Harold Gunatillake, MD, FRCS, FACS (US), FIACS (US), AM (Sing), MBBS (Cey), possibly the most degreed physician that I’ve encountered in 35 years in the health care industry, wrote a provocative piece recently in The Sunday Leader recently, entitled “Does Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?”
To his credit, he makes some very powerful observations in this brief article that deserve repeating and also deserve some commentary. First the repeat:
- The standard American diet lacks the nutrition to maintain healthy HDL
- Trans fat in the standard American diet lowers HDL
- Numerous studies show that people with high cholesterol live the longest: (You might want to read that sentence again…)
- In subjects >70, those NOT receiving Statins lived the longest
- In a Canadian study of 5,000 men tracked over 12 yrs, Cholesterol was NOT associated with Heart Disease
- In a study of 120 subjects with 2nd Heart Attacks, the number with low Cholesterol vs. those with high Cholesterol was almost identical
- The Maoris of New Zealand regularly die of Heart Attacks, irrespective of their Cholesterol levels.
- Residents of Japan are noted for their low risk of Heart Disease, except when they move to the U.S. & adopt the Standard American Diet. CHD soon follows.
It’s safe to say that Cholesterol is NOT the cause of Heart Disease. Bill Sardi and a host of notable clinicians, scientists, and health advocates (i.e. Uffe Ravnskov, MD, John Abramson, MD, Malcolm Kendrick, MD, Stephen Sinatra, MD, Jonny Bowden, and Anthony Colpo) have developed compelling and convincing arguments against Cholesterol as the Cause of our nation’s #1 cause of death for over a century. Despite their collective efforts, sales of Statins continue to dwarf most small nation’s GNP, and yet Heart Disease in America continues to rise – unchecked. (No, that was NOT a typo.)
And for those who may have missed it, earlier this month, recent research showed that Statin use causes coronary calcification (Saremi, Diabetes Care, 2012). The truth is just now surfacing in independent, objective labs across the globe. The bloom appears to be off this Cholesterol rose.
And Dr. Gunatillake offers us an intriguing invitation with his article’s close: “This suggests that it is something else, like stress perhaps, that is causing the heart disease.”
Ah, yes! The ubiquitous and ever-talked about *S*T*R*E*S*S*!
It’s just that no one has ever bothered to connect the dots, until now… Please, sit back, buckle up and enjoy the show! Here’s how your Heart really works. Think of this as “Heart Mechanics 101”:
- Our Heart is the most important muscle in our body, beating 24/7, thus requiring a CONSTANT supply of energy
- This constant supply of energy comes by way of ATP, which is aerobically produced, ideally, i.e. with Oxygen and Magnesium. Here’s a picture of the ONLY way that ATP is used in our body: Mg-ATP.
- Our Hearts PREFERRED source of Mg-ATP is from Free Fatty Acids (FFAs) (Please read that again, our Hearts derive ~70-90% of its energy from fat…)
- The process of converting FFAs to Mg-ATP is called Lipolysis, and requires lots and lots of Magnesium (Mg) to complete the process
- Research on Cardiac Tissue of “STRESSED OUT” Hearts shows a significant increase in Free Fatty Acids and significant decrease in Magnesium in these cells. (Flink, EB, 1981; Seelig, MS, 1989; and Bajusz, E, 1969)
- And in studies of “Sudden” Cardiac Death, there is always a SIGNIFICANT loss of Magnesium (Mg) in the Heart Muscle. (Chipperfield & Chipperfield, Lancet, 1973.)
So here’s a formula worth memorizing, unlike all those we were taught in Mathematics class:
*S*T*R*E*S*S* >> Mg loss >> Stress Hormones >> Greater Mg Loss >> Cardiac Cell Death >> Inflammation >> Coronary Calcification >> Heart Disease
And when our Hearts are unable to get the ATP fuel they require, and/or the Magnesium essential to make it and/or break it down, our Hearts start to “Lock Up.” And for anyone who’s ever run too far, the familiar sensation of severe muscle cramp is this very phenomenon. Exactly. (Note: in the Equestrian community, it’s called “Tied Up!”)
So Dr. Gunatillake is quite right! Heart Disease is caused by *S*T*R*E*S*S*. He just forgot to connect the dots. Said another way: ALL Heart Disease is, in fact, caused by Magnesium Deficiency. Stay tuned for similar types of health stories that will prove this statement is far more scientifically pure than “flies causing garbage,” which is what appears to rule Cardiology today.