Insulin, Not Cholesterol, Is the True Culprit in Heart Disease

About 80% of the cholesterol in the body is produced by the liver, and the remaining 20% comes from the diet.  Cholesterol is an essential molecule needed for optimal health, rather than the culprit in heart disease as it has been made out to be.

Given that cholesterol is a fatty substance, it doesn’t travel through the water-based bloodstream well.  It is encapsulated in a lipoprotein instead.  High-density lipoprotein is known as good cholesterol, and it indeed is, as it helps protect the low density cholesterol against oxidation. In a healthy person, the low density cholesterol will be reabsorbed by the liver where it gets broken up and recycled.

Beyond Cholesterol — What Really Causes Heart Disease?

According to Dr. Thomas Dayspring, a lipidologist, most heart attacks are due to insulin resistance. He has also argued that LDL “is a near-worthless predictor for cardiovascular issues.”

  • A metabolically healthy normal weight (MHNW) person who has good insulin sensitivity has a low risk level for cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • A metabolically obese yet normal weight (MONW) individual who is insulin resistant has a high risk
  • A metabolically unhealthy obese (MUO) individual who is insulin resistant also has a high risk
  • But a metabolically healthy obese (MHO) individual who has good insulin sensitivity is at low risk for CVD

There are two types of body fat: a healthy fat that protect that health and an unhealthy fat that promote disease.  The presence or absence of insulin sensitivity is basically the key difference.

The higher your insulin resistance, the worse markers such as fasting insulin, triglyceride-HDL ratio and HbA1c will be. In other words, you are more likely to develop a disease like diabetes and heart disease.

How a High-Sugar Diet Causes Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes

Diet is the most important factor when it comes to insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance.  Other factors that promote insulin resistance include stress, genetics, smoking, low omega-3, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle and low vitamin D.

What sets the disease into motion is an excessive amount of glucose from net carbs, which causes the insulin levels to spike.  With time, the fat tissue starts to lose its signaling abilities, causing insulin resistance.

The high sugar load eventually causes the pancreas to reduce its production of insulin, and hyperinsulinemia that prevented lipolysis of triglycerides in the fat cells will stop. As a result, the live will start to output glucose even when you aren`t eating at all, and the blood glucose starts to skyrocket.

Measuring Metabolic Syndrome

  • Metabolic syndrome is a group of factors including the following:
  • High blood sugar
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Large waist circumference
  • High blood pressure

Having more than three factors is indicative of metabolic dysfunction that eventually leads to chronic diseases like atherosclerosis, cancer, gout, and more.

How Hyperinsulinemia/Insulin Resistance Causes Heart Disease

Insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia promote fatty liver, which in turn drives insulin and other mechanistic pathways that travel to the vascular walls, which is a mark of atherosclerosis.  It also contributes to blood glucose, particularly post-prandial blood glucose.

Hypertension is yet another side effect of insulin resistance that drives atherosclerosis by stressing the arteries.  Most high blood pressure with no known cause is believed to be caused by hyperinsulinemia.

Hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance promotes inflammation and it stimulates the visceral fat to release inflammatory cytokines and systematic signaling molecules.  Eventually, the visceral fat becomes resistant as well, causing the systemic signaling to lose strength.  This series of events drives atherogenic dyslipidemia, characterized by familiar culprits: high LDL, oxidized LDL and triglycerides, and low HDL.

Tips on How to Prevent/ Reverse Hyperinsulinemia or Insulin Resistance

  • Dramatically reduce your net carbs and eliminate processed fructose
  • Normalize your omega-3-to-omega-6 ratio
  • Optimize your vitamin D level by getting regular, sensible sun exposure
  • Get regular exercise to help normalize your insulin sensitivity
  • Get 8 hours of high quality sleep each night to normalize your hormonal system