Posted on by Village Green Nutrition Team
Guest blogger: David Stouder
Village Green Apothecary Staff
The "cholesterol theory of heart disease," or "cholesterol hypothesis," is the leading theory to explain the cause of atherosclerosis. The "cholesterol hypothesis" assumes that plasma (LDL) cholesterol is an important causal factor for atherosclerosis, a common condition that develops when a sticky substance called plaque builds up inside your arteries. Disease linked to atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death in the United States.
It is fair to point out that this theory has fared poorly in the light of current scientific rigor, despite its wide acceptance among most doctors.
Ponder, if you will, these direct quotes from two of the leading cholesterol medications: “[ ] is prescribed along with diet to lower high cholesterol, and has not been determined to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes.” And this summary of a study from an ad that boasts a seemingly significant risk reduction from another leading cholesterol medication: “That means in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking [ ].”
The point here is to alert us that there is more to the heart health picture than merely a cholesterol number. In his newest book The Clot Thickens, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick demonstrates quite convincingly that plaque formation has everything to do with inflammatory assaults to the blood vessel lining and little to do with the amount of cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream.
For the endothelial cells (the lining of the blood vessels) to become damaged, the protective coating must first be breached. This coating, a new term to most of us, is called the "glycocalyx." A good way to think about the glycocalyx is to see it as similar to the slippery coating on the skin of a fish.
Here is a quote from book The Clot Thickens:
So, not only is the glycocalyx ‘non-stick,’ it actively resists the formation of blood clots. Below is a more complete list of its functions. You can skip this list if you want, or read it, and wonder once again, as I do, at how complex the human body is. You would almost think it had been designed…
- Forms the interface between the vessel wall and moving blood
- Acts as the exclusion zone between blood cells and the endothelium
- Acts as a barrier against leakage of fluid, proteins and lipids across the vascular wall
- Interacts dynamically with blood constituents
- Acts as the 'molecular sieve' for plasma proteins
- Modulates adhesion of inflammatory cells and platelets to the endothelial surface
- Functions as a sensor and mechano-transducer of the fluid shear forces to which the endothelium is exposed; thus, the glycocalyx mediates shear-stress-dependent nitric oxide production
- Retains protective enzymes (e.g. superoxide dismutase)
- Retains anticoagulation factors, e.g., tissue factor inhibitor, protein C, nitric oxide (NO), antithrombin.
Think of how paint on a car protects it from rust. The paint must be damaged first, before the metal underneath can rust. Well, this is how the glycocalyx works. It must be damaged before plaque can form on the cells underneath.
Although this powerful heart health strategy may be new to most of us, Designs For Health (one of the many professional supplement lines offered at Village Green Apothecary) has just introduced a new product for glycocalyx support: Arterosil HP.
Arterosil is a patented formulation backed by clinical studies. From their website:
“Arterosil contains MonitumRS™ – a proprietary extract of rhamnan sulfate, a specialized sulfated polysaccharide derived from the rare green seaweed, Monostroma nitidum. Rhamnan sulfate is a powerful glycocalyx regenerating compound and has been reported to possess many cardiovascular health benefits.”
In conclusion, I highly recommend The Clot Thickens, by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, and encourage you to try Designs For Heath Arterosil HP during Village Green’s Year-End Sale.
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