Labeling cholesterol as the cause of cardiovascular disease is one day going to be viewed as a medical catastrophe. It is not only wrongly accused of being directly related to the cause of death of millions of people each year but it is also targeted as something that is to be sought, hunted and destroyed like a growing cancer. But nothing could be further from the truth: at least that’s not what the research dictates.
One needs to realize that cholesterol is absolutely vital to health. Being a high molecular weight alcohol it is found in all tissues, being particularly abundant in the brain and spinal cord. It travels through the blood along with lipoproteins to make it water soluble and therefore easily accessible by the body. Cholesterol is of absolute necessity for healing, cell integrity, hormone production (including estrogen, testosterone, and adrenal hormones), bile acid production, cellular repair as well as a variety of other vital biological functions. It is due to this importance that up to 80% of cholesterol is manufactured by the body with the balance accumulated by dietary measures [5, 7]. So the question remains, if cholesterol is vital to health, why is the conventional medical establishment trying desperately to label it as a detriment to our health?
Interestingly, if the body fails to manufacturer cholesterol – like it does in a normal person, the results are tragic. Children with Smith-Lemi-Opitz syndrome produce very little cholesterol because the enzyme that is necessary for the last step in the body’s synthesis of cholesterol does not function properly. Most children with this syndrome are either stillborn or they die early because of serious malformations of the central nervous system. Those who survive are imbecile, they have extremely low cholesterol and they suffer from frequent and severe infections .
Countless studies on cholesterol have proven not only that high cholesterol levels aren’t dangerous – they are in fact important for good health and healthy immune function. As mentioned earlier cholesterol comes into play whenever there is damage or an injury to a cell or organ system. This idea is also common in infections. Eleven independent medical studies of elderly individuals (90% of all cardiovascular disease is seen in people over the age of 60) found that high cholesterol did not predict all-cause mortality. In fact six of these studies actually found that those with high cholesterol lived longer than those with low cholesterol, and it is speculated that it is the high cholesterol that protects against the infection. Similarly, Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine in Yale University reported in 1994 that elderly individuals with low cholesterol died twice as often from a heart attack as did elderly individuals with high cholesterol [1, 2]. And yet the conventional medical establishment is trying to lower cholesterol as much as possible.
There are many indications that bacteria or other microorganisms play an important role in chronic heart failure. For instance, it has been proven that patients with severe chronic heart failure have higher levels of endotoxins and various types of cytokines in their blood. Researchers found that these people had the lowest lipid values and total cholesterol. One laboratory study in Germany by Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi found that when staphylococcus aureus was added to a sample of blood, red blood cells quickly became destroyed. But when LDL was added 90% of the blood was saved – this did not happen when HDL was tried . This further proves the protective mechanisms of cholesterol.
LDL has a beneficial affect upon the immune system as a whole. As viewed by Professor Matthew Muldoon and his team at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania their studies showed how cholesterol worked hand in hand with the immune response. Professor Muldoon studied healthy young men and middle-aged men and found that the total number of white blood cells and the number of various types of white blood cells were significantly lower in men with LDL-cholesterol below 160 mg/dl (mean 88.3 mg/dl), than in men with LDL-cholesterol above 160 mg/dl (mean 185.5 mg/dl) [1, 2].
It is apparent that cholesterol does not show the ‘now-expected’ indications of cardiovascular disease. Bacterial toxins, cytokines, bacterial and viral antibodies as well conventional blood testing such as hsCRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein), fibrinogen, and homocysteine are all far better indicators for heart disease than cholesterol alone .
The potential of discovering endotoxin development in the digestive system can be accomplished utilizing the BE-T-A. If an individual cannot digest and process food, the accumulation of these products develop causing fermentation and thus providing the necessary ‘terrain’ for bacterial propagation.
Russel Ross and John Glonset, professors at the Medical School of University of Washington in Seattle, also suggested that atherosclerosis is the consequence of an inflammatory process, where the first sepsis is a localized injury to the thin layer of cells lining the inside arteries, the intima. The injury causes inflammation and the raised plaques that form are simply healing lesions . This study had been proven back in 1911 by two American pathologists from the Pathological Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Oskar Klotz and M.F. Manning concluded that “there is every indication that the production of tissue in the intima is the result of direct irritation of that tissue by the presence of infection or toxins or the stimulation by products of a primary degeneration in that layer.” .
Injury to the vascular system can occur from so many reasons: diabetic complications, homocysteine, stress, vitamin/mineral imbalances, micro-organisms and even trans-fat consumption [2, 5, 6]. Yet none of that is ever implicated. It is the cholesterol that receives most attention rather than the underlying cause.
Dr. Kimmo J. Mattila at the Department of Medicine, Helsinki University, Finland found that 11 of 40 male patients with an acute heart attack before age 50 had an influenza-like infection with fever within 36 hours prior to admittance to hospital. So it can be postulated that high cholesterol can actually protect you from heart disease – the very opposite of what is thought [1, 2].
High cholesterol has never and will not ever start to be the cause of heart disease. The largest study proving this once again was performed by Professor Gregg C. Fonorow and his team at the UCLA Department of Medicine and Cardiomyopathy Center in Los Angeles led by Dr. Tamara Horwich . Over a thousand patients with severe heart failure were observed over a 5 year span. It was remarkable to see that 62% of the patients with cholesterol below 129 mg/dl had died, but only half as many of the patients with cholesterol above 223 mg/dl . One clinical study after another continues to prove the reality that the basis of today’s attack on cholesterol is unfounded and superbly dangerous.
Incomplete studies on the relationships between cholesterol and obesity, stress, smoking and high blood pressure have led to erroneous conclusions. It was observed that when one lost weight, reduced stress, stopped smoking and reduced blood pressure that cholesterol levels would drop and so would the incidence of cardiac disease. So, it was hypothesized that high amounts of blood cholesterol was actually causing the heart problems and not the lifestyle. No one noticed the many reasons and variables that could prove the reasons why fatal heart attacks dropped when the above factors were changed and or removed. It wasn’t the cholesterol levels – it was the health benefits and the many factors that were changed that brought the individual to better health. Reducing weight reduces cholesterol but also reduces the stress that is put on all the organs and the damage that results from it. The body’s response is to come in with cholesterol to begin healing the damage [1, 2, 6].
In stressful situations cholesterol levels usually increase. In fact high cholesterol is not necessarily the direct cause but only a marker of the stress response, and can reflect the body’s need for more cholesterol because it is the building material of many stress hormones . Cholesterol needs to be present in so many biological processes that it should be no wonder it is always found in varying degrees when blood is tested. Yet it is mainly the diet that is centered out as the cause and this is yet another erroneous conclusion.
We must remember that less than 20% of cholesterol is from food. Yet time and time again, patient protocol for heart disease/high cholesterol patients is to reduce their fat intake and to make dietary changes. However, the basis for reducing fat and cholesterol is not there. There are many societies that eat far more cholesterol laden, fatty foods and their actual blood cholesterol levels are lower than most North Americans or even some vegetarians [5, 6].
In the 1950’s the Framington Study conducted a dietary analysis. Almost 1000 individuals were questioned in detail about their eating habits. No connection was found between the composition of food and the cholesterol level of the blood . There have been a variety of studies performed on the relationship between fat consumption and heart disease and yet no proof that dietary cholesterol is the culprit.
To further show how far off the thinking is about the connection of low cholesterol and low rates of heart attack, it is imperative to look at the studies performed upon individuals given drugs to ‘correct their cholesterol problem’. In studies performed on individuals who were prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs to prevent heart attacks it showed that in some cases the heart attacks actually increased and in other cases the drugs performed only marginally better. Upon further investigation, statistics between those who received cholesterol lowering drugs and those who received none showed fairly equivalent results, indicating that the drugs did very little in the way of prevention of fatal heart attacks .
After newer statin lowering drugs such as the common HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (eg. Lipitor, Mevacor and Lescol) were introduced, the overall incidents of some fatal heart attacks were abated. However, because of their action they didn’t come without a price. Statin drugs are known to decrease CoQ10 levels and alarmingly have been linked to cancer. Cancer mortality was higher than the heart mortality that it was given to prevent. Notwithstanding the many side effects of these drugs such as birth malformations (cholesterol is crucial in the baby’s development of the brain and spine and many others), peripheral neuropathy, memory loss (even to point of amnesia), kidney disease, infections, aggression, depression, suicidal tendencies and death [2, 3, 4].
In the landmark Framington study, it was noted that “for each 1 mg/dl drop of cholesterol there was an 11% increase in coronary and total mortality”  in those taking statin lowering drugs.
So far the focus and research has been on lowering cholesterol and with dire consequences from doing so. Conversely there are many studies proving that high cholesterol is actually protective. This is where it becomes crucial for one to look at the complete picture and to take into consideration ALL the studies.
Cholesterol is so vital to health that without it, disease and death quickly follows. One must unequivocally look at the whole not just the parts, otherwise mistakes will be made and many people will pay the price for the lack of vigilance and open-mindedness to determine the root cause of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Karim Dhanani BSc BA ND
Centre for Biological Medicine