The Straight Dope on Cholesterol: 10 Things You Need to Know – Part 1

This is a guest post by Peter Attia and is a summary based on a 10-part series of the same name that you can find at The Eating Academy.  

To put this summary post and, more importantly, this 10-part series in perspective, let’s examine one of the most pervasive pieces of dietary advice given to people worldwide:

“Eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy.”

– T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of The China Study.

No summary of this length can begin to fully address a topic as comprehensive as cholesterol metabolism and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. In fact, those of us who challenge conventional wisdom often find ourselves needing to do exactly what Frederic Bastiat suggested:

 

“We must admit that our opponents in this argument have a marked advantage over us. They need only a few words to set forth a half-truth; whereas, in order to show that it is a half-truth, we have to resort to long and arid dissertations.”

So, at the risk of trying to minimize the “long and arid” part of this process, below are the 10 things you need to know to be the judge – for yourself – if the conventional advice about cholesterol is correct.

1. The sine qua non of atherosclerosis is the presence of a sterol in an artery wall. How it gets there is the only thing we should be worrying about.

Contrary to popular belief, atherosclerosis is not caused by many of things we think of, such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high LDL (the so-called “bad” cholesterol), or low HDL (the so-called “good” cholesterol). Some of these are certainly markers of risk – low HDL, for example – while others accelerate the process – smoking, for example – but none of these are the direct cause of atherosclerosis.

The sine qua non of atherosclerosis is the presence of sterols (cholesterol or phytosterol) in arterial wall macrophages. Sterols are delivered to the arterial wall by the penetration of the endothelium by an apoB-containing lipoprotein, which transport the sterols. In other words, unless an apoB-containing lipoprotein particle violates the border created by an endothelium cell and the layer it protects, the media layer, there is no way atherogenesis occurs. If this is a bit confusing, don’t worry. It’s all made clear below.

2. Cholesterol is vital for life; no cholesterol = no life.

Cholesterol is a 27-carbon molecule shown in the figure below. Each line in this figure represents a bond between two carbon atoms. That’s it. Mystery over.

All this talk about “cholesterol” and most people don’t actually know what it is. So, there you have it. Cholesterol is “just” another organic molecule in our body.

I need to make one distinction that will be very important later. Cholesterol, a steroid alcohol, can be “free” or “unesterified” (“UC” as we say, which stands for unesterified cholesterol) which is its active form, or it can exist in its “esterified” or storage form which we call a cholesterol ester (“CE”). The diagram below shows a free (i.e., UC) molecule of cholesterol. An esterified variant (i.e., CE) would have an “attachment” where the arrow is pointing to the hydroxyl group on carbon #3, aptly named the “esterification site.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that cholesterol is “bad.” This could not be further from the truth. Cholesterol is very good! In fact, there are (fortunately rare) genetic disorders in which people cannot properly synthesize cholesterol. One such disease is Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (also called “SLOS,” or 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase deficiency) which is a metabolic and congenital disorder leading to a number of problems including autism, mental retardation, lack of muscle, and many others.

Cholesterol is absolutely vital for our existence. Every cell in our body is surrounded by a membrane. These membranes are largely responsible for fluidity and permeability, which essentially control how a cell moves, how it interacts with other cells, and how it transports “important” things in and out. Cholesterol is one of the main building blocks used to make cell membranes (in particular, the ever-important “lipid bilayer” of the cell membrane).

Beyond cholesterol’s role in allowing cells to even exist, it also serves an important role in the synthesis of vitamins and steroid hormones, including sex hormones and bile acids. Make sure you take a look at the picture of steroid hormones synthesis and compare it to that of cholesterol (above). If this comparison doesn’t convince you of the vital importance of cholesterol, nothing I say will.

One of the unfortunate results of the eternal need to simplify everything is that we (i.e., the medical establishment) have done the public a disservice by failing to communicate that there is no such thing as “bad” cholesterol or “good” cholesterol. All cholesterol is imperative for life to exist!

The only “bad” outcome is when cholesterol ends up inside of the wall of an artery, most famously the inside of a coronary artery or a carotid artery, AND leads to an inflammatory cascade which results in the obstruction of that artery (make sure you check out the pictures in the links above). When one measures cholesterol in the blood we really do not know the final destination of those cholesterol molecules!

3. The cholesterol we eat has little to do with the cholesterol we measure in our bloodstream.

We ingest (i.e., take in) cholesterol in many of the foods we eat and our body produces (“synthesizes”) cholesterol de novo from various precursors. About 25% of our daily “intake” of cholesterol – roughly 300 to 500 mg – comes from what we eat (called exogenous cholesterol), and the remaining 75% of our “intake” of cholesterol – roughly 800 to 1,200 mg – is made by our body (called endogenous production). To put these amounts in context, consider that total body stores of cholesterol are about 30 to 40 gm (i.e., 30,000 to 40,000 mg) and most of this resides within our cell membranes. Nearly every cell in the body can produce cholesterol, and thus very few cells actually require a delivery of cholesterol. Cholesterol is required by all cell membranes and to produce steroid hormones and bile acids.

Of this “made” or “synthesized” cholesterol, our liver synthesizes about 20% of it and the remaining 80% is synthesized by other cells in our bodies. The synthesis of cholesterol is a complex four-step process (with 37 individual steps) that I will not cover here, but I want to point out how tightly regulated this process is, with multiple feedback loops. In other words, the body works very hard (and very “smart”) to ensure cellular cholesterol levels are within a pretty narrow band (the overall process is called cholesterol homeostasis). Excess cellular cholesterol will crystalize and cause cellular apoptosis (programmed cell death). Plasma cholesterol levels (which is what clinicians measure with standard cholesterol tests) often have little to do with cellular cholesterol, especially artery cholesterol, which is what we really care about. For example, when cholesterol intake is decreased, the body will synthesize more cholesterol and/or absorb (i.e., recycle) more cholesterol from our gut. The way our body absorbs and regulates cholesterol is really amazing, so I want to spend a bit of time discussing it.

  • The blue circle in this figure represents something called a Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 protein (NPC1L1). It sits at the apical surface of enterocytes and it promotes active influx (i.e., bringing in) of gut luminal unesterified cholesterol (UC) as well as unesterified phytosterols into the enterocyte. Think of this NPC1L1 as the ticket-taker at the door of the bar (where the enterocyte is the “bar”); he lets most cholesterol (“people”) in. However, NPC1L1 cannot distinguish between cholesterol (“good people”) and phytosterol (“bad people” – for reasons I won’t discuss here) or even too much cholesterol (“too many people”).
  • The pink circle in this figure represents a structure called the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette (ABC) transporters ABCG5 and ABCG8. This structure promotes active efflux (i.e., kicking out) of unesterified sterols (cholesterol and plant sterols – of which over 40 exist) from enterocytes back into the intestinal lumen for excretion. Think of ABCG5/G8 as the bouncer at the bar; he gets rid of the really bad people (e.g., phytosterols, as they serve no purpose in humans) you don’t want in the bar who snuck past the ticket-taker (NPC1L1). Of course, in cases of hyperabsorption (i.e., where the gut absorbs too much of a good thing) they can also efflux out un-needed cholesterol. Along this analogy, once too many “good people” get in the bar, fire laws are violated and some have to go. The enterocyte has “sterol-excess sensors” (a nuclear transcription factor called LXR) that do the monitoring, and these sensors activate the genes that regulate NPC1L1 and ABCG5/G8.

There is another nuance to this, which is where the CE versus UC distinction comes in:

  • Only free or unesterified cholesterol (UC) can be absorbed through gut enterocytes. In other words, cholesterol esters (CE) cannot be absorbed because of the bulky side chains they carry.
  • Much (> 50%) of the cholesterol we ingest from food is esterified (CE), hence we don’t actually absorb much, if any, exogenous cholesterol (i.e., cholesterol in food).
  • Furthermore, most of the unesterified cholesterol (UC) in our gut (on the order of about 85%) is actually of endogenous origin (meaning it was synthesized in bodily cells and returned to the liver), which ends up in the gut via biliary secretion and ultimately gets re-absorbed by the gut enterocyte. The liver is only able to efflux (send out via bile into the gut) UC, but not CE, from hepatocytes (liver cells) to the biliary system. Liver CE cannot be excreted into bile. So, if the liver is going to excrete CE into bile and ultimately the gut, it needs to de-esterify it using enzymes called cholesterol esterolases which can convert liver CE to UC.

4. The cholesterol in our bloodstream has little to do with the cholesterol in our artery walls (i.e., atherosclerosis).

To understand how cholesterol travels around our body requires some understanding of the distinction between hydrophobic and hydrophilic. A molecule is said to be hydrophobic (also called nonpolar) if it repels water, while a molecule is said to be hydrophilic (also called polar) if it attracts water. Think of your veins, arteries, and capillaries as the “waterways” or rivers of your body. Cholesterol is precious “cargo” that needs to move around, but it needs a “boat” to carry it.

The proteins that traffic collections of lipids are called apoproteins. Once bound to lipids they are called apolipoproteins, and the protein wrapped “vehicle” that transports the lipids are called lipoproteins. Many of you have probably heard this term before, but I’d like to ensure everyone really understands their important features. A crucial concept is that, for the most part, lipids go nowhere in the human body unless they are a passenger inside a protein wrapped vehicle called a lipoprotein. As their name suggests, lipoproteins are part lipid and part protein. They are mostly spherical structures which are held together by a phospholipid membrane (which, of course, contains free cholesterol). The figure below shows a schematic of a lipoprotein.

You will also notice variable-sized proteins on the surface of the lipid membrane that holds the structure together. The most important of these proteins are called apolipoproteins, as I alluded to above. The apolipoproteins on the surface of lipoprotein molecules serve several purposes including:

  1. Assisting in the structural integrity and solubility of the lipoprotein;
  2. Serving as co-factors in enzymatic reactions;
  3. Acting as ligands (i.e., structures that help with binding) for situations when the lipoprotein needs to interact with a receptor on a cell.

Apolipoproteins come in different shapes and sizes which determine their “class.” Without getting into the details of protein structure and folding, let me focus on two important classes: apolipoprotein A-I and apolipoprotein B. ApoA-I is the apolipoprotein that wraps HDL particles. ApoB is the apolipoprotein that wraps VLDL, IDL, and LDL particles.

5. The only way sterols end up in artery walls – the one place we don’t want them to be – is if the sterols are carried there by an apoB-containing lipoprotein particle.

So what drives a LDL particle to do something as sinister as to leave the waterway (i.e., the bloodstream) and “illegally” try to park at a dock (i.e., behind an endothelial cell)? Well, it is a gradient driven process which is why particle number is the key driving parameter.

As it turns out, this is probably a slightly less important question than the next one: what causes the LDL particle to stay there? In the parlance of our metaphor, not only do we want to know why the boat leaves the waterway to illegally park in the dock with its precious cargo, but why does it stay parked there? This phenomenon is called “retention” in lipidology-speak.

Finally, if there was some way a LDL particle could violate the endothelium, AND be retained in the space behind the cell (away from the lumen on the side aptly called the sub-endothelial space) BUT not elicit an inflammatory (i.e., immune) response, would it matter?

I don’t know.  But it seems that not long after a LDL particle gets into the sub-endothelial space and takes up “illegal” residence (i.e., binds to arterial wall proteoglycans), it is subject to oxidative forces, and as one would expect an inflammatory response is initiated. The result is full blown mayhem. Immunologic gang warfare breaks out and cells called monocytes and macrophages and mast cells show up to investigate. When they arrive and find the LDL particle, they do all they can to remove it. In some cases, when there are few LDL particles, the normal immune response is successful. But, it’s a numbers game. When LDL particle invasion becomes incessant, even if the immune cells can remove some of them, it becomes a losing proposition and the actual immune response to the initial problem becomes chronic and maladaptive and expands into the space between the endothelium and the media.

The multiple-sterol-laden macrophages or foam cells coalesce, recruit smooth muscle cells, induce microvascularization, and before you know it complex, inflamed plaque occurs. Microhemorrhages and microthrombus formations occur within the plaque. Ultimately the growing plaque invades the arterial lumen or ruptures into the lumen inducing luminal thrombosis. Direct luminal encroachment by plaque expansion or thrombus formation causes the lumen of the artery to narrow, which may or may not cause ischemia.

A New Greek Name for Statin Toxicity: Polymyalgia Rheumatica

New Research: Statins Increase Risk of Polymalgia Rheumatica 14-Fold

Few drugs are as toxic to the organ they are prescribed to “treat” as statins.  There are already hundreds of studies indicating that statin drugs are muscle-damaging (myotoxic) and nerve-damaging (neurotoxic), and yet they are somehow still legally allowed to be sold to millions of patients worldwide, ostensibly to protect the human heart —  which is, mind you, a muscle with an exceptionally high density of nerves.

After research published back in 2009 in the journal Cardiology found that statin drug use was associated with impaired heart muscle function, there is little doubt remaining that they do far more harm than good.  In fact, no less than 300 adverse health effects have been linked to this chemical class of drugs.

Some of the most consistently observed effects listed below

  • Liver Damage
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cataract
  • Pancreatitits
  • Cognitive Decline/Dysfunction
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Peripheral Neuropathies
  • Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Recently published research reveals another way in which the obvious damage caused by statin drugs is being covered up, whether by ignorance or intention. Statin drug-induced symptoms have been renamed in Greek as a newly minted, seemingly unrelated disease: Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

Polymyalgia translates from the Greek  “pain in many muscles,” and rheumatic means “flux.”  Published in the journal PLoS, researchers analyzed the World Health Organization’s Global Individual Case Safety Database, and found that of the 327 cases of PMR reported, ” statins were more frequently reported as suspected agent (29.4%) compared to non-cases (2.9%).”

They found a 14-fold increased relative risk for PMR in statin users:

After adjustment for several covariates, statins were significantly associated with reports of PMR (ROR 14.21; 95% CI 9.89-20.85)

Research like this reveals a likely possibility, namely,  that the well-known muscle soreness (myalgia) and inflammation (myositis) associated with statin drugs is far from a rare “side effect”  and is likely universally present, the difference being only the degree to which the damage and subsequent adverse effects are experienced.  So, instead of calling statin-induced muscle damage by its proper name, the medical establishment projects a “new syndrome,” dressed up in Greek,  onto the symptom picture.

Furthermore, given the wide range of natural substances with cholesterol-lowering properties which are available either as foods, e.g. chocolate and coconut water, or benign plant extracts, e.g. policosanol, with far superior safety and at least equivalent efficacy versus a drug, continuing forward with the statin drug paradigm is not only illogical but highly immoral.

Source: www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/

The Truth About Your Eggs

Eggs are quite possibly the world’s perfect protein source. The six grams of protein in each egg has the highest biological value — a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs — of any food, including beef. The yolks contain vitamin B12, deficiencies of which can cause attention, mood, and thinking problems.

Depending on where you’re getting your eggs, though, you could be getting a lot more of stuff you don’t want. First you’ll get some arsenic, added to feed to promote growth in hens but linked to various forms of cancer in people, and an extra dose of antibiotics, also used to promote growth but linked to antibiotic resistance and even obesity in people. Then add a heaping helping of salmonella. A 2010 study published in the journal Veterinary Record found that the eggs from hens confined to cages, as they often are in factory farms, had 7.77-times greater odds of harboring salmonella bacteria than eggs from non-caged hens.

You wouldn’t know that based on what’s starting to appear on egg cartons. Labels like “natural” and “cage-free” make eggs seem like they came from down on the farm, from chickens living happy lives and eating bugs. But that’s not always the case. If all you want is healthy protein, it’s time to start scrutinizing egg cartons. Following are nine of the most common egg-carton claims and what they mean for your health.

 “Cage-Free”

What it means: “Cage-free is certainly not like Old McDonald’s farm,” explains Paul Shapiro, spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States. Generally, it means that animals are not kept in the tiny battery cages used in most egg operations. It doesn’t mean the animals live outside or that they eat a diet free of arsenic and antibiotics. It is true that cage-free operations are slightly healthier for you. Cages generate more fecal dust, are associated with more disease-carrying rodents and insects, involve many cages that are difficult to disinfect, and lead to low natural immunity in stressed-out hens.

Can you trust it? No. There’s no independent third party that certifies egg producers as cage-free, so you really have to take producers at their word.

 “Free-Range” or “Free-Roaming”

What it means: Usually these types of operations allow chickens outside of cages in barns or warehouses, but they aren’t required to provide the animals any specific amount of time outside—or even exposure to sunlight indoors. Chickens can still be debeaked or forced into molting, a practice used to keep hens laying eggs for a longer period of time, usually accomplished by starving the chickens, according to the Humane Society.

Can you trust it? No. Like “cage-free,” there’s no independent body that certifies hens as receiving adequate access to the outdoors, and the USDA has set no standards for using the claim on egg cartons.

“Organic”

What it means: A USDA-certified organic label means the eggs came from hens that were not enclosed in battery cages, and that must be offered access to the outdoors. But the amount and duration of outdoor access isn’t well defined. Organic eggs come from hens that were fed certified-organic feed, free of things like arsenic and antibiotics, pesticides, animal byproducts, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Forced molting and debeaking are permitted in certified-organic production.

Can you trust it? Yes. Egg producers are subject to annual audits of their operations and must pay a fee to be certified.

“Natural”

What it means: This means that the finished product hasn’t undergone certain unnatural processes; in this case, that product is the egg.

Can you trust it? No! Neither the FDA nor the USDA have set any definitions for the word “natural” when it comes to eggs, and it’s highly misleading. “Natural” eggs may have come from hens pumped up with antibiotics, fed feed containing arsenic or genetically modified corn or soy. And it certainly doesn’t mean the chickens were raised in clean, humane conditions.

 “Pastured”

What it means: Pastured chickens are often housed on grassland in portable shelters that are periodically moved to give the chickens fresh pasture (and bugs!). Studies have shown chickens raised on pasture have twice the amount of vitamin E and more than 2.5 times more omega-3 fatty acid levels.

Can you trust it? Only if you’re buying from a farmer you know. There’s no third-party inspection required to ensure that hens are roaming around a grassy pasture, but if you’re buying eggs from a local farmer, you can ask him or her—or even see for yourself—how the animals are raised, what they’re eating and whether they’ve been treated with antibiotics.

“Omega-3 Enriched”

What it means: Hens were fed feed with an increased amount of omega-3s, which may have come from flaxseeds, fish oil or algae. Technically, caged hens could also be fed flax feed, so don’t equate this label with better living standards.

Can you trust it? Sort of. You can always compare omega-3 claims with the Nutrition Info panel on the carton. Factory-farmed eggs naturally have about 50 milligrams and many “omega-3 enriched” eggs often have that same amount. So you’re paying twice the price for regular eggs. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee you’re getting the beneficial EPA and DHA oils found in fish and algae. You could be getting ALA omega 3s from flaxseed, which are still healthy but not as beneficial. Finally, keep in mind that pastured eggs have twice the amount of beneficial omega-3s as factory-farmed eggs anyway, and the hens get to be outside.

 “Animal Welfare Approved”

What it means: The birds are cage-free and continuous outdoor access is required. They must be able to perform natural behaviors like nesting, perching, and dust bathing, and birds must be allowed to molt naturally. Beak cutting is also prohibited. Antibiotic use is allowed, but any animal that receives them has to be removed from egg-laying operations for an “antibiotic withdrawal” period. And though organic food isn’t required, the program prohibits the use of animal byproducts, and encourages GMO-free food whenever possible.

Can you trust it? Absolutely. A certification program of the independent, nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane Society dubs this the highest animal welfare standard of any third-party auditing program. Farmers are subject to annual audits to ensure all standards are being met.

“Certified Humane”

What it means: Birds must be in cage-free environments and fed a diet free of animal byproducts and growth promoters, like antibiotics and arsenic. Antibiotic use is allowed to treat diseases but only under the supervision of a veterinarian. There’s no requirement that animals have access to the outdoors but farmers do have to meet certain standards for space to perform natural behaviors, such as scratching and perching.

Can you trust it? Yes. Though the standards aren’t as stringent as Animal Welfare Approved certification, the certification is still administered by an independent third party (Humane Farm Animal Care) that subjects farmers to annual visits and requires diligent record-keeping.

 “United Egg Producers Certified”

What it means: While forced molting is prohibited under this certification, debeaking is allowed, along with other cruel and inhumane practices, such as the use of battery cages. There are no guidelines for antibiotic use or any standards prohibiting animal byproducts or growth promoters in feed.

Can you trust it? No. This is a third-party certification program, but the guidelines were developed by the food industry, not independent third parties. Shapiro says this, along with “natural,” is one of the most misleading claims made on an egg carton. According to the Humane Society, the overwhelming majority of the U.S. egg industry complies with this program.

Circumcision – Conditioning the Adult by Torturing the Child

For the love of the father and of the mother for the child when it has just been born is not like their love for it when it is one year old, and their love for it when it is one year old is not like their love when it is six years old. Consequently if it were left uncircumcised for two or three years, this would necessitate the abandonment of circumcision because of the father’s love and affection for it. – Moses ben Maimon Guide for the Perplexed Part III Chapter 39

It seems that secular humanism in Germany has finally completed its decades-old plan to ruin the moral heritage of our grand United Empires of Earth. How? By ending the genital mutilation of children.

For some, circumcision is a religious concern. For others it’s simple hygiene. It’s well known that the covenant of Judaism is predicated upon the act of circumcision, and a host of other cultures around the world work it into their rites of passage in the most horrendous of ways. For others it was necessary to make it a more universally accepted practice. Therefore, circumcision was medicalised. Some may find it difficult to imagine that Aborigines and African tribes found their genitalia so dirty that they started hacking away at them. Therefore a lot of work has been put into providing “evidence” for circumcision’s effectiveness, ranging from protecting against penile cancer, HIV, and just general dirtiness.

So, you see, though it’s long been understood by the sane men and women of planet Earth that the only way to guarantee a clean, mature, or holy child is to rip the skin off of their most tender of places when they are too young to be able to put up a good fight, this plausible lie might be at its stretching point. Yet it’s easy to see why it has been accepted for so long: who has the bravery to enter the labyrinthine complex surrounding this brutal act and face the monster, within and without, that demands the mutilation of children?

Circumcision started in America during the masturbation hysteria of the Victorian Era, when a few American doctors circumcised boys to punish them for masturbating. Victorian doctors knew very well that circumcision denudes, desensitizes, and disables the penis. Nevertheless, they were soon claiming that circumcision cured epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, eczema, bed-wetting, hip-joint disease, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, wet dreams, hernia, headaches, nervousness, hysteria, poor eyesight, idiocy, mental retardation, and insanity.

In fact, no procedure in the history of medicine has been claimed to cure and prevent more diseases than circumcision. As late as the 1970s, leading American medical textbooks still advocated routine circumcision as a way to prevent masturbation. The antisexual motivations behind an operation that entails cutting off part of the penis are obvious.

The idea that ritual circumcision was motivated by concern for health was the invention of nineteenth century doctors. They knew nothing of anthropology, but they were keen to find a respectable ancestry for the new surgical therapy they wanted to introduce. Antiquity, they thought, conferred legitimacy. …The ninth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1876) discussed the practice as a religious rite among Jews, Moslems, ancient Egyptians and several tribal peoples, rejecting sanitary or hygienic explanations in favour of a religious one:

Like other bodily mutilations … [it is] of the nature of a representative sacrifice. … The principle of substitution was familiar to all ancient nations, and not least to the Israelites. … On this principle circumcision was an economical recognition of the divine ownership of human life, a part of the body being sacrificed to preserve the remainder.

This “economical recognition” is rather interesting, isn’t it? It reminds me of how much money pharmaceutical companies and the medical industry makes off of foreskin: surgeries, clamps, and even selling the foreskin itself for use in cosmetics.

But, on with the story:

By the eleventh edition (1910) the entry has been turned on its head: …suddenly circumcision was primarily a medical procedure and only after that a religious rite. The entry explains that “in recent years the medical profession has been responsible for its considerable extension among other than Jewish children … for reasons of health“. By 1929 the entry is much reduced in size and consists merely of a brief description of the operation, which is “done as a preventive measure in the infant” and “performed chiefly for purposes of cleanliness“; readers are then referred to the entries for “Mutilation” and “Deformation” for a discussion of circumcision in its religious context.

Due largely to the obvious degradation of language, if heaven and hell doesn’t do it for you, you by now “know” what you’re supposed to know; that circumcision is just plain healthy, was all along, and reduces the risk of getting HIV. That is, as long as the researchers don’t complete the random trials that prove it, and are themselves circumcision advocates.

But of course, that’s adult circumcision, so I can hear you say: ‘but babies and children aren’t supposed to be having sex in the first place!’ Tell that to the people in charge of all of the major institutions of the world then. They seem to have no qualms concerning sexual acts with children, and I’m not just talking about the Catholic Church, although a very large spotlight should be shone on the inner workings of that particular institution. They’re all, at the very top, involved in the disgusting business of child abuse. Just check out the Dutroux Affair, or the Franklin Scandal, and you’ll realise why the ‘leaders’ of this world haven’t found the act of male, or female circumcision, where the common people allow it, very objectionable.

So once again they make money off of misery, and the only ‘trickle down’ we get is the reinforcement of pathological ideas. The ideas approved of by the elite are those that are accepted, if only through gritted teeth, by the majority, until the next generation is born and accepts them as their own. In fact, Western civilization has a history of hating the very idea of circumcision (for obvious reasons).

So if we really think those in charge of the mass circumcision movements – the media and all of the major institutions that have shaped this pathological, desensitized, barren landscape – are interested in our well-being, then we haven’t been paying attention at all have we? Further into the labyrinth we wind.

“The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. … For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened.” – Moses ben Maimon Guide for the Perplexed Part III Chapter 39

So no matter just how “mutilation” and “deformation” are defended, be it through hygiene or religion, what is the real point behind circumcision? Let’s be blunt! It’s pain! What a novel idea; you hurt someone to inflict pain! The original schizoidal idea was to eliminate sexual immorality, but of course the damage done is much more extensive.

Closely following (and contradicting) the ‘no pain’ story, one frequently encounters the following statement: ‘Alright, maybe it hurts, but it only lasts a moment and they forget about it the minute its over. They’re too young to have any memory of it‘. In fact, the raw surface of the glans may bleed and be painful for several days after the circumcision, so the pain is far from momentary. Further, there is ample evidence that newborns do have some memory of the event, which takes the form, not of conscious remembering, but of a permanent restructuring of the nervous system. The result is an intensification of the behavioural response to subsequent painful stimuli, as though the nervous system has been ‘sensitized’. Thus, for example, Taddio et al. found that pain responses in children being vaccinated were significantly greater in those who had been circumcised (several months previously) than in those who had not. Other studies show that pain experienced in early infancy can disrupt breast-feeding, mother-infant bonding and sleeping patterns.

Not only do newborn babies feel pain, they feel it more intensely, for longer and over a wider area of the body than do older children or adults subjected to the same stimulus. Fitzgerald and her team at University College London, have shown clearly that the nervous system of a newborn baby differs from that of an older child or adult, both anatomically and physiologically, so that what would constitute a light or harmless stimulus to the older child or adult actually produces pain in the newborn. Furthermore, newborns lack the inhibitory or ‘damping down’ mechanisms of the more mature nervous system, so they cannot protect themselves from the experience of pain in the way they could at a later stage.

And if you’re not sick yet, I’m going to ask you to remember that this is real; this is not a dream. The pain of children is of course the entire point, but we’ve been so conditioned to believe in our officials and traditions (and by we I mean all of us, mentally emotionally and physically via diet) that we can’t see what’s staring us right in the face! Because we can’t really have everyone thinking that we’ve been led to purposefully mutilate children in order to hurt them, we must be told that we’re saving them from a life of sin, or disease, etc. And it’s repeated enough that people believe it. We have to accept that lie, otherwise…what kind of a creature would trick a tribe, then a society, then a continent into doing this? We’d have to face what’s at the center of this labyrinth without substituting happy thoughts for cold, dark reality; we act out the world view of psychopaths by brutalizing our children as soon as they enter this world. The pain that their body experiences at such a formative stage is likely encoded in them for the rest of their lives, controlling them through fear and suffering. We cripple children when all they reach out for is affection. They ask for love and we give them the blade.

So any denial over this subject is likely due to our need to be right and feel safe, because then our virus-like civilization is right, and we can continue to deny the death-dealing reality that has grown up as a consequence of our abundant ignorance, all around us. But we’re not right. We are so wrong that we can hear the death knell if we listen, and before long we will see its effects.

So when I hear that the Conference of European Rabbis calls the end of circumcisionin Germany “the worst attack on Jewish life since the Holocaust,” I no longer wonder what the hell kind of a world they’re living in that they can possibly say something so heinous, painting themselves as the victims in an act that strips the flesh off of week old babies, selectively interpreting their own religion in favor of genital mutilation. I know that they’re the walking dead, crying for blood. I don’t need a random control study for that.

In Judaism there is a law of ‘Shmirat Ha Guf’, the guarding or protecting of the body. Body-piercing, tattooing and amputation are all forbidden for this reason. Further, there is the Talmudic concept of ‘Tsa’ar ba’alei chayyim’, compassion for all living creatures. If compassion in all its fullness were applied to 8-day-old babies, circumcision would become impossible.

So to come back out of that labyrinth, I don’t need anyone to tell me that it’s been “proven” or “disproven” in a randomly controlled trial that children should not have their bits amputated in the name of any ancient tribal religion that we don’t belong to and has no one’s best interest at heart. I can think for myself, thank you.

I know that infants feel pain. And as they grow, I know that the pain persists when they’re restrained in desks for hour after hour awaiting the ding of a bell, only switching from one indoctrination chamber to another, feverishly avoiding the bullying on the bus and the distant, stressful home life that awaits them.

I know that children feel pain when they’re sent off to die for the objectives of the richest of society. I know how desperate they are for money, for social standing, for meaning in their lives. So desperate, in fact, that if they survive, or avoid war, they’ll end up dragging the ball and chain of debt for the rest of their adult lives.

I know that children feel pain when they are molested for “scientific progress” by the same types of psychopaths that have sought complete power for so many generations. And I know that so few seem to care, that it is likely that this opinion may become extinct the day those who hold it pass on.

And I know that anything that threatens the integrity of our bodies threatens the integrity of our planet and vice versa. These are lessons learned too late. But they’re still lessons learned, for me. How about you?

I don’t buy into the religious BS or the hygiene BS. They’re both based on corruption, the kind of corruption that comes from pathological people in power using any means possible to exert control over others.

So, unlike the countless others who are channeling their money into the German court battle to insure the time-proven tradition of the psychopathic elite to enjoy their new generation of mutilated children, I’ll be using that truly divine part of me to think for myself and choose the best for myself and my family. This psychopathic system be damned, and the ideologies that it’s built on. I’d rather face the terror of reality than mutilate either my son or my daughter. Trust me, it will never happen.