What's the Real Deal with Cholesterol?

By Guest Author, Justin Smith

If cholesterol causes heart disease, why do most people who have a heart attack have an average cholesterol level and not high cholesterol?

Cholesterol-lowering has become an obsession. We are told that our cholesterol level should be below 200 mg/dl, but the reality is that a healthy cholesterol level can be anything between 105 and 345.

So most people who have been told they have high cholesterol, in fact, just have a normal cholesterol level. Further more, cholesterol in itself does not tell us very much about our individual risk for heart disease.

Far from being a villain, cholesterol is one of the most important life-supporting substances within the body. Researchers have found that the body’s cells die quickly if they do not contain enough cholesterol. This is expected, because cholesterol gives cells their strength and structure. Cholesterol also provides the raw material for making hormones and vitamin D.

Sometimes a significant change in our individual cholesterol level can indicate an underlining problem. For example, a low-thyroid function tends to increase cholesterol levels. But in these cases we need to address the thyroid issue rather than just blindly lower cholesterol.

High levels of stress, or high blood sugar levels, may increase the demands for cholesterol – more cholesterol is produced as part of a natural healing mechanism. Medications work against this healing process. Relaxation and eating the correct amount of carbohydrate for our individual metabolism will address the issue more directly.

Most of the cholesterol in our blood is made in the liver. Once the background issues have been addressed, the body will normalize its own cholesterol production.

Low cholesterol may actually be more of a concern. Studies have shown that people with lower cholesterol levels have a shorter life span, and at least twelve studies have shown a connection between low cholesterol and cancer.

There is no evidence whatsoever that a cholesterol level below 200 is healthier. This arbitrary threshold has been set in order to make most adults eligible for cholesterol-lowering medications. Eight out of nine of the experts involved in setting this threshold had links to the pharmaceutical companies that make cholesterol drugs.

The pharmaceutical industry has been very successful in spreading fear and panic. What we currently think about cholesterol is just what the drug companies want us to think about it. A lot is at stake, since the cholesterol-lowering industry generates around $29 billion each year.

It has recently been reported that Pfizer spent $241 million last year on consumer adverts for its statin, Lipitor. The year before, $104 million was spent. The cholesterol lies are getting more expensive to keep.

The situation has been allowed to get so out of control because of fundamental problems within mainstream medicine. Most people are unaware of these problems so I have made chapter 9 of my book, $29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol available as a free download from my website:

Justin Smith is a health practitioner and author living in London. He has spent many years researching cholesterol and heart disease. A range of free resources and copies of his published articles are available from his website www.29billion.com

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