Cholesterol is not a Deadly Poison

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cholesterol is not a Deadly Poison

By: P. Rodgers
More and more studies are coming out showing just how unhealthy lowering cholesterol might be, particularly by the use of statin drugs. In particular, statin drugs have been shown to be harmful to muscles causing considerable damage. A common symptom of this damage is muscular aches and pains that many patients experience on cholesterol-lowering drugs, however most do not realize that these drugs are to blame. One reason that statin drugs have these various serious side effects is that they work by inhibiting a vital enzyme that manufactures cholesterol in the liver.

« Cholesterol and heart disease has been almost synonymous for the last half-century. Cholesterol has been portrayed as the Darth Vader to our arteries and our heart. The latest recommendation given by a so-called panel of "experts" recommends that a person's cholesterol be as low as possible, in fact to a level so low they say it cannot be achieved by diet, exercise, or any known lifestyle modification. Therefore, they say cholesterol-lowering drugs; particularly the so-called "statins" need to be given to anyone at high risk of heart disease. Since heart disease is the number one killer in this country that would include most adults and even many children. The fact that this might add to the $26 billion in sales of statin drugs last year I'm sure played no role in their recommendations. » Ron Rosedale, MD

Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance vital to the cells of all mammals. Cholesterol is a sterol (a combination steroid and alcohol) and a lipid found in the cell membranes of all body tissues, and transported in the blood plasma of all animals. Cholesterol is required to build and maintain cell membranes; it regulates membrane fluidity over a wide range of temperatures. Cholesterol is present in higher concentrations in tissues which either produce more or have more densely-packed membranes, for example, the liver, spinal cord and brain, and also in atheromata.

Many studies have found that low cholesterol is in certain respects worse than high cholesterol. High cholesterol is defined differently for people of different ages. Researchers at the University San Diego School of Medicine UCSD point out that highcholesterol in those over 75 years of age is protective, rather than harmful and that low cholesterol is a risk factor for heart arrhythmias (leadingcause of death if heart attack occurs). However, because the level of HDL cholesterol is so important, many doctors look at the ratio of the total cholesterol level to HDL cholesterol level to assess the risk of heart disease. With anticholesterol drugs now being sold without prescription at the pharmacy, the decision about how far to control cholesterol is being pushed into the consumer's hands.

Before we can begin to talk about the real cause and effective treatment for heart and blood vessel disease, we must first look at what is known, or I should say what we think we know. A combined analysis showed that treatment with omega-3 fatty acids (fish and flaxseed oils) reduced overall risk of death by 23 per cent as compared to placebo. When apple pectin was added to the treatment triacylglycerol and VLDL cholesterol levels were both lowered by 38 per cent, but in addition total cholesterol levels decreased by 13 per cent and LDL cholesterol by 7 per cent. The researchers conclude that a combination of fish oil supplementation and increased fiber intake (up to 40 grams/day total) may be a beneficial addition to the conventional treatment of high cholesterol levels in NIDDM patients.

Common sense would indicate that we should avoid the oxidation (rancidity) of cholesterol and fatty acids and not get rid of important life-giving molecules. However, many good fats are easily oxidized such as omega-3 fatty acids, but it does not mean that you should avoid it at all costs. The trials of n-3 fatty acids used different dietary and supplement sources; nevertheless, the authors conclude that this study adds to the positive evidence for n-3 fatty acids. Regarding n-3 fatty acids, they speculate that the reduction in mortality risk does not occur through a reduction in cholesterol but by other means, possibly antiarrhythmic, antithrombotic or anti-inflammatory effects. These results support recommendations that people eat more fish, the authors write, particularly oily fish with their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Article Source: