High Cholesterol – Article 22 of the Healing Series of TruLight Radio XM called “The Doctor Says – The Bible Says” by Dr. Michelle Strydom MD
if you went to the doctor and he diagnosed you with high cholesterol, and you’re avoiding fatty foods to keep the cholesterol down – well that’s not really the point. Why is it that some people eat whatever they want and never develop a problem with high cholesterol? Why do others have a problem? The reason is because certain people have a predisposition to high cholesterol. Part of this predisposition has to do with genetically inherited defects in cholesterol metabolism. Therefore before reading through this section, it is important for you to read through the chapter on “Genetically Inherited Diseases” on page 153 which has essential background knowledge.
I once worked in a hospital with a nurse who became a good friend. She had very high cholesterol. Despite being unbelievably disciplined and strict with eating healthily and avoiding fatty foods, she just could not get her cholesterol to come down. The reason is because high cholesterol problems have a deep spiritual root – that is people who are very, very angry with themselves. They are against themselves and there is a high degree of hostility towards themselves about a specific issue or issues. As a result they have self-hatred and self-rejection.
The liver (which releases cholesterol and fats into the blood stream) has been considered to be the organ of anger since antiquity. Recent scientific studies are demonstrating definite links between hostility and diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. Although the exact mechanisms are still not yet completely understood and appear to be independent of conventional risk factors, there is now a plausible suggestion that the liver mobilizes fat in response to anger. This is partially an energy strategy, but also a homeostatic one as fat increases the coagulability of the blood which can accelerate the development of atherosclerosis and formation of blood clots, as will be explained later.
Yes, looking after our bodies by eating healthily is very important. However, if you don’t deal with the underlying spiritual root or toxic mindset behind high cholesterol problems, the cholesterol will not come down despite a healthy diet. Good nutrition does not replace repentance. To help you understand what causes high cholesterol, I need to first explain to you how the metabolism of cholesterol normally works. I’m going to show you that cholesterol problems have nothing to do with what you eat, it has to do with how the cholesterol is processed in the body.
The Normal Metabolism Of Cholesterol
- Cholesterol and fats (medical name for fats is triglycerides) are very important for the normal functioningof your body. For example, they are needed to make membranes (which are the walls around body cells) and are an important source of energy.
- When you eat, the cholesterol in the food is absorbed through your gut wall.
- Just like oil cannot mix with water (i.e. is not soluble in water), so cholesterol and fats are not soluble in blood. Therefore cells in your gut wall put the cholesterol and fats into a “bag” (medical term is lipoproteins). By putting the cholesterol and fats into this bag, it enables the cholesterol and fats to be soluble in blood so that they can be transported in the blood stream.
- A special recognition chemical (called an apoprotein) is put on the bag. This is like an address that is put on a letter which is the instruction as to where the letter must be sent – the recognition chemical on the bag is the instruction as to where in the body the bag must go.
- As these bags taking fat and cholesterol travel through the blood stream, special enzymes (called lipoprotein lipase) removes the fat from the bag. The liver takes the bag with the remaining cholesterol inside and puts it into special storage places inside the liver.
- The liver uses the cholesterol to:
- Make bile – bile then goes to the gall bladder where it is stored. When you eat, the gall bladder contracts and the bile is squirted into your gut. Bile helps digest fat and cholesterol in your gut and also helps the cholesterol and fat to be absorbed through your gut wall.
- The liver puts some of the cholesterol into another bag called VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein). These VLDL bags go back into the blood stream and serve as a source of energy to cells of the body (especially when a person hasn’t eaten for a while).
- Eventually the enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) changes the excess VLDL bags that are not used by the body into another type of bag called LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein).
- These LDL bags are then removed from the blood stream by specific receptors on the body cells that recognize the recognition chemical on the bag.
Receptor on body cell recognizes recognition chemical on the LDL bag and removes the cholesterol from the blood stream, storing it in body tissues
- There is another bag called HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) which takes cholesterol from the body cells back to the liver. (When the liver has run out of cholesterol, it tells the HDL to go and fetch some cholesterol from the stores in the body tissues).
The higher the levels of HDL the better: HDL is the “good type of cholesterol” because it removes excess cholesterol from the circulation and body tissues, which protects you from developing heart disease. The LDL type of cholesterol in large quantities is the “bad cholesterol” because it forms fatty lumps (atheromatous plaques) on your blood vessel walls. This narrows the lumen of your blood vessels so that an insufficient amount of blood is supplied to your body tissues and heart muscle, causing a lot of damage (This is discussed in more detail on the chapter on atherosclerosis on page 335.) High levels of LDL also cause other complications such as gall stones and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas which is extremely painful). Cholesterol in normal quantities is good for you. It is a source of energy for your body tissues and it is used to make many parts of your body cells. In excess, it starts to cause disease.
I explained in the chapter on genetically inherited diseases that your thought life not only affects your body, but also your genes. Your DNA is made up of genes. Your genes are inherited from your father and mother. Each gene has specific instructions for how to make a specific part of your body. For example, you have a gene that has instructions to make your eyes blue or green or brown. You have another specific gene that has instructions to make you a certain height (short or tall). Everything that determines the way you look and your whole body make up comes from an instruction manual which is encoded in your genes. There is a specific gene that has instructions on how to make the recognition chemical on the LDL bag that contains the cholesterol. Another gene has instructions on how to make the receptors on the body cells that recognize the recognition chemical. There is a gene for every chemical and enzyme that is involved in each step of the cholesterol metabolism described above. The devil is able to alter our body chemistry and genetics through sin in our thought life. When these genes are altered, the instructions are muddled up. As a result the receptor or recognition chemical that is made from these muddled up instructions is defective and does not work properly…then you end up with high cholesterol problems. Here’s how it happens:
Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (Type IIa)
The word “hypercholesterolemia” means high levels of cholesterol in the blood. In this disease, the gene is messed up that has instructions on how to make the receptors on the body cells that recognize the recognition chemical on the LDL bags. There are over 700 different defects that have been identified that occur in this gene so far! As a result of this defective gene, the receptors that are made are dysfunctional. They have the wrong shape and cannot recognize or fit into the recognition chemical on the LDL bags. The consequence of this is that the cholesterol in the LDL bags cannot be removed from the blood stream to be stored in the body tissue. Therefore the cholesterol starts to accumulate in the blood vessels, which eventually causes disease.
The defective receptor can’t recognize or fit into the recognition chemical on the LDL bag – thus the cholesterol cannot be taken out of the blood stream and stored in the tissues.
Furthermore there is also a defect in the gene (called B3500 defect) that has instructions on how to make the recognition chemical on the LDL bag. As a result this recognition chemical is also defective. It has the wrong shape and cannot fit into the receptors on the body cells. This is another reason why the LDL cholesterol cannot be removed from the blood – resulting in accumulation of high levels of cholesterol.
Defective recognition chemical is the wrong shape and can’t be recognized by the receptors on the body cells. Therefore the cholesterol in the LDL bags can’t be removed from the blood stream.
Familial Combined (Mixed) Hyperlipidaemia (Type IIb)
The word “hyperlipidaemia” means high levels of fat in the blood. In this disease there is a gene defect that sends muddled up instructions to the liver, causing it to produce too many VLDL bags (Remember the VLDL bags contain both fats and cholesterol). There is also a gene defect that results in a defect in the enzyme (lipoprotein lipase). As a result this enzyme can’t remove fat from the VLDL bags. In essence, too much cholesterol and fats (in the VLDL bags) are being produced by the liver. The excess fat cannot be removed by the defective enzyme. There is so much cholesterol that the receptors on the body cells cannot remove it all. The consequence is accumulation of high levels of cholesterol and fats in the blood.
There are other types of gene defects leading to high cholesterol problems. However, I hope that you can now see how genetic defects lead to abnormal cholesterol metabolism, and why avoiding fatty foods is not really the issue. I’d like to explain one more genetic defect to you because it is very interesting – it makes the spiritual root of high cholesterol (self-hatred and anger towards yourself) begin to make sense:
Remnant (Type III) Hyperlipidaemia
In this disease the person has high levels of cholesterol due to a genetic defect (mutation in apoE2). However this person also has another problem – diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, obesity (weight gain due to excessive over eating) and/or alcoholism. All of these diseases are discussed in detail in other chapters of this book. If you take the time to read about them and understand how these diseases develop,you’ll notice that every single one of those problems (diabetes, hypothyroidism, obesity, alcoholism and high cholesterol which we are discussing now) all have the same spiritual root which is self-hatred and low self-esteem. All these diseases run in families i.e. they can be genetically inherited.
It now becomes interesting when we look at what is called “Metabolic Syndrome”. Whenever you see the word “syndrome” in the name of a disease, it means a cluster of symptoms or disorders that have been noted to occur together. In metabolic syndrome the person has high levels of VLDL and LDL (the bad cholesterol), low levels of HDL (the good cholesterol which protects you from disease), type 2 diabetes mellitus (insulin resistance and high levels of insulin) and high blood pressure (hypertension).
When you are attacking yourself spiritually through thoughts of self-hatred, self-rejection, a low selfesteem, guilt and condemnation, you release the spirit of death and the spirit of infirmity to agree with you. Your brain is eventually going to convert those thoughts into a physical reaction. Jesus said if you hate your brother in your heart, it is the same as committing murder (1 John 3 v 15). Likewise, when you hate yourself, in essence you are murdering yourself in your thoughts. Through the mind-body connection the body will eventually conform to this image and will respond to this by “murdering itself”. What is the best way to kill body tissue? The answer is to cut off its blood supply. That is exactly what happens with high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension in Metabolic Syndrome. All three of these diseases damage the blood vessels and the heart. The Bible says in Leviticus 17 V 11 that the life is in the blood. This is also very accurate medically because the blood contains oxygen, nutrients and energy needed to keep body cells alive. The heart pumps the blood and the blood vessels transport the blood to the tissues, organs and muscles all over your body. Therefore by damaging the heart and blood vessels – you cut off the blood supply – you cut off the life – you kill off the body tissue:
- Diabetes: Part of the diseases process in diabetes involves deposition of material called hyaline on the blood vessel walls. This narrows the blood vessels, which then cuts down the amount of blood that is able to reach the body tissues. This inadequate blood supply causes the body tissues to slowly die. In the advanced stages of diabetes, patients often have to have their toes, feet and lower legs amputated because of gangrene. When body tissue dies (because of lack of adequate blood supply), it quickly becomes infected. Dead tissue plus infection equals gangrene. When a part of the body becomes gangrenous, it has to be amputated, otherwise the gangrene will quickly spread, killing the person. Diabetes also damages the blood vessels in the person’s eyes and can eventually lead to poor vision or blindness.
- High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure over a long period of time puts strain on the heart,making it work too hard. Eventually the heart becomes so exhausted that it fails. Apart from heart failure, other common complications of high blood pressure are:
– Heart attacks – a heart attack is when the heart stops working because the blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off.
– Strokes – the increased pressure eventually causes the walls of the blood vessels to weaken and burst. The explosive entry of blood into the brain tissue damages the nerves in that area. They are literally split apart by the high pressure jet stream of the blood. The mass of blood in the brain tissue compresses the nerves which also causes damage. Each area in your brain controls a specific function in your body. So for example, if the area in your brain that controls speech is damaged, you won’t be able to talk. If the area that controls the movement of your left arm and leg is damaged, your left arm and leg will be paralyzed. This is what a stroke is – loss of function of a part of the body due to damage in an area of the brain. Many people who have strokes had high blood pressure previously.
- High Levels Of Cholesterol: there is strong evidence from medical research that has linked high levels of cholesterol with the development of a disease called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is where fatty plaques form on the blood vessel walls. Fissures or cracks form in the interior lining of your blood vessel walls. The cholesterol flowing past drops into the cracks and begins to build up. As it builds up to the lining it reaches out and other cholesterol hits it and attaches to it. It eventually forms a plaque which becomes thicker and thicker until it completely occludes the blood vessel. As a result an insufficient amount of blood is supplied to the tissues.
Clumps of cholesterol (Atheromatous Plaques) on blood vessel walls narrow the blood vessels, obstructing blood flow so that less blood can reach the body tissues, organs and muscles
When the cholesterol plaques narrow the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle, the person experiences angina (chest pain). Whenever there is insufficient blood supply to an area of your body, it causes intense pain. It is the body’s way of letting you know that that area of tissue is in trouble! When this happens in the blood vessels supplying the legs, the person experiences what is called intermittent claudication. This is intermittent painful cramps in the legs after the person walks a certain distance (for example 200 metres). This is because the leg muscles are running out of oxygen and energy due lack of blood supply. The fatty lumps of cholesterol can block the blood vessel completely and this is what causes 90% of heart attacks. This is responsible for 50% of all deaths in America. 25% are sudden cardiac death where the person drops dead suddenly without having had any significant symptoms previously. The cholesterol lumps can also cause strokes by blocking the blood vessels supplying the brain tissue. As a result that area of brain tissue dies.
In summary we have metabolic syndrome consisting of high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. All of these diseases lead to death in body tissue (brain, heart, legs). This is a result of self-hatred, anger towards oneself and guilt upstream in the person’s thought life. In the ministry of Henry Wright, there was a lady with a fat level in her blood of 378. Within 48 hours of ministry it dropped to 178. What changed? It had nothing to do with her diet. She dealt with the underlying issues causing high cholesterol. The only way to permanently lower your cholesterol levels and prevent the above complications is to deal with the toxic mindsets causing it. The following chapters will help you:
- “Forgiveness – A Necessity For Healing” on page 481 – you need to release that anger and guilt. Repent for self-hatred and forgive yourself. It is also important to deal with any unforgiveness towards others because this can become a block to healing.
- “Who You Are In Christ” on page 498 – you need to build a healthy self-esteem which comes from knowing who you are in Christ and establishing your identity and sense of self worth in Him.
- If other family members also had high cholesterol, you need to break this genetically inherited curse as explained in the chapter on genetically inherited diseases.
Finally pray this with me: “Father I repent for self-hatred and guilt in my life and in the generations of my family tree. I forgive myself. In Jesus’ Name I break the power of this curse of high cholesterol. I take authority over the spirit of death and the spirit of infirmity and command you to be gone in Jesus’ Name. In the Name of Jesus I speak a restorative creative miracle to the interior linings of my blood vessels. I command those fissures to be healed. I command the cholesterol that is there to dry up and move out of the way and for the blood flow to be restored in the Name of Jesus.”
In this chapter I have emphasized that a change in your thought life is of primary importance in lowering your cholesterol. However, it is also important to be a good steward of your body: Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and you need to honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6 v 19 – 20: “Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.”
I believe that part of honoring God and being a good steward of our bodies is to eat healthily. If you are going to fill your body with junk food full of sugar and preservatives, you cannot expect to enjoy the divine health and abundant life that Jesus died to give you. When it comes to cholesterol, here are some tips for eating healthily:
- Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and minimize margarine, fried and refined foods.
- Garlic and onion are very good for lowering the harmful LDL type of cholesterol that narrows and blocks blood vessels.
- Omega 3 which is found in fish, sardines and cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is also very good for you in helping prevent blocking of your blood vessels.
- Eat lots of fibre found in oat bran, peas, beans and lentils.
- Drink lots of water – this is very important for a healthy metabolism and good health in general.
- Raw carrots and apple (high in pectin) bind with excess cholesterol to remove it from the body.
- Good supplements include vitamin E which is an antioxidant that helps prevent blocking of the blood vessels.
- Vitamin B complex with vitamin B3 has long been used as a safe anti-cholesterol treatment.
However, none of this will help if you don’t change your thinking first!
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