream science. So why do so many health care professionals continue to spout the conventional wisdom?
Most of us would likely agree that it’s really hard to admit when you’re wrong. It might be even harder for health care professionals, considering that what we say and do affects the health and well-being of individuals who come to us for help. How do you tell someone that you gave them advice that may have endangered their health or done nothing much to improve it?
One of the fundamental concepts in biological dentistry and medicine is the commitment to treating causes rather than symptoms – and doing so in a way that honors the body’s God-given ability to self-regulate and heal.
To do otherwise is like trying to stop an overflowing bathtub by bailing and bailing and bailing, even as the tap keeps flowing. Or “fixing” your car by cutting the wire to the dashboard light that warns you of engine trouble.
Until you find and deal with the actual cause as biological approaches to healing do, the basic problem remains.