How Cholesterol Kills You
As you know, we have two types of cholesterol in our bodies: the bad cholesterol (LDL standing for low-density lipoproteins) and good cholesterol (HDL standing for high-density lipoproteins). The good cholesterol carries cholesterol out of our bodies, which is why it is not the total level of cholesterol that matters so much as the ratio of good and bad cholesterol.
Bad cholesterol fixes itself to and in the walls of the veins and arteries. Our vital endothelial cells, which are maintained by small tributaries running through the endothelium (the wall of the arteries) from the arteries can no longer function and can eventually die. Just a small deposit can do this.
When trapped the cholesterol is oxidized and is perceived by your body as a threat. To fight the oxidized cholesterol the white blood cells stick to the artery walls, which are no longer like Teflon and more like Velcro. The white cells absorb the cholesterol and swell into foam cells. If your bad cholesterol remains high the foam cells cannot cope and create chemokines, which attract more white cells. At the same time a free radical called superoxide anion is produced, which oxidizes more bad cholesterol and destroys ADNO (Arginine Derived Nitric Oxide). Where the foam cells rupture or damage the artery wall platelets stick to the area attempting to heal it, but the combination of foam cells, platelets and injury attracts vascular smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts, which build up scar tissue enlarging the growth, which eventually causes a narrowing of the artery. Within the swelling is a pus like mix of liquified cholesterol, calcium crystals and white cells. The growth in time either ruptures, or is released by white blood cells gnawing it off. In addition to the debris the pus is released causing blood to clot. At this point you suffer a stroke or a heart attack, depending on the artery, which is blocked.
ADNO Prevents and Restores
I cannot do better than to quote the summary on pages 64 – 65 of Dr Ignarro’s “NO More Heart Disease” (one of the Nobel Prize winners):
- The endothelial cells are workhouses in the cardiovascular system, manufacturing the NO [Nitic Oxide] that are workhorses in the cardiovascular system, manufacturing the NO that guards against many common diseases. By controlling blood flow, they can help regulate blood pressure.
- Once plaque forms in the arteries, it is difficult to undo the damage. Thus prevention is key, and NO can play an important role in keeping plaques at bay.
- By interfering with platelet aggregation, NO minimizes the risk of strokes.
- ‘Oxidative stress’ can contribute to cardiovascular disease, but damage caused by oxygen radicals can be reduced with proper choice of supplements.
- You can restore the functioning of injured endothelial cells by taking select amino acid and antioxidant supplements that stimulate NO production.
- No is not only produced by the endothelial cells in the blood vessels, but also by nerve cells and white blood cells.
To view Dr Ignarro go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcIWX8C91s4
Dr. Ferid Murad
Robert F. Furchgott
Louis J. Ignarro
Above, the Nobel Laureates, who worked on the importance and function of “the miracle molecule”.