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    Old 06-29-2005, 04:03 AM   #1
    DisManIs2Cool
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    Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    I've been reading the posts on this and other sites for some time now, but only recently registered as a member. There is a lot of interesting info I see posted on this site.

    Is there any concensus opinion of what causes arterial blockages and heart attacks?

    I've been reading a lot about how inflammation may be a key factor. But what causes it and how do you control it?

    Is high cholesterol as bad as my doctor says it is? Or is something else going on that causes heart disease to be such a huge problem in this country?

    DisManIs2Cool

    Last edited by DisManIs2Cool; 06-29-2005 at 04:06 AM.

     
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    Old 06-29-2005, 04:21 AM   #2
    Lenin
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Cool,

    Your questions have formed the basis of 40 years of research into heart diease. Easier asked than answered.
    Personally, I think it's a case of "can't have one without the other." I see coronary artery disease as initaited by some sort of injury to a very small artery that heals itself poorly resulting in a mix of scar tissue, fat and cholesterol that can grow over time given the proper "nourishment" (more waxy grease.)
    There are probably myriad things that are cabable of the initial injury, chemical, physical, bacterial, viral and probably a life cannot be spent without encountering many such attacks. I'm sure it goes on all over the body usually unnoticed.
    The specialized non-redundant quality of the heart's operation makes it unique in that the eventual blockage of ONE, TEENY ARTERY can kill. Anywhere else in the body a closed off 1 mm. artery would probably result in a cramp or a bad bruise or a couple days feeling wonky. Even the brain has redundancies that can cope with small blockages in certain areas...but not the heart.

    Inflammation is part of nature's healing process and is with us from birth to death, it CANNOT be done away with. It's the initiating insults/injuries that must be found and mitigated, some now are known like homocysteine and ferritin. But until more are known, good lipid control is necessary so we can be certain that the REPAIRS to the coronary arteries are done as neatly as possible so as not to result in waxy fatty globs waiting to act as our executioners!

    Last edited by Lenin; 06-29-2005 at 04:27 AM.

     
    Old 06-29-2005, 11:11 AM   #3
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    When they are talking about infections or inflamation; they are talking about seemingly healthy people having heart attacks or stokes. These people has normal cholesterol levels. They have found that the infection causes a raise in C-reactive protein, which causes the heart attack or stroke. This means that high cholesterol, especially if the LDL is higher than 130, is still a risk factor for heart disease. There's also a ratio between LDL and HDL that is important to pay attention to. You don't want your HDL to be too low.
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    Old 06-29-2005, 04:48 PM   #4
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Lenin & Magpiezoe,

    Thank you both very much for your responses. I guess this 'heart disease' situation is much more complicated than I had imagined.

    Yes, I know it is far easier to pose the question that to answer it. I will begin doing some research also, and hopefully will be able to contribute to the site.

    I guess the source of the inflammation, which initiates the plaque-formation process, is not all that well understood by medical science as of yet.

    Do either of you take anything that may prevent the inflammation or ameliorate it's effects? I know that keeping cholesterol low is key - but is there anything you know that can help reduce the inflammation?

    I've read some posts that Folic Acid reduces homocystein - so I assume this is a good thing to take.

    Are there any things you are doing other than control your LDL, and strive for a good HDL/LDL ratio to stave off heart disease?

    Thanks again,

    DisManIs2Cool

     
    Old 06-29-2005, 04:57 PM   #5
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Cool,

    Well, I don't think that anyone has been able to put together all the pieces yet, and everyone seems to have their own opinion. My personal belief is that inflammation is the root cause of the problem, not cholesterol. If your arteries are not strong and healthy, and become weak and damaged, then the body's natural response would be to attempt to repair it. It does this by laying down plaque, sort of like how a scab forms over a wound. Of course, this can occur regardless of cholesterol levels. Presumably, the process may accelerate when cholesterol numbers are high.

    I feel that it is important to keep inflammation risk markers, such as homocysteine and C-reactive protein levels in a desirable range. An adequate intake of folic acid, and vitamins B-6 and B-12 can help keep homocysteine levels within normal range. Aspirin, vitamins C and E, and fish oil may help lower elevated C-reactive protein levels. But I strongly believe that a high intake of vitamin C is crucial to maintaining strong, healthy arteries. The problem is, many people simply don't get enough of it. The RDA of 100mg per day is just not enough. You need to take doses far higher than that, preferably several grams spread out throughout the course of a day. Your body uses vitamin C very quickly. After taking a single dose of vitamin C, blood levels will peak after a few hours, and will then drop right back down again within 4-6 hours. That's why repeated doses taken throughout the day are best. Vitamin C is vitally important for the production of collagen. It is collagen which gives strength and elasticity to our arteries and keeps them healthy and strong. On top of that, vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant. I think that if I was given the choice of taking just one supplement, that supplement would be vitamin C.
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    Old 06-29-2005, 05:52 PM   #6
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Arizona,

    Thanks for the response.

    I have, for a number of years, been taking Vitamin-E (d-alpha-tocopherol) 400IU and 250mg Vitamin-C.

    I'm going to add Folic Acid asap, and the other B vitamins also.

    How much Vitamin-C do you recommend? You said several grams - do you mean 2 or 3, or more?

    I've read a lot of good things about Fish Oil also, and will look for some in the grocery store next time I go. I think one recent post said it is not just good for preventing heart disease, but for reducing joint pains.

    DisManIs2Cool

     
    Old 06-29-2005, 05:59 PM   #7
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Lenin,

    What do you think of my cholesterol numbers? Do you think I should stay on Policosanol? Or, if I can't take statins, is there something else I should ask my doctor about that would help my cholesterol yet not cause the muscle pains I had before?

    I'm afraid I couldn't stand to go thru that again - I'd rather take my chances and risk heart disease...

    DisManIs2Cool

     
    Old 06-29-2005, 05:59 PM   #8
    Lenin
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Aspirin is often touted for its ability to prevent platelet agglomeration around an injury, thus mitigating clotting. Maybe not given enough emphasis is the POTENT anti-inflammatory effect of aspirin. I think it is far wiser to take 325 mg. or even 650 mg. of aspirin daily for this anti-inflammatory effect rather than just the teeny minimum from keeping platelets from sticking together.

    If you have stomach problems, this route isn't for you but I take 2 adult aspirin every day except when I'm suffereing aches and pains (not infrequent) when I take a good deal more (usually 4!)

    Last edited by Lenin; 06-29-2005 at 06:00 PM.

     
    Old 06-29-2005, 07:34 PM   #9
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Cool,

    Yes, two or three grams is fine. In fact, Linus Pauling had recommended that all people should take at least two grams of vitamin C as a preventative measure. But just divide it up throughout the day. For example, if you are taking two grams per day, take it in four divided doses of 500mg, with the last dose being taken before going to sleep. I think that it is a good preventative measure to take. Just remember that prevention is the key. It's best to embark on such a regimen early in life, before problems develop. Let's face it, if you are going to wait until you have had two or three heart attacks, and have undergone quadruple bypass surgery before using vitamin C, well, I'm afraid that's a lot like closing the barn door after the horse got out. I'm 50 years old now, and I've been taking vitamin C religiously ever since I was in my early twenties. I think I've made a wise decision.
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    Old 06-30-2005, 05:10 AM   #10
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    DisMan,

    I don't see your numbers in the thread (excuse me if I mossed them, this is my first coffee.)
    I think policosanol is pretty much a waste of money based on the results that others who've posted in the past have gotten. I've never tried it myself.

    THere are several other drug groups that are weaker alternatives for lipid contol: the fibrates, bile acid resins, nicotinic acid (niacin) and ezetimibe. All are weaker than statins and all have their own host of side effects. If you can't get decent control through diet and exercise (many cannot) then you can work your way through these drugs to see if any are efficatious for you without being too riddled with side effects. Often the exact lipid profile points to one or the other as a best choice.

     
    Old 07-02-2005, 07:22 AM   #11
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Cool,

    I just started Policosanol about 5 weeks ago. As a matter of fact, I had a blood-test at my doctor's last week (didn't get results yet), and when I told him about my problems with Lipitor, and not wanting to go back on a statin, he said I might try Policosanol. I have my follow-up with him in a few weeks (he keeps telling me insurance requires a separate visit for a follow-up to get the results from the exam!!!). I'll let you know what particular brand of Policosanol he recommends. I will also post my test results.

    I think part of the reason for the poor track record on Policsanol could be that some are taking a version made from bee's wax - these do NOT lower cholesterol. You have to get a brand made from Sugar Cane. I am taking "Policosanol 10" by Rx Vitamins. This is the brand recommended by Dr. Ronald Hoffman.

    I also take high doses of vitamin-c like Arizona (but unfortunately did not start on high-doses as early in life as he did - I was only taking about 250mg/day before). I'm 51 and have been on it for about a year. I take about 4 grams spread out thru the day, with about 2 grams l-lysine again spread out. I'm about to order some Ascobyl Palmitate - a fat-based version of vitamin-c that is retained longer in the body. Vitamin-C is needed for collagen production - and collogen is a key ingredient in the artery/vein cell walls.

    I understand your reluctance to go back on statins - I had muscle problems also - but not as severe as yours.

    Also, do some research on cholesterol and heart disease/heart attacks. The relationship is not as strong as you may think. Do study-up on chronic, low-level inflammation as a factor in CHD. Consider taking 800mg/day of Folic Acid to reduce your homocysteine levels (a key marker for inflammation). Also, Omega-3 Fish Oil (6grams/day at least) is good for the heart, the vascular system and will even reduce joint pain.

    Best of luck, and welcome to the forum...

    HubbleRules

     
    Old 07-02-2005, 11:29 AM   #12
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Hubble...Hope your tests turn out good, I know U have been really working on lowering those numbers. Also hope your mom is home and doing well. Make sure ya give her ALOT of TLC.....

     
    Old 07-03-2005, 05:39 AM   #13
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lenin
    DisMan,

    I don't see your numbers in the thread (excuse me if I mossed them, this is my first coffee.)
    I think policosanol is pretty much a waste of money based on the results that others who've posted in the past have gotten. I've never tried it myself.

    THere are several other drug groups that are weaker alternatives for lipid contol: the fibrates, bile acid resins, nicotinic acid (niacin) and ezetimibe. All are weaker than statins and all have their own host of side effects. If you can't get decent control through diet and exercise (many cannot) then you can work your way through these drugs to see if any are efficatious for you without being too riddled with side effects. Often the exact lipid profile points to one or the other as a best choice.

    Lenin,

    Thank you for the info about Aspirin - I'm started taking 325grams/day of buffered aspirin. I will ask my doctor about the above drugs also. Have you had any personal experience with them? I've been reading good things about Vytorin - what do you think of this med?

    I also started on 800mg Folic Acid and Vitamin C and Lysine. I think whatever one can do to fight inflammation the better.

    I jad to give up statins about a year ago due to muscle pain (serious I mean). About 6 months ago I started on Policosanol. On Lipitor my total cholesterol was 185. After 6 months on 20mg Policosanol, my total cholesterol was 198, and my HDL increased to 79 from 58. As I mentioned to JJ, I'm afraid I haven't been saving my other numbers. My last test was a freebie at a mall. From here on in I'll track ALL my numbers.

    Thanks again for your posts. I always find them very helpful and full of useful info. How did you ever acquire so much knowledge about cholesterol and heart disease?

    DisManIs2Cool

     
    Old 07-04-2005, 06:15 AM   #14
    Lenin
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    DisMan,

    Vytorin is a powerful combination drug consisting of a lower dose statin (simvastatin- Zocor) and ezetimibe. It will lower cholesterol A LOT but anyone who has had severe muscle pain from Lipitor had best tread lightly because there is a very good chance the Vytorin will do the same...but simvastatin IS weaker than atorvastatin and the dose is smaller so it's worth a try if the natural methods don;t work.
    Folic Acid is an EXCELLENT daily supplement and it's effect can be directly monitored by testing serum homocysteine at ever blood test. If you can't get it low enough, feel free to go up to 2 mg. of the stuff (2000mcg.); it's very cheap and quite impossible to overdose.
    I think Lysine supplementation is a waste of money because lysine is freely available in any protein food at many times the piddling amount in pricey supplements. It's a gimmick. I feel SIMILAR to megadosing with Vitamin C but at least overdosing on either of these substances won't hurt you...well, conceivably the excess lysine can fatten you up, but not much!

    My feeling is that I alone am ultimately responsible for my health and since heart disease will probably take me into the great beyond if I don't learn all there is to learn, it's to my detriment. My GP knows diddly-squat about the subject!
    Anyone who puts his complete faith in a doctor without being forearmed with knowledge is putting his neck in a noose.

     
    Old 07-04-2005, 06:00 PM   #15
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    Re: Cholesterol or Inflammation?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DisManIs2Cool
    Lenin,

    I jad to give up statins about a year ago due to muscle pain (serious I mean). About 6 months ago I started on Policosanol. On Lipitor my total cholesterol was 185. After 6 months on 20mg Policosanol, my total cholesterol was 198, and my HDL increased to 79 from 58. As I mentioned to JJ, I'm afraid I haven't been saving my other numbers. My last test was a freebie at a mall. From here on in I'll track ALL my numbers.

    DisManIs2Cool

    Cool,

    Do you know what your cholesterol levels were before you took either statins or Policosanol?

    I'm curious, because I just started Policosanol myself about 5-6 weeks ago, and was wondering if it raised your HDL and lowered your LDL below what your baseline was (before any drugs/supplements).

    I had a blood test last week, and hope to get the results soon. I'm not sure if I was on Policosanol long enough for it to have an effect on my levels as of last week. I've read it can take 8-12 weeks to really kick-in. Did you find this to be the case for yourself?

    I am really interested in improving my HDL/LDL ratio, and lowering my triglycerides to below 200. I'm not too concerned about my total cholesterol level, because I think that the HDL/LDL ratio is far more important than the TC number, and that injury to the blood vessels and the resulting inflammatory response are more of a factor in heart disease than cholesterol levels per se.

    I take the following supplements (in addition to Policosanol - which I tend to take with dinner):

    Vitamin-C 3-4 grams - spread out over 3 doses (to prevent LDL from
    oxydizing and to foster collagen production for healthy arteries)
    L-Lysine 2-3 grams - spread out over 3 doses
    Folic Acid 800mg (to lower homocysteine)
    Omega-3 Fish Oil (3-4 grams - total of 2000mg EPA + DHA) (to boost HDL)
    CoQ10 - 100mg/day (to treat muscle pain induced by statins some time ago)
    Niacin (inositol hexanicotinate) 500mg/day - to raise HDL

    Read up on the Pauling Therapy if you want to learn more about the benefits of Vitamin-C and L-lysine. His theory on heart disease was that atherosclerosis is a result of man's inability to synthesize vitamin-c, and that this leads to damage to the vascular system, which the body tries to repair by binding Lp(a) and cholesterol to the injury site.

    I'm also considering Ascorbyl Palmitate - an oil-based version of vitamin-c. It's advantage is that it sticks around in the body longer than ascorbic acid.

    I admire your running ability - I wish I had half the capability you do. My goal by the end of the summer is to be able to run 5 miles in 45 minutes. I'm doing 3 miles about 4 times a week right now.

    I think that cardio-vascular workouts are the best thing you can do to help stay healthy and mentally alert.

    Hope you are free of your muscle pains now.

    HubbleRules

     
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