The Cholesterol Myth

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Recently, one of the more common health topics I hear people voice to me involves concern over their cholesterol numbers. Here is my written response…The greatest hoax in modern medicine of the 20th century is the cholesterol myth. In reality half of the people who have heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol. Half of the people who have strokes have “normal cholesterol. So you could flip a coin about all those millions of heart attacks that happen annually as to what those people’s cholesterol levels are. And many countries, like Sweden, where the people have higher cholesterol, they have much less heart disease. Watch this video to see how this myth was created and ultimately supported by the medical industry.

Reducing blood cholesterol does not reduce cardiovascular disease risk. This is one of the greatest lies foisted upon the planet by the drug industry, that lowering cholesterol will keep you safe. If you just get that number down, everything will be fine. The average person’s cholesterol level in the U.S., without medication, is about 220. That’s why the pharmaceutical industry, out of thin air, gave an upper limit of 200 as being normal, so everyone would be scared/scammed into taking their drugs. Because the only reliable way to get most people’s cholesterol down below 200 is with drugs. This happened after the upper limit of cholesterol was 330, for decades, until the first statin drug, Mevacor, came out in 1987.

Cholesterol drugs, in fact, do not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or heart attacks in people who do not have heart disease. Yet this is how they are being used. They are being used preventatively in people who have no heart disease, when in fact they are completely ineffective in primary prevention – preventing that first heart attack or heart disease development.

In addition, statin drugs are known to increase your risk of cancer, memory loss, depression, diabetes, loss of sexual desire and performance, heart failure, muscle and nerve damage, and more. Not to worry, though, because there are other drugs for all that!

Lets take a more unbiased look at cholesterol. Cholesterol, a type of fat created in the liver, intestines, brain and adrenal glands, is essential to life. We obtain only 20-25% of our total body cholesterol from food. The less we eat the more we make, because without enough of it we die. It is an essential part of the cell membrane of the human body’s 60-100 trillion cells, and that of all mammals. The liver uses cholesterol to create fat-digesting and toxin-clearing bile. We make the highly protective Vitamin D from cholesterol.

Cholesterol is one of the most misunderstand and misrepresented parts of our bodies and health. Simply put, cholesterol is an essential nutrient for life and resilience. It has been given a bad reputation in order to sell dangerous drugs, especially “statins”, which have no benefit in women, and very little benefit in men. Our bodies turn cholesterol into reproductive and adrenal hormones, making it critical to health.  In reality, low cholesterol (below 150) is far more dangerous than high (supposedly above 200). The average blood cholesterol (unmedicated) in the U.S. is a nice, healthy 220. Tragically, the standard of care in conventional medicine is to keep the blood cholesterol levels of diabetics below 100. Talk about insanity…

Lets take a look at the evidence:

“In support of statin therapy for the primary prevention of this disease in women and people aged over 65 years, the 2001 US National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines cite seven and nine randomized trials, respectively. Yet not one of the studies provides such evidence”.  John Abramson, MD (Harvard Med School)

The drug industry created and controls the US Govt’s National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), which published guidelines which recommend statins for 40 million Americans. “there was a heated controversy in the medical community over the fact that 8 out of 9 experts on the (NCEP) panel had financial ties to the drug industry.” – Business Week, 1/28/08

A statin added to another cholesterol-lowering drug (Zetia),lowered cholesterol more than the statin alone, but no health benefit occured even after two years treatment.
–Trial published by Merck & Schering-Plough on 1/14/08

Facts revealed by the Canadian Government Therapeutics Initiative revealed:

For all statins:

  • Over age 65, no heart disease: no benefit, regardless of cholesterol reduction
  • Women, any age: no benefit
  • The one group that benefits, middle-aged men, had only a small reduction in myocardial infarction(MI) incidence, and no reduction in mortality. 
Conclusion reached by this historic study—“most people are taking something with no chance of benefit and a risk of harm.”—Dr. James Wright, Director, Canada’s Therapeutics Initiative, Professor, University of British Columbia“What the shrewd marketing people at Pfizer and the other drug companies did was spin it to make everyone with high cholesterol think they really need to reduce it. It was pseudo-science, never telling you the bottom-line truth, that the drugs don’t help unless you have pre-existing cardiovascular disease even in the face of studies and people screaming and yelling, myself included, that it is not based on evidence.”
–Dr. Bryan Liang, California Western School of Law: San Diego Center for Patient Safety

“Saturated fat and cholesterol in the
diet are not the cause of coronary heart
disease. That myth is the greatest
scientific deception of this century,
perhaps any century.”

I have had personal experience with two patients I have treated at an unmentioned hospital, that were put on cholesterol medicine with blood cholesterol numbers under 175!  This is becoming common practice with the rationale that it is preventative therapy. This is not only mind boggling but dangerous. Do your research and proceed with caution if your doctor makes you a similar offer.

Yours in health,

Rick J. Bernard, L.Ac.

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