Cholesterol: Not what it’s cracked up to be
Play • 27 min

In this episode of Defiant Health, let’s discuss Why cholesterol testing, despite being promoted by nearly all practicing physicians, achieves almost nothing in reducing risk for heart disease. Early research, much of it conducted at the National Institutes of Health, NIH, in the 1950s and 1960s intended the measurement of cholesterol in the bloodstream to be a crude and indirect marker for the real causes of heart disease, i.e., the lipoproteins, lipid- or fat-carrying proteins, in the bloodstream that do indeed cause coronary atherosclerosis and thereby dangerous events such as heart attacks. Cholesterol in its various fractions such as total cholesterol and LDL, “bad”,” cholesterol were therefore intended to be indirect markers. But they got construed as causes. The the pharmaceutical industry got into the game and saw an enormous profit opportunity that eventually led to statin cholesterol drugs, one of the biggest financial success stories in pharmaceutical history. Yet more than 80 million Americans now reduce their cholesterol by taking statin drugs and there has been almost no reductions in cardiovascular events like heart attacks and hospitals continue to add multi-million dollar heart centers, since heart disease continues to be the number one money maker for healthcare systems. A recent clinical trial that we shall discuss that reducing cholesterol to extremely low levels may even increase the risk of cardiovascular events and death.

So let’s talk a bit about the history of cholesterol, why it’s not what it’s cracked up to be, and why the real tragedy of cholesterol is that it took eveyone’s attentions away from the real causes of heart disease that, in truth, are easy to identify, easy to manage, and  require zero prescription drugs. 

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