Insulin, Not Cholesterol, Is the True Culprit in Heart Disease

This article was originally published by our friend Dr. Mercola

The video above, “The Fat Emperor: Insulin Versus Cholesterol,” features Ivor Cummins, a biochemical engineer with a background in medical device engineering and leading teams in complex problem solving.

In 2013, Cummins ran into health problems. His serum ferritin was very high (which is a potent risk factor for heart disease), as were his liver enzymes. After consulting with three different doctors, he realized none of them really understood the root cause of these problems, or how to address them.

As a result, he delved into the medical literature, found the problem and reversed his abnormal test results. He also dropped 35 pounds in the process.

Eventually, he got more involved in health and began giving lectures such as this one, which was presented at the Low Carb USA Keto Getaway1 in Florida this past January. He also has a website, thefatemperor.com,2 where he notes:

“I refer primarily to the ‘diet-heart’ hypothesis, which proposed that dietary saturated fat elevated blood cholesterol, and the latter drove heart disease mortality like nothing else. 

The evidence at the time was loose correlation, certainly not causation, and seems almost laughably naïve in retrospect.

However, the tenaciousness of this flawed hypothesis has turned out to be no laughing matter, condemning millions to the misery of obesity, type 2 diabetes and an extraordinary range of inflammatory diseases.

The factors that conspired to perpetuate the flawed hypotheses were many: academic and research community hubris, political forces, economic imperatives, profiteering from the food and pharmaceutical industries, and the groupthink psychology that underpins the worsening ‘diabesity epidemic.

After 25 years in technical/management positions with a personal specialty in complex problem solving, I have been inspired to … bring an engineering-style approach to the current situation.”

The Cholesterol Conundrum

The vast majority — about 80 percent — of the cholesterol in your body is made by your liver. The remaining 20 percent comes from your diet. If you consume less, your body will compensate by making more, and vice versa.

Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol is a crucial molecule necessary for optimal health, and not nearly the damaging culprit it’s been made out to be.

Since cholesterol is a fatty substance, it does not travel well through your water-based bloodstream. Hence it is encapsulated in a lipoprotein. Cummins likens the very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) your liver makes to a boat that shuttles not only cholesterol but also triglycerides through your bloodstream to your tissues.

The VLDL will dock onto receptors in your muscle tissue, where it releases triglycerides to be used for energy. Cummins accurately notes that eating fat is not the cause of high triglycerides.

If your triglycerides are high, it means you’re eating too many net carbohydrates, because it’s actually sugar that causes triglycerides to rise, not dietary fat.

Once the VLDL has dropped off the triglycerides to be burnt for energy (or stored as fat if you’re not using the energy due to inactivity), the VLDL becomes a low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which in conventional thinking is a “bad” kind of cholesterol.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is colloquially known as “good” cholesterol, and the HDL is indeed beneficial in that it acts as a master manager, helping protect the LDL against oxidation and transport triglycerides and cholesterol in and out of the VLDL.

In a healthy person, the LDL will be reabsorbed by the liver after about two days, where it gets broken up and recycled. This is a beautiful system; alas, it is one that can be disrupted if you’re eating too many unhealthy foods.

As a general rule, a high-sugar diet will cause damaged LDLs to rise, beneficial HDLs to drop, triglycerides and, often, total cholesterol to rise. All of these are conventional indicators of atherosclerosis or inflammation in your arteries that can precipitate a heart attack.

Beyond Cholesterol — What Really Causes Heart Disease?

According to Dr. Thomas Dayspring, a lipidologist (expert on cholesterol), most heart attacks are due to insulin resistance. He has also stated that LDL “is a near-worthless predictor for cardiovascular issues.”

In simple layman’s terms Cummins goes on to demonstrate the connection between the metabolic functionality of adipose fat — which actually acts as a signaling organ — and insulin sensitivity, and how and why:

  • A metabolically healthy normal weight (MHNW) person who has good insulin sensitivity has a low risk level for cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • A metabolically obese yet normal weight (MONW) individual who is insulin resistant has a high risk
  • A metabolically unhealthy obese (MUO) individual who is insulin resistant also has a high risk
  • But a metabolically healthy obese (MHO) individual who has good insulin sensitivity is at low risk for CVD

In other words, there’s healthy body fat and unhealthy body fat, or put another way, fat that protects your health and fat that promotes disease. The key difference is the presence or absence of insulin sensitivity.

The higher your insulin resistance, the worse markers such as fasting insulin, triglyceride-HDL ratio and HbA1c will be, suggesting you’re at increased risk for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Recent research has shown that two specific metrics: circulating adiponectin and macrophages, can with near 100 percent accuracy predict your obese phenotype, meaning whether you’re obese insulin sensitive or obese insulin resistant.

How a High-Sugar Diet Causes Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

But what makes one person insulin sensitive and another insulin resistant? This is where your diet comes into play. What you eat tends to be a primary deal-maker or deal-breaker. Other factors that promote systemic insulin resistance include:

Smoking Genetics Insufficient sleep
Lack of exercise Stress Omega-6-rich vegetable oils
Low vitamin D/lack of sun exposure Sedentary behavior Low omega-3

More often than not, excessive amounts of glucose from net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber) are what set the disease process into motion by causing your insulin level to spike. When repeated over time, your adipose fat tissue begins to lose its systemic signaling capabilities, precipitating insulin resistance.

While glucose can be used by most cells in your body, fructose, on the other hand, must be processed by your liver before it can be used. It’s actually metabolized in a way similar to alcohol — a similarity evident in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Small amounts of fructose will not cause a problem, but very large amounts will over time trigger systemic insulin resistance.

Eventually, the high sugar load will cause your pancreas to diminish its production of insulin, and the hyperinsulinemia that prevented lipolysis of triglycerides in your fat cells will cease. Subsequently, your liver will begin to output glucose even when you’re not eating, and this is when your blood glucose finally begins to skyrocket.

Prior to this, the elevated insulin actually kept the blood glucose in check. But as insulin production drops, there’s nothing to prevent the blood glucose from rising anymore. As noted by Cummins, it can take many years for this process to play out before you end up with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. But you could have gotten a heads-up years, if not decades, earlier using a simple blood test.

Measuring Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of factors including:

  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Large waist circumference
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar

Having three or more of these factors over a certain level is considered evidence of metabolic dysfunction that sets the stage for chronic disease, including not only atherosclerosis and CVD but also gout, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, NAFLD, arthritis and more.

As noted by Cummins, metabolic syndrome is actually more aptly named insulin resistance syndrome. Moreover, since insulin secretion is the “master measurement” for insulin resistance, measuring your insulin level — particularly after a meal (post-prandial) — will give you the information you really need without having to evaluate those other five measurements.

The Master Measure

Dr. Joseph Kraft, former chairman of the department of clinical pathology and nuclear medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital, wrote the book “Diabetes Epidemic and You: Should Everyone Be Tested?” Based on data from some 14,000 patients, he developed a test that is a powerful predictor of diabetes. He would have the patient drink 75 grams of glucose, and then measure their insulin response over time, at half-hour intervals for up to five hours.

Interestingly, he noticed five distinctive patterns suggesting that a vast majority of people were already diabetic, even though their fasting glucose was normal. In fact, 90 percent of hyperinsulinemic patients passed the fasting glucose test, and 50 percent passed the glucose tolerance test. Only 20 percent of patients had the type 1 pattern signaling healthy post-prandial insulin sensitivity and low diabetes risk.

Cummins believes that using Kraft’s test, about 65 percent of Americans or more probably would have hyperinsulinemia or “diabetes in situ.” And, according to Kraft, “Those with cardiovascular disease not identified with diabetes … are simply undiagnosed.”

One of the take-home messages here is that insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia are two sides of the same coin, as they drive and promote each other. In other words, if you have hyperinsulinemia, you are essentially insulin resistant and on your way toward developing full-blown diabetes lest you change your dietary course.

How Hyperinsulinemia/Insulin Resistance Causes Heart Disease

In summary, insulin resistance and/or hyperinsulinemia promote fatty liver — a combination that in turn drives high blood insulin and associated mechanistic pathways that shuttle lipids (fats) into your vascular walls, which is a hallmark of atherosclerosis. It also leads to high blood glucose, particularly post-prandial blood glucose, and this too has mechanistic pathways that promote atherosclerosis.

High blood pressure is another side effect of insulin resistance that drives atherosclerosis by placing stress on your arteries. As noted by Cummins, most idiopathic hypertension (high blood pressure with no known cause) is now thought to be caused by hyperinsulinemia.

Hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance promotes inflammation, causing your visceral fat to release inflammatory cytokines and systemic signaling molecules. Over time, your visceral fat becomes increasingly resistant as well, causing the systemic signaling to falter. Taken as a whole, this cascade of events drives atherogenic dyslipidemia, characterized by the now familiar culprits: high LDL, oxidized LDL and triglycerides, and low HDL.

According to Cummins, while high LDL is a very erratic marker for heart disease risk, an elevated LDL “particle count” is actually a very good marker for insulin resistance. Thus the LDL metrics should be more thought of asindicative of inflammatory issues, and not as the LDL itself being the problem!

In its entirety, all of these factors are what flag the development of heart disease. Other factors that can influence your CVD risk include smoking and other environmental pollutants, especially heavy metals, so addressing and eliminating these kinds of toxic exposures would also be prudent.


Fasting?

Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation

Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.

In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!

Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!

==> Naturally Fight & Reverse Damaging Inflammatory Effects in Your Body!


Best stretch before bed (1 minute)

Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…

What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...

=> Best stretch before bed (takes 1-min)

Enjoy!

Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody


Stop Snoring in 3 Minutes - Starting Tonight

...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!

Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?

Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!

...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.

Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.

Use them anytimeanywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.

Plus the results are permanent!

To learn more and test-drive the easy snoring and sleep apnea exercises for yourself, click here...

To a good night's sleep,
Rick + Lisa
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody


The #1 "bodyfat-eating" hormone...

weight loss solved

Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?

True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.

However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...

It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:

==> How to Activate Your #1 "Bodyfat-Eating" Hormone...

To your health!

PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...


#1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.

Is it…

a) Abs

b) Chest

c) Glutes

d) Hip Flexors

Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!


How to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (Free Book)

inflammation

In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.

See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.

Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.

inflammation book

Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!

Get the Free Inflammation Book

--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)


Free Paleo / Keto Cookbook

Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold ­­ a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...

And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!

paleohack chart

The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef ­created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes ­­ which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.

Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)

>> Get The Free Cookbook

Enjoy!


Sponsored Health Resources

In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.

NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!


1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…

--> "Red" Smoothie Helps Alabama Girl Shed 80lbs!


2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.

--> Get the 1 Day Cleanse (better than 7-day detoxes!)


3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

--> #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat


4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!

--> Your Birth Date + Name - Free Report


5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!

--> The best way to get maximum effects of Turmeric


6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.

--> Why Some People LOOK Fat that Aren't


7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.

-->  Unlock Your Hip Flexors


Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.

Rick D.
wisemindhealthybody.com