If Eggs Increase Risk For Strokes And Aspirin Is Ineffective, Then What Does Prevent Strokes?

Millions of people who have been eating and enjoying cholesterol-rich eggs under the assurance they do not increase the risk for heart disease have now been told eggs (slightly) increase the risk for strokes.

And 50+ million Americans have now been told the aspirin tablet they have been taking to prevent a heart attack or a stroke is useless.

Bottom line, the most recent advice is to throw out the eggs and the aspirin tablets.

But wait, organized medicine has misled the public before.

Over the past five decades public health authorities have issued slanted reports offering advice about diet and health that have been a giant misdirection that  only served doctors and drug companies, not the public.  In fact, it appears the aggregate body of medical advice published in recent times has been intentionally created to increase the amount of disease to treat, real and imagined, ather than prevent it.  And how easy it is to spin a scientific report so as to produce more imagined pre-disease to treat.  Examples:

  • Pre-diabetes (a report in Science Magazine now says it is a “dubious diagnosis”). The following graphic from that reports reveals a jump in pre-diabetes candidates but no decrease in risk for diabetes itself.

Credits: N. Desai/Science (data) American Diabetes Assn.; US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; D Nathan, Diabetes Care, 32, 1327, 2009.

Graphic credit:  The Lancet, Volume 355, Jan 15, 2000.

  • Use of the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test for prostate cancer even though that test only weakly correlates with malignancy and leads to overtreatment).

Health misdirection #1

Eggs were once placed behind bars.  As the most bountiful source of cholesterol, eggs were once demonized until it became evident that eggs didn’t significantly raise circulating cholesterol levels or mortality rates for coronary artery disease. By Matthias Rath - Why... Matthias Rath Best Price: $3.07 Buy New $44.41 (as of 06:45 EDT - Details)

Now eggs are headed back to jail.  The public is confronted with a repeat of another misdirection, to back off of egg consumption based upon a meta-analysis (a comparison of prior studies) published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.

The stated threat is a 17% relative increased risk for stroke with consumption of eggs.  But in hard numbers (not relative numbers), the increased risk is only 3.24% (3.24 more people out of 100) which doesn’t get reprinted in news reports.  Each additional half-egg consumed allegedly increases the risk for a cardiovascular disease-related event (stroke) by ~6% (1.1% per half egg)!

Just to put egg-eaters minds at ease — from 1950 to 1970 coronary artery disease mortality rates rose while egg consumption declined.  Egg consumption per capita in 1950 was 377 per year and the rate of coronary artery disease mortality was ~440 per 100,000.  In 1970 egg consumption declined to 304/year and coronary artery disease mortality rose to ~495/100,000.

The elevated risk for stroke was greater for those individuals who consumed 600 milligrams of dietary cholesterol daily (mostly from eggs).  An egg yolk contains ~186-213 milligrams of cholesterol.  Therefore, the elevated risk warning pertains to those individuals who consume 3+ eggs a day which was only ~2% of the subjects studied.  The asterisk that didn’t make it into news reports was the increased risk vanished (was no longer significant) after adjusting for red meat consumption!  The culprit could be iron in red meat, not cholesterol.

It is difficult to wade through all the scientific drivel presented in the 11-page paper, but what stood out was, among the six studies analyzed, the two groups that consumed the most eggs on average (0.42 and 0.32 eggs/day) versus the four groups that ate fewer eggs (0.14, 0.14, 0.14, 0.14 eggs/day), the former had a lower event (stroke) risk (7.5% and 4.0%) over a period of many years than the groups that ate fewer eggs on average (29.8%, 74.0%, 12.4% and 14.7%).  Go figure!

It is difficult to fathom dietary intake of cholesterol, largely from eggs (200-600 mg cholesterol/day), has any significant effect upon mortality rates or stroke risk when the liver produces anywhere from 1-2 grams (1000-2000 milligrams) of cholesterol per day.

Cholesterol production in the liver decreases with consumption of cholesterol-rich foods and increases when cholesterol is lacking in foods.  So, the liver adjusts cholesterol synthesis to adjust for dietary cholesterol intake.  Is the public informed of this?

The liver begins to produce more cholesterol in middle age, for one reason, because cholesterol is required to produce sex hormones.  The body is making a last gasp attempt to remain fertile and virile to produce offspring.

Excessive iron instead of cholesterol?

Once consumption of iron-rich red meat was factored in, the link between cholesterol and coronary artery disease vanished. Red meat provides six times greater amount of iron than white meat.  It is iron that oxidizes (hardens) circulating levels of cholesterol.

Eradicating Heart Disease Matthias Rath Best Price: $1.40 Buy New $19.99 (as of 04:40 EDT - Details) As iron storage levels increase (as measured by ferritin, the iron storage protein), levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides increase.  Females control iron and therefore cholesterol by virtue of the fact they menstruate, i.e. lose iron-rich blood in their monthly flow.  Post-menopausal females have higher ferritin (iron) levels and experience a rise in cholesterol. This also explains why males develop heart disease earlier in life than females.

And red meat is not the only culprit in coronary artery disease mortality.  Added sugar in the diet raises triglyceride levels and does so on a dose-related basis — the more refined sugar the higher the triglyceride levels and cardiovascular mortality rates.

Health re-direction #2: ditch aspirin to prevent strokes

Of additional interest is the abandonment of preventive “baby” aspirin (81 mg) by health authorities for adults at risk for heart disease. Newly published treatment and prevention guidelines, do not call for aspirin (with no apologies for over two decades of misdirection; aspirin was first recommended for prevention of heart attacks in 1997).    Nearly half of US adults age 45-75 with no history of heart disease regularly take aspirin.  The data used to substantiate the use of aspirin dealt with 325 milligram aspirin tablets, not 81 mg baby aspirin.

The anatomical location of a stroke

The most obvious anatomically vulnerable location for stroke (a hemorrhage or clot in a blood vessel in the brain) are the capillaries in the brain, that fine network of hair-thin arteries (arterioles) that connect with small veins (venules).  It is in these capillaries where oxygen, nutrients and cellular debris are exchanged.

Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. © 2007 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

In particular, cells known as pericytes that bind around blood capillaries and control them are of primary importance.  In regard to pericytes and capillaries in the brain, vitamin C is of acute interest.  Whereas high blood sugar (glucose from the liver) increases the die-off of pericytes in the brain and elsewhere, high-concentrations of vitamin C completely prevent this micro-pathology!

Aspirin depletes vitamin C and the recommendation that aspirin users consider supplementation with “at least a few hundred milligrams of daily vitamin C” has been largely overlooked. So, it should be no surprise to learn that aspirin increases the risk for stroke.  For every 833 people taking aspirin tablet for 3 years, 1 preventable stroke is predicted.  Given over 50 million Americans take a daily aspirin tablet, that would amount to over 60,000 avoidable strokes annually among aspirin users.  Aspirin simply results in disease substitution, not prevention.  As previously stated, the practice of medicine is dialing in a certain level of disease to treat in its practice guidelines. Good Health is Possible Dr Matthias Rath Best Price: $0.38 Buy New $196.00 (as of 04:25 EDT - Details)

Vitamin C disappoints (or does it?)

Published studies that put supplemental vitamin C to the test for stroke prevention have been disappointing.  For example, in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. in 2008 even as much as 500 mg of vitamin C per day produced no significant reduction in cardiovascular events such as stroke.

However, vitamin C is rapidly excreted from the body (~30 minutes) and large single or double doses only transiently raise blood levels.  Frequent repeated doses (500 mg every 4-6 hours) are required to sustain blood plasma levels.

A contrary study that actually measured vitamin C blood levels and correlated them with stroke risk was far more accurate and revealing.  There was a 42% relative reduced risk for stroke between adults with the highest versus lowest vitamin C blood concentrations.  (The study also revealed high-vitamin C blood levels reduced the risk for heart attack and diabetes by 320% and 330% respectively, but that sub-discovery was never aired in the news media.  See chart below.)

VITAMIN C BLOOD CONCENTRATIONS
STUDY OF 20,649 ADULTS/ 4 YEARS
Source: American Journal Clinical Nutrition Volume 87, 2008


A weakness pointed out in this study is that vitamin C blood levels were only tested at one point in time.  Another recent study showed for every 100 mg/day of supplemental vitamin C there is a 17% relative reduced risk for stroke.

When vitamin C blood levels are measured rather than just vitamin C intake, researchers report a 25% decrease for all causes of death among those who have the highest blood levels of vitamin C. Stop Americau2019s #1 ... MD JD Levy Best Price: $1.58 Buy New $6.00 (as of 04:40 EDT - Details)

How many Americans are vitamin C deficient? 

Public health authorities say only 5-13% of Americans consume deficient or insufficient amounts of vitamin C.  This is another misconception.  Americans are well fed, but there is high-calorie malnutrition.

In the late 1970s it was biochemist Irwin Stone who pointed out humans once internally produced vitamin C in their liver.  By his estimation humans once endogenously produced 1800-4000 milligrams of vitamin C a day, and more when under stress.  A universal gene mutation blocked the production of an enzyme needed to convert blood sugar into a sugar-like molecule called ascorbate – vitamin C.

Since that time, humans have had to totally rely on dietary sources of vitamin C.  Americans only consume ~110 milligrams of vitamin C a day and are taught an orange a day (providing ~60 milligrams of vitamin C) is sufficient for health.  However, that gene mutation has never been fully corrected with dietary supplements.  A 500 mg. vitamin C pill taken every 4-6 hours has been suggested to compensate for the rapid urinary excretion of vitamin C.

Most other mammals, with the exception of fruit bats, guinea pigs and primate monkeys, produce the enzyme to convert blood sugar to vitamin C and don’t develop age-related cataracts, brain plaque, grey hair, skin wrinkles.  It was Dr. Matthias Rath, in his landmark book entitled Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks… But People Do, who demonstrated animals that secrete vitamin C simply don’t experience heart attacks.

In 1972 biochemist Irwin Stone wrote this defective gene “has been a severe handicap and the side effects of this defective gene have resulted in the deaths of more individuals, caused more sickness and suffering and have changed the course of history more than any other single factor.”

The advent of a dietary supplement that appears to molecularly edit the defective gene and facilitate internal vitamin C synthesis 24/7 without reliance upon dietary or supplement sources of vitamin C is now undergoing early testing.  It has been shown to be effective in all of the first 20 subjects who have used it.  This unexpected development could elevate the proportion of people who remain healthy and un-reliant upon drugs as they age.  Biochemist Irwin Stone said if such a pill were ever to be developed, it would be the most significant advancement in health promotion ever.

Bill Sardi has a commercial interest in vitamin C technology.