Oxycholesterol big cardiovascular threat – Cholesterol not dangerous at all
Oxycholesterol is much more dangerous than previously assumed, said Chinese scientists at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. They found evidence of Oxycholesterol’s devastating effects on bloodvessel elasticity, amongst other negative effects on the cardiovascular system.
Oxycholesterol has been known for over 100 years – it comes into existence by heating ordinary Cholesterol. Oxygen from the air binds to the Cholesterol and forms Oxycholesterol. When you fry a steak, for example, the heated fat in the meat binds with the oxygen in the air to form Oxycholesterol.
“Oxycholesterol boosts total Cholesterol levels and promotes Arteriosclerosis” said study leader Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., of Chinese University of Hong Kong. This hardening of the arteries is most pronounced with Oxycholesterol, they found in tests on hamsters – an often-used substitute for humans. Fried and processed food, particularly fast-food, contains high quantities of Oxycholesterol. Avoiding these foods and eating a diet that is rich in antioxidants, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, could help reduce its levels in the body, according to the researchers.
Food manufacturers have been deliberately adding Oxycholesterol to the food they sell, because they give an addictive flavor. Such Oxycholesterols are partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans-fatty acids. For some reason, Western scientists have neglected research into the overall Cholesterol-raising powers of this substance and focused on cell-damaging properties of Oxycholesterol and Arteriosclerosis instead.
In this interesting new study, Dr. Chen’s group measured the effects of a diet high in Oxycholesterol. Blood Cholesterol in hamsters fed Oxycholesterol rose up to 22 percent more than hamsters eating ordinary non-oxidized Cholesterol. The Oxycholesterol group showed greater deposition of Cholesterol in the lining of their arteries and a tendency to develop larger deposits of it. These fatty deposits, called atherosclerotic plaques, increase the risk for stroke and heart attack.
Chen said that the most important finding concluded that Oxycholesterol had undesirable effects on artery function. It reduced their elasticity, impairing their ability to expand and carry more blood. That expansion could be beneficial in the sense that it would allow more blood to flow through arteries that are partially blocked by plaques, potentially reducing the risk that a clot will form and cause a heart attack or stroke.
These Oxycholesterols, a group of Cholesterol compounds that contain extra oxygen atoms were found to be highly toxic and highly effective in producing arteriosclerosis. They were surprised to find that highly purified Cholesterol, free of all traces of Oxycholesterol by being protected from the oxygen of air, does not injure mammalian arteries. In the original research that found ordinary Cholesterol to be toxic to the cardiovascular system, it is unlikely that precautions were taken to prevent the exposure of the Cholesterol they were using from Oxygen. Thus, almost certainly, they were merely demonstrating that Oxycholesterol contaminants, rather than Cholesterol itself, were producing Arteriosclerosis in their lab animals.
These highly damaging Oxycholesterols are found in foods in which Cholesterol is subjected to heating and exposure to the Oxygen of the air during either cooking, food processing or food preservation. Such foods include dried milk powder, dried egg yolk and foods fried in heated oils. The Oxycholesterol in these foods is absorbed into the blood after digestion and then becomes concentrated in the low density lipoprotein faction of the blood plasma. When lipoproteins are taken up by arterial wall cells, the Cholesterol oxides that are released lead to damage to artery wall cells and tissues, ultimately causing Arteriosclerosis.
Recent epidemiological studies, particularly one from Cambridge, have suggested that vitamin E supplements of 800 IE/day reduce by about 70% the risk of coronary artery thrombosis in patients with pre-existent Angina pectoris. Vitamin E is a powerful fat soluble anti-oxidant vitamin that acts by modifying the reactions of low density lipoprotein with oxygen, thus preventing the formation of Oxycholesterols. There is compelling evidence that a trace of a contaminant constituent associated with fat and Cholesterol is actually capable of producing Arteriosclerosis.
There will certainly be resistance to the demise of the Cholesterol theory. This will come from manufacturers of low -Cholesterol foods but also from the pharmaceutical companies that have been anticipating highly profitable products from the sale of patentable Cholesterol-lowering medicines. In contrast, B-complex vitamins are very cheap, unpatentable and therefore offer no opportunity of profits to anyone.
This Chinese research shows us again that reducing non-oxidized Cholesterol in the diet will not produce any major benefit, as has been shown already in many other studies. Vitamin E and possibly other antioxidants like vitamins A and C and the trace mineral Selenium should counteract the formation of Oxycholesterols.