Announcements first!

Crescent City is starting its first public ping pong program! Drop-in ping pong, all levels, tournament-style, second Wednesday, 7 to 9 p.m., Pizza King Restaurant.

See you there at the first event April 9, 7 to 9 p.m.

Principal Bill Hartwick is still looking for someone to run a ping pong program at Crescent Elk. Call him at 464-0320 if you or someone you know could help. He's got three ping pong tables and availability for ping pong in the gym on Saturday and week nights.

The other announcement is College of the Redwoods is showing the Robert Reich film, "Inequality for All,"Thursday, Room 15, 7-9 p.m.There will be an opportunity for discussion and debate after the film.

Now I turn to the free health talk I attended last Wednesday at Visana Wellness in Brookings.

The speaker was Tony Tyler, former lecturer at the Crescent City Library, where he spoke regularly last year on the topic, "Better Without Wheat."

In Wednesday's session, Tyler spoke about the myth that cholesterol causes heart disease. As he put it, the belief dating back 60 years was based on studies that were flawed and should never have been taken seriously at the time. Statins were seen to be a savior when they came on the market in the '90s.

All the current studies for several years now have been increasingly demonstrating that there's no relation between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease.For example, the Harvard School of Public Health last year reversed its position and said it realized it'd been on this train for a long time, saying no one should be eating saturated fat, etc.

Among the books Tyler recommended were "The Great Cholesterol Myth" by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra and "The Statin Damage Crisis" by Duane Graveline. He also listed several web articles, sites, and blogs, as well as interviews and documentaries.

Tyler's current lectures stem from his efforts to heal himself from life-long celiac disease, other auto-immune conditions, chronic neurological problems causing a lot of pain and disability, and finally a catastrophic lung failure in a Medford ICU followed by paralysis in 2008. And after searching long and hard, he could not get effective medical help for his conditions.

He has both undergraduate and graduate training from UC Berkeley in psychology.This opened his eyes to what was possible and what mainstream medicine is missing.He spent several years studying alternative/integrative/complementary medicine. Thus he was able to make important changes and got healthier and healthier against all odds.

After more research, he chose a holistic nutrition program, the Nutritional Therapy Association in Olympia, Wash. He completed his training and received his certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (or NTP) in October of 2013.He is currently in active practice at Visana Wellness as well as working on other side projects in health, nutrition, and traditional diets.

Tyler explained that cholesterol is largely produced by the liver, and any increase in eating more cholesterol is offset by the body producing less, and vice versa.We have a fairly finely tuned system for maintaining cholesterol levels, which makes it difficult to alter them. On the other hand, saturated fat has been mistakenly construed to be the driver of abnormally high cholesterol.

Plaque is another part of the story. Apparently only about 3 percent of typical plaque is cholesterol, and 50 percent is calcium.Much of heart disease occurs when plaque gets to the point that it shuts off blood flow, harms tissue, and causes heart attacks. However, much of the logic of cholesterol, saturated fats, and statins is about avoiding plaques, or trying to minimize or reverse plaques.

Calcium, the largest component of plaque, is a major electrolyte, so it has a purpose in the bloodstream. But it shouldn't be in excess and it shouldn't be deposited in inappropriate places. By and large, the proper reservoir for calcium is your bones.What prevents this for a lot of people is they have metabolic problems, or they have vitamin deficiencies.

It's now believed that Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 interact to increase the deposition of calcium in the bones. The Japanese, in particular, have been using Vitamin K2 for a long time to reverse calcium plaque. They use Natto, fermented soy. Tony is a great proponent of fermented foods.

The typical conversation about heart disease and cholesterol treats it as an unwanted substance in the middle of everything and kind of gunking everything up. A more correct viewpoint is that it's the stuff of life that's found in every cell membrane, providing some kind of stiffness and support to create the kind of scaffolding for cellular function.

Cholesterol is the precursor for all steroid hormones, sex hormones, etc., and the precursor for Vitamin D, among other things. The same pathway, that is shut down with statins, is also responsible for CoQ10. This is why statins cause such problems for CoQ10.

Low cholesterol can be just as dangerous as high cholesterol. In populations with low cholesterol, you have increase in things like depression, suicides, certain kinds of strokes, cognitive issues, and dementia. For example, 25 percent of cholesterol is in the human brain. If you take statins to block this important substance, your body can't maintain itself as easily.

For more information and dates for future free talks, call Visana Wellness, 541-469-9100.