Friday, May 26, 2017

Prostate Cancer Treatment Choices

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor probably ran down a list of confusing treatment options and told you to pick your poison (make a choice among options).
The simplest option when you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer is known as watchful waiting, which means doing nothing unless later tests show the cancer is worsening.
More aggressive options include removing your prostate gland or receiving one of several forms of radiation. The latest treatment, called proton radiation therapy, can run $100,000 and involves a proton accelerator that can be as big as a football field.

Unfortunately for the developers and investors, very few people will be able to afford that option with a cataclysmic economic collapse in the making.
One in Six Men in the U.S. Gets Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer kills an estimated 35,000 men in the United States each year and attacks another 165,000.
Most cases of prostate cancer do not occur until after men turn 50, but in recent years there has been a steady rise in the percentage of men in their 30s and 40s with both prostate problems and prostate cancer, primarily as a result of poor diet and increasing environmental pollution. One man in six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Experts Can't Agree on the Effectiveness of Traditional Cancer Treatments
The New York Times reported that, "Some doctors swear by one treatment, others by another. But no one really knows which is best. Rigorous research has been scant. Above all, no serious study has found that the high-technology treatments do better at keeping men healthy and alive. Most die of something else before prostate cancer becomes a problem."[1]
"No therapy has been shown superior to another," an analysis by the RAND Corporation found.
Dr. Michael Rawlins, the chairman of a British medical research institute, said "We're not sure how good any of these treatments are."
Dr. Daniella Perlroth, a board-certified internist and infectious disease specialist at Stanford University, was asked what she would recommend to a family member. Perlroth paused, then said, "Watchful waiting."
  1. Watchful waiting costs a few thousand dollars in doctor visits and tests. Actually, watching and waiting means doing nothing when there are plenty of wonderful and natural things one can do to improve PSA scores. (Note below that PSA scores do not offer the best guidance.)
  2. Surgery to remove the prostate gland costs about $23,000; possible complications include impotence and urinary incontinence.
  3. A targeted form of radiation known as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), runs $50,000. IMRT involves a large time commitment, requiring patients to visit a radiation center 45 times over the course of nine weeks. A concern is the multiple-beam radiation of IMRT may raise the risk of secondary cancers since science already knows radiation exposure causes cancer.
The PSA Test for Prostate Cancer is Deceptive
A report published in the June 2009 issue of A Cancer Journal for Clinicians shows routine PSA blood tests often result in over diagnosis of prostate cancer, resulting in unnecessary treatments.
There are over one million prostate cancer tissue biopsy procedures performed annually in the U.S. Approximately 25 percent of these tissue biopsies are reported "positive," indicating the presence of prostate cancer. The remaining 75 percent are reported "negative."
One-third of the men with initial prostate tissue biopsies that are reported as "negative" for prostate cancer actually do have prostate cancer that was missed by the biopsy.
Drs. Boyle and Brawley of the International Prevention Research Institute, Lyon, France said, "The real impact and tragedy of prostate cancer screening is the doubling of the lifetime risk of a diagnosis of prostate cancer with little if any decrease in the risk of dying from this disease."[2]
"The PSA era is over in the United States," says Dr. Thomas Stamey, professor of urology and lead author of a study published in the Journal of Urology. "Our study raises a very serious question of whether a man should even use the PSA test for prostate cancer screening any more. From the time it first became standard to remove prostates in response to high PSA levels to the present - reveals that as a screen, the test now indicates nothing more than the size of the prostate gland." [3]
According to the American Cancer Society, "There can be different reasons for an elevated PSA level, including prostate cancer, benign prostate enlargement, inflammation, infection, age, and race," all factors that make PSA test results confusing, leading to potential for unnecessary treatment and suffering when tests are elevated.
Complications of ill advised prostate cancer treatments include urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Both of these conditions are difficult to reverse and can significantly decrease your quality of life.
A Saner, Safer Approach to Treating Prostate Cancer
The New York Times article did not mention the option of doing what makes sense while you watch and wait, and it is hard to understand why.
There are natural nutritional agents that can help you prevent and treat prostate cancer, including getting lots of sun exposure to drive up your vitamin D levels. This approach costs virtually nothing.
A study conducted at the University of Illinois has found an interesting relationship between prostate cancer and daily consumption of broccoli and tomatoes. Both these vegetables have been known to contain compounds that can fight cancer. These compounds seem to work better in combination.
Iodine is also a key component because reduced iodine levels in the breasts, ovaries, thyroid and prostate glands predispose you to higher cancer risk.
Iodine and Cancer
Supersaturated potassium iodide works well. Typically one to three drops per drops.
Though it costs a bit more, Nascent Iodine is more palatable (less caustic) for oral usage and is the preferred treatment for children.
Even at maximum dosage, we are talking about treatment costs of approximately $70 a month. This means you can do iodine for more than a thousand months before you spend what you would to have protons warped into your gland.
This is a treatment you should consider, as is sodium bicarbonate, which we will talk about in depth below.
Selenium Can Protect Your Prostate
A 1996 study by Dr. Larry Clark of the University of Arizona showed just how effective selenium can be in protecting against cancer.
In the study of 1,300 older people, the occurrence of cancer among those who took 200 micrograms of selenium daily for about seven years was reduced by 42 percent compared to those given a placebo.
Cancer deaths for those taking the selenium were cut almost in half, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on December 25, 1996.
In addition, the men who took selenium had 63 percent fewer prostate cancers, 58 percent fewer colorectal cancers, 46 percent fewer lung cancers and overall 37 percent fewer cancers.
Selenium was found to reduce the risk of lung cancer to a greater degree than stopping smoking. [4]
Decrease Calcium, Increase Magnesium to Reduce Your Prostate Cancer Risk
Calcium and magnesium are opposites in their effects on your body structure. As a general rule, the more rigid and inflexible your body structure, the less calcium and the more magnesium you need.
"There is reasonable evidence to suggest that calcium may play an important role in the development of prostate cancer," says Dr. Carmen Rodriguez, senior epidemiologist in the epidemiology and surveillance research department of the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Rodriguez cites a 1998 Harvard School of Public Health study of 47,781 men that found those consuming between 1,500 and 1,999 mg of calcium per day had about double the risk of being diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) as those getting 500 mg per day or less. Men taking in 2,000 mg or more had over four times the risk of developing metastatic prostate cancer as those taking in less than 500 mg.
Another Harvard study conducted in October 2001 looked at dairy product intake among 20,885 men. Researchers found men consuming the most dairy products had about 32 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those consuming the least.
High calcium levels interfere with Vitamin D and subsequently inhibit the vitamin's cancer protective effect unless extra amounts of Vitamin D are supplemented.[5]
High magnesium chloride intake, known as magnesium oil, can reverse calcification damages and inflammation when used intensely.
Inexpensive, Revolutionary Treatments for Cancer
The remainder of this article will be a discussion of two ground-breaking treatments for cancer at the opposite end of the spectrum from high-tech, expensive proton therapy:
  1. Sodium bicarbonate therapy, which is a kind of natural chemotherapy that can be done easily and safely by anyone for less than $5.00
  2. Prostate massage, which can be self administered for free or done by medical doctors.
These two therapies, with a full spectrum natural chemo protocol behind them, are cost effective for individuals and society, and by all indications are also effective and safe.
Even if you are considering or undergoing more traditional cancer treatments, both sodium bicarbonate and prostate massage should be adjunct therapies. They can reduce and buffer the toxicity and harm of aggressive chemical and radiation treatments, and improve your overall results.
Actually, both of these treatments and all the concentrated nutritional medicinals discussed earlier offer you nothing to lose and everything to gain in your fight against prostate cancer.
Do You Know your pH Level?
Studies have shown how manipulation of tumor pH with sodium bicarbonate enhances chemotherapy.[6]
If your pancreas is healthy, it secretes sodium bicarbonate to neutralize stomach acid and create an optimal pH environment for pancreatic enzymes. Some of these enzymes circulate in your blood to destroy cancers that occur. Too much iron interferes with the ability of your pancreas to generate sodium bicarbonate and can lead to insulin resistance. Diabetes and cancer are linked because an unhealthy pancreas advances both diseases.
What is not generally understood is how basic to health your pH and bicarbonate levels are and how easily you can become acidic, which is an open invitation to cancer.
Cancer is actually a four-letter word, acid, especially lactic acid as a waste product due to the low oxygen level and waste products of yeast and fungus.
Cancer cells look like yeast and fungi, and many of them are. Even mainstream oncology practitioners admit it. But whatever the definition and concept of cancer, it does not change the fact that cancer does not like what bicarbonate brings to your body.
Destroying Tumors with Sodium Bicarbonate
You might be surprised to learn there is an oncologist in Rome Italy, Dr. Tullio Simoncini, destroying cancer tumors with sodium bicarbonate.
Sodium bicarbonate is safe, extremely inexpensive and unstoppably effective when it comes to cancer tissues. It's an irresistible chemical, cyanide to cancer cells, for it hits the cancer cells with a shock wave of alkalinity, which allows much more oxygen into the cancer cells than they can tolerate. Cancer cells cannot survive in the presence of high levels of oxygen.
Sodium bicarbonate is, for all intent and purposes, a killer of tumors. At a pH slightly above 7.4, cancer cells become dormant. At pH 8.5, cancer cells will die while healthy cells will live.
Sodium bicarbonate possesses the property of absorbing heavy metals, dioxins and furans. A comparison of cancer tissue with healthy tissue from the same person shows the cancer tissue has a much higher concentration of toxic chemicals and pesticides.
This has given rise to a variety of treatments based on increasing the alkalinity of the tissues, such as vegetarian diets, consuming fresh fruit and vegetable juices, and dietary supplementation with alkaline minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, cesium and rubidium. But nothing can compare to the instant alkalinizing and oxygenating power of sodium bicarbonate for safe and effective treatment of cancer.
Oral and Transdermal (Through the Skin) Dosing
Transdermal iodine therapy can be traced all the way back to the American Civil War when iodine was used as a universal medicine. However, most practitioners are new to natural transdermal medicine and how its power and safety can be brought to bear on glands like the prostate.
Treating prostate cancer demands we systemically take pH up over 8. This can be done orally and the improved pH level will register in all the tissues of your body.
We can also put a high concentration of bicarbonate in an enema and combat not only intestinal cancer and strong yeast overgrowth, but the prostate area as well.
Iodine can also be applied directly to the prostate tissue areas transdermally using a long swab, or applying it liberally to genital areas and the perineal region as an adjunct to oral dosing.
Dr. Simoncini uses bicarbonate targeted more directly to the prostate thru the artery providing its blood supply.
Cancer and Fungus
Tumors are not distinguishable from the infections that inhabit them. Naturopath Dr. Marijah McCain identified the primary cause of death in cancer patients to be not the cancer itself, but fungal overgrowth.
Dr. Simoncini says, "At the moment, against fungi there is no useful remedy other than, in my opinion, sodium bicarbonate."
Bicarbonate is a chemo agent and in fact is used in oncology with its horrid list of chemo agents, but it is used to buffer the effects of the dangerous chemo chemicals. Traditional chemo is just much too dangerous to undergo without sodium bicarbonate, meaning the side effects would escalate beyond acceptable limits if not used. In fact, so dangerous and toxic are most chemo chemicals that many people would die on the spot without softening the blow with bicarbonate.
There's no need to fear bicarbonate intake. In fact, people who live in areas of the world with high amounts of bicarbonate in their drinking water have a strikingly decreased mortality rate and a decreased prevalence of disease.
Sodium bicarbonate, though often used as a medicine, is unlike pharmaceutical compounds. It is a natural non-toxic substance that does not require clinical trials for an assessment of toxicity. Spring waters contain bicarbonate ions which are coupled mainly with sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium ions. A deficiency of bicarbonate ions in your body contributes to a range of diseases and medical conditions.
An Active Sex Life is Good for Your Prostate
Research has shown sexual activity and a high ejaculation frequency are linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer later in life.
An epidemiological study of 30,000 men showed that men who ejaculated 13 to 20 times monthly presented a 14 percent lower risk of prostate cancer than men who ejaculated on average, between four and seven times monthly during most of their adult life. Those ejaculating over 21 times a month presented a 33 percent decreased risk of developing prostate cancer than those on the baseline.
Orgasm acts as a powerful pain-relief agent, and studies suggest it bolsters your immune function. The typical orgasm will boost your body's T3 and T4 lymphocyte cells -- the cells that fight off foreign invaders -- by up to 20 percent.
Michael Leitzman, a cancer researcher at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and author of the above mentioned study, explains there has been a suggested connection between greater sexual activity and increased incidents of prostate cancer in previous scientific data because of the link with the male hormone testosterone and its effect on promoting cancer cell growth.
But Leitzman says this theory has its shortcomings because testosterone levels alone do not predict prostate cancer risk, and they do not appear to correlate with sexual desire as much as previously thought.
Instead, researchers say ejaculation may protect your prostate through a variety of biological mechanisms that merit further research, such as:
  • Flushing out cancer-causing substances. Frequent ejaculation may help flush out retained chemical carcinogens in your prostate glands.
  • Reducing tension. The release of psychological tension that accompanies ejaculation may lower nervous activity associated with stress and slow the growth of potentially cancerous cells in your prostate.
  • Promoting rapid turnover of fluids. Frequent ejaculation may help prevent the development of mini-crystals that can block ducts within your prostate gland, reducing your cancer risk.
Prostate Massage
As men age, an enlarging prostate is a common problem. Fat and proteins can accumulate and expand your prostate gland to the point of pain and recurrent urinary problems.
A prostate massage (also known as prostate milking) is a good way to drain the prostate. Even if you do not have any concerns with your prostate yet, it is recommended you do a massage once a month to prevent problems later.
If you already have prostate problems, a daily massage in addition to the medicinal therapies discussed above may be needed to reduce pain and swelling.
"Part of the role of the prostate gland is to produce a clear fluid which makes up about 30 percent of male seminal fluid and, in cases of chronic prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate milking can be used to reduce pressure in the prostate gland by removing excess fluid. Although it is possible to perform prostate milking externally by stimulating the prostate through the perineum this method is not always successful and it is more usual for prostate milking to be performed internally using a finger, prostate massager or a medical massager," writes author Donald Saunders.[7]
Prostate massage is part of the digital rectal examination (DRE) routinely performed on male patients by urologists in order to look for nodules of prostate cancer and to obtain expressed prostatic secretions (EPS) for examination under a microscope. Many doctors instruct patients to do this in order to keep the prostate healthy.
Improve Blood Flow for a Healthy Prostate
If you have an enlarged prostate, massage brings fresh blood and oxygen to the normally congested and suffocating prostate gland.
Viruses, bacteria and fungus are waiting for the right conditions in which to begin rapid multiplication. Infection is a natural process of biological decay, which congestion and blood stagnation encourages.
Fresh healthy blood is healing to tissues and milking the prostate gland also keeps sexual fluids (semen) fresh, clean, and moving out of your body. When fluids stagnate or blood and oxygen flows diminish, disease thrives. In cases of chronic prostatitis (an inflammation of the prostate gland) or an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) prostate milking can be helpful in reducing pressure in the prostate gland by removing excess fluid.
If you're concerned about the health of your prostate, you should do a prostate massage at least once a month.
A word of caution: If you are suffering from as yet undiagnosed prostate cancer, massage could result in cancer cell clusters breaking apart and spreading the cancer within your prostate gland and even to other areas of your body.
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, the prostate massage can be an important part of your treatment, but it is essential to target the cancer with bicarbonate, iodine, magnesium chloride and selenium before you start a massage routine. The idea is to completely change the condition not only inside and around the prostate gland but systemically as well, so further cancer growth is not encouraged or allowed.
Address Your Emotions for Optimal Health
Researchers have found the average victim of breast or prostate cancer was unable to express such basic drives as anger, aggressiveness, or sexual impulses.
In Psychosomatic Medicine, California's Dr. Eugene M. Blumberg and his colleagues report on patients with a wide variety of cancers: "We were impressed by the polite, apologetic, almost painful acquiescence of the patients with rapidly progressing disease, as contrasted with the more expressive and sometimes bizarre personalities of those who responded brilliantly to therapy with long remissions and long survival."
One in three breast cancer patients today may be treated unnecessarily and thus incorrectly according to a 2009 study.[8]
We can infer, without such a study for prostate patients, the story would be uniformly the same for them. Cancer sufferers en mass are being forced to pay with their lives for the incredible arrogance of oncologists and medical officials who refuse to open their eyes to see the medically sound solutions already out there.
There are many ways to treat cancer and new ideas are constantly being presented and then ignored. Examples:
  • A study published in the European medical journal Anticancer Research demonstrates a substance used as a cough suppressant for over 50 years may be useful in treating advanced prostate cancer.
  • Researchers from the Prostate Cancer Research and Educational Foundation, the MedInsight Research Institute, and the University of California in San Diego found that noscapine, a non-addictive derivative of opium, reduced tumor growth in mice by 60 percent. What's more, it halted the spread of tumors by 65 percent and caused no harmful side effects.
  • Medical marijuana, especially when taken in the form of oil, is also known to arrest cancer.
  • Spices add flavor to food but also may have cancer-fighting properties. India has one of the lowest cancer rates in the world, and the people there typically eat a diet containing a wide variety of spices. There is some limited evidence that capsaicin, the component of chili peppers that makes them hot, has some anti-cancerous properties. Both curry and cumin contain turmeric, which has been found to have anti-carcinogenic properties in cell cultures.[9] In studies involving mice, curcumin has demonstrated anti-carcinogenic activity in a variety of cancers.[10] A compound in aged garlic significantly inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells in vitro.[11]
  • Part of any successful cancer treatment includes chelation and detoxification of heavy metals and a host of toxic chemicals, which are all invading your body every day.
It is shocking how many people die from cancer even after governments have thrown the kitchen sink at it. After hundreds of billions spent on research, people are still dropping dead at close to the same rates as years past but no one thinks that the medical establishment is at fault.
Every man should have all this information in his hands and every woman who has a man she loves should have it as well.
With the guidance of an enlightened healthcare practitioner or doctor, and with the right protocol and multidimensional treatment approach, there is really no reason why a man has to die of prostate cancer or subject himself to harmful radiation or surgery. The same goes for women and breast cancer.

[1] The New York Times, In Health Reform, a Cancer Offers an Acid Test, July 7, 2009
[2] and
[4] Clark LC. The epidemiology of selenium and cancer. Fed Proc 1985; 44:2584-2590.
[5] Accu-Cell Nutrition; Calcium and Magnesium
[6] Enhancement of chemotherapy by manipulation of tumour pH. Raghunand N, He X, van Sluis R, Mahoney B, Baggett B, Taylor CW, Paine-Murrieta G, Roe D, Bhujwalla ZM, Gillies RJ. Arizona Cancer Center.
[8] Karsten Jorgensen and Peter Gotzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen analyzed breast cancer trends at least seven years before and after government-run screening programs for breast cancer started in parts of Australia, Britain, Canada, Norway and Sweden. The research was published in July of 2009 in the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal.
[9] Rao CV, et al. Chemoprevention of colon carcinogenesis by dietary curcumin, a naturally occurring plant phenolic compound. Cancer Res 1995; 55: 259-66.
[10] Huang MT, Newmark HL, Frenkel K. Inhibitory effects of curcumin on tumorigenesis
in mice. J Cell Biochem Suppl 1997; 27: 26-34.

[11] Raloff J et al. Radical prostates. Science News 1997 151: 126-27.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Reversing Dry Eye Syndrome

Reposted from Life Extension

By Michael Downey
An estimated 20 million Americans or more suffer from dry eye syndrome.
This condition occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough quality tears. It’s one of the most common eye conditions seen by physicians.1
Dry eye symptoms include burning, stinging, grittiness, tearing, foreign body sensation, ocular fatigue, and dryness. Dry eye syndrome significantly affects quality of life.1,2
Mainstream solutions for dry eyes are limited. Over-the-counter eye drops, or “artificial tears,” provide only short-term relief.3
Restasis®, a prescription drug approved by the FDA specifically for dry eye syndrome, can cause side effects such as burning, itching, stinging, redness, and blurred vision—the very dry eye symptoms you’re trying to eliminate!4
Japanese scientists have found a better alternative. Maqui berry extract is an oral supplement that safely combats dry eyes by boosting the body’s tear production.5,6 As a result, this berry extract can deliver rapid and long-lasting relief for dry, irritated eyes, while also helping to protect the eyes from long-term damage.
Clinical research demonstrates that a single oral capsule daily relieves dry eye syndrome within 30 days and provides lasting relief—without risky prescription-drug eye-drops’ side-effects.6

Dry Eye Health Risks

Dry Eye Health Risks  
Tears are absolutely essential for protecting the cornea, the front surface of the eye. In addition to providing lubrication, tears help protect the eyes from infection, wash away foreign matter, and deliver critical nutrients. Because the cornea contains no blood vessels, it relies on the aqueous humor (fluid behind the cornea) and an adequate flow of high-quality tears for delivery of nutrients and infection-fighters.7,8
Tears are important to lubricate and nourish the eye, but when these are of poor quality or not produced in sufficient amounts, it leads to a condition known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or simply dry eye syndrome.2
Insufficient lubrication of the cornea has two critical consequences: discomfort now and eye damage later.
Today, the stinging, itching, inflammation, light-sensitivity, distraction, and difficulty focusing can reduce quality of life. Studies show that eye irritation can become so disturbing that it can even lower scores on standard mental-health scales.9,10
But over time, what started off as a mild irritation can turn into vision impairment. That’s because tears carry antimicrobial defenses that help prevent eye infections. Reduced production or increased evaporation can result in damage to the cornea and the conjunctiva, which is the layer that lines the eyeball and inner surfaces of the lids.1 Scratches and other injuries to the cornea don’t heal well in the presence of dry eye.11 When the cornea becomes damaged, it can ultimately impair vision.7

Increased Prevalence of Dry Eye

The prevalence of dry eye syndrome has been rising both in the US and worldwide, especially among women.1,6,12
This is associated with a variety of risk factors including aging, computers, flat-screen displays, smart phones, contact lenses, vision-correcting and cataract surgeries, and stresses, including stress from ultraviolet exposure.1,13-18

Quality—Not Just Quantity—of Tears

Dry eye syndrome has a number of potential causes.
People with dry eyes generally don’t produce enough tears, their tears evaporate too quickly, or, most critically, they have a low quality of tear film.
Tear film contains three layers—oil, water, and mucous.3 The health of the cornea and conjunctiva require all three layers to be of good quality.
The minute quantity of tears produced daily—normally ranging from under 1 mL to just over 3 mL per eye6—needs to lubricate, nourish, and protect the comparatively large surface area of the eye. If the water element (the middle layer) evaporates too rapidly, the remaining tear fluid becomes excessively concentrated,19-21 which in turn impairs many of the tear film’s critical functions.
In addition, having insufficient tears causes inflammation, which then lowers tear production even further, creating a vicious cycle.19
Two of the most common characteristics of dry eye syndrome are the inadequacy of the water layer of tears produced by the lacrimal glands and insufficient oil production from the meibomian glands.22
It’s no wonder artificial tears fall short when it comes to treating dry eye: they can’t replicate the complex structure of real tears.
That’s what makes research into the effects of maqui berry extract on tear production so exciting. Maqui berry extract safely and quickly boosts the body’s own tear production. As a result, it delivers fast, long-lasting relief for dry, irritated eyes—while also helping to protect the eyes from long-term damage.6
The Three Layers of Lubricating Tear Film
  • The outermost or surface layer of tear film is the oil layer and is produced by glands on the edge of your eyelids called the meibomian glands. It prevents overly rapid tear evaporation.26,27
  • The middle layer is the water layer and is produced by the lacrimal glands. It is an essential component of tear film.28
  • The innermost or bottom layer, directly over the cornea, is the mucin layer. It provides lubrication and protection to the cornea.29

Maqui Berry Extract Protects Eyes and Promotes Tears

Japanese scientists were the first to discover the effects of a standardized extract of maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis).
Maqui is native to a few regions of Chile and southern Argentina,23,24 and contains compounds that help prevent low-grade injury to the lacrimal glands, enhancing their ability to make tears.5 These compounds are called delphinidins, and they fall into the anthocyanin family of plant extracts that are known to fight oxidative damage.
Delphinidins provide two potent eye-protecting activities. First, they shield the eye structures from the constant exposure to reactive oxygen species. Second, they inhibit damage from light stimulation to the eye’s delicate tissues, such as the photoreceptor cells.25
Animal research has also found that delphinidins in maqui berries can restore tear production by the lacrimal glands.5 For this study, scientists created a rat model of dry eye by suppressing the animals’ blink reflex in order to allow excessive evaporation from the eye surface. One group of rats was pretreated with maqui berry extract, while the other served as the control.
In the end, pretreatment with maqui berry extract significantly prevented the loss of tears that was observed in the control group. Despite the suppressed blink reflex, the animals pretreated with maqui berry extract retained clear eyes with no new corneal damage throughout the study. Untreated controls experienced considerable corneal damage from the extended dry-eye periods.5
What You Need to Know
Reversing Dry Eye Syndrome

Reversing Dry Eye Syndrome

  • Dry eye syndrome—increasingly common and driven by numerous factors in modern life—causes more than discomfort and over time, it can expose the eye to serious damage.
  • Too little production of either the watery layer, or the oily layer, of tear film results in too-rapid evaporation of tears.
  • Scientists have discovered that a single oral capsule of maqui berry extract taken daily boosts natural, high-quality tear production within 30 days, providing lasting relief and eye protection.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to support the tear-production benefits of maqui berry extract by slowing tear evaporation from the eyes.
  • Taken together, these two nutrients address two of the key underlying characteristics of dry eye syndrome.

Maqui Berry Validated in Human Studies

Next, scientists designed a study to determine whether maqui berry extract could enhance tear production and improve eye comfort in humans suffering from dry eyes.6
They selected 13 healthy volunteers with moderately dry eyes, according to Schirmer’s test—which is a way to assess the amount of fluid produced by the tear glands and whether it is sufficient to keep the eyes moist.30 All participants took either 30 or 60 mg of maqui berry extract daily.6
After 30 days, both doses resulted in an approximately 50% improvement in tear production.
After 60 days, the 60 mg dose proved compellingly more effective for long-term use, delivering a sustained 45% improvement in tear production—while tear production in the 30 mg dose fell around halfway back toward baseline levels.6
This clarified that 60 mg of maqui berry extract daily can help reverse dry eye conditions, which are associated with burning, eye fatigue, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and other symptoms.6
Surprising Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome
Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome
In 2016, scientists found that dry eye symptoms are greater in diabetics.31
Another recent study showed that pregnancy can reduce tear production.32
In 2016, BMJ Open published research demonstrating that higher blood levels of mercury were significantly associated with dry eye symptoms.33
Over 85% of HIV patients were found to have dry eye symptoms in another 2016 study, which also named radiation, infection, and smoking as potential causes.34
Other identified causes of dry eye symptoms include birth control pills, menopause, breastfeeding, antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics and blood pressure drugs, decongestants, antianxiety agents, Bell’s palsy, thyroid dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis, and Sj√∂gren’s syndrome.35
Regardless of the cause, recent studies have discovered that maqui berry extracts and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent and reverse dry eyes by helping the body naturally maintain both the quantity—and quality—of tears.

Quality-of-Life Improvements

Using the same subjects, the study team conducted quality-of-life measurements.
All patients completed the standard Dry Eye-Related Quality of Life Score (DEQS) test. This is a reliable questionnaire that consists of 15 items related to the influence of dry-eye syndrome on daily life, including its mental aspect. The overall degree of impairment to quality of life is calculated as a score—with a lower score indicating a greater quality of life.
Both dosing groups had a total composite score—eye and daily-life symptoms—of about 40 at the outset of the study. Scores for both groups fell quickly after treatment with maqui berry extract began. Patients taking 30 mg of maqui berry extract daily experienced a reduction (improvement) to a score of almost 22 (from a baseline of 40) in their scores after 30 days. However, their score didn’t drop much further by day 60.6
The score for patients taking 60 mg of maqui berry extract daily dropped to almost 27 after 30 days. In contrast to the lower (30 mg) dose group, the dry eye score of those taking 60 mg of maqui continued to fall after 60 days to an astoundingly low 11 points. This constitutes a 72% improvement in quality-of-life symptoms after just two months!6
This greater long-term improvement in quality of life for those taking 60 mg daily parallels the longer-lasting boost in tear production with the same dose in the same patients in the other part of the study.6
This study underscores maqui berry extract’s clear superiority to eye drops in improving tear fluid production, eye comfort, and quality of life.

Additional Support with Omega-3s

Recent evidence demonstrates that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can also help improve dry eye symptoms. Different from maqui berry extracts, which increase the body’s production of tears, omega-3s help combat dry eyes by slowing tear evaporation from the eyes.
A 2016 study found that omega-3s—when taken for 12 weeks as part of a formula that also provided vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—reduced a wide range of dry eye symptoms including stinging, conjunctiva redness, scratchiness, blurred vision, and painful and tired eyes. The study author concluded that:
“Oral omega-3 fatty acids supplementation was an effective treatment for dry eye symptoms.”36
In another study on omega-3s by themselves, patients with dry eye syndrome took 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (325 mg EPA and 175 mg DHA) twice a day for three months. Compared to a placebo, the supplemented patients demonstrated on average a nearly 20-fold increase in tear-film breakup time (the time it takes for tears to disperse) and a more than 4-fold improvement in symptom scores.37
Tear-film breakup time is critical because when it is less than the blinking rate, the eyes suffer intermittent but repeated periods of exposure, producing symptoms of dry eye syndrome and—in addition to the discomfort—potentially injuring the eye.1,37,38
A third study confirmed that omega-3s improve tear-film breakup time and also enhance oily tear secretions, as measured by Schirmer’s test.39
These findings suggest that omega-3 fatty acids support the meibomian glands, which produce the vital lipid layer of the tear film and prevent overly rapid tear evaporation. Omega-3s, therefore, appear to be the perfect complement to maqui berry extract, which supports enhanced production of the aqueous (watery) layer of the tear film.
Are Your Eyes Dangerously Dry?
Are Your Eyes Dangerously Dry?
The following is a list of possible symptoms that can be indicative of dry eye syndrome:40
  • Eye redness
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • “Foreign body” sensation
  • Blurred vision
  • “Eyelid heaviness” sensation
  • Eye fatigue
  • Feeling of being distracted by eye dryness and fatigue
  • Difficulty reading, and,
  • Episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods.


Dry eye syndrome is an increasingly common condition that causes discomfort and reduced quality of life in the short-term and that can damage eye tissue in the long-term.
A sufficient amount of tears and a healthy quality of the tear film are essential for protecting the cornea from infection and delivering critical nutrients. Damage and inflammation caused by dry eyes leads to further tear reduction, creating a vicious cycle.
A natural, orally-administered extract of the maqui berry has been shown to soothe eyes from the inside out by stimulating healthy tear production and enhancing eye comfort. For additional support, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to help slow tear evaporation from the eye.
Together, these two nutrients help combat the key characteristics of dry eye syndrome.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


  1. Gayton JL. Etiology, prevalence, and treatment of dry eye disease. Clin Ophthalmol. 2009;3:405-12.
  2. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2017.
  3. Moon SW, Hwang JH, Chung SH, et al. The impact of artificial tears containing hydroxypropyl guar on mucous layer. Cornea. 2010;29(12):1430-5.
  4. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2017.
  5. Nakamura S, Tanaka J, Imada T, et al. Delphinidin 3,5-O-diglucoside, a constituent of the maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) anthocyanin, restores tear secretion in a rat dry eye model. Journal of Functional Foods. 2014;10:346-54.
  6. Hitoe S, Tanaka J, Shimoda H. MaquiBright standardized maqui berry extract significantly increases tear fluid production and ameliorates dry eye-related symptoms in a clinical pilot trial. Panminerva Med. 2014;56(3 Suppl 1):1-6.
  7. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2017.
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  9. Tounaka K, Yuki K, Kouyama K, et al. Dry eye disease is associated with deterioration of mental health in male Japanese university staff. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2014;233(3):215-20.
  10. Le Q, Zhou X, Ge L, et al. Impact of dry eye syndrome on vision-related quality of life in a non-clinic-based general population. BMC Ophthalmol. 2012;12:22.
  11. Cho YK, Archer B, Ambati BK. Dry eye predisposes to corneal neovascularization and lymphangiogenesis after corneal injury in a murine model. Cornea. 2014;33(6):621-7.
  12. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2017.
  13. Parihar JK, Jain VK, Chaturvedi P, et al. Computer and visual display terminals (VDT) vision syndrome (CVDTS). Med J Armed Forces India. 2016;72(3):270-6.
  14. Porcar E, Pons AM, Lorente A. Visual and ocular effects from the use of flat-panel displays. Int J Ophthalmol. 2016;9(6):881-5.
  15. Yazici A, Sari ES, Sahin G, et al. Change in tear film characteristics in visual display terminal users. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2015;25(2):85-9.
  16. Azuma M, Yabuta C, Fraunfelder FW, et al. Dry eye in LASIK patients. BMC Res Notes. 2014;7:420.
  17. Bron AJ, Tomlinson A, Foulks GN, et al. Rethinking dry eye disease: a perspective on clinical implications. Ocul Surf. 2014;12(2 Suppl):S1-31.
  18. Foulks GN. Pharmacological management of dry eye in the elderly patient. Drugs Aging. 2008;25(2):105-18.
  19. Yagci A, Gurdal C. The role and treatment of inflammation in dry eye disease. Int Ophthalmol. 2014;34(6):1291-301.
  20. Garcia-Resua C, Pena-Verdeal H, Remeseiro B, et al. Correlation between tear osmolarity and tear meniscus. Optom Vis Sci. 2014;91(12):1419-29.
  21. McCulley JP, Uchiyama E, Aronowicz JD, et al. Impact of evaporation on aqueous tear loss. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 2006;104:121-8.
  22. Horwath-Winter J, Schmut O, Haller-Schober EM, et al. Iodide iontophoresis as a treatment for dry eye syndrome. Br J Ophthalmol. 2005;89(1):40-4.
  23. Available at: Accessed March 7, 2017.
  24. Suwalsky M, Vargas P, Avello M, et al. Human erythrocytes are affected in vitro by flavonoids of Aristotelia chilensis (Maqui) leaves. Int J Pharm. 2008;363(1-2):85-90.
  25. Tanaka J, Kadekaru T, Ogawa K, et al. Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) and the constituent delphinidin glycoside inhibit photoreceptor cell death induced by visible light. Food Chem. 2013;139(1-4):129-37.
  26. Benitez-Del-Castillo JM. How to promote and preserve eyelid health. Clin Ophthalmol. 2012;6:1689-98.
  27. Knop E, Knop N, Schirra F. Meibomian glands. Part II: physiology, characteristics, distribution and function of meibomian oil. Ophthalmologe. 2009;106(10):884-92.
  28. Walcott B. The Lacrimal Gland and Its Veil of Tears. News Physiol Sci. 1998;13:97-103.
  29. Schnetler R, Gillan W, Koorsen G. Lipid composition of human meibum: a review. S Afr Optom. 2013;72(2):86-93.
  30. Available at: Accessed March 7, 2017.
  31. Aljarousha M, Badarudin NE, Che Azemin MZ. Comparison of Dry Eye Parameters between Diabetics and Non-Diabetics in District of Kuantan, Pahang. Malays J Med Sci. 2016;23(3):72-7.
  32. Ibraheem WA, Ibraheem AB, Tjani AM, et al. Tear Film Functions and Intraocular Pressure Changes in Pregnancy. Afr J Reprod Health. 2015;19(4):118-22.
  33. Chung SH, Myong JP. Are higher blood mercury levels associated with dry eye symptoms in adult Koreans? A population-based cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2016;6(4):e010985.
  34. Conrady CD, Joos ZP, Patel BC. Review: The Lacrimal Gland and Its Role in Dry Eye. J Ophthalmol. 2016;2016:7542929.
  35. Available at: Accessed March 7, 2017.
  36. Gatell-Tortajada J. Oral supplementation with a nutraceutical formulation containing omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in a large series of patients with dry eye symptoms: results of a prospective study. Clin Interv Aging. 2016;11:571-8.
  37. Bhargava R, Kumar P, Kumar M, et al. A randomized controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acids in dry eye syndrome. Int J Ophthalmol. 2013;6(6):811-6.
  38. Su TY, Chang SW, Yang CJ, et al. Direct observation and validation of fluorescein tear film break-up patterns by using a dual thermal-fluorescent imaging system. Biomed Opt Express. 2014;5(8):2614-9.
  39. Liu A, Ji J. Omega-3 essential fatty acids therapy for dry eye syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. Med Sci Monit. 2014;20:1583-9.
  40. Available at: Accessed March 7, 2017.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Cholesterol Myth Has Been Busted — Yet Again

Reposted from Dr. Mercola

By Dr. Mercola
For the past four decades, the U.S. government has warned that eating cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs would raise your LDL cholesterol (inappropriately referred to as "bad" cholesterol) and promote heart disease.
Alas, decades' worth of research utterly failed to demonstrate this correlation, and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans1,2,3,4,5 finally addressed this scientific shortcoming, announcing "cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption."6
This is good news, since dietary cholesterol plays an important role in brain health and memory formation, and is indispensable for the building of cells and the production of stress and sex hormones, as well as vitamin D. (When sunlight strikes your bare skin, the cholesterol in your skin is converted into vitamin D.)
Unfortunately, the dietary guidelines still cling to outdated misinformation about saturated fat, wrongly accusing it of raising LDL and contributing to heart disease. Here, science has shown that saturated fat only raises the safe, fluffy LDL particles. It also increases HDL, which is beneficial for your heart.
The guidelines became and are still confusing because the basic premise was wrong. Dietary fat is indeed associated with heart disease, but it's the processed vegetable oils, which are loaded with trans fats and oxidized omega-6 fats, that are the problem, not saturated fats.
The introduction of industrialized, highly processed and frequently heated omega-6 vegetable oils distorted the vitally important omega 6-to-3 ratio, causing metabolic catastrophes. The problem was further exacerbated by replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates, which were incorrectly viewed as a healthier option, thanks to misinformation created and spread by the sugar industry.

Impairs Electrical Storage Potential of Your Cells

Nutrition and biochemistry are clearly important to your health, but so is your body's electrical system. All our membranes are made of fats that are insulators and connected through a conductor. This arrangement sets up a biological capacitor to store electrons — but only if the fats are healthy.
If you consume damaged fats, or worse, heated and hydrogenated oils, the fatty acids in the cell membrane essentially become nonfunctional and unable to store body voltage, thus increasing the risk for disease. This is one of many reasons why it is so vital to eat healthy fats.

Unpublished Research Undermines Decades of Dietary Advice

Ancel Keys was one of the most prominent nutritional researchers of the mid-20th century. He gained enormous professional and influential prominence and his views were widely adopted by professional and public health organizations. His research formed the foundation for all of the low-fat recommendations that followed. Interestingly, some of his own follow-up research actually undermined his hypotheses on cholesterol and saturated fat, but these findings were never published.
Had they been, the cholesterol and low-fat myths might never have gained the same kind of traction. The four decades' old study in question was unearthed by Dr. Christopher E. Ramsden, who specializes in digging up and reevaluating lost studies that challenge mainstream health advice.7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16
Keys, who was largely funded by the sugar industry, is believed to have been responsible for suppressing this damning study, as it doesn't support his original hypothesis. Only parts of the trial's results were ever published, leaving out the controversial finding that replacing saturated fats with vegetable oil had no benefit on mortality. As reported by Scientific American:17
"Ramsden, of the National Institutes of Health, unearthed raw data from a 40-year-old study, which challenges the dogma that eating vegetable fats instead of animal fats is good for the heart. The study, the largest gold-standard experiment testing that idea, found the opposite …
Although the study is more than just another entry in the long-running nutrition wars — it is more rigorous than the vast majority of research on the topic — Ramsden makes no claims that it settles the question. Instead, he said, his discovery and analysis of long-lost data underline how the failure to publish the results of clinical trials can undermine truth."

Saturated Fat Vindicated in Largest Most Rigorous Trial of Its Kind

The study,18 conducted from 1968 to 1973, included 9,423 participants between the ages of 20 and 97, making it the largest trial of its kind. The participants were also residents of state mental hospitals and a nursing home, making it one of the most rigorously detailed studies as the meals of every person were carefully logged.
On the average, each patient was followed for about 15 months. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups, receiving either:
  1. A then-standard diet containing 18.5 percent saturated fat from animal fats such as milk, cheese, beef and shortening, and 5 percent unsaturated fat, based on total calories
  2. A diet in which 50 percent of the saturated fats were replaced with vegetable oil (a mainstay in today's processed foods) and corn oil margarine (total 9 percent saturated fat and 13 percent unsaturated fat)
After analyzing the data, Ramsden and his team found that vegetable oils lowered total cholesterol levels by an average of 14 percent after one year. However, this lower cholesterol did not result in improved health and longevity, which is the conventional belief. Instead, the research showed that the lower the cholesterol, the higher the risk of dying!
For every 30 point drop in total cholesterol there was a 22 percent increased chance of death. In the 65 and older category, those who received vegetable oil experienced roughly 15 percent more deaths compared to seniors in the saturated fat group. The vegetable oil also did not result in fewer cases of atherosclerosis or heart attacks.
On the contrary, autopsies revealed both groups had similar levels of arterial plaque, but 41 percent of the vegetable oil group showed signs of at least one heart attack compared to just 22 percent of those in the saturated fat group. According to the authors:
"Available evidence from randomized controlled trials shows that replacement of saturated fat in the diet with linoleic acid [vegetable oil] effectively lowers serum cholesterol but does not support the hypothesis that this translates to a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease or all causes."

Why Vegetable Oils Are so Bad for Your Health 

Later this year I will post my interview with Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of "Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food,"19 in which she delves into the profound harms done by processed vegetable oils in the modern diet. To learn more, keep your eyes open for that interview.
According to Shanahan, vegetable oil is your brain's worst enemy, attacking it "at seven distinct vulnerability points using seven distinct strategies. All seven strategies are at work in causing autism and other childhood neurologic disorders." This includes:
  • Promoting gut inflammation and leaky gut. This inflammation often causes heartburn, which can serve as a red flag. Unfortunately, many misattribute heartburn to spicy foods rather than the more significant culprit, namely vegetable oils
  • Disrupting the regulation of blood flow through the arteries in your brain and depleting your brain of antioxidants
  • Turning your immune system against you by affecting your white blood cells (immune system cells), causing disease and nerve degenerating reactions
  • Attacking the nerve cellular architecture. "Vegetable oils cause an overload of oxidative reactions inside the cell, leading to the accumulation of intracellular trash. When this affects our white matter, we lose our mobility. When it affects our gray matter, we lose our personalities and our connections to the world," Shanahan explains in her book20
  • Impairing brain development through mutagenic effects on DNA and altered epigenetic expression
Other reasons why vegetable oils cause heart disease and other health problems include the following:
  • Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, when taken in large amounts, cannot be burned for fuel. Instead, they're incorporated into your cellular and mitochondrial membranes, where they are highly susceptible to oxidative damage. As a result, your metabolic machinery is damaged. Vegetable oils made from genetically engineered (GE) crops (as most are) have additional health risks, as they tend to be loaded with toxic herbicide residues like Roundup.
  • While your body needs some omega-6, most get far too much of it compared to omega-3, and this lopsided ratio can also have adverse health consequences.
  • When heated, vegetable oils tend to oxidize. According to Dr. Fred Kummerow,21 who has researched lipids and heart disease for eight decades, oxidized cholesterol is the real culprit that causes heart disease. By triggering inflammation, it promotes the clogging of arteries and associated cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks.

Many Studies Have Debunked the Saturated Fat Myth

Several other studies have also demonstrated that replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils is a bad idea. While the benefits for cardiovascular mortality and risk-factor reduction have been mixed, none of these trials showed that restricting saturated fats reduced total mortality:
Recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study: In 2013, Ramsden's team analyzed four trials looking at the effects of replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils. Replacing saturated fats with linoleic acid-rich vegetable oils increased mortality risk from all causes, including coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease22
The Oslo Study (1968): A study of 412 men, aged 30-64 years, found eating a diet low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fats had no influence on rates of sudden death23
L.A. Veterans Study (1969): A study of 850 elderly men that lasted for six years is widely used to support the diet-heart hypothesis. No significant difference was found in rates of sudden death or heart attack among men eating a mostly animal-foods diet and those eating a high-vegetable oil diet. However, more non-cardiac deaths, including from cancer, were seen in the vegetable oil group24
London Soybean Oil Trial (1968): This study of nearly 400 men that lasted for two to seven years found no difference in heart attack rate between men following a diet low in saturated fats and high in soybean oil and those following an ordinary diet25
The U.S. Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT): Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, this is another study that is highly misleading. It compared mortality rates and eating habits of over 12,000 men, and the finding that was widely publicized was that people who ate a low saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet had a marginal reduction in coronary heart disease. However, their mortality from all causes was actually higher26
A 2013 editorial published in the BMJ described how the avoidance of saturated fat actually promotes poor health in a number of ways. As stated by the author, Dr. Aseem Malhotra, an interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London:27
"The mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades. Yet scientific evidence shows that this advice has, paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risk ...
The aspect of dietary saturated fat that is believed to have the greatest influence on cardiovascular risk is elevated concentrations of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Yet the reduction in LDL cholesterol from reducing saturated fat intake seems to be specific to large, buoyant (type A) LDL particles, when in fact it is the small, dense (type B) particles (responsive to carbohydrate intake) that are implicated in cardiovascular disease.
Indeed, recent prospective cohort studies have not supported any significant association between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular risk. Instead, saturated fat has been found to be protective."
A 2014 meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (which included data from 76 studies and more than a half-million people) found that those who consume higher amounts of saturated fat have no more heart disease than those who consume less. Moreover, those who ate higher amounts of unsaturated fat, including both (healthy) olive oil and (unhealthy) corn oil — both of which are recommended over saturated fats — did not have lower incidence of heart disease28
A 2015 meta-analysis published in the BMJ also failed to find an association between high levels of saturated fat in the diet and heart disease. Nor did they find an association between saturated fat consumption and other life-threatening diseases like stroke or type 2 diabetes29
In summary, industrially processed, highly refined vegetable oils do not reduce your risk of dying from heart disease. Put another way, saturated fats do not increase your risk of dying from heart disease either. Moreover, reducing cholesterol is not necessarily a sign of improved health; it may actually increase your risk of death. As noted by Ramsden:30
"One would expect that the more you lowered cholesterol, the better the outcome. But in this case the opposite association was found. The greater degree of cholesterol-lowering was associated with a higher, rather than a lower, risk of death."

Statins Revisited

The cholesterol myth has been a boon to the pharmaceutical industry, as cholesterol-lowering statins — often prescribed as a primary prevention against heart attack and stroke related to high cholesterol — have become one of the most frequently used drugs on the market. In 2012, nearly 28 percent of American adults over the age of 40 reported using a statin.31
Updated cholesterol treatment guidelines issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (AHA) in 2013 made another 9.3 million Americans eligible candidates for the drug. However, researchers have repeatedly warned the cardiovascular risk calculator32 used may be overestimating your risk by anywhere from 75 to 150 percent.33 This means even healthy people at low risk for heart problems are being turned to statins.
What's worse, the guideline also removed the recommendation to use the lowest drug dose possible. Instead, the sole focus is on statin-only treatment at higher dosages. The guidelines also ignore the density of the lipoproteins (the LDL and HDL). Large fluffy LDL particles are not harmful. Only small dense LDL particles can potentially cause problems as they can squeeze through the lining of your arteries. If they oxidize, they can cause damage and inflammation.
This means you could potentially have an LDL level of 190 but still be at low risk as long as your LDLs are large, and your HDL-to-total cholesterol ratio is above 24 percent. As mentioned earlier, saturated fat not only increases your HDL, it also increases large, fluffy LDLs, which is what you want.

Two Leading Cholesterol Guidelines Differ in Their Recommendations

Now, researchers have revisited the cholesterol guidelines, noting there are significant differences between the two leading guidelines in the U.S.34 In 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its own cholesterol treatment guidelines, which suggests statins should not be used unless the patient has at least one other risk factor (such as high blood pressure, diabetes or smoking) in addition to having a 10 percent risk on the cardiovascular risk calculator.
Under these guidelines, an estimated 17.1 million Americans are candidates for a statin, compared to the 26.4 million covered by the American College of Cardiology/AHA guidelines. The differences between the two guidelines have caused a great deal of debate among experts.
Which one's better? As Michael Pencina, a professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at the Duke Clinical Research Institute and lead author of the study told CNN:35 "There's generally confusion on who should be getting statins. I don't think we have the perfect guideline yet."
In my view, the number needed to treat offers compelling clues to the overall uselessness of statins. According to an analysis by the USPSTF, published last year:36
  • 100 people need to take a statin as a primary preventive for five years in order for one or two people to avoid a heart attack, and none will actually live longer
  • 250 people need to take a statin for up to six years in order to prevent a single death from any cause
A 2015 report37 published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology concluded that "statistical deception created the appearance that statins are safe and effective in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease."
By using relative risk reduction, the trivial benefits of statins are amplified. If you look at absolute risk, statin drugs benefit a mere 1 percent of the population. As noted by the USPSTF, this report found that out of 100 people treated with the drugs, one person will have one less heart attack.

Statins Do Not Reduce Mortality, and Can Seriously Harm Your Health

Other studies38 have also found that statins provide no reduction in mortality when used preventatively — even in at-risk groups. This strongly suggests statins have even less of a benefit among those already at low risk of heart disease. Recent research39 has also confirmed that high cholesterol is not linked with heart disease in the elderly, prompting the researchers to conclude that reducing cholesterol levels with statin drugs is "a waste of time."
Indeed, Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D. and senior scientist at MIT, believes heart disease is a cholesterol deficiency problem, which is essentially the converse of the conventional paradigm. Still, her hypothesis appears to be supported by studies showing people with higher levels of cholesterol actually live longer than those with lower levels.
Aside from being a "waste of time" and not doing anything to reduce mortality, statins also carry with them a list of over 200 side effects and clinical challenges, including:40,41
Increased risk of diabetes (there are several mechanisms for this, including increasing insulin resistance and raising your blood sugar) Acute liver diseaseMuscle pain, tenderness or weakness
Rhabdomyolysis (a condition involving the death of muscle fibers), Acute kidney failureChronic liver dysfunction
Reduced ketone production.42 Ketones are water-soluble fat nutrients important for tissue health.
They're also important molecular signaling molecules
Depletes your body of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, including CoQ10 and vitamin K2, both of which are important for cardiovascular and heart healthImpaired fertility and reduced sex drive.
Importantly, statins are a Category X medication, meaning they cause serious birth defects, so they should NEVER be used by a pregnant woman or women planning a pregnancy
Increased risk of cancer. Long-term statin use (10 years or longer) more than doubles women's risk of two major types of breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma43Nerve damage. Research has shown statin treatment lasting longer than two years causes "definite damage to peripheral nerves"44Reduced muscle and nervous system coordination 
Diarrhea and/or constipationDizzinessHeadache
Central nervous system toxicityAbdominal painCataracts
Decreased heart function45Endocrine dysfunctionMemory loss

Making Sense of Your Cholesterol Levels and Assessing Your Heart Disease Risk

>>>>> Click Here <<<<<
Embed this infographic on your website:
Click on the code area and press CTRL + C (for Windows) / CMD + C (for Macintosh) to copy the code
As a general rule, cholesterol-lowering drugs are not required or prudent for the majority of people — especially if both high cholesterol and longevity run in your family. Also keep in mind that your overall cholesterol level says very little about your risk for heart disease.
For more information about cholesterol and what the different levels mean, take a look at the infographic above. As for evaluating your heart disease risk, the following tests will provide you with a far more accurate picture than your total cholesterol or LDL level alone:
HDL/Cholesterol ratio
HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24 percent
Triglyceride/HDL ratio
You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2
Large LDL particles are not harmful. Only small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, as they can squeeze through the lining of your arteries. If they oxidize, they can cause damage and inflammation.
Some groups, such as the National Lipid Association, are now starting to shift the focus toward LDL particle number instead of total and LDL cholesterol, in order to better assess your heart disease risk.
Once you know your particle size numbers, you and your doctor can develop a more customized program to help manage your risk
Your fasting insulin level
Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar.
The insulin released from eating too many carbs promotes fat accumulation and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight. Excess fat, particularly around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease
Your fasting blood sugar level
Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl had a nearly 300 percent increased higher risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl
Your iron level
Iron can be a very potent oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levels you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should monitor your ferritin levels and make sure they are not much above 80 ng/ml.
The simplest way to lower them if they are elevated is to donate your blood. If that is not possible you can have a therapeutic phlebotomy and that will effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body