Cholesterol: Facts and Myths

We all know that heart disease is one of the leading killers of people around the world,
particularly highest in countries such as the US and Australia.

However, did you know that there are several medical studies worldwide that clearly
show that higher cholesterol levels in the body actually increases longevity instead of
decreasing it? Yes, you heard that right! People with high cholesterol have been
statistically shown to live longer and healthier than people with low cholesterol in
several studies. There are multiple references for this phenomenon in Shane Ellison's
controversial book, The Hidden Truth about Cholesterol Lowering Drugs, Dr. Uffe
Ravnskov's (MD, PhD) book entitled The Cholesterol Myths,as well as Sally Fallon and
Mary Enig's book, Nourishing Traditions.

On the flip side Low Cholesterol is linked to Anxiety, Depression, Suicide &
Hemorrhagic Stroke: The BBC news reported in 1999 that low cholesterol levels were
linked, in both men and women, to depression and anxiety. In a separate story on the
same topic, MSNBC reported that, a study conducted in South Korea found that
depressed patients with low cholesterol levels may be more likely to commit suicide.

Hemorrhagic strokes are also linked to cholesterol levels that are below normal. One
study found that men with cholesterol levels below 150 mg/dl had four times the risk of
cerebral hemorrhage compared with men with cholesterol levels above 190 mg/dl.

High Cholesterol is NOT the Villain!

As time goes on and scientists continue to learn more about heart disease, it has become
quite clear over the recent years that
inflammation within the body (NOT
cholesterol levels)
is what causes plaque build up in the arteries and eventual heart
disease. Inflammation can be caused by many personal factors such as stress, smoking,
viruses, consumption of refined and/or hydrogenated fats (man-made trans fats), an
imbalance of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats to omega-3 polyunsaturated fats in the diet,
excess refined sugars in the diet, etc.

Cholesterol is a healing substance within the body (among many other important
functions), and responds to arterial inflammation by getting deposited in combination
with other substances, forming "plaque" as a healing agent on the artery lining.
Cholesterol itself is essential to various bodily processes, from insulating nerve cells in
the brain to providing structure for cell membranes.

Levels of inflammation in your body can be measured with what's called a CRP test (c-
reactive protein). The accuracy of this test still has room for improvement, as it can
vary depending on the time of day and other factors, but it is a much better indication of
heart disease risk than a cholesterol test (which is practically useless for determining
heart disease risk).

Another more important test than cholesterol levels for heart disease risk is a test for
serum homocysteine levels. The next time your doctor wants you to get blood
cholesterol tests, request CRP and homocysteine tests instead. He/she should be well
aware of the validity of these tests if they are up to date.

Basically, if you have significant internal inflammation, this plaque will be deposited as
a healing agent regardless of whether you have high or low cholesterol. On the other
hand, if you don't have inflammation, high cholesterol levels just keep circulating
without getting deposited on the artery linings. Therefore, it is more important to
control inflammation rather than trying to lower your cholesterol.

Lowering your cholesterol doesn't attack the root of the problem (what is actually
causing the inflammation in you). Lowering your cholesterol does nothing except to
make the drug companies rich, and possibly leave you with a whole assortment of
possible negative side-effects.

Cholesterol Facts

Here are the facts!

1.  Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance vital to the cells of all mammals.
There are no such things as good or bad cholesterol, but mental stress, physical activity
and change of body weight may influence the level of blood cholesterol. A high
cholesterol is not dangerous by itself, but may reflect an unhealthy condition, or it may
be totally innocent.

2. A high blood cholesterol is said to promote atherosclerosis and thus also coronary
heart disease. But many studies have shown that people whose blood cholesterol is low
become just as atherosclerotic as people whose cholesterol is high.

3.  Your body produces three to four times more cholesterol than you eat. The
production of cholesterol increases when you eat little cholesterol and decreases when
you eat much. This explains why the ”prudent” diet cannot lower cholesterol more than
on average a few per cent.

4.  There is no evidence that too much animal fat and cholesterol in the diet promotes
atherosclerosis or heart attacks. For instance, more than twenty studies have shown
that people who have had a heart attack haven't eaten more fat of any kind than other
people, and degree of atherosclerosis at autopsy is unrelated with the diet.

5.  The only effective way to lower cholesterol is with drugs, but neither heart mortality
or total mortality have been improved with drugs the effect of which is cholesterol-
lowering only. On the contrary, these drugs are dangerous to your health and may
shorten your life.

6.  The new cholesterol-lowering drugs, the statins, do prevent cardio-vascular disease,
but this is due to other mechanisms than cholesterol-lowering. Unfortunately, they also
stimulate cancer in rodents, disturb the functions of the muscles, the heart and the brain
and pregnant women taking statins may give birth to children with malformations more
severe than those seen after thalidomide.

7.  Many of these facts have been presented in scientific journals and books for decades
but are rarely told to the public by the proponents of the diet-heart idea.

8.  The reason why laymen, doctors and most scientists have been misled is because
opposing and disagreeing results are systematically ignored or misquoted in the
scientific press.

9.   The Benefits Of High Cholesterol

Do you want to know more? Read Dr. Ravnskov's book
"The Cholesterol Myths".

It includes:
...the many unsuccesful cholesterol-lowering experiments,
...the meaningless animal experiments,
...familial hypercholesterolemia and why you shouldn´t bother too much about it,
...the myths about triglycerides,
...the dangers associated with an overconsumption of polyunsaturated oils,
...the illogicalities around the Mediterranean diet,
...the fallacies of Dr. Ornish´s life-style trial,

The Cholesterol Farce:  
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