By Dr. David Sheridan
Many believe the conventional wisdom regarding cholesterol. The claims are pervasive, from doctors’ offices to television commercials. But most of us can recall other things once felt to be true by “conventional wisdom” that turned out to be false. A recent study (Medscape – Mar 12, 2018) about statin drug use in the elderly should have us revisit cholesterol conventional wisdom, as well. Is this new information? Are these findings casting doubt about this pervasive cholesterol theory recent? No, not recent at all.
The fat and cholesterol argument regarding heart disease is decades old. The earliest study of which I am aware dates back to the 1930’s. Before fancy electronics and fast-talking (and politically powerful) drug companies, doctors relied upon common sense observation. It was found that at autopsy, comparing cholesterol levels to the actual amount of plaque found in the coronary arteries revealed no pattern. The amount of plaque found in the coronary arteries was not higher in those with higher cholesterol values. Conversely, those with lower cholesterol values did not uniformly have less plaque. This was a rather simple study, but revealing. This same approach was repeated twice in the early 1960’s. Those doctors found the same thing – that the amount of plaque did not match the cholesterol values.
Fast-forwarding to more recent information, we find that dietary cholesterol is pretty much a non-issue with respect heart disease (Health.gov DGAC, Dec 15, 2014). What was noted in Medscape is just one of the latest installments in what you can now see is a decades-old argument.
The above is a very quick overview. Many studies have failed to show that dietary cholesterol had a negative impact on heart disease. And again, the so-called importance of cholesterol blood levels is simply a consequence of the availability of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Such drugs seem to be a cure in search of a disease.
Every cell in your body needs cholesterol to maintain the integrity of its cell membrane. Cholesterol is so important that, as cells die, HDL particles carry cholesterol back to the liver for “re-processing,” so to speak. Then LDL particles carry cholesterol back to the tissues to be integrated into new cell membranes. Calling one arm of this necessary process “good” (HDL) while the other arm is supposedly “bad” is ludicrous! HDL and LDL are two complementary sides of a vital biochemical process! Both are not only good, but necessary for life and health.
Of late, more people are becoming aware of the importance of vitamin D. This vital hormone is necessary for bone building, brain repair and is a critical anti-cancer compound. No fewer than 25 cancers have been found to increase as vitamin D levels go down. Being part of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center community, you are certainly aware of the importance of hormones. Vitamin D, as well as our other steroid hormones, are derived from cholesterol!
Cholesterol is critical for health and should not be demonized.
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