One goal of scientists is to inhibit a protein called resistin to increase the effectiveness of statins. Researchers have found the ‘real’ cause of high cholesterol. It’s a protein called ‘resistin,’ secreted by fat tissue, and it causes high levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL), increasing the risk of heart disease. The study is being presented today, October 28, 2012 at a meeting of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2012.
Statins are not lowering LDL cholesterol enough. So scientists are looking for another drug to develop which might be prescribed for some on top of statins to lower LDL levels even more. Yes, one drug on top of another instead of looking at the root cause of what’s really raising the bad LDL cholesterol.
Could it be related to diet? To too much insulin pouring into the bloodstream? To foods that are irritating the liver? Some people take a few drops of artichoke extract to lower their LDL cholesterol levels. But who’s measuring the results? Others change diets and activity levels and lower stress. See, Supplements to Lower Cholesterol – Spry Living and How Diet Changed One Woman’s Cholesterol Numbers | Eating Well.
The bigger implication of today’s presentation of the latest study’s results is that high blood resistin levels may be the cause of the inability of statins to lower patients’ LDL cholesterol.
Meanwhile, locally in Sacramento and Davis, scientists at the University of California, Davis and the USDA are studying the effects of sugar on metabolism. The researchers are recruiting participants for a research study to determine the effects that drinking 3 sugar-sweetened beverages each day has on a person´s metabolism. If interested, check out the UC Davis Nutrition Department’s website, that details the needs of UC Davis Current Studies.
The question scientists at many universities want answered is whether high LDL cholesterol is worsened by too much insulin in the blood from eating too many foods that quickly turn to sugar or whether it’s just the one protein called ‘resistin’ that’s secreted by fat tissue that raises LDL cholesterol levels. Now a new discovery from Canadian scientists have pinpointed that protein, ‘resistin’ that causes higher levels of LDL cholesterol, also known to calcify organs and arteries.
Best way to stop rising LDL cholesterol levels?
HDL is known as good cholesterol, and LDL is known as bad cholesterol to the average patient. What scientists want to know is how to stop LDL cholesterol from becoming too high in spite of dietary changes or increased exercise and reduction in stress, since stress also contributes to higher cholesterol levels.
Scientists have measured stress levels of accountants before tax time to see higher cholesterol levels under stress as well as higher blood pressure. So stress as well as sugary foods and too much insulin can raise cholesterol levels besides obesity and eating too much fat.
Scientists say the discovery of resistin’s role in raising LDL cholesterol levels in the liver could improve prevention and treatment of heart disease
Ironically, a staggering 40 per cent of people taking statins are resistant to their impact on lowering blood LDL. This research comes from the Department of Medicine at McMaster University and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Resistin, a protein increases the production of LDL “bad cholesterol” in the liver.
The research, presented today at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, proves that resistin increases the production of LDL in human liver cells and also degrades LDL receptors in the liver. As a result, the liver is less able to clear “bad” cholesterol from the body. Resistin accelerates the accumulation of LDL in arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease.
The research also shows that resistin adversely impacts the effects of statins, the main cholesterol-reducing drug used in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Shirya Rashid — senior author of the study and assistant professor in the department of medicine at McMaster University — notes that a staggering 40 per cent of people taking statins are resistant to their impact on lowering blood LDL.
The protein, resistin increases the production of LDL in human liver cells and also degrades LDL receptors in the liver.
“The bigger implication of our results is that high blood resistin levels may be the cause of the inability of statins to lower patients’ LDL cholesterol,” explains Dr. Rashid, in the October 28, 2012 news release, Canadian scientists discover cause of high cholesterol.
Interestingly, if the goal is to inhibit resistin to inrease the effectiveness of statins, the point is to possibly develop new therapeutic drugs. The naturopath and nutritionist’s point of view from functional medicine would be first to find the cause rather than put new drugs out to inhibit the resistin instead of finding what’s causing all that resistin to be produced.
The goal of numerous scientists is to inhibit resistin in order to increase the effectiveness of statins
Does the answer lie in more expensive drugs on the market to increase the effectiveness of statins? Or would the patient rather have the doctor find the primary cause of the cholesterol problem, perhaps too much insulin in the blood from eating too many sweets or too many fats? But then again, some vegetarians are coming into their doctors’ offices with high LDL cholesterol.
People interested in lowering their cholesterol might first take a look at their insulin sensitivity to see whether too much insulin is being poured into their blood stream after eating. Insulin sensitivity is highest after breakfast. See the article on the study, Insulin sensitivity normally highest after breakfast.
What’s the real cause of high LDL cholesterol?
Could small LDL particles be more important to turn into larger LDL particles than increasing more use of statins by piling more drugs on top of statins? After all small LDL particles get into arteries causing plaque to harden organs and arteries. And too much insulin in the blood is conducive to developing small LDL particles, which also is genetic but can be modified by certain dietary changes in some people. Then again, inflammation plays a role as well in chronic degenerative diseases such as hardening of the arteries.
In healthy people without diabetes, glucose responsiveness tends to be higher after breakfast, which may have implications for the design of closed-loop insulin delivery systems for diabetes. The question is whether the cause can be found to be altered by diet and lifestyle changes or should more drugs be developed to be taken on top of statins, more and more drugs, to inhibit resistin?
Or would going on a vegan diet or a modified Paleo diet help instead of taking both statins and a new therapeutic drug, if developed, to increase the potency of statins, thereby costing the patient more money for expensive drugs? That is the question those in functional medicine have to consider.
Some patients, doctors, and nutritionists wonder whether too much insulin in the blood from eating too many sugary foods and beverages or carbs high on the Glycemic Index could play a role in cholesterol issues as well as weight and hypertension issues. Could the answer be to control metabolic syndrome with foods as an alternative to taking drugs that increase the effectiveness of statins on cholesterol levels?
If food can be used as medicine, can nutrition replace statins for some people?
She believes the discovery could lead to revolutionary new therapeutic drugs, especially those that target and inhibit resistin and thereby increase the effectiveness of statins. “The possibilities for improved therapy for the causes of cardiovascular disease are very important,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson. “About 40 per cent of Canadians have high blood cholesterol levels: it’s a significant health concern in Canada.”
Dr. Abramson notes that the research reconfirms the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and cholesterol level, two critical factors in the prevention of heart disease. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It can lead to a buildup of plaque in the artery walls and narrowing of the arteries, causing a condition called atherosclerosis which can make it more difficult for blood to flow through the heart and body.
Being overweight also increases the likelihood of high blood pressure and diabetes, compounding the risks of heart disease and stroke. “Fortunately, we know a great deal about heart disease prevention and how to reverse some of the risks,” says Dr. Abramson in the press release. She urges Canadians to maintain their heart health through regular visits to their doctor, monitoring their weight and waist size, eating a variety of nutritious, low-fat foods and being physically active. “It’s equally important to take your medications as directed by your physician to help further reduce risks.”
Patients usually are told by their doctors that their abdominal “belly fat” and apple shape is genetic. People can control waist size to a point. But to get an hour glass shape, it’s dependant upon hormones, for example in women, how much estrogen you received before birth. And whether you gain weight on the belly instead of the hips and thighs also is by heredity.
Statements and conclusions of study authors are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect Foundation or CCS policy or position. The Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society make no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation, is a volunteer-based health charity that leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy. Congress information is at the Cardio Congress website.
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