The Cholesterol Myth

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The Cholesterol Myth

Cholesterol plays a role in heart disease, but it plays a far lesser role in fatal heart attacks than silent inflammation.

If your goal is to reduce your chances for a fatal heart attack, then it’s far more important to decrease silent inflammation than to decrease cholesterol.

So how did the importance of inflammation get lost, and how did all the hype over cholesterol get started?

To answer this question, you have to go back about 150 years.

One of the greatest physicians in the 19th century was Rudolf Virchow.

He felt atherosclerosis was an inflammatory disease based on his observations of autopsies of the very rare number of people who actually died of a heart attack.

At the turn of the 20th century, the greatest physician in America was Sir William Osler.

When asked why he didn’t include a chapter on heart disease in his classic textbook of medicine, he said the disease was so rare most physicians would never see it.

Soon, this began to change.

In 1913, studies by a Russian scientist showed feeding a large amount of cholesterol to rabbits induced atherosclerotic lesions.

Because of this experiment, doctors began to believe dietary cholesterol might be the main cause of heart disease.

Unfortunately, further studies found dietary cholesterol caused atherosclerosis in rabbits because it lowered thyroid function.

If thyroid extracts were given at the same time as the dietary cholesterol, then there was no damage to the arteries.

Then, studies in primates suggested a high-cholesterol diet only led to plaques on the arteries if the arteries were inflamed in the first place.

Although these findings should’ve put a damper on cholesterol as the main cause of heart disease, this wasn’t the case.

The major problem of heart disease research is cause versus correlation.

While you may have a correlation between something in your blood and heart disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing is the actual cause of heart disease.

For example, there might be a correlation between being struck by lightning and the phase of the moon.

However, this doesn’t mean the phase of the moon causes you to get hit by lightning.

Today there are more than 200 risk factors correlated with heart disease.

Does each of these risk factors cause heart disease, or are they just a secondary occurrence once heart disease has begun its damage?

For something to truly be a cause, death from heart disease must increase or decrease every time the particular factor changes.

On the other hand, if a risk factor has a spotty record in predicting cardiovascular death, then it’s a secondary risk factor just along for the ride.

Let’s look at some of the cholesterol myths so ingrained in our medical thinking.

We’ve been told one of the risk factors causing heart disease death is a high intake of fats.

The other risk factor is supposedly high serum cholesterol.

We’ll talk about these next.

Come join us on our natural weight loss journey!  We’d love to have you along!

Have an awesome day!

(Based on Dr. Barry Sears’ “The Anti-Inflammation Zone”)

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Dick and Lenay

email: – 715-431-0657

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