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    Thread: Cholesterol

    1. #1
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      Cholesterol

      I decided to start with this topic because it'll get your attention.
      If I can sustain your interest and mine, I hope to turn this into a series of posts on being healthy.

      A majority of you, reading this post, might have issues with "cholesterol"
      I've put "cholesterol" in quotes because, my understanding of this topic has changed a lot in the past year, and continues to change on a daily basis. A lot of what we've been traditionally taught about cholesterol is misguided, and downright wrong.

      Cholesterol is not a suicide molecule.
      It has not been designed to kill you. It has not been designed by evolution to make sure you eat Statins(anti cholesterol meds) daily.

      Cholesterol is essential to life.
      Every single cell in the body needs it to build cell walls. If the cell walls are of inferior quality, nothing works properly. A vast majority of the hormones that regulate the function of your body needs cholesterol as a raw material.

      So why is your doctor and popular media going on and on about this molecule?

      Let me try and explain this in terms of cars ,roads and passengers. It might not be an ideal analogy, but it will give you an idea.

      Blood vessels(arteries) =Roads
      Lipoproteins= cars and their drivers
      Cholesterol=passengers

      Think of your arteries as expressways. They are smooth, and carry traffic at high speeds efficiently. Pedestrians are not allowed on expressways. They need vehicles. Cholesterol similarly, doesn't float around in the arteries. They have to be transported within the lipoprotein vehicles.

      A block in the road normally won't happen, unless there is an idiot driver who drops off his passengers in the wrong place(middle of the expressway instead of at the airport/bus stop)

      A block will happen more easily where the surface of the expressway is damaged
      Vehicles start piling up near the potholes. Passengers jump out because they are impatient. Some jump out to help. Ultimate result is further traffic chaos, and if unlucky, total gridlock(heart attack/stroke)

      Sometimes the police turn up(the immune system) and clear the mess. The passengers who were screwing up the traffic and the drivers parking illegally, get hauled away. However, sometimes, the police get overzealous and beat up every one in the vicinity and further worsen the problem. Sometimes, they are so rough, that they further damage the already cratered road and put up road blocks(plaque fibrosis and thickening)

      Let me tell you a little bit more about those idiot drivers and their cars.
      All lipoproteins are not the same. Some types tend to deposit cholesterol more easily in the wrong places than others. If your body has an excess of the wrong kind of lipoprotein, it doesn't matter how much cholesterol you have, you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Going by the analogy, if the expressway has a high percentage of idiot drivers, it won't matter how many passengers they are carrying, they will make a mess .

      Combine idiot drivers with poorly maintained cars (oxidised lipoproteins) and you have a recipe for disaster.

      So, what can you do to decrease the risk of gridlock on the expressway?


      1. reduce the number of vehicles, use buses instead of cars
      2. make sure the road infrastructure is in good shape, reduce the opportunities for poor drivers to drop off passengers at the wrong places.
      3. reduce idiot drivers
      4. make sure the police force behaves in a sensible manner
      5. make sure the vehicles are in good condition.


      Point 1. and Point 3 (Changing the lipoprotein profile to a less risky one)

      This is mostly genetic. If you have a genetic tendency to produce atherogenic type lipoproteins,things are difficult. But, there is a lot you can do.
      A healthy diet(not what you think-more on that later)
      Smart exercise(again, not what you think)

      Point 2,4,5 (Controlling inflammation)
      This is where you can make the biggest difference
      Stop smoking, control blood pressure, control blood sugar, control stress, eat a healthy diet,sleep well(will elaborate) and lastly, exercise.

      I did this post on a whim, so it might not be perfect. Do ask me any doubts you have. I'll try and answer them the best I can.
      I did make an attempt at getting this information out in this forum earlier, but, it didn't have the effect I was looking for. Mostly because you guys are all lazy buggers and need to be spoon fed. If that's how you want it, fine, but, be prepared for some JCB size spoonfuls.

      Summary (For the really really lazy people here)


      1. Cholesterol is essential for life. Lower is not always better
      2. Total cholesterol levels are meaningless
      3. Lipoprotein particle counts and inflammation are the main determinants of disease(among other things)
      4. Not smoking,reducing stress, a healthy diet, sleep and exercise will make a big difference to your risk profile
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    2. #2
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      Great Thread Doc!! Actually thats a very nice analogy there . Explain Healthy Diet pls . What would be the recommended min hours of sleep be and which is better? Going to bed early or late? Better Food timings?
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    3. #3
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      even simpler:

      cholestrol = Castrol.

      the right grade and quantity are vital.

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      Control stress - Would love to know your inputs on tackling this doc. Stress now days need not be due to working for 15 to 18 hours a day continuously sitting in the same place in a high pressure job. Daily city commuting, mundane routine, poor eating and sleeping habits as a result of the daily commute + number of office hours is enough to cause stress.
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      Subscribed! I missed this last sun Ripper. Do post whatever you can. Will try to follow.

      Also, i have heard about your palio diet before. But that involves lot of meat too right? But i dont have an option of having home made meat. Will love to hear about other veggie alternatives.
      Last edited by WildWeasel; 23rd Aug 2012 at 11:09.

    6. #6
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      Its called the Paleo diet. That is a huge topic, and I need to make a coherent, concise post in a separate thread for that. It will take me some time. For people who are impatient, the best resources would be,
      1. The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf Amazon.com: The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet (9780982565841): Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain Ph.D.: Books
      2. The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson Amazon.com: The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series) (9780982207703): Mark Sisson: Books
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      Listen to the wise man. His words of wisdom will benefit one and all.

      I've seen this man go from being bulkier than me to a size I was proud of being till 2008. I've seen him run up hills, where everyone else was panting up just last week. His energy is amazing and he has also managed to convert hydra and muneemmk to follow his advice and having met both of them, I can only vouch that Doc's advice works. And very well.

      We were so fascinated by his enthusiasm on this topic that I myself have decided to do the impossible. Quit smoking a few days ago, took a appointment for a blood test and other tests tomorrow! So will post the results for everyone to see.
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      5 stars Doc. WOnderful. At a correct time this came in.
      Try walking into YOUR car rather than crawling. For me walking is always best ---GURU SHISHIR

    9. #9
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      I need to get fit. I used to do trekking frequently and did not have much issues, now I cant climb few floors without panting . I need advice on this as well, want to start trekking again
      "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
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      Cholesterol Part 2 - Dietary Cholesterol

      Like I'd said in my earlier post, Cholesterol is essential to life. Evolution tends to back up systems very efficiently as far as life essential stuff is concerned.
      The average human body produces almost 1000 mg of cholesterol a day. Irrespective of whether you eat eggs or meat. It will find a way to produce the cholesterol it needs to sustain life the best way it can.

      Seeing a high cholesterol in a person with heart disease does not always mean that his heart disease was caused by high cholesterol.

      Thats like seeing firefighters at the scene of every house fire you pass, and assuming that the firefighters started the fire. Its a matter of correlation vs causation.

      The body tightly regulates cholesterol levels. As long as you let it.
      If you push it by sleeping poorly, by stressing out, smoking and eating refined carbohydrates indiscriminately the body will compensate by changing the lipid profile.

      Dietary cholesterol(the cholesterol you consume in food) has very little effect on the cholesterol levels in your blood.
      I see patients who are shocked when I tell them that their lipid profile is high.
      But doctor! How can it be? I dont eat meat more than twice a month, that too only chicken breast, I use only sunflower oil and I eat chappathis instead of rice.
      Its tragic! They're doing everything their doctor tells them to do. Inspite of that, they get "cholesterol"
      How would vegetarians get cholesterol then? How can you explain that? It is not the cholesterol you eat, that causes your cholesterol to rise. It is something else. Think about it.

      What do their doctors do? They either tell them to go vegetarian, or tell them they're lying, or they put them on a drug.

      Humans are the pinnacle of evolution. We rule this planet. We werent meant to be sick and weak.
      We are not meant to live only with the support of drugs. If we fix our lifestyle, there is no need for drugs to fix our "lifestyle" diseases.
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