Dr. Rath's groundbreaking discovery about the nutritional origin of coronary heart disease (“vitamin C-scurvy-heart disease” connection) also explains that elevated blood cholesterol levels are not the main cause of heart disease, but the consequence of biological dysfunction of the arterial walls and ongoing cardiovascular disease.
The connection between loss of vitamin C production, structural damage in the vascular wall and elevated blood cholesterol levels that was discovered by Dr. Rath about 20 years ago ihas been gaining an increasing scientific support. Among others it was independently confirmed by the work of Maeda et al. by using genetically modified mice which, similar to humans, have lost an ability of endogenous production of vitamin C.
The relationship between cholesterol production and vascular wall structure proposed by Dr Rath provides logical explanations to many still opened questions in cardiology which can’t be answered by conventional medicine, for example:
Q: Why cholesterol deposits are predominantly formed in the coronary blood vessels, not veins?
Q: What is the role of secondary blood risk factors other than cholesterol (i.e., homocysteine, high glucose)
Q: Why coronary heart disease is the most frequent cause of death in humans while it is practically unknown in the animal world?
Practical consequences of the new understanding of the role of cholesterol in cardiovascular health
Cellular Medicine provides the basis for developing the most comprehensive micronutrient based approaches for optimizing cholesterol metabolism in our body. These approaches aim primarily at increasing biological stability of the blood vessel walls as a causative factor for abnormal cholesterol levels. In addition, they include natural approaches to optimize cholesterol synthesis and its utilization in the body.
Cellular medicine applies the principle of biological synergy between natural components for achieving increased effectiveness with using moderate doses of micronutrients.
The key natural synergy components essential in optimizing blood vessel function and cholesterol metabolism are:
The effectiveness of micronutrient synergy in optimizing cholesterol and triglycerides blood levels has been confirmed in our pilot clinical trials.
The main cholesterol sources in the body are its internal production and diet. Our liver is the main organ producing cholesterol (about 80%), although the intestines, adrenal glands and reproductive organs also contribute to cholesterol production. Synthesis of cholesterol molecules in our body’s cells is a multi-step process where two small carbon-containing molecules (acetyl CoA and acetocetyl CoA) are bound together to form 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA (HMG-CoA) by the action of an enzyme HMG-CoA reductase. The activity of this enzyme is important as it determines how much cholesterol is produced in the body’s cells.
Pharmaceutical drugs, statins, which inhibit the HMGCo-A reductase in the body are heavily promoted and widely prescribed for artificial lowering of cholesterol production and its blood levels. However the action of these drugs is associated with many, often dangerous, side effects. Some of these relate to the fact that statins inhibit production of other important biological molecules, such as Coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q-10), sex hormones, steroid hormones, and vitamin D. The most frequent side effects of statins are muscle, liver and kidney damage, risk of thrombosis, developing mental problems, cancer and many others.
The HMGCoA reductase activity and cholesterol production can be naturally regulated by vitamin C. However, information about the cholesterol-lowering effects of vitamin C in synergistic combination with other nutrients such as niacin (vitamin B3) and other micronutrients is largely ignored.
Importance of cholesterol in the body
Cholesterol plays a vital role in optimum structure and function of all cell membranes, in the synthesis of bile acids that break down ingested fats and it is essential for the production of steroid hormones. These hormones such as cortisone and aldosterone regulate blood pressure, affect the immune and inflammatory responses and play other functions. Production of other cholesterol-dependent hormones such as male and female sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) affects sexual development and fertility. Furthermore, cholesterol is required for production of internal vitamin D, which in turn is essential for several biochemical processes including bone mineralization among others. Most importantly, cholesterol is critical for the proper functioning of nervous tissue and brain cells (neurons).
Cholesterol transport in the blood
Cholesterol does not dissolve in water, therefore it is packed together with other fatty substances which are wrapped around by a protein forming lipoprotein molecule. In this form it is carried in the bloodstream to be processed by the cells. These lipoproteins have different names, such as VLDL, LDL, and HDL, etc., which indicate their density , (i.e., VL = very light; L= light, H=heavy). The density of lipoproteins depends on their ratio of the fat to the protein component. As such, VLDL - (very low density lipoproteins) have the most fat and therefore have the lowest density (they float on the surface). The molecules which have the lowest fat contents are HDL (high density lipoprotein). The LDL (low density lipoprotein) is intermediate to VLDL and HDL in respect to fat to protein ratio.
VLDL: Is a form of lipoprotein that transports cholesterol and triglyceride molecules through the blood. VLDL readily converts into LDL (low density lipoproteins) for further transport of cholesterol, which is considered as a major pro-atherogenic lipoprotein.
LDL: This lipoprotein is also referred to as “bad cholesterol” because it carries excessive cholesterol to the tissues where it can accumulate and may lead to atherosclerotic plaque formation. In the case of excessive accumulation of cholesterol inside cells and in some genetic diseases, LDL is blocked from entering the cells and its elevated levels are detected in the blood. Therefore conventional medicine considers it as the major risks for atherogenesis. Conventional approaches ignore the connection between cholesterol metabolism and weakened vascular walls. According to medical guidelines issued in 2003, the optimum blood LDL levels should be <100 mg/dl.
HDL: Also known as “good cholesterol,” HDL carries cholesterol and fat molecules away from the arteries and plaques deposits and transports them back to the liver. Since HDL has the potential to remove cholesterol from arterial plaque deposits, the more HDL is in the bloodstream, the more cholesterol can be removedfrom the plaque. HDL levels lower than 40 mg/dl are considered a higher risk of atherosclerosis. The average HDL-cholesterol for men is about 45 mg/dL, and for women it is about 55 mg/dL.
LDL/HDL ratio: The ratio of LDL (bad cholesterol) to HDL (good cholesterol) provides a clearer picture of an individual’s risk of the development of atherosclerosis than the amounts of individual lipoproteins. On average it is recommended to target LDL/HDL ratio to be about 4.5, although ideal ratio is considered to be 2 or 3.
Lipoprotein (a): Lipoprotein (a) is a lesser known lipoprotein yet it has more potential for developing atherosclerosis. This cholesterol carrier is composed of an LDL molecule bound together with an additional protein Apolipoprotein-a (Apo-a). The presence of Apo-a makes the entire molecule very sticky and therefore more likely to attach to various structures, including weakened blood vessel walls. Most of the laboratories consider normal values of lipoprotein (a) to be below 15 mg/dl. Lipoprotein (a) contributes more than LDL to plaque build up in the blood vessels. According to Dr. Rath's research, the lipoprotein (a) molecule is ten times more dangerous a risk factor for atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke than LDL and it can be regulated naturally by vitamin C.
Triglycerides (TG): Dietary fats are the main source of triglycerides in the blood. Since cholesterol and other fats cannot dissolve in blood, dietary fatty acids are stored and transported in the form of triglycerides and for the same reason they are considered as a risk factor of atherosclerosis. Conventional medicine considers normal triglyceride levels should be less than 150mg/dl.