Well, that is what most of us believe. But, is it true? Not exactly, as we will see.
Yes, it is true that there is cholesterol within/on atherosclerosis-type plaque. The plaque forms blockages that cause heart attacks and certain types of strokes. So, the medical community has assumed that cholesterol in the blood was the problem. Cut back on cholesterol levels in the blood, reduce the chance of a heart attack – right?
Not necessarily. In actuality, there is not a statistical correlation between elevated blood cholesterol levels and heart attacks. In fact, you have greatly increased chance of mortality, increased chance of cancer, and likelihood of depression if your cholesterol level is LOW, not high. And, within most subsets of people, decreasing blood cholesterol levels (by using a statin drug or other methods like natural supplements, dietary change, etc.) does not change the rate of heart attacks.
I know, I know. I sound crazy by now and completely ignorant of what, “we all know to be true about heart disease,” right?! But, what if cholesterol has been the scapegoat and we have been missing the true culprit? What if we have spent all of our time/money/research on lowering blood cholesterol levels and we haven’t come close to solving the problem? What if you were prescribed a statin to lower your cholesterol and it was not only NOT decreasing your chance of a heart attack but it was INCREASING your chance of developing cancer, depression, nerve and muscular disorders, and kidney failure???
Because that was me. And, I lived it. I took statin drugs because that is what someone with “outrageous” blood cholesterol levels like mine should do. And, it might be a great big medical sham. With my health to pay for it. I don’t claim to be an expert. I don’t claim to be a doctor. But, I do have a vested interest in figuring out the truth behind what we know about cholesterol.
If you are curious to know more, take a look at, The Great Cholesterol Con, by Malcolm Kendrick, Fat and Cholesterol Are Good For You, by Uffe Ravinskov, Good Calories, Bad Calories, (chapter on dietary fat and cholesterol) by Gary Taubes, or Statin Drugs Side Effects and the Misguided War on Cholesterol, by Duane Graveline.
If you are more of an internet junkie you might like the following websites:
I also enjoy the following blogs on the topic: