Do you really need to control your cholesterol?
Another nail in the coffin for the diet-heart hypothesis came through a study from 42 European countries that found lower cardiovascular disease and mortality among countries that consumed more fats and animal protein. Higher cardiovascular mortality was linked to “carbohydrate” consumption. (4)
And what came out of those studies?
- Cholesterol levels were tightly correlated to the consumption of animal fats and proteins – Countries consuming more fat and protein from animal sources had higher incidence of raised cholesterol
- Raised cholesterol correlated negatively with CVD risk – Countries with higher levels of raised cholesterol had fewer cases of CVD deaths and a lower incidence of CVD risk factors
- Carbohydrates correlated positively with CVD risk – the more carbohydrates consumed (and especially those with high GI such as starches) the more CVD
- Fat and Protein correlated negatively with CVD risk – Countries consuming more fat and protein from animal and plant sources had less CVD. The authors speculate that this is because increasing fat and protein in the diet generally displaces carbohydrates.
These findings strikingly contradict the traditional ‘saturated fat hypothesis’, but in reality, they are compatible with the evidence accumulated from observational studies that point to both high glycaemic index and high glycaemic load (the amount of consumed carbohydrates × their glycaemic index) as important triggers of CVDs. The highest glycaemic indices (GI) out of all basic food sources can be found in potatoes and cereal products, which also have one of the highest food insulin indices (FII) that betray their ability to increase insulin levels. (4)
A very interesting correlation exists between many different types of autoimmune diseases and the incidence of low cholesterol values. It is very common that autoimmune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes Type I, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Sjogren’s and others typically feature low serum cholesterol and lipoprotein profiles. A large body of medical research studies supports these findings.
Cholesterol is a vital anti-inflammatory lipid
“Various studies demonstrate that cholesterol is a potent anti-inflammatory lipid, which serves to inhibit the formation of pro-inflammatory fatty acids such as Leukotriene and Thromboxane, via the 5-LOX and 5-COX inflammatory pathways.
LDL has been incorrectly labeled as “bad cholesterol” and HDL as “good cholesterol”. These terms are of course fictitious. In reality, there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol. It is important to understand that LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is not cholesterol. It is the carrier mechanism for cholesterol to the tissues. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) removes cholesterol from the tissues and returns it to the liver. In order for cholesterol’s anti-inflammatory effects to be utilized in the tissues where inflammation exists, LDL is the essential transport.” (6)
LDL Is Essential For Life Processes: Hormones, Reducing Infections
Besides functioning to transport cholesterol to the cells, LDL also carries powerful and essential antioxidant nutrients such as Vitamin E, CoQ10, A, D as well as phospholipids. Additionally, LDL is required for the transport of cholesterol, which is used to synthesize steroidal hormones such as pregnenolone, cortisol, DHEA, estrogen and testosterone. (6)
Strong evidence suggests higher LDL cholesterol protects against cancer. “There may be a link between low levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol—that is, not enough of it—and increased cancer risk, according to new research. Scientists at Tufts University looked at 201 cancer patients and 402 cancer-free patients. They found that cancer patients who never took cholesterol-lowering drugs on average had lower LDL cholesterol levels for an average of about 19 years prior to their cancer diagnosis. In other words, they were “healthier” according to the LDL demonizers in today’s medicine.
Previous studies, which looked at patients who did take cholesterol-lowering drugs, also suggested a strong link between low LDL cholesterol levels and higher cancer risk.“(7)
Dr. Beverly Meyer, Clinical Nutritionist, MBA weighs in on the subject with the following.
“I’ve studied heart disease and cholesterol science for several decades. Evidence supports that heart disease is both more complex (and simpler) than eating bacon and eggs.
Cholesterol does NOT cause heart disease. Many, many independent studies confirm this. This article explains how even the USDA agreed with this in 2015.
Heart Disease and Cholesterol Science?
Sound Bite #1). Cholesterol causes fatty deposits that clog arteries and impair blood flow, leading to a possible heart attack.
The Science: Cholesterol is part of the repair team sent to fix oxidative damage to the arteries. It is oxidation and inflammation from food, smoking, toxins, and drugs that damage the arteries. Cholesterol helps heal those irritated patches.
Sound Bite #2). All cholesterol is bad and Total Cholesterol must be under 200 or 150 on lab work.
The Science: The Liver makes huge amounts of cholesterol every day, in addition to the small amounts we get from food. Since we make Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone, Cortisol and Vitamin D out of Cholesterol the Liver makes sure we don’t run low. Post-menopausal women may have “elevated” cholesterol if they are not eating enough saturated fat to make hormones.
Sound Bite #3). Saturated fats are dangerous.
The Science: We get saturated fats from eating animals – organ meats, animal fat, eggs and dairy. Humans have eaten these fats for a very long time. Many body systems depend on fats, including the cell membrane that surrounds and protects every cell in the body. Cholesterol is an anti-inflammatory against oxidized LDL particles.
Sound Bite #4). Vegetable oils are good.
The Science: Humans never ate factory processed oils from seeds until the 1950’s. Seed oils such as canola, sunflower and corn are extremely high in inflammatory Omega 6 fats. Better choices include nut and fruit oils such as olive, avocado, macadamia and tea seed oil (see my article on this). I eat a variety of pasture-raised ghee, lard, butter, fatty meats, pastured eggs and coconut oil with my organic olive, tea seed and avocado oils.” (8)
So when it comes down to it, cholesterol is good for our health. There is no “good” or “bad” cholesterol; it’s all needed. Some have said the brain is made up of 90% fat of which about 65% is cholesterol. Our brain needs cholesterol. It provides anti-inflammatory protection that can protect us from autoimmune conditions, cancer and more. It’s needed for hormone production and transportation of hormones. While some may argue that high cholesterol will kill you, there is ample evidence that too little certainly will.
So before you are convinced that your doctor knows what they are saying about cholesterol, do some thorough research and learn the truth. You need cholesterol and just because it’s high does not warrant statin drugs. Dr. Sircus makes it clear, it is inflammation that causes heart disease and most of that comes from too many carbohydrates, not fat, not cholesterol. Cholesterol is not dangerous, we need it for every cell in our bodies.
It’s time to stop being afraid of saturated fat and cholesterol!
(3) Confessions of a Cardiologist – Treat the Inflammation not the Cholesterol, Dr. Mark Sircus July 17, 2015
(6) Metabolic Healing – Autoimmune Conditions & LOW Cholesterol: Understanding Correlations / Michael McEvoy
This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice.
If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.
Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.