Your #1 Measure of Heart Health

LDL, HDL, cholesterol and saturated fats effects on heart, health risk, heart health

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

May 6, 2016

  • Saturated fats aren’t your biggest heart risk
  • What do fats have to do with LDL?
  • The best thing you can do save your heart

For years now we’ve known that saturated fats aren’t the heart-stopping killer you’ve been led to believe they are.

In fact, saturated fats don’t increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or death.

And the idea of cutting these fats from your diet to improve LDL, HDL and total cholesterol is unfounded. Even more to the point, the distraction over watching your cholesterol numbers could be killing you.

Let me explain…

LDL Levels aren’t what Count the Most

It’s important to recognize that neither LDL nor HDL is actually cholesterol.

These terms refer to low and high density lipoproteins. Proteins, fats, triglycerides and cholesterol are encapsulated in the lipoproteins so they can travel through your bloodstream.

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Does fat jump out of the lipoprotein and clog your arteries? No. Does cholesterol? No.

Then why are fat and cholesterol so closely tied to heart disease?

Well, they aren’t. And this is where conventional medicine is making a big mistake these days.

You see, it’s not your LDL, HDL and total cholesterol measures that count the most when it comes to your heart health.

Instead, the most critical measure is the quality of your low and high density lipoproteins.

In particular, LDL comes in different sizes. Some of the particles are big and fluffy. They literally bounce off the walls of your blood vessels so they can remain in your bloodstream and do their job.

The real problem comes from the small, dense LDL particles.

These small particles tend to slip through the lining of your blood vessels where they can do the most damage. They start oxidizing. Inflammation sets in. Plaque starts accumulating and blockages begin to develop.

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It’s these small, dense particles that provide a true measure of your cardiovascular risk. And it could explain why nearly 75 percent of patients hospitalized for a heart attack have normal levels of cholesterol.

Saturated Fats Boost the Quality of your LDL

Now, saturated fats have been demonized for years. And that may be the problem. Because when you start swapping out saturated fats for other foods, it can work against you.

For example, replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates is a big mistake. Eating a diet high in carbs goes to work immediately to create smaller and more dangerous LDL particles. Plus, it can increase the density of HDL particles, which is also a known risk for heart problems.

And, of course, replacing saturated fats with trans fats was a monumental mistake. They also lead to a harmful increase in small, dense LDL particles

Saturated fats, on the other hand, have a very positive effect on LDL particles. Not only do these fats increase concentrations of large, bouncy LDL, they also improve HDL levels.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should suddenly start loading up on saturated fats. Your diet should be well-rounded with plenty of fruits, veggies, nuts, fats and animal proteins.

However, if you buy artificial foods like margarine, non-dairy coffee creamer and egg-beaters just to avoid saturated fats, you’re probably getting the short end of the stick.

You’ll be much better off eating the real versions of these foods – butter, cream, eggs – as long as you keep it within reason and they are organic or free range raised.

In the meantime, ask your doctor to run Apo A-1 and Apo B blood tests to determine your LDL particle size profile.

If it turns out you have an abundance of small, dense LDL, make sure to curtail your intake of high glycemic carbs, processed foods and commercial vegetable oils.

Then, start taking extended release niacin in divided doses; beginning at the smallest dose available daily increasing by 100mgm or so every week over the course of the day until you reach 1000mgm. The flush that happens may be minimized with an 81mgm aspirin taken at the same time and should only be there for around 15-20 minutes. Think of the flush as your skin enjoying a rush of oxygen rich blood feeding it nutrients for a short time. It has a specific effect on the smaller, more dangerous LDL particles. Plus, it enhances the role of large HDL particles, which also reduces cardio risk.

By the way…

It’s important to note that statin drugs do nothing to reduce the amount of small, dangerous LDL particles in your bloodstream. In fact, statins can increase the number of these killer particles.


Siri-Tarino PW, et al. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.

Siri PW, Krauss RM. Influence of dietary carbohydrate and fat on LDL and HDL particle distributions. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2005 Nov;7(6):455-9.

Dreon DM, et al. Change in dietary saturated fat intake is correlated with change in mass of large low-density-lipoprotein particles in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 May;67(5):828-36.

Srivastava RA. Saturated fatty acid, but not cholesterol, regulates apolipoprotein AI gene expression by posttranscriptional mechanism. Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1994 Sep;34(2):393-402.

John M. Morgan, M.D. et al. Effects of extended-release niacin on lipoprotein subclass distribution” American Journal of Cardiology. June 2003; Volume 91, Issue 12, Pages 1432-1436, 15

Choi CU, et al. Statins Do Not Decrease Small, Dense Low-Density Lipoprotein. Tex Heart Inst J. 2010; 37(4): 421–428.

Amit Sachdeva, MD et al. Lipid levels in patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease: An analysis of 136,905 hospitalizations in Get With The Guidelines, American Heart Journal. 2009; 157(2): 111-117

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