By Dr. Royal Lee
Summary: While cholesterol has been demonized by modern medicine, wise health practitioners know that it is, in fact, an essential component for the proper functioning of the human body. In this 1956 article, Dr. Royal Lee describes cholesterol’s vital role as a “sealing compound” in controlling the diffusion of substances across cell and blood vessel walls. Dr. Lee condemns hydrogenated fats and refined vegetable oils in particular for disturbing the normal cholesterol balance in the body, one probable cause of their effect being the massive loss of nutrients—including the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and the essential-fatty-acid complex vitamin F—incurred during refining. From Natural Food and Farming, 1956.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
High Blood Cholesterol and Its Control
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is important in human tissues. It is a sort of sealing compound that is essential for controlling diffusion across the cell walls and blood vessel walls, by which these barriers are so regulated as to permit a normal degree of diffusion and fluid interchange between the internal and external zones of the cells and vascular systems of the body.
If there is too great a transfer of [solids], for instance, then toxins may leak into sensitive areas, such as proteins leaking from the blood capillaries into the cerebrospinal fluid, causing headaches. Or the capillaries may fail to hold back the fluid contents as normally they should, and the patient develops low blood pressure.
Or, if the cholesterol levels rise unduly, blood pressure may become high—since blood pressure is automatically controlled to produce the right amount of diffusion of fluid from the capillaries [for the amount of solids contained] and there is a compensative rise when the vascular walls become less permeable to serum. Then the danger of capillary rupture from this higher blood pressure arises, with blood clots forming in the injured areas. These clots can float into a branch of the coronary artery that supplies the heart, resulting in a consequent blocking of part of the heart muscle—the common “coronary embolism” or “coronary thrombosis.”
That is why everybody fears cholesterol. Why do we hear more about this subject today than a few years ago?
In Science News Letter during the last few months, some very enlightening articles have appeared. First, in February, the news was released that animal and human subjects fed unrefined vegetable oils experienced a gradual fall in blood cholesterol, but if they were fed synthetic fats such as the hydrogenated oils, in which the natural vitamins have been destroyed in the conversion of the oil to the synthetic fat, then the subjects’ blood cholesterol progressively increased.
Then, in May, the fact was reported that if human subjects were fed eggs fried in refined vegetable oil, there was no effect on the blood cholesterol, but if the eggs were fried in hydrogenated (synthetic) fat, the blood cholesterol of the eater progressively increased. No doubt if the eggs were fried in unrefined vegetable oil, carrying its normal quota of vitamins, then there would have been a progressive reduction in cholesterol, as reported in the previous news item.
What are the protective factors in the unrefined oils? Well, we know we can list a lot of factors in natural oils that are essential to our health and totally absent in the synthetic imitations of fat. In addition to the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, there are present in all natural oils, in varying amounts, the following:
- The important sex hormone precursor that is a part of the vitamin E complex (discovered by Levin and associates)
- The vitamin F complex, so necessary to our health, without which we develop kidney disease (often associated with high blood pressure) and skin disease (eczematous lesions, rough skin, scaly spots, brittle nails, dandruff, and other psoriasis-like effects)
- The various phospholipids described under the class of lecithins and cephalins, which carry the essential B complex factors choline and inositol (as lipositol)
Liver degeneration is the result most commonly attributed to the deficiency of these factors, as well as loss of hair and inhibition of lactation in the nursing mother.
How do we get inflicted with all these very unpleasant and often fatal consequences? Simply by letting someone sell us a counterfeit food “made worse so it can be sold for less”—we gullible buyers not thinking that we are destroying the very integrity of our own precious body mechanisms by so doing. Oleo in place of butter; patent “shortenings” in place of lard and natural oils; hydrogenated oil in peanut butter; softening chemicals in bread instead of honest fats; synthetic and refined fats in “frozen custards” imitating ice cream; and so on. If there is any certain way to get fat and lazy, it is by eating these “foods” that supply no nutrition but only the calories we are all trying to avoid.
Let’s wake up and live. At least a lot longer and more enjoyably. It is no fun to nurse a necrotic heart, a busted brain from an unnecessary cerebral hemorrhage, a burned-out liver that cannot detoxify the blood, or a kidney disease that lets us bloat up like a poisoned pup. Common sense here pays big dividends.
By Royal Lee, DDS. Natural Food and Farming, Vol. 3, No.6, September/October 1956.