Could it be possible that almost everything you know about the dangers of high cholesterol is wrong?

Keep reading and find out for yourself.

First, let's highlight the importance of cholesterol.  Cholesterol is found in every cell of your body and it is not there to kill you.  Actually, quite the opposite, it is essential for life and is necessary to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acid. This alone should tell you that it can't be evil just by itself.

Second, let's realize that there is only one type of cholesterol. Ron Rosedale, MD, does a great job explaining this: "Notice please that LDL and HDL are lipoproteins -- fats combined with proteins. There is only one cholesterol.  There is no such thing as "good'"or "bad" cholesterol.  Cholesterol is just cholesterol.  It combines with other fats and proteins to be carried through the bloodstream, since fat and our watery blood do not mix very well.  Fatty substances therefore must be shuttled to and from our tissues and cells using proteins. LDL and HDL are forms of proteins and are far from being just cholesterol.  In fact we now know there are many types of these fat and protein particles.  LDL particles come in many sizes and large LDL particles are not a problem. Only the so-called small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, because they can squeeze through the lining of the arteries and if they oxidize, otherwise known as turning rancid, they can cause damage and inflammation.  Thus, you might say that there is 'good LDL' and 'bad LDL'.  Also, some HDL particles are better than others.  Knowing just your total cholesterol tells you very little. Even knowing your LDL and HDL levels will not tell you very much."

Third, about 75% of cholesterol is created by your own body.  Given the importance of cholesterol, our liver works hard to ensure that we have enough and will adjust the production in response to our dietary cholesterol: the more cholesterol one consumes, the less the liver makes and vice versa.  Typically, your body produces around 1000 mg of cholesterol as compared to your typical dietary intake of 200-300 mg.  So you can see that dietary cholesterol has little influence on our cholesterol levels as has been confirmed by multiple studies and you can read about them on
here

And finally and most importantly, Cholesterol is NOT the major cause of heard disease or any disease.  If you have an increased level of cholesterol, it is there at least in part because it needs to repair the damage caused by chronic inflammation.  It doesn't make sense to simply lower your cholesterol and forget why it was there to begin with.  We need to focus on the the disease, not the symptom.


Multiple experts have been saying this for years
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The references below are just a few examples to get you started. 

Dr. Rosedale has a great analogy: "Cholesterol has only been shown to be correlated, meaning associated, with heart disease. That would be like saying fireman cause every fire just by association.  Would you want to chase off all the firemen?  Cholesterol never has really been shown to be a significant underlying root cause of heart disease or any disease." Read more
here.


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Chris Kresser has a good simple summary on why the cholesterol hypothesis is wrong.
 
"Both total and LDL cholesterol – which are the numbers your doctor, the media and everyone else seems to be concerned with – are only weakly associated with heart disease.  If high cholesterol” were the cause of heart disease, you’d expect it to be a risk factor in:
  • All populations around the world.
  • In both men and women.
  • In people of all ages.

  • And you’d also expect that lowering cholesterol should prevent heart disease.  Unfortunately for the lipophobes, the cholesterol hypothesis fails on all fronts.
    1. High cholesterol is not a risk factor in all populations.  The French have among the highest cholesterol levels in the world, and among the lowest rates of heart disease of any industrialized nation.  The Austrians and other European nations are similar.
    2. Women on average have 300% lower rates of heart disease than men, despite higher average cholesterol levels.
    3. The rate of heart disease in 65 year-old men is 10 times that of 45-year old men.  Yet high cholesterol is not a risk factor in men over 65. (In fact, men over 65 with low cholesterol (<150 mg/dL) are twice as likely to die from heart disease as those with normal or even high cholesterol).
    Finally, more than 40 trials have been performed to see if lowering cholesterol prevents heart disease.  In some trials, more people got heart disease, in others, fewer.  But when all the results were taken together, just as many people died in the treatment groups (those who took cholesterol-lowering drugs) as the control groups (those who did not)". 

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    For an extremely detailed explanation on why you shouldn't fear saturated fats and cholesterol, read this article by Mary G. Enig, PhD (an long time expert in lipid biochemistry) and Sally Fallon.

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    And if you prefer to read books, take a look at "Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health"Gary Taubes will show you how public health data has been misinterpreted to mark dietary fat and cholesterol as the primary causes of coronary heart disease.

    Or read his short version published in the New York times almost a decade ago.

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    For people who love the nitty-gritty of statistical analysis, take a look at this blog where Denise Minger dismantles the famous China Study and re-examins the truth about the father of Cholesterol Theory,  Ancel Keys.


    Cholesterol drugs

    Hopefully by now you have realized that taking statins doesn't make sense, unless you have familial hypercholesterolemia, an extremely rare genetic disorder. 
    Please read the following links about the danger and multiple side effects of statins before you fill that prescription and show them to your doctor too:

    http://www.westonaprice.org/cardiovascular-disease/dangers-of-statin-drugs
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/statin-insanity/#axzz2GZ4CuhLZ
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/20/the-truth-about-statin-drugs-revealed.aspx

    http://voices.yahoo.com/the-cholesterol-scam-statin-drugs-heart-disease-5639860.html?cat=71

    http://medicalconsumers.org/2003/06/01/cholesterol-skeptics-conference-report/


    How could so many doctors be so wrong?


    There could be a few explanations for this.  First, conventional medical wisdom is very slow to change. Most doctors learned what to do in medical school and are not really reading the latest research papers. But the medical community has slowly began to shift. For example, Dr. Krauss in his interview for Men's Health magazine admits: "Everybody I know in the field—everybody—recognized that a simple low-fat message was a mistake ".


    There is even The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics who all oppose the animal fat and high cholesterol causation of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.  Their aim is to "inform our colleagues and the public that this idea is not supported by scientific evidence; in fact, for many years a huge number of scientific studies have directly contradicted it".


    Money is another explanation of the popularity of cholesterol hypothesis.  According to The Associated Press: "Eight of the nine researchers were making money from the very companies whose cholesterol-lowering drugs they were urging upon millions more Americans."

    "There's a mountain of evidence that shows that people who have financial relationships with industry produce biased research and came up with biased recommendations for treatment," notes Shannon Brownlee, author of "Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer".

    According to Richard Smith, who was an editor for the BMJ for 25 years, "Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies".
                                  
           
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    Disclaimer: We're not doctors or health care practitioners.   The statements made here are only our views and opinions and should not be taken as a substitute for qualified medical advice.  Consult with your doctor or health care provider before starting any regimen mentioned here.

       

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