Dr Chris Masterjohn is a nutritional researcher I always enjoy reading or listening to. He is very knowledgeable and seemingly unbiased. The other day I was listening to his theories on Cholesterol in an interview with Dr Mercola. He was talking about the greater predictive power of LDL particle size over just simple LDL counts that we get from our GP’s. The idea being that small dense LDL particles are bad and cause greater arterial damage than the large fluffy type we should all aspire to have. The smaller type are more easily lodged in the artery wall where they become oxidised and contribute to the formation of plaque. Dr Masterjohn then went on to discuss his theory of what causes small dense particles. His theory is that the longer LDL stays circulating in the blood stream the smaller they get. If they are not disposed of by the liver making way for new large LDL particles they will progressively get smaller and of course the longer they stay in the blood stream the more prone they are to oxidisation. He did not go on to mention this but here is where I think sugar plays its part. If the liver is clapped out dealing with sugar overload then it will be less able to dispose of the LDL cholesterol. Dr Senner actually puts forward that glucose adheres itself to LDL molecules and this also inhibits removal from the blood stream. This could be another link between sugar and heart disease and further debunking of the simple Cholesterol hypothesis.
In the world of heart health supplements and diet there is often conflicting reports. For example a few years ago trials showed that coffee was bad for the heart whilst more recent research is showing that it has heart benefits if 3 or 4 cups per day are not exceeded. When conflict like this arises I tend to sit out and stick to alternatives that have fewer differences of opinion. In this case I drink Green Tea which seems to have little or no critics.
So what other supplements should we consider that have pretty good track records in terms of number of studies and lack of opposition. Fish Oil or one of the many alternatives such as Krill Oil and Calamari Oil would be one. The other choice would be Garlic and in particular Aged Garlic. My partner has had very good results lowering her blood pressure with the use of Kyolic Aged Garlic and a daily Multi Vitamin B complex tablet.
When it comes to properly designed studies the following two links give a good illustration of how Aged Garlic has been shown to stabalize and stop the growth of arterial plaque and in some cases reverse it.
The doctor who headed the trial gives a presentation here
I have banged on about how alternative lipid readings are better predictors of potential heart disease but alas these tests are not free on the UK NH service. Does this mean the free tests we can get are useless?. Well if you simply check your cholesterol levels and your LDL levels then probably yes, because as I have stated before around 50% of heart attack victims have ‘good’ levels of LDL. There is one predictive ratio however that you can glean from this data and that is the TG/HDL ratio. You can also get your C reactive Protein figures via the NHS too although you have to request these as part of your test.
This link gives a very good account of the TG/HDL ratio amongst other useful information. This passage is quoted from it
“The importance of the TG/HDL ratio can be seen from the recently published results of the ongoing Copenhagen Male Study, which studied the effect this ratio has on the long-term development of heart disease. The researchers tracked healthy patients who had either a low TG/HDL ratio (less than 1.7) or a high TG/HDL ratio (greater than 6). They were amazed to find that the patients with the low TG/HDL ratio who smoked, didn’t exercise, had hypertension, and had elevated levels of LDL cholesterol had a much lower risk of developing heart disease than those who had a far better lifestyle but a higher TG/HDL ratio. This indicated that lowering your TG/HDL ratio may have a far greater impact on whether you develop heart disease than adopting a better lifestyle. Does this mean you should smoke, stay sedentary, and not worry about your blood pressure or cholesterol levels? Not at all, but it does indicate that you need to significantly focus your efforts to lower your TG/HDL ratio if your goal is to reduce heart disease.”