Here are a few notes from Monday’s show.
To start with check out this good overview about cholesterol
Remember not all cholesterol is “bad”, in fact without it we would be dead! It stops our cells from leaking, makes bile to help us digest and is essential in the production of hormones, amongst other things. A lower than normal blood cholesterol level has a negative effect on longevity.
The primary medical treatment is to prescribe cholesterol lowering drugs (the most common are known as ‘statins’). A metaanalysis suggests that the only real overall benefit is for middle-aged men with a history of cardiovascular disease. There is little or no evidence that overall this treatment benefits women.
One controversy concerns the ratio of beneficial cholesterol (HDL) to ‘bad’ (LDL) or total cholesterol. If your ratios are within normal range, it is debatable how adverse your blood cholesterol levels will be on your cardiovascular health.
Mercola (may need to enter email address to access articles) is a medical professional who leads the charge against drug treatment for high cholesterol. I don’t agree with everything Dr Mercola says, but this is a good summary of literature to illustrate the problems with chiolesterol lowering driugs.
A précis of some relevant studies
European Heart Journal
Published 3 year study 11,500 patients and found that low cholesterol
-Increase in lung cancer
-Increase in other cancers
-Higher risk of cardiac death
-Erectile dysfunction and infertility
-Loss of memory and mental focus
European Heart Journal 1997, 18, 52-59
Swedish Researcher found:
-Individuals with low cholesterol suffer from frequent and severe infections
-Individuals with high cholesterol had a lower mortality than the average
Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, independent researcher Magle Stora Kyrkogata 9,
S-223250 Lund, Sweden
University San Diego School of Medicine
-High cholesterol can be protective against environmental toxins rather than
-Low cholesterol is a risk factor for heart arrhythmias
-High cholesterol readings are associated with protection from neurotoxins
and cancer protection
Journal of American Medical Association
30 years of follow-up from the Framingham Study
-No correlation between high cholesterol and mortality, but correlation
between low cholesterol and mortality
-CVD death rates increased 14% for every 1 mg/dl drop in total cholesterol
Anderson KM. Cholesterol and Mortality, 30 years of Follow-up from the
Framingham study. JAMA 1987 Apr 24;257(16):2176-80
Journal of Cardiac Failure
Paper on Low Cholesterol
-Analysis of 1,134 patients with heart disease
-Low cholesterol was associated with worse outcomes in heart failure
patients and impaired survival rates
-Elevated cholesterol was not associated with hypertension, diabetes or
coronary heart disease.
Horwich TB. Et.al. Low Serum Total Choesterol is Associated with Marked
Increase in Mortality in Advanced Heart Failure. J Card. Fail. 2002
-Found as cholesterol levels went up death rates from CHD went down
Okayama A., Marmot MG Int. J Epidemiol Dec 1993
Despite successful attempts to lower cholesterol with statin drugs, the
death rate from heart disease has not changed in 75 years and mortality from%