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Cholesterol Facts and Fiction

A thermometer measuring the level of cholesterol in your blood to give an indicator for your risk of heart disease or strokeI have a keen interest in helping people to realise what the real purpose of cholesterol is in the cells, why it is healthy to have a good amount of cholesterol and how vital it is not to lower your cholesterol.

More and more doctors and researchers around the world are discovering more about the beneficial roles it plays in the body and why lowering it to anywhere below 4.6nmol/L by using a statin drug, can lead to serious health problems such as dementia, personality changes, diabetes and chronic neuromuscular degeneration.

The most common side effects I encounter in clients who come to see me whilst on statin drugs is unclear thinking, poor memory and muscle aches and pains.

The general consensus of opinion among high profile doctors and scientists is that cholesterol guidelines have been created to increase pharmaceutical profits, not to improve peoples’ health.  The guidelines that GP’s work to are not created by the health pundits who have our good health in their interest, but the majority of the experts who created the lower guidelines have multiple financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.  One expert was found to have ties to ten drug firms.

According to K.L. Carlson, MBA, (a former pharmaceutical rep and whistleblower), there is no research that supports the assumption that lower LDL cholesterol reduces cardiovascular events or death in people who have do not already have heart disease. Statins do not prevent heart disease, but that is the myth that the drug companies have made billions of dollars from for more than 20 years.  The lower guidelines simply created a larger lasso to rope more people into buying statin drugs.

When I first started in practice 23 years ago, the upper acceptable level quoted by GP’s was 6.0nmol/L of total cholesterol. Now it is 5nmol/L and there are moves to lower this to 4.0 nmol/L –presumably so that more people will be taking statin drugs.

“The diet-heart idea – the notion that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease – is the greatest scientific deception of our times… The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century,” states George V. Mann, ScD, MD, the co-director of the well-known Framingham Heart Study.  In the study more than 240 risk factors for heart disease were uncovered and eating saturated fats and lowering cholesterol were not one of them.

The fact that statins are not the heart disease preventing wonder drugs that drug companies want physicians and the public to believe is not the worst of it. Both men and women with the lowest cholesterol levels died earlier of all causes, including cardiovascular events. Recently one of my clients told me that she had a heart attack a few years ago, and at the time her cholesterol was 2.9nmol/L ! Regardless of her very low cholesterol, as soon as she was discharged from hospital, she was put on a statin drug simply because she had had a heart attack…

The death rate was 5 times higher for elderly women with very low cholesterol in a French study reported in the medical journal Lancet, the death rate was 5 times higher for elderly women with very low cholesterol.

A University of Hawaii study conducted over 20 years and involved 3,500 Japanese-American men found men with the lowest cholesterol levels died at younger ages of all causes.  Lead researcher of the Hawaiian study, Dr. Irwin Schatz, warns, “Prudence dictates that we be less aggressive in lowering cholesterol in the elderly.”  The research findings also state: “Our data accords with previous findings of increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol, and show that long-term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases risk of death.

Thus, the earlier that patients start to have lower cholesterol concentrations, the greater the risk of death.”

CHOLESTEROL IN INFANCY

Women of childbearing age are especially at risk.  Cholesterol is extremely important to the development of the foetus and is naturally contained in breast milk. Pregnant women taking statins have a high rate of premature births and unhealthy babies.  The non-profit organization March of Dimes has expressed its concern about the dangers to infants when pregnant women are taking statin drugs.

Brain disease with memory loss due to Dementia and Alzheimer's illness with the medical icon of an autumn season color tree in the shape of a human head and brain losing leaves as a concept of intelligence decline.CHOLESTEROL AND MEMORY DECLINE

The same cholesterol that we have been led by the pharmaceutical industry to believe is public health enemy number one, is now proven to be absolutely vital in the formation and function of trillions of synapses in our brains,” explains former NASA physician, scientist and astronaut, Dr. Duane Graveline.  Dr. Graveline was found wandering in his neighbourhood, unable to recognize his own home, only six weeks after he began taking the statin Lipitor.  After two major episodes like this, he began to suspect it was due to the Lipitor.

His physician assured him that memory loss is not listed as a side effect of statins.  But when Dr. Graveline suffered a second extreme memory lapse, he stopped taking the drug and wrote an article about his experience.  Hundreds of people responded that they had also suffered memory loss from statin drugs.  Dr. Graveline did more research and found, “Thousands of cases of memory dysfunction have been reported to the FDA’s Medwatch program, but the agency still has not acted. And most practicing physicians are unaware of the problem.” Cholesterol is vital for the functioning of our brain which is made up of 80% fat of which approximately 20% is cholesterol.

“Cholesterol is vital to proper neurological function. It plays a key role in the formation of memory and the uptake of hormones in the brain…Cholesterol is the main organic molecule in the brain, constituting over half the dry weight of the cerebral cortex,” explains Mary Enig, Ph.D. and Sally Fallon in their report, “Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Cholesterol Lowering Medicines.”

In my next Blog I will explain why total cholesterol is vital for our health, what LDL and HDL’s are (clue, they are not cholesterol despite the common belief that they are bad and good cholesterol) and what the real risk factors are for developing cardiovascular disease. In the meantime, if you are taking a statin drug or someone near and dear to you is, please visit Duane Graveline’s website www.spacedoc.com

If you are currently taking a statin drug and feel you may wish to stop taking it, you have to discuss this with your G.P. first and get this authority to stop it, before doing so.

Sources:

Ray Monihan and Alan Cassels, Selling Sickness, How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Are
Turning Us All Into Patients (New York:Nations Books, 2005) pp 7-8.

“Coronary Heart Disease: The Dietary Sense and Nonsense,” edited by Dr. George V. Mann, M.D., (New
York:Veritas Society, 1993)
“Cholesterol Skeptics and the Bad News About Statin Drugs,” by Maryann Napoli,
www.medicalconsumers.org/pages/cholesterol_skeptic.html

“Yet Another Study Show Low Cholesterol Increases Risk of Early Death!” by Chris Gupter,
www.newmediaexplorer.org/chris/2006/06/08.html

“Cholesterol and All-Cause Mortality in Elderly People from the Honolulu Heart Program,” by Irwin J. Schatz,
M.D. et al, The Lancet, vol. 358, no. 9279, pp. 351-355.

www.marchofdimes.com/aboutus/10651_11516.asp