Traffic has changed forever, thanks to communication. In the past, you would start on a road trip, not knowing what traffic jams you might encounter along the way. You might get some idea from local radio as to the state of the major arteries — traffic reports on the highways and any major accidents — if you caught the broadcast. Usually, a traffic jam would be a complete surprise, forcing you to wait through it instead of avoiding it as you now can with your phone and mapping app. Real-time communication is a game-changer, where computers in the “cloud” act as the app’s brain, getting GPS messages from all the drivers’ cell phones on the road, seeing how fast they are moving along each route, and marking yellow or red areas on the map app where traffic is slowed or stalled.
Communication is also key in fixing traffic problems. Thanks to cell phones, police get reports of accidents very quickly, and tow trucks are dispatched rapidly as well. When detours are needed, your map app will soon show a new route to get you to your destination faster.
We all hate road construction, even though we appreciate getting the potholes patched. Communication is in play here too: satellite imaging can tell where roads need repair, supply levels of tar and other patching materials are managed by computer, and repair vehicles are dispatched more efficiently because of rapid communication. Much of the scheduling and project management of road construction is handled or aided by computers receiving real-time information provided by many avenues of communication.
Your blood circulation is a lot like traffic flow, where blood travels through veins and arteries. Sometimes problems occur with blood vessels, affecting the blood flow and vessel repair. We used to consider cardiovascular issues occurring for one reason: high cholesterol, which is used for patching damage in blood vessels, could build up and narrow or block them from proper blood flow. But the body is more sophisticated than we first realized, and it resembles the modern world of rapid communication and computers. The brain acts as the computer, and communications with the blood vessels are in the form of nerves, chemical signals, and EMF broadcasts.
We have a disease running rampant in the world known as atherosclerosis, where blood vessel blood flow gets choked by the buildup of plaque inside the vessels. This plaque is only partially cholesterol — other components are fat, calcium, fibrin (a protein for blood clotting), and cellular waste products., yet LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol gets almost exclusively blamed for atherosclerosis. That idea is so pervasive that most people, including some medical doctors, accept it. This is like blaming the tar used to fill potholes for obstructing traffic. Cholesterol is actually a vital component to life, needed in cell membrane formation, in synthesis of many hormones, making vitamin D, and for patching damaged blood vessel linings. It’s the last function which causes concern, if so much patching is needed that it starts restricting blood flow.
Some people have high cholesterol with little or no atherosclerosis, while others, perhaps on statins, get their LDL levels very low (and develop other issues due to that low level), yet have heart attacks or strokes blamed on plaque build up. There is more to this story than just cholesterol: it’s a story of inflammation, vessel damage, excessive need for vessel repair, and communication between the vessels, the brain, and the immune system. And for many of us the story starts with sugar.
OH, don’t be so negative
If you look at a molecular diagram of sugar, you will notice a ring of OH (Oxygen/Hydrogen pairs) with some carbon (C) thrown in. The bond between oxygen and hydrogen causes the oxygen to have a negative charge and the hydrogen a positive charge. Water (H?O) is neutral, with the same number of electrons and protons, but when in contact with sugar, the charges of the oxygen and hydrogen in OH are attracted to the O or H in the water molecule, forming an ionic bond. Notice how easily sugar dissolves in water. This ionic affinity of the OH segments of sugar causes attraction to other molecules as well: sugar is reactive! This spells trouble if these reactive OH segments decide to bond to other molecules in the body. In the case of blood vessels, the reactivity of sugar can irritate sensitive blood vessel linings. And what happens when any part of your body gets irritated? Inflammation.
This is where cholesterol comes in. The body, sensing damage from the irritation and inflammation, uses cholesterol as part of its pothole patching formula. The waxy plaque is very effective as a band-aid over the wounded area. Now let’s put this together: something, be it sugar, toxins, poor nutrition; but very often in modern society it is sugar — is sparking inflammation within the blood vessels. This activates the pothole road construction crew, but now we have impeded traffic (blood) flow due to a narrowed pathway. If the inflammation is not too bad, the patching gives the vessel walls time to heal, and the plaque is slowly removed when no longer needed.
Unfortunately, if you are running around with chronically high sugar levels, likely due to insulin resistance built up due to your diet, then you are causing your body to call out the road construction crew all throughout your cardiovascular system, with the cholesterol that would otherwise be used for hormones and other functions being used for creating plaque. Since the cholesterol is being used, your body will likely make more to compensate for the increased call for plaque.
Use your head
Your brain is command central for your body. We are still uncovering the myriad of ways that it communicates with the body and signals body functions. Your brain is a micro-manager — it likes to be involved with everything that is happening in its realm of business (your body). You are unaware of most of its activities. You might not expect that the brain has anything to do with atherosclerosis, and neither did most medical researchers, because there are no nerve fibers in the inner layer of blood vessels. You could legitimately say that the brain indirectly affects atherosclerosis, because if you are experiencing chronic stress, your brain is promoting diabetes by the effect of stress hormones on the pancreas. Or you could say that the stressed brain is restricting blood flow, shutting down digestion so the body gets less good nutrients, stressing the heart — there are many ways that the ravages of stress, communicated via the brain, can cause cardiovascular issues. But a group of researchers found a direct nerve link to the outer layer of blood vessels from the brain. In a study published in Nature, researchers at the Institute for Cardiovascular Prevention, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), Munich, Germany demonstrated a two-way communication between the brain and blood vessels that allowed the brain to receive messages telling it where vessel inflammation was active, then send back stress signals to the area, increasing the inflammation and plaque buildup for repair. But if the inflammation is chronic, then the message from the brain to the blood vessel will be continual plaque buildup because of the need for continual repair of the continual inflammation. The researchers conducted a study where they severed the brain’s nerve connection with vessels in animals with atherosclerosis, and after eight months, the atherosclerosis had not advanced as far as that in the control group. Since the brain had no way to control the vessel repair, the plaque buildup slowed. Presumably this also slowed the vessel repair process, since the normal repair process was hampered.
Don’t go with the flow
We see that a mechanism meant to improve health — dealing with stress — can actually cause more damage in cases where the stress is chronic. When the stress is due to a sudden physical emergency or bacterial or viral invasion, it marshals inflammation and the immune system to deal with the emergency, but when those emergency resources are continually required and the emergency is not going away, the inflammation builds and the immune system continues to attack where there is no real enemy. The brain oversight of vessels’ status speeds repair, unless it is dealing with stress and/or poor sugar management, where the plaque repair process turns excessive and atherosclerosis sets in. The vessel repair and removal of plaque after repair is completed is balanced in a healthy, stress-free body.
In a review of studies published in the Journal of International Medical Research, the researchers gave this summary: “Research indicates that chronic psychological stress can increase the risk of atherosclerotic diseases, including strokes and heart attacks. Chronic stress is pervasive during negative life events and can lead to the formation of plaque in the arteries.” They cited research showing that intercellular adhesion molecule-1, C-reactive protein (CRP) and inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) were all elevated in a study of stress-induced animals, advancing atherosclerosis.
The problem isn’t cholesterol, but how and when the cholesterol is used due to stress. In a sweeping review of studies, published in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, researchers drew these vital conclusions:
- On balance, they found no association between total cholesterol and the degree of atherosclerosis.
- The concept that high cholesterol causes cardiovascular disease is based on flawed and misleading data.
- Statin use shows some weak reduction in mortality in some studies, but an inverse correlation in others (in other words, statins don’t do much good and may actually contribute to death from cardiovascular disease).
Statin use has also been shown to increase the possibility of damage to the liver which is a vital component of maintaining your health.
Reducing cholesterol alone is similar to limiting the road construction crews’ supplies of patching tar, or fixing the energy crisis by limiting oil wells: a counter-reaction occurs because the cholesterol is still considered needed by the body. The answer is to make that extra cholesterol unnecessary because your sugar and stress are minimal. Get these under control, and you’ve gone a long way towards good health; let them run amok, and inflammation will follow, then disease. Stress is a matter of perception, and perception is the job of the brain.
Dr. Nemec’s Review
The brain controls the body, it is the CEO and the master controller. The mind controls the brain, the brain is the relay station of the mind. So in actuality the mind controls the body through the brain.
What is cholesterol? It is an essential component of cell membranes, of your brain itself and the base molecular structure to form many vital hormones in your body including vitamin D, male and female hormones and stress hormones.
Inflammation is the root of all disease including atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. What makes cholesterol stick to the blood vessel? As we stated, certain molecules like sugar bond freely with other molecules, meaning they can attach to them and change their charge to make them more sticky. So, in the simple picture, sugar makes things sticky so things stick together more easily. The next thing for us to address is inflammation. One of the biggest causes of inflammation in the body is immune system reactions to what is inside the body. This will include poor diet with high refined carbohydrates and sugars, also with inflammatory-producing animal products that have been denatured, oxidized and turned into free radicals in the cooking process. Add to this the chemicals and toxins that enter the body through the diet, drink, and breathing, and all these will stimulate an immune reaction in order to try to dispose of unwanted or irritating molecules, chemicals, and toxins.
The last and greatest stimulus to the immune system to produce inflammatory molecules comes from the master controller, the brain, as it receives messages from the mind which are stressful. So think of stress as the mind setting off an alarm in the brain, similar to a police station getting a call from the governor of the state to inform them that there’s been a high influx of criminals into their city, so quickly dispatch all the available police force to subdue the problem. When the immune system comes across irritating molecules, chemicals, or toxins it releases inflammatory molecules to destroy the invaders. The problem is if there’s too much sugar in the diet, too many animal products that are toxic, and too many other general chemicals and toxins in the system, the immune system is reacting overtime and these inflammatory molecules that it’s secreting in the blood actually damage the blood vessel. Combined this with high sugar, high carb diets and everything begins to stick to the blood vessels — and this is where narrowing begins, partly because of repair of damaged blood vessels and partly because of the continual assault of the immune system secreting inflammatory molecules to the stressors.
What’s the answer? It’s always been the same. It comes down to changing your perceptions, living more in the moment, eating an organic plant-based diet low in carbs and sugars along with lifestyle modifications which we have taught for the last 40 years: seven basic steps to total health.
Remember any medication is a temporary fix, and most medications have many side effects and are not meant to be taken long-term. Change your life, change your lifestyle, change your diet, and most importantly change how you see things.
Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.