The Great Cholesterol Myth and the $40+ Billion Industry

cholesterol lowering

By Carl Massy: I don’t know how I found it, but I recently read The Great Cholesterol Myth by Bowden and Sinatra, and it was a little bit of a mind opener for me. So if you are taking any cholesterol lowering drugs (like Statin) or know of anyone else that is, I STRONGLY recommend an investment of $20 in this book; which could save $1000′s and some pretty nasty side effects from cholesterol lowering drugs. To make it easy for you, I will sum up the key points.

Caveat: If you are on cholesterol lowering drugs, read the book first and then make an informed decision, which will probably include educating your doctor along the way. 

There are 5 big things I took away from this deeply researched book (written by a cardiologist and a PhD nutritionist). And I am sure you will be surprised to hear this, but the cholesterol lowering drug industry makes over $40 Billion a year! Seems to me like 40 billion reasons to keep telling their old story.

1. Cholesterol lowering drugs may not actually work

As it says on the book cover … ‘Why lowering your cholesterol won’t prevent heart disease’. There are millions of people taking cholesterol lowering drugs, but the rate of heart disease has not decreased. Hmmmm – something smells fishy to me.

The big take-away is that in an exhaustive amount of studies that the authors sight, there is little evidence that lowering cholesterol leads to a reduction of mortality rates from heart disease. Yes, the cholesterol lowering drugs lower cholesterol, but no that does not directly correlate with a reduce risk of heart disease. They say in all the evidence they found the only group that had some benefit was males that had already had a heart attack or stroke – in this case it was not the lowering of cholesterol, but blood thinning which is a side-effect of the cholesterol lowering drugs.

2. There are very uncool side effects with cholesterol lowering drugs!

The main side effects include:

1.    Muscular pain
2.    Memory and cognitive loss
3.    Diabetes
4.    Sexual dysfunction
5.    Potentially increased cancer risk

So there is a good chance the drugs won’t reduce the risk of heart disease, plus they have this shocking side effects. Sexual dysfunction and memory loss – what a combination! Sounds like a couple of good reasons to look for alternatives.

3. Apparently not all LDL Cholesterol is ‘bad’

I think a lot of us have heard about the good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The good cholesterol being HDL and the bad stuff being LDL. But apparently there is good and bad within the LDL reading. So LDL is not all bad. It depends on what type of LDL cholesterol you have – pattern A = good. Pattern B = bad. Time to ask the doctor to be more specific. Read the book to get the full understanding of this.

4. The biggest risk factor is oxidation and inflammation

To start with, our body needs cholesterol. The body makes. it. It needs it for the brain and needs it for the body. So the ‘war on cholesterol’ is daft to say the least. And like the other ‘War’s on…’ a surefire way to make things worse. Without going into too much detail here; the main nutrients that lead to oxidation within the blood vessels are trans fats and excess sugar. The sugar is generally in the form of highly processed carbohydrates (low nutrients and high calories) and the trans fat which is an artificially made fat shows up regularly in margarine, fast foods, commercially baked products, and junk foods.

So avoid the excess sugar and processed foods and you will not have to be part of the war on cholesterol. And go easy on the soda’s and soft drinks which are packed with sugar – they are a recipe for bad health. And don’t think ‘diet’ soda’s are the answer. They have their own list of issues. My favourite drink is … water!!

5. What to do

First of all, if you are in cholesterol lowering drugs or know someone that is, buy a copy of the book and self educate. Chances are your doctor only knows what they have been told by the big pharmaceutical industries. Most doctors do not have the time to self-educate; plus have had limited to no training in optimum nutrition.

Here is my recommendation:

1.    Self educate by reading The Great Cholesterol Myth
2.    Explain the research findings to your doctor
3.    Eat MORE vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, etc.
4.    Eat LESS processed foods (anything that comes in a packet)
5.    Eat LESS processed meats (go grass fed, organic and local for your meat)
6.    Eat LESS fast and junk food and flavoured drinks
7.    Exercise
8.    Meditate
9.    Daily Green Drink

Now if you have any questions for me about this, just leave a comment below. And do pass on this information to others you know will benefit from it. I am not a big fan of the misinformation that is prevalent from the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry which is not interested in your health but the thickness of your wallet. For me, nutrition and lifestyle are the keys to optimum health …

Carl Massy