The Risks of Cholesterol… LOW Cholesterol, That Is!

Low cholesterol is dangerous. There are 18 reasons that low cholesterol is much worse than high cholesterol for most people.

I know that this goes against everything we’ve all come to believe. Of course we believe this mostly thanks to the massive amounts of advertising drug companies do about cholesterol-lowering drugs. But the facts tell us the real truth.

Let’s start, shall we?

  1. The most widely respected medical journal, The Journal of the American Medical Association, published a study entitled: Cholesterol and Mortality – 30 Years of Follow-up from the Framingham Study. This in-depth study proved that after the age of 50 there is no increased overall death associated with high cholesterol!
  2. The same study showed a direct association between low levels (or dropping levels) of cholesterol and increased death. Specifically, medical researchers reported that cardiovascular disease death rates increased by 14% for every 1mg/dl drop in total cholesterol levels per year.
  3. Researchers at the University San Diego School of Medicine (UCSD) discovered that high cholesterol in people over 75 years of age is protective, rather than harmful and that low cholesterol is a risk factor for heart arrhythmias (leading cause of death if heart attack occurs).
  4. University San Diego School of Medicine also stated no study has ever shown cholesterol-lowering drugs to lower overall mortality in women.
  5. The European Heart Journal published results of a 3-year study of 11,500 patients. They found in the low cholesterol group (total cholesterol below 160mg/dl) the relative risk of death was 2.27 times higher relative to those with high cholesterol.
  6. These same researchers observed that previous studies found a higher increase in lung cancer when total cholesterol levels were below 170 mg/dl.
  7. People with high cholesterol live the longest. This conclusion comes from numerous scientific papers. For example in 1994, Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University, reported that old people with low cholesterol died had twice the mortality risk as old people with high cholesterol. This conclusion has support in at least eleven other studies.
  8. High cholesterol protects against infection. Dr. Carlos Iribarren tracked over 100,000 healthy individuals in Northern California for 15 years. Those people with low cholesterol were admitted into hospitals more frequently with an infectious disease than those with high cholesterol. Other studies support this same conclusion.
  9. More than 90% of all cardiovascular disease happens in people over 60. At the same time, virtually all studies find that high cholesterol is not a risk factor for women. This means that high cholesterol is only a risk factor for less than 5% of those who die from a heart attack.
  10. Cholesterol lowering drugs create numerous unwanted, and in some cases deadly side effects. Among the unwanted effects of these drugs is an increased incidence of cancer, a deficiency of CoQ10 (ironically, a heart-protective nutrient), erectile dysfunction, lack of mental focus and serious weakness of muscles. All of this for a drug that addresses a phantom cause of heart disease for the vast majority of the population.
  11. Cholesterol may contribute to mental and emotional well-being. Duke psychologist, Edward Suarez conducted a study showing that in young women, low cholesterol subjects had higher measures of depression and anxiety. Other studies have shown that both men and women with low cholesterol (total cholesterol below 160) have increased risk for anxiety, depression and suicide.
  12. A much greater and more direct indicator of likely heart attack or stroke is elevated homocysteine levels. It is up to 40 times more accurate as a predictor of cardiovascular disease risk than cholesterol. Research suggests that taking sufficient amounts of Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic Acid prevents elevated homocysteine.
  13. People with low cholesterol are more likely to be depressed. Duke University psychologist, Edward Suarez did a study of 121 healthy young women. He measured cholesterol levels and also had each take a standardized assessment measuring depression and anxiety. Those with cholesterol below 160 mg/dl scored markedly higher in the likelihood for developing depression and anxiety. Other studies showed this same tendency in men.
  14. Despite the success of cholesterol lowering drugs, the death rate from heart disease remains unchanged over the last 75 years. There is no statistical evidence supporting the connection between lower cholesterol and reduced mortality from heart disease.
  15. Your body produces 3 to 4 times the amount of cholesterol than you eat. This is why lowering dietary cholesterol intake doesn’t lower blood cholesterol more than just a few points. And, since cholesterol is not highly correlated with heart disease, the attempt to lower by restricting healthy foods makes little sense.
  16. Cholesterol lowering drugs have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory rats. Do you feel like being a experimental subject? How would you feel if you found out that years down the line you’ve only created a much worse problem for yourself while you enriched the pharmaceutical companies?
  17. There is no evidence that too much animal fat and dietary cholesterol promotes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or heart attacks. More than 20 studies show that people who’ve had a heart attack haven’t eaten more fat than other people. In addition, atherosclerosis at autopsy is unrelated to diet.
  18. Heart disease is not a ‘statin deficiency’. Some people, particularly those of northern European descent, naturally have higher levels of cholesterol. This may be genetic based on the foods their ancestors had available. People like Dr. William Campbell Douglass, M.D. hold the opinion that for such people any total cholesterol reading under 300 mg/dl should be considered healthy.

Keep in mind that high cholesterol may be still be a problem. Most recent research indicates that systemic inflammatory factors contribute to this issue, perhaps even more so in the presence of higher cholesterol. The key in this case is to insure that pro-inflammatory factors get addressed.

I trust you’re as amazed as I was when I first read these results. It looks as if cholesterol is actually protective!

So the next time you see an advertisement for some cholesterol-lowering drug, I hope you keep in mind the actual evidence about whether these things are important.

If you do have health concerns related to heart disease, please review the many articles on my web site related to dietary intake and the value of eating whole fresh and natural foods. You’re likely to live a much longer, healthier life if you do.

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