The theory that cholesterol directly causes heart disease is like a turd that won’t flush. Cardiologists moved on years ago to suspect inflammation. But many general physicians, high profile doctors (like Dr. Oz) and the media continue to spread misinformation. Well not anymore!
Dr. Mark Hyman, wrote a great article Why Cholesterol May Not Be the Cause of Heart Disease which nicely explains what the latest research shows. By itself, it’s not terribly interesting considering the research showing that the cholesterol theory is wrong is 5-10 years old. However Dr. Hyman is a recurring guest on the Dr. Oz show. It’s encouraging to hear high profile people, who can reach a wide audience and change our national understanding of the issue, acknowledge what some of us have been saying for years: fat doesn’t cause heart disease but sugar sure does!
He also makes very clear that statins are NOT the answer for protecting yourself from heart disease:
So for whom do the statin drugs work for anyway? They work for people [men] who have already had heart attacks to prevent more heart attacks or death.
- If you lower bad cholesterol (LDL) but have a low HDL (good cholesterol) there is no benefit to statins.
- If you lower bad cholesterol (LDL) but don’t reduce inflammation (marked by a test called C-reactive protein), there is no benefit to statins.
- If you are a healthy woman with high cholesterol, there is no proof that taking statins reduces your risk of heart attack or death.
- If you are a man or a woman over 69 years old with high cholesterol, there is no proof that taking statins reduces your risk of heart attack or death.
- Aggressive cholesterol treatment with two medications (Zocor and Zetia) lowered cholesterol much more than one drug alone, but led to more plaque build up in the arties and no fewer heart attacks.
- 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol.
- Older patients with lower cholesterol have higher risks of death than those with higher cholesterol.
- Countries with higher average cholesterol than Americans such as the Swiss or Spanish have less heart disease.
- Recent evidence shows that it is likely statins’ ability to lower inflammation it what accounts for the benefits of statins, not their ability to lower cholesterol.
So there you go. Print this out as ammunition the next time your doctor tries to get you to take a statin.