I wasn't going to write on the subject, because although I marginally talk about health and nutrition, it's a fringe topic for my blog - which is focused more on municipal corruption, trends in government, travel, food, and reflections. But I was so excited to read about these alternative theories of heart disease that I decided I should share what I've learned.
Doctor Kilmer McCully in his book Homocysteine Revolution argues that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease but that homocysteine is. Homocysteine is the byproduct of processing the amino acid methionine, which is found in heavier levels in meat, milk, and eggs. There's a strong correlation when homocysteine builds up, that all kinds of evils happen in the body - including the hardening of the arteries, heart disease, and cancer. McCully injected rabbits with homocysteine, and it almost always resulted in the hardening of the arteries.
My own independent research confirms that elevated levels of homocysteine increase levels of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is unstable and can become a radical - meaning it wants to eat up electrons. Generally, in a living organism, that's bad news, because the taking of those electrons means stealing them from our cells - which often leads to the destruction or death of such cells. (In fact, for now at least, I've concluded that a major cause of aging is the build up of hydrogen peroxide in the blood. Perhaps others have reached the same conclusion, but through independent deduction, this is my theory, until a better one comes along; from a biochemical perspective, aging is caused by elevated levels of hydrogen peroxide.)
One of the weaknesses of the book, however, is that McCully doesn't explain why there's a build of cholesterol in people who have heart disease. Seneff, an MIT computer scientist, argues that cholesterol is being built up because the body isn't metabolizing or processing other proteins effectively, which then backs up the processing of cholesterol. She argues that cholesterol needs to bind with sulphur in order to be processed, and when the body isn't processing sulphur from amino acids correctly, cholesterol can't be used by the body; hence, it just builds up in the blood.
A good metaphor would be an assembly line run by gears. Someone throws a monkey wrench in the gears. As a result, a number of widgets on the assembly line start piling up and falling to the floor. Is the problem the backed up widgets or is the problem the wrench in the gear? Assuming this analogy is correct, regarding cholesterol, Western Medicine has decided to solve this problem by cleaning the widgets off the floor and not remove the wrench from the gears. (The main drug for it is called statins.) A simpler way of putting it, is that rising cholesterol is part of the smoke, not the actual fire; it's the effect, not the cause. But when we see smoke and fire, it's easy to say that the smoke causes the fire, even though it's the other way around.
So one question I had by reading all this is to ask what causes cholesterol to build up and homocysteine to build up too. I could be wrong, but to harmonize the findings of Seneff and McCully, I propose that the reason there isn't usable sulphur for the cholesterol is because the homocysteine isn't being processed effectively. The byproducts of homocysteine metabolism makes usable sulphur. For instance, one of the byproducts of breaking down homocysteine results in cysteine, which has sulphur. And if more usable sulphur was available, in the form of the correct amino acids, then the cholesterol could be packed with it and the body could use it, which would then result in the lowering of cholesterol levels.
So, now you may be asking yourself - what causes these problems, and more importantly, what's the fix? Well, according to both scientists (and me as well), is that the problem lies in the Standardized American Diet (SAD). If this topic interests more people, I'll write more, I suppose.
Hope you found this piece interesting.
PS: After writing my article on Brussels Sprout sauerkraut, I found a scientific article that showed that changing the gut bacteria of a fish, expanded the fish's life by 40%. Gut bacteria appears to be the next trend in biological sciences.