Tuesday, 20 August 2013

How to cure heart disease

Forget cholesterol readings.  Forget statins.  Calcium score tests are useful, but expensive and you can't monitor yourself.

Here's how to take control of your own heart health.

Get yourself a simple tool to measure your blood sugar.  Take a measurement one hour after eating.  Focus on maintaining a stable blood sugar rate of 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L) by changing what you eat.  This will reduce heart disease and may save your life.


The lining of the blood vessels, the endothelium, is thin.  It is easily damaged by high blood glucose levels.  Unlike other body tissue, endothelial cells can't resist high blood sugar.  The lining becomes inflamed and suffers oxidative stress.  Eventually, if inflammation persists, over time the blood vessel lining gets damaged.  This is a process of lots of tiny lesions that accummulate and compromise the blood vessels.  Lipoproteins transport material to repair the walls, which is how we develop artherosclerosis.

Saturated fat and a high fat diet do not cause heart disease.

There is no scientific evidence (from any robust studies) that proves a causal link.  There is good evidence that inflammation from prolonged elevated blood sugar levels triggers the damage that leads to repairs of cells walls, which we call plaque.

A body temperature of 37 degrees C (98.6 F) does not allow fats to 'clog our arteries'.  If that were so, then the engines of our cars would clog with the oil and grease we put into them.

Dr Dwight Lundell is a former heart surgeon, who now devotes his time to raising awareness about this causal link and post prandial hyperglycaemia.  He talks about why the body doesn't react strongly to this damage and let us know that our high carbohydrate diet is damaging us.  He reminds us of our hunter gatherer ancestors finding a bee hive and a large source of sweetness.  The body allows this, because the honey was critical for survival.  We no longer need to store nutrients for survival in the same way.

Listen to his forthright interviews with Jimmy Moore for full information.  The first interview reveals what happens to medics in the USA who stand up to unscientific orthodoxy and the might of the pharmaceutical industry.  If you Google his name you'll find articles criticising him as a quack.  'Evidence based medicine' is a term that would have made George Orwell proud for its Newspeak qualities.

Friday, 16 August 2013

How does fat consumption affect humans? 1

This is the current advice from Western governments.  Eat vegetable oils and avoid animal fats.

Butter has been turned into the devil incarnate along with lard, beef dripping and fatty meats. Human beings ate fatty diets including animal fats for centuries.  Industrially produced vegetable oils are a recent innovation.

Lipidologist, Chris Masterjohn, gives an overview of traditional diets and the role of animal fats in aiding absorption of essential micronutrients.

(Please note that other videos in this series are provided as links, because Youtube didn't enable me to post them in a frame.  I highly recommend taking the time to watch the whole series):

Chris looks at the balance of macronutrients in 3 traditional Pacific Island diets.  Some ate less than a third of the diet as fat while others consumed more than half the calories as fat.  He analyses the types of fat (saturated, mono and poly unsaturated MUFA & PUFA) and the ratios.  They all ate more saturated fat and much lower percentages of PUFAs than modern Western diets.

We are told that science proves that animal fats cause heart disease, as illustrated by the famous Time Magazine cover and article.   Sadly scientists ran poorly designed research, changed the groups during the work, merged the data, failed to randomise the trials properly, didn't streamline the trials to focus on a single intervention, ignored clear data from the research and drew fallacious conclusions.  Researchers continue to muddle correlation with cause (eg people carry umbrellas when it rains, versus umbrellas trigger rain).

Chris uses 2 criteria to include analysis of research:  randomised controlled trial and a single factor intervention.  This excludes the Oslo diet heart study; STARS; Lyon diet heart study; DART 1; Finnish mental hospital study.

Masterjohn takes us through 6 trials that fit his 2 criteria:

Rose & colleagues 1965 vegetable oil substitution trial (corn oil isn't helpful and seems to be harmful);

Sydney diet-heart study (the data indicates that PUFAs can kill you - the scientists concluded that men who have had heart attacks make poor research subjects);

Saint Vincent's Hospital Study (at 10 years they changed the control group, making it impossible to infer cause-effect from the study);

The Medical Research Council Study looked at soya oil, but introduced a confounder in getting subject to take half the oil unheated, thus removing some effects of heat damage.  No effects found);

The Minnesota Coronary Survey (double blind study, large, included women, but very short.  Over time the PUFA diet subjects had poorer survival rates)

The LA Veterans Administration Hospital Study (double blind study, long trial, mean age over 60.  After 2 years, vegetable oils increased the risk of other diseases including cancer, after 6-7 years survival rates from non heart diseases on PUFAs decrease markedly).

Chris draws the following conclusions from the LA VA Administration Hospital Study:

-  The effects of animal fat, cigarette smoking and Vitamin E deficiency on heart disease mortality cannot be distinguished from one another.

-  Long term vegetable oil consumption may increase mortality from cancer and other causes.

-  Animal fat may protect against the adverse effects of cigarette smoking and vitamin E deficiency

-  Studies with a duration of fewer than seven years are not long enough to determine the  true effects of vegetable oils

The study authors conclude that clinical trials must be planned for periods well in excess of 8 years, rather than the 5 year periods that have been the usual goal.

There is no evidence that substituting vegetable oils for animal fats reduces heart disease or saves lives and may in fact do the opposite.  Vegetable oils appear to promote cancer.

NHS Choices says in 'Fat the Facts':

Fats to cut down on

As part of a healthy diet, we should try to cut down on food that is high in saturated fat.

Eating a diet high in saturated fat can cause the level of cholesterol in your blood to build up over time. Raised cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease.

What a pity that the research doesn't support this contention.  I choose to believe the science.

Masterjohn cites several unanswered questions:

What is the long term effect of vegetable oils?

What are the effects in healthy, free living youth from the beginning of life?

Does it make a difference whether the vegetable oils are balanced in Omega 3 or not?

How do they interact with other nutrients in the diet?

What is the effect of high quality, nutrient dense animal fats like good butter instead of the poor quality, vitamin E deficient fats used in the last study?

We are guinea pigs for these oils which have never given evidence for preventing heart disease.  They may in fact be toxic.

Chris concludes:

-  Clinical trials have miserably failed to demonstrate harmful effects of saturated fat.

-  Vegetable oils may promote hart disease and likely promote cancer.

-  Animal fats can help maximise nutritional status, provent physical degeneration and promote vibrant health.

Chis Masterjohn doesn't promote any particular type of diet or macronutrient ratio. 

He advocates a common sense view. 

He recognises that a range of different diets have promoted health and that people's needs vary throughout life, depending on what micronutrients the body needs for health.

He does not advocate eating a high saturated fat diet or the opposite, but aims to dispel myths and fear about fat.

Eat as much of these traditional, healthy whole foods as you need (including organ meat) and enjoy it!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Gods and invisible authors

Imagine this exchange:

'I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."'
Part of a speech made recently by Oprah Winfrey

No no, she was quoting Martin Luther King, who quoted Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

Whatever.  It's a great quote whoever said it.

I imagine that most people would think this mistake was elementary and many Americans might find it insulting.

Let's consider a concrete example from the last few years:

"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."     

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela did indeed utter these words and the whole of a section of a book from which this came.  He is not the author of these words.  

If I stand up and say "To be or not to be, that is the question, whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them?.."  no one would claim that I wrote 'Hamlet' or forget that Shakespeare wrote the play.  Perhaps people prefer to think the fear speech comes from a known person, rather than an author and speaker in New Age circles.  I see the same process on the internet, where quotes are regularly ascribed to the Dalai Lama, Einstein and a host of other (male) eminent people who did not utter the words originally.

What bemuses me is the reaction of people when corrected.  Groups of people have tried to shout me down, not wishing to believe that Mandela did not author the wise words he spoke, which so fit his stature as demi-God elder statesmen.  Others seem uninterested in Marianne Williamson and dismiss the importance of the author.  I'm willing to bet they'll have forgotten her name and continue to ascribe her words to Mandela for the rest of time.

If a singer records a song written by another performer, the author gets the royalties.  Books can be plundered and the authors loses out.

What if I claimed that Mandela said from his hospital bed:  "Kiss me Hardy!"  I'd hardly close my mouth before people would tell me it was Horatio Nelson on his deathbed, not Nelson Mandela, voices dripping with sarcasm.

I write this post at a time when women are sent anonymous rape and death threats for being outspoken and high profile on social media sites.  Comedians deliver a relentless stream of frigid/horse face jokes about older high profile women such as Hilary Clinton and Camilla Parker Bowles. 

What makes it so difficult for us to accept and feel comfortable with wisdom uttered by women?

Here's the part that Mandela quoted:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

----from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.