How Cholesterol Got a Bad Rap

Comments: 2 | August 3rd, 2011

Why is conventional medicine so stuck on treating cholesterol rather than fixing the underlying cause of heart disease?

The story of how cholesterol came to play the role of “enemy of human health” is a slow progression and dates back as far as 1858. Rudolph Virchow, a professor of pathology in Berlin, found that when tissue broke down, large amounts of cholesterol were released. As we discussed yesterday, cholesterol is always present at the scene of the crime. Although Virchow’s results clearly showed that cholesterol was not the cause of the degradation, but rather a product, scientists began to mistakenly view cholesterol as the problem.

The cholesterol confusion was furthered 55 years later when Russian physiologist, N. Anitschkow, conducted an experiment whereby he filled rabbits with cholesterol resulting in changes in their arteries similar to that found in the victims of heart attacks.   There were numerous flaws to the study including the fact that rabbits are vegetarians and are not accustomed to metabolizing cholesterol in the first place. As scientists began to replicate Anitschkow’s experiments, huge amounts of cholesterol were used, which would be completely unrealistic in a clinical setting. To add, the cholesterol that was used was not the form that humans or animals would consume, instead it was either crystalline cholesterol or heat-dried egg yolk powder allowed to set for weeks. This is important because the chemical structure is changed at this point, making it an inadequate comparison to true cholesterol.

Shortly after this poorly planned study, epidemiological focus began to look at the rate of heart attacks in countries that consumed very low-fat thus low-cholesterol diets. On the surface, these countries looked as if they were healthier and had lower incidence of heart disease, but as we will discuss next week, there was another factor completely ignored.

Throughout the years, a large amount of circumstantial evidence has been building up against cholesterol. Poorly designed studies and misinterpreted epidemiological studies have given cholesterol a bad reputation despite several publications that have refuted this mindset. The Framingham study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that after the age of 50, an increased overall death rate is not associated with high cholesterol. What they did find however, was a direct association between declining levels of cholesterol and an increased rate of death.

Additionally, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published a study that looked at the cholesterol levels of 3,295 participants between the ages of 65-84, over a period of four years, and found that those with a cholesterol level lower than 189 were at a higher risk of death even when other related factors are taken into account. I bet you haven’t heard that study in the news!

The record has yet to be set straight by conventional medicine, and today we even have institutions like the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) that continue spreading the disinformation. The NCEP’s purpose is to educate the American people and medical community about the dangers of high cholesterol. It is interesting to note that 88 percent of those on the NCEP board are directly paid by pharmaceutical companies. These pharmaceutical companies of course sell cholesterol-lowering drugs. The NCEP is responsible for lowering the standard set for “normal” cholesterol levels, making an enormous amount of Americans prime candidates for statin drugs. This level has fluctuated drastically over the years and beckons the question: Is the cholesterol standard constantly adjusted for the health of Americans or to create a burgeoning market for cholesterol-lowering drugs?


2 thoughts on “How Cholesterol Got a Bad Rap

  1. Josie Many-Smith

    Dear Dr Hotze, I am 62 years old, 4’10” 89 lbs, I eat fairly well diet. My cholesterol has been over 250 for the past 20 years and this last 2 years it crept to 311, and just last week, 317, my HDL is 72 and its been been in the 69 to 70, my LDL went up to 2oo this time, my Trig level is WNL.The doctors has been pushing me to take statin drugs but since I dont have any other risk factor, i have sttod my ground to take nothing, they have rolled heir eyes and a few nurses has ridiculed me.

    I was reading yourinfo on cholesterol and thyroid, I had total thyroidectomy in Feb 1982, I had Iodine swallo in April of 1982 and afetr that been on Synthroid till now. for not having thyroid I understand that my body will not convert T4 to T3.

    My concern is I’ve been on Synthroid for over 30 years, and scared to change to Armour?
    Any advise? I would very much like to see you but I am in Virginia, my friend who lives in Houston sent me your book and I have been passing your info to some of my friends but like me I guess they are scared to change, they think I am a crack pot for being a nurse i dont take any medication not even Tylenol. only Synthroid and Vit and I have added Vit D and working on Selenium like you said in your book. I just made appointment with a MD here practicing alternative have appointment n tuesday.

    Thank you and I hope you have the time to advise me .

    Other than my cholesterol I am healthy.


    • Hotze Team

      No need for fear. We have switched thousands of people from Synthroid to porcine thyroid and almost all guests loved the difference. While they were still on Synthroid, they all had at least some symptoms of low thyroid remaining, and switching to porcine desiccated thyroid helped resolve their symptoms. While a truly elevated cholesterol level may be a result of low thyroid, it is important to find out if you have any other symptoms of hypothyroidism. Please take our women’s health quiz at this link to find out if you have other symptoms of hypothyroidism:

      Your energy level and brain function should be every bit as good as ever. If you truly have no symptoms of hypothyroidism, then your cholesterol may be normal for your age. The fact is that cholesterol is not a cardiac risk and never has been. We know of no evidence that statin drugs have been proven to save lives or improve quality of life.

      We see patients from all over the United States at our practice. You would only need to come here in person for your first visit with the doctor, then after that, all of your follow up visits can be done via phone and you can have your blood work done locally. We will be happy to help you. Please contact a wellness consultant at 281-698-8698. Thank you for your comment.


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