In parts 1 and 2, we dealt with the matter of cholesterol's role in atherosclerosis being over emphasized, and furthermore showed it to be harmless until oxidised. In a number of emails on anti-ageing et al, we have discussed oxidation as being a prime mover in many disease processes, and how botanical medicines are literally dozens of times more potent than supplements in slowing the disease/ageing processes. So, lets have a look at another study: Hennig B & Boissonneault GA, 'The roles of vitamin E and oxidised lipids in atherosclerosis', International Clinical Nutrition Review, 8(3), 1988, pp 134-139.


Now, I want you to always keep at the forefront of your minds that we are only talking here about the effects of a mild antioxidant, and not something such as Vitanox or Phytoregenex which are tens of times more powerful - hold that thought... When fats such as margarine, in its manufacture, are exposed to sufficient heat and light, they form oxidised products known as oxycholesterol and linoleic acid hydroperoxide. These are the real villians. The following mechanism then... well,.. follows... LDL (So-called bad cholesterol, though it's not) becomes oxidised and triggers a type of white blood cell called a monocyte to convert itself into another type of cell called a wandering macrophage. Viewed under a microscope, this fellow is much like an octopus, and can slither in and out between cells. The macrophage digests the oxidised LDL until he swells up full of the stuff and turns into what is called a foam cell which adheres to the endothelial lining of the artery. As this happens repeatedly along the lining of the vessel, plaque is thus formed.

ldl and hdl difference

The linoleic acid hyperperoxides are extremely damaging - their toll on arterial walls is often irreversible. Top of the tree of their density are margarine and commercial fats found in all prepared foods such as biscuits and crackers, pies and pastries and so forth - virtually any 'commercial fat'. What Hennig, et al, found in their research was that vitamin antioxidants (principally vitamin E, but Hennig did other research) significantly reduced plaque formation, but in the years since then, the results from herbal anti-oxidants have been far more dramatic. In Anti-ageing part 2, we looked at the dramatic reversal of atherosclerosis in an elderly male patient, for example.


In clinic, we don't just discuss cholesterol per se, but include a range of factors such as homocysteine, hsCRP, ESR, Heinz Bodies, ROTS masses and so forth, and nearly all of you have been through this with me, not only in respect to vascular disease but other complaints as well. Remember to get your CRT repeated every two years, by the way. These tests, mostly not done by GP's, are relevant too and need to be considered in assessing risk.  


The purpose of these newsletters is to give air to research we don't have time to go into in clinic, and I wanted to spend more on this area (e.g. discussion of triglycerides) since so many people spend so much time worrying unnecessarily about cholesterol, but there is so much to this subject that I just don't have time to cover it all. However, I respectfully advise you that if you want to learn more, stay away from the internet and especially books by American doctors; there is just so much tripe peddled there - principally by the Americans - and so much of it is nonsense, repetition, or an inferior treatment method. Americans know nothing at all about herbal medicine. Think about this for a moment; we have to do Continued Professional Education (CPE) which involves a lot of lecture hours annually, and our academics at our universities are constantly trawling through research week in and week out. If some information doesn't come to us through them, it is best left alone. I have found this to be the case time and time again. There is very little that doesn't escape their attention, get verified as worthy or not, and is then passed on to us in our CRP.. or not!


Last week, I had a patient who had undergone a cardiac stress test and been referred to a cardiologist who wanted to do further investigations; this week I'm advised by him that the arhythmia is all but completely gone. I would very much doubt he would have been able to do that job by buying something off the internet. However, not only did his heart rhythm improve, but the script I gave him covered other problems which have also improved. One herbal medicine can often do a multitude of things!


Also, I had a patient ask me this week what went wrong with the use of herbal medicines in hospitals prior to World War One. This is a very good question, and I'm addressing this in my new book I've just started. Basically, the problem was this: You will recall my telling you that our pharmaceutical companies reject a lot of herbal medicines as unsuitable for processing on the basis of lack of efficacy. Well, efficacy is determined by a process called liquid chromotography (LC) or High Performance Liquid Chromotography, and this was only developed comparatively recently. So, results to treatment with botanical medicines prior to the development of LC and HPLC varied. This is the very reason so many retail medicines don't work anywhere as well as practitioner medicines, and we have discussed this previously. Allied to this of course was the profit motive of synthetically creating drugs found in herbs - the downside to that is of course the invariable side effects caused by isolating the drug from a perfectly balanced medicine without side effects, or at least, much rarer ones.


We must move on. Next, we're going to talk about the IQ of footballers! No.., it won't take very long, and also look at research on mistakes made by patients. Hmmm...