Staying Healthy with …..
Natural Wellness Choices
September 15, 2007
In today’s issue: Lowering Cholesterol Associated with Tripling of Cancer Risk
I wanted to draw attention to an important new study which adds further evidence that we should be avoiding the highly promoted cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that driving down cholesterol levels actually increases the risk of cancer (Alsheikh-Ali, A. A. et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2007; 50:409-418)
Researchers at the Tufts University School of Medicine found that when statins were used to lower the cholesterol levels, the lower the cholesterol lowering the higher the risk of developing new cancer. Alarmingly, statin induced cholesterol reduction was associated with triple the incidence of cancer. Previous studies have shown the increase in cancer as well, the PROSPER trial showed statin use was associated with an increase in breast cancer by a factor of 15.
In this recent Journal of the American College of Cardiology study, no single form of cancer predominated. The implication is that if there is a side-effect of having a very low level of LDL, it would likely apply to all types of cancer.
This finding is alarming because of the scope of statin use and the fact that this study fits in with the findings of many other studies which have suggested serious adverse outcomes with statin use. Statins are also being pushed for prevention of a first heart attack in people with only moderate cardiovascular risk.
Remember, 75 percent of people who suffer heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.
It makes sense that low cholesterol levels are linked to cancer because cholesterol is one of your body’s basic building blocks. You need it to make most hormones and you therefore weaken the body by depleting hormones and also deprive the body of the cholesterol needed to build and repair cell membranes, preserve your nerve cells through the formation of the protective “sheaths” that cover them and make vitamin D which plays a key role in immune system function.
Starving your body of this critical substance will lead to other health problems. We already know that extremely low cholesterol levels result in muscle weakness, fatigue, depression, decreased sex drive, and “brain fog.” This new research shows that there may be even more deadly consequences.
In order to keep your arteries healthy remember to consume only natural fats. Avoid processed food, corn oil or fast foods containing “trans” fats – these man-made substances were never meant for consumption, and your body doesn’t know what to do with them. They wind up clogging your arteries and producing heart disease.
The best sources of natural fats are from free-range or grass-fed animals, eggs, nuts and olive or coconut oil. These are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. (As with all foods, look for organic or minimally processed options whenever possible.)
The health benefit of these natural fats comes from their balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Your body needs both but, as with cholesterol, they have to be in balance. Americans typically get plenty of omega 6’s and need to add high quality omega 3’s such as those from molecularly distilled fish oil and freshly ground flax. The benefits of omega 3’s include lower blood pressure, and decrease inflammation in body tissues. If you stick to eating natural fats, you’ll automatically get the right ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3, which is about 2:1. As an added bonus, you’ll automatically reduce your risk of cancer.
9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables will dramatically improve your cardiovascular health as well. 2 capsules twice a day of capsules of fruits and vegetables has been shown to lower homocysteine levels, oxidative stress and vasospasm associated with a fatty meal (see the previous newsletter from Sept 2, 2007).
Furthermore, the addition of vitamin C and key amino acids such as lysine and proline allows your body to keep the inner blood vessel lining healthy.
To your health!
Donald P Ellsworth, M.D.
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