This wasn’t supposed to happen to you.
Your cholesterol numbers are perfect. Maybe you even use a statin drug to keep them low.
But there you are, stretched out on a hospital bed, listening to some doctor tell you that you’ve had a heart attack.
It happens more often than you’d think. And that’s because countless Brits – and their doctors – have fallen for the ‘cholesterol myth’.
It goes something like this – keep your cholesterol low (preferably by taking statin drugs) and you’ll never have to worry about a heart attack. But studies have shown that lowering your cholesterol using statins doesn’t do a thing to prevent heart attacks or strokes.
There’s a lot more to predicting a heart attack than your cholesterol count. In fact, there’s an important missing link in the whole cholesterol discussion that many mainstream doctors have never figured out.
But once you understand it (and how to test for it) you’ll see how it just may be possible to stop heart disease – or even a deadly heart attack – before they strike.
The cholesterol secret that could save your life
For years in my own medical practice, I’ve seen evidence that the root cause of stroke and heart attack is not JUST elevated cholesterol. In fact, one of my patients has a life-long total cholesterol ranging near 1,000 and a LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) near 600. If high cholesterol was the only cause of cardiovascular disease, she would have been dead a long time ago!
Thankfully, she’s still healthy and vibrant – at the ripe old age of 90.
And, there’s already plenty of research to back up my own findings. A landmark study published in 2009 in the American Heart Journal1 showed that 75 per cent of 135,000 patients that were hospitalised for a heart attack showed cholesterol values that were not high, per the current guidelines at that time.
Half of them even had cholesterol levels that were considered IDEAL, to boot!2
That surprised a lot of people in the mainstream – but it shouldn’t have. As far back as 1979, scientists knew that just having high LDL cholesterol was not the ONLY factor involved in cardiovascular disease.
Clearly, the LDL cholesterol needed to be MODIFIED in some way to be rendered ‘dangerous’ – that is, to spark off the chemical process of clogging an artery.
Oxidation puts you on the fast track to Heart Attack City
You see, LDL cholesterol isn’t bad on its own. It’s when it becomes ‘oxidized’ through inflammation (I explain exactly how this happens in the box below) that it sticks to and clogs your arteries.
So how much LDL cholesterol you have isn’t all that important. It’s how much of it is oxidized that counts.
Fortunately, there’s an oxidized LDL – or ‘OxLDL’ – blood test that doesn’t measure the AMOUNT of LDL in your body, but how much damage has actually been done to your arteries once the LDL became oxidized.
Since oxidized LDL testing was first developed in 1986, there have been over 5,000 published articles that support using oxidized LDL as a marker and predictor of heart attacks.
And it’s WAY more accurate than a standard cholesterol test. One of the larger studies showed that patients with an elevated oxidized LDL were over four times more likely to have a heart attack than if their LDL wasn’t oxidized.3
Unfortunately, for years oxidized LDL testing wasn’t reliable and affordable enough to provide to the masses, so it went largely ignored.
The great news is that’s all changed, and oxidized LDL testing has become more widely available and economical. There are labs that can do the test, and I regularly use it as a screening tool for my high-risk patients.
If you’re like most patients, you’ve never had an oxidized LDL test. But you should get one, as it will give you a much more complete picture of your heart attack risk.
Ask your doctor to order the test. If he’s not familiar with it, or doesn’t know how to interpret it, there are a number of blood labs that offer these tests privately.
Powerful supplements fight oxidation… naturally!
So what can you do if your oxidized LDL is high – or you’re just interested in preventing oxidation in your body?
Common sense tells us that if oxidation is the problem, antioxidants are the solution.
Unfortunately, a lot of patients and doctors are steered away from this course of action because of studies about a decade ago that claimed antioxidants didn’t work in fighting heart disease.4
Well, those studies only tested two antioxidants: vitamin E and beta carotene. And the doses used were much too small to be of any clinical benefit.
Believe it or not, some old studies actually DID show the amazing powers of vitamin E in select groups of patients, but were swept under the rug. In fact, in one study of patients with known excessive oxidation, 800IU of vitamin E a day provided an amazing 75 per cent reduction in heart attack risk!5
To top that, the results were SO good in another study that it was deemed unethical to keep giving anyone a placebo dummy pill when the vitamin E worked so well.6
I have tested oxidized LDL for many patients in my own clinic, and there are strong indications that supplementing with a good quality antioxidant is ESSENTIAL to stop some of the ‘rust’ that is building up in your arteries.
As we test and learn more, I’ll continue to update you about which supplements are proving to lower the oxidized LDL values the most.
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Vol. 10, Issue 1 • January 2016
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.