Higher HDL levels are generally associated with decreased risk for heart disease because of its role in transporting cholesterol away from macrophages within the artery wall back to the liver for recycling. However it seems that the amount of HDL is not the primary driver of improvement in this area. HDL Efflux appears to be the main driver and refers to how good HDL is at ‘sucking’ up cholesterol. You can have HDL C levels above 2.0 mmol but if your Efflux is low the hoover just ain’t picking up the bits. This may explain why very high levels of HDL dont seem to be better than just above average levels.
How can we improve HDL Efflux, well it seems the good old Med’ diet comes to fore once again along with a moderate (glass with a meal) amount of red wine. More controversially for me and other more expert in the field is the advocacy of extra virgin olive oil. Nothing seems to split the heart health community like this ingredient. Some research swear by it whilst others clearly show it creates endothelial disfunction. My feelings are that when confronted with split opinions like this I prefer to leave it out of my diet especially when its non essential. I will stick with a med’ based diet and a handful of nuts each day.
You may have come across the talks by Ivor Cummings on cholesterol. Ivor is a chemical engineer by trade and after receiving some personal alarming blood readings he decided to drill down into the meaning of what his readings actually meant. Applying his engineering rigour to the problem he quickly discovered that the emperor was wearing no clothes or the doctor in this case. I came across another engineer Dave Feldman, that has also gone into even more detail to extrapolate the real relationships between what we eat and how it effects cholesterol and associated lipid readings. It is a real beauty of a presentation which if you are new to the subject might take more than one listening. You can also easily replicate the experiment yourself, in fact he is appealing for people to try it and log their results on his blog.
The two things that have exploded in consumption along side the widespread development of heart disease are the consumption of these two food sources. We were all advised by the diet guideline experts in the 70’s to switch from saturated fat to vegetable oils and veg’ oil even today is common place in UK kitchens. Restaurants not only use it but to save money only change it when its oxidized to exhaustion. This study, until recently kept hidden, makes you wonder how we ever got on this path. It also suggests that what we eat is a bigger threat than cholesterol per se.
During the Vietnam war the US realized that they could create more damage to the opposition forces by inventing a bullet that would maim opposing soldiers rather than kill them. Why was this and what does it have to do with the staggering increase in Autism we have experience in just one generation. Mercola talks this interview up in the introduction but he is not hyping, its simply a must watch, pass it on to others