A great, to the point article by a brilliant biochemist/nutrition college professor and chiropractor, Dr. David Seaman. I have attended his lectures and educational programs for 25 years and counting! He has published a few text books and popular books on nutrition and diet.
Pro-inflammatory HDL & LDL Cholesterol
By David Seaman, DC, MS
The title of this article is correct. It is true that HDL cholesterol can become pro-inflammatory. I understand that this seems contrary to everything we have been taught about cholesterol; however, we have not been given the entire scoop on cholesterol. The story we have all been trained to believe is that LDL is the “bad” cholesterol because it builds up in artery walls, while HDL cholesterol is “good” because it prevents this from happening. This story oversimplifies the process of reverse cholesterol transport. Normally, LDL is the particle that delivers cholesterol to peripheral cells and then, HDL returns cholesterol to the liver. Because heart disease is associated with elevated levels of LDL cholesterol and reduced HDL levels, we are led visualize an LDL build-up process and so, we accept the story that an excess of peripheral cholesterol will become deposited in vessel walls. But this is actually an inaccurate portrayal of what happens. It is impossible for normal LDL cholesterol to become deposited in vessel walls. LDL cholesterol must first be transformed from its soft buoyant and “anti-inflammatory” state, into a small, dense and pro-inflammatory molecule that is referred to as oxidized LDL. When this happens the immune system reacts to oxidized LDL as if it were an antigen; however, this never happens to normal LDL. Oxidized LDL is engulfed by macrophages that accumulate in the vessel wall, which causes them (the macrophages) to transform into foam cells. The accumulation of foam cells and smooth proliferation is associated with vessel narrowing. What is missing from this story is the reason why LDL becomes oxidized. Interestingly, the oxidation process is promoted by the pro-inflammatory chemistry of the metabolic syndrome, which is promoted by living a sedentary lifestyle while overeating sugar and flour. In other words, the elevation and inflaming of LDL is caused by overeating sugar and flour, which makes up almost 40% of all the calories consumed by the average American. Trans fatty acids also inflame LDL and promote the metabolic syndrome. The same overeating of sugar, flour, and trans fats leads to a lowering and simultaneous inflaming of HDL cholesterol and a loss of proper reverse cholesterol transport. Two additional problems develop when HDL becomes inflamed. Healthy “deflamed” HDL carries an anti-inflammatory enzyme called paraoxanase, which functions to prevent LDL oxidation. This vital function is lost when HDL becomes “inflamed” as the metabolic syndrome develops. HDL has another important anti-inflammatory function that is lost when HDL becomes inflamed. We normally are exposed to small amounts of bacterial endotoxin, which is derived from our gram-negative gut bacteria. Healthy “deflamed” HDL binds and eliminates excess bacterial endotoxin, which allows us to maintain a balanced homeostatic relationship with our gut bacteria. When HDL becomes inflamed, endotoxin accumulates and promotes chronic inflammation and multiple conditions as diverse as type 2 diabetes and depression. A diet that is free of refined sugar and flour, and trans fats, creates a body chemistry that is not burdened by inflamed LDL and HDL cholesterol. This is important for general health and because these pro-inflammatory changes in our blood lipids are also associated with the expression of musculoskeletal pains syndromes. I discuss this topic in more detail in my new book for the general public called
The DeFlame Diet. Dr. Seaman is a Professor of Clinical Sciences in Chiropractic Medicine at NUHS in Florida and a consultant for Anabolic Laboratories. He has authored many articles on the topic of diet, inflammation, and pain
So get off the sugar, white flour and trans fats(margarine) and come in to get tested by Dr. Kydonieus who uses Nutritional Response Testing to figure out what your organ imbalances are so he can then design a customized supplement program that finally works for you.