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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

While I wait to reply with my labs...
Yes. Information is everywhere. There are many interests in the nutrition debate. Namely, beef, dairy, sugar industries, and phamaceutical industries who profit off of you being fat, sick, diabetic, and hypertensive.

Dr. Esselstyn's dies is for PREVENTING AND REVERSING HEART DISEASE. As such, if you do not have heart disease at the moment, or do not have a strong family history, then this is clearly not the diet for you.

Another physician author who offers similar advice is Dean Ornish, MD. He has a new book out called the Spectrum. Essentially his diet is this: eat LESS meat (not eliminate)... eat LESS saturated oils, exercise MORE. To the degree you want to change is the degree which you should do these things.

Dr. Ornish's book is good in that he simply gives you the information, shows you where you can go, and you decide what works and doesn't work. Many people on his program still eat meat, occasional treats as well... its really 'the book' to have if you aren't trying to do something radical like me.

As for cholesterol... several physicians who have published reversal of heart disease by diet suggest <150 total. This is as there is little to no evidence of heart disease events below this number.

As to numbers, a 20 year + study funded by the NIH showed many Chinese, who eat primarily a vegetable based diet had <100 total cholesterol. The study's main researcher, T. Colin Campbell, wrote a text about it called The China Study. Also a good read.

Overall, if you are looking to lower your cholesterol with diet, possibly lower your current meds that you are on or prevent having to go on meds, but you do not want to give up many foods that you hold dear, then check out The Spectrum.

Thanks for providing your results.

As I expected, attacking cholesterol with a one pronged attack still leaves two of your ratios in the high risk category.

Your Trigs/HDL ratio of 4.45 places you in the 'high - very high' risk category. This ratio has been proven to be the most accurate for determining future heart disease. Should be <=2.0

It goes to show that on paper a TC of 110 looks great. But is it?
I'm afraid that I agree with Imacarbuff, it isn't, it's too low!!

The body needs cholesterol ....extremely low cholesterol levels result in muscle weakness, low sex drive, fatigue, depression and a foggy brain. I can personally say that I now suffer from four of the above with a TC of 130.

A low cholesterol level deprives the body of it's function to repair arterial damage caused by inflammation.

Cholesterol is one of our basic building blocks. It is required to produce testosterone. This is used to build and repair our cell membranes and to preserve our nerve cells by forming the sheaths around them.

Apparently, it does not matter how low our cholesterol is.
As long as we have a high HDL count - 75 to 80mg/dl, it doesn't matter whether our total cholesterol is 100 or 350mg/dl.
A high HDL will always keep our risk of heart disease extremely low. This is why ALL ratios are associated with HDL.

Incidents of cancer have been proven, time and again, certainly in Europe to be associated with low cholesterol levels.

60-75% (depends on the literature read) of heart attack victims have normal cholesterol levels.

Don't get me wrong, my hat goes off to you for what you have achieved. But, I believe you have placed too much emphasis on TC, thereby leaving your body exposed to medical conditions at the other end of the cholesterol spectrum.

You should have been looking at increasing HDL. In your case, by @ 300-400%!!!!


The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, a 20 year NIH study, with over 800 significant finds which have been published, associates common Western cancers with high cholesterol.

Dr. Caldwel Esselstyn, Dr, Campbell, and Dr. John McDougall recommend a Total Cholesterol below 150. Why? Other than persons with congenital issues, there is a near zero incidence of heart disease below this level.

Why do they advocate this. I assume as a surgeon at the nation's top cardiology hospital and a top graduate of Yale, or as a top graduate of Harvard with specialties in family practice, and then in internal medicine, they realize, and they state that our body makes all the cholesterol it needs.

This is why there are not rampant diseases of 'low cholesterol' for 75% of the world.

There are persons with hypOcholesterolemia, who may show signs of what you describe.

Myself, as a 200lb person, I would try to run and would get about 1/2 a mile done. On Monday I ran 3 miles straight and felt I could do much more but didn't want to over do it.

Saying that you just need to focus on HDL seems a bit misleading. A high HDL does rid the body of LDL quicker, but it does not stop or reverse Heart Disease. There are several athletes who die routinely of heart disease though their HDL is high. Why... that is not the cause as we all know.

I know of no vegans that exhibit any of the signs you discuss. In fact there are several 'vegan' hard core athletes:
Dave Scott, six-time Hawaii Ironman champion, Edwin Moses, 400 meter hurdler, Martina Narvratilova, tennis great. Oh yeah, Tony Gonzales, Atlanta Falcons... wi ki him for some impressive stats. (Bulls, Bison, Moose... some of natures largest animals... are ... vegan).

Trigs/HDL ratio is well established on the American diet. And it is usually correct when you eat a diet that continues to contribute to heart disease. However, when your eating a diet that is scientifically proven to reverse heart disease.... to the extent that Dr. Dean Ornish now has Medicare funding for it because of 30 years of supporting research, the Trigs/HDL ratio is a non issue for me.

Having a strong science background... I would agree as well that our body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Other than for those rare individuals with abnormal low cholesterol, we don't need to obtain it from animal sources.

Everyone has a choice. You can make little ones, moderate ones, or 'extreme' ones.

Some individuals, the DASH diet works for them. I tried it, it did not. Yet it may be best for them.

Some individuals can go from 7 steaks a week, to 5 and have their numbers where they want them... I say good for them.

Based on my family history, my not wanting to take medications, my not wanting to meet a soon to be early fate based on my family history, and based on the 100+ years of combined evidence that shows diet affects heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, and cancers for the better, I am choosing to go to the extreme.

I should add, as stated before, my HDL seems to be genetically low based on what my family members report, thus I have started an exercise program and will repost on how that affects it as current medicine says it is the best and most effective way to increase it.

Many will not. As I continuously emphasize, it is about choice, and a 'spectrum' of eating choices. That is why I believe many 'diets' don't work. People see them as chains. I can eat this, I can not eat that. When they break down they break down completely. Yet, when you see it as choices it makes the lifestyle very easy. It is not that I can not have Ice Cream. I do on occasion. It is that more often than not, I choose not to. That is the power of the spectrum.

Also, many think a vegan diet is just salad, its not... there is sooooo much variety. We just don't know about it, because frankly that's not how we eat!

I am glad this is getting a good discussion!

Lastly, I should note. Dr. Ornish states in his book, The Spectrum, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. McDougal, and my personal doc agrees, "LDL cholesterol is the most strongly predictive factor for the risk of coronary heart disease of the various cholesterol fractions. The higher your LDL cholesterol, the greater your risk." (pg 203).
Hi delafoo

Excellent writing, thanks.

I have only read extracts from a couple of the six books that Dr. Ornish has written, and I agree with much of what I read.

He also used to have and possibly still has public question and answer web events. One question I read was from a husband of a woman who's cholesterol readings were: Total = 249, HDL = 101, LDL = 132 and triglycerides = 78.
Question - Does the high HDL overcome the high total?

Dr. Ornish reply - It may.

A short and vague reply from one of the top people in that field of medical science.

He writes that meat protein increases homocysteine, and homocysteine increases inflammation, whereas folate from grains and leafy vegetables reduces inflammation.
Unfortunately, I haven't read his book entitled 'Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease' to fully appreciate his understanding of inflammation reduction that leads to reduced cholesterol levels.
So, I cannot understand how a diet of mainly normal high street fruit and vegetables reverses arterial plaque in people who have no inherited risk factors for heart disease. A day's intake of the required total antioxidants and Phytochemicals could not possibly be obtained from them alone to commence and continue the process of arterial plaque reduction.

Can They?


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