Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Low Cholesterol=High Mortality

True or false:
1.     Low cholesterol levels are healthy.
2.    You will live longer if you have a low cholesterol level.
3.    If you have congestive heart failure, it is better to take a cholesterol-lowering drug.
The answer to all three statements is easy:  All are false.
How can that be?  Have we been mislead by the media, American Heart Association, AMA, and nearly everyone else out there?  This time, the answer is yes.
A study in the American Heart Journal (Dec.  2008) pointed out the problems with low cholesterol levels in those with congestive heart failure.  This study looked at 17,791 hospitalized patients at 236 sites who were admitted for congestive heart failure.  The researchers divided the patients into four quartiles:
1.    Total cholesterol of <118
2.    Total cholesterol of 119-145
3.    Total cholesterol of 146-179
4.    Total cholesterol of >180
The most important number to look for in any study is the mortality numbers.  Guess who lived the longest in the above four groups?  If you guessed group one, you guessed wrong.
Those in the lowest cholesterol group (quartile 1 above) had the highest death rate (3.3%).  Those in the quartile 2 had a death rate of 2.5%.  The next quartile (3 above) had a death rate of 2.0% and the group with the highest cholesterol levels had the lowest death rate at 1.3%. 
Other data from this study showed that those with lowered cholesterol levels had longer hospital length of stay and worse symptoms on discharge.  Compared to those with the highest cholesterol levels (>180), those with the lowest cholesterol levels (<118) had a 65% higher risk of mortality.
How can this be?  Does it sound like Alice-In-Wonderland to you?    It really isn’t that hard to understand when you understand the physiology of the body. 
It is well known that lowered cholesterol levels have been shown in many studies to be associated with a higher mortality rate.  Cholesterol is a necessary and important substance in the body.  It is necessary for proper mineral absorption and utilization, cell wall strength, immune system functioning and vitamin D production.  There are many other important functions of cholesterol.   
My clinical experience has clearly shown that it is not wise to use a drug that blocks the production of cholesterol.  It does not make physiologic sense and it does not make common sense.  Cholesterol research studies do not prove that taking cholesterol-lowering medications prolong life.  In fact, the best statin drugs have been shown to do is to lower the risk of a non-fatal heart attack by 1% over 2-3 years. This positive effect is seen only in the most favorable trials (i.e., those trials that Big Pharma Cartel decides to release for publication).   However, there are many serious adverse effects of cholesterol-lowering medications including muscle and liver problems and an increased cancer rate. 
What should you do?  Read and educate yourself about any drug or natural item that you are prescribed.  Look at how the item works in the body and look at the possible adverse effects.  Then, make your decision on whether it is in your best interest to take that substance.  If it does not extend your lifespan or improve the quality of your life then perhaps you should avoid the substance.   Cholesterol-lowering drugs have never been shown to improve longevity or quality of life.
For more information on cholesterol and cholesterol –lowering drugs, I refer the reader to my book, Drugs  That Don’t Work and  Natural Therapies That Do, 2nd Edition where I review the cholesterol controversy in more detail.  


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