Is Cholesterol Bad? Does The Family Really Need Lipitor…and Aspirin?
Some things won’t change this year. I’ll still be a bald, tattoo sporting chemist who sings rap music too loud while driving. My kids will still know more about the benefits of individualism over collectivism than most adults. And many people will blindly think that they need to lower their cholesterol with Lipitor (or any other cholesterol-lowering alternative) to save them from heart attack and stroke.
The myth is so prevalent that The American Academy of Pediatrics and The American Heart Association issued new guidelines set out to put children as young as 8 years old on cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins). Yet, there isn’t a single study to support the claim and considering the many side-effects of statins, childhood mortality figures would go through the roof!
This shit needs to end now.
If you’re smarter than a 5th grader, then I’m going to spoon feed you the real facts about heart disease and the drugs being falsely-prescribed to thwart it. I promise they’ll taste better than the bullshit sandwich your doctor is feeding you and your kids.
I’m all for living young. I study medicine like most guys watch football and porn so I can have more time to love my family, drink wine and puff expensive cigars. And I know for certain that If I had to choose between having sex with a Carny or letting my kids choke down Lipitor for the rest of their life, I’d be begging for a Trojan.
In my book, Over-The-Counter Natural Cures, I expose the overt dangers of Lipitor and many other popular drugs, while putting a spotlight on the science that proves how natural medicine, costing less than $10 bucks per month, trumps them all. Readers were dismayed to learn about the insidious business model responsible for hiding these facts, while selling Lipitor and other “drugs that suck.”
The Art of Turning Healthy People Into Patients
Choosing sexy-time with a Carny inside of a smoky, beat-up RV as an alternative to taking Lipitor might seem a bit extreme to some. But, the system is designed to make people think like this…The uninformed are easy to fool. Think about it.
When was the last time you were taught anything substantial about medicine? Never. Instead, you’re bombarded with commercials urging you to “ask your doctor if this drug is right for you?”
This lack of education helps the industry swindle your uninformed ass into taking drugs. If you can look beyond the Kardashians for a few minutes, you’ll see this corporate business model in plain sight. It makes you fear an unknown or misunderstood enemy, and offers a false solution.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over 105 million Americans have total cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or higher. To the pharmaceutical industry, this equates to 105 million potential customers. In order to turn these millions of people into patients, America has been told this cholesterol level is bad for them – so the lower the better.
But in reality, rising cholesterol levels are simply an observation of biology, which is no different than observing how many heart attack patients owned a refrigerator.
In other words, It’s a fact of life, not a sign of illness.
I Used to Think People Were Stupid
With dollar signs in their eyes, drug companies have launched a massive fear campaign about cholesterol. Being led by the pharmaceutically-compliant National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), the campaign convinced the entire world that LDL- cholesterol is bad and that total cholesterol levels should remain below 200 mg/dL in order to prevent heart disease. (Of the nine nerdy members of the NCEP, eight had financial ties to cholesterol lowering drug makers like Pfizer, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and AstraZeneca. This fact was concealed when the NCEP made its recommendations public.)
The professional alarmists of the NCEP successfully created a cholesterol problem in the minds of millions while providing a false solution: the cholesterol-lowering drugs. It worked too, cause nobody knew what the hell cholesterol was prior to the scary advertising disguised as education…And nobody was sick from it…
As a young kid I had a hunch that most people were stupid, even some of my high school teachers. (Hmmm. Maybe that’s why I skipped school so often that I became ineligible for wrestling…Good thing the SAT was easy.)
I was wrong. People are fuckin’ stupid.
Bear with me.
The so-called disease of “high cholesterol” causes no fever, no coughing, no labored breathing, no heart palpitations, no hormone imbalance, no pain, no nothing! How do you convince someone who doesn’t feel sick that they’re suffering from a terminal illness like “hypercholesterolemia,” which was invented to describe “high cholesterol,” and subsequently get them to take Lipitor, every day, for life?
…Ah, don’t take this personal. (Sorry mom and dad. I love you guys. Glad you’re off Lipitor.)
I’ve done some fuckin’ stupid things myself. But, I work hard to hide them so that I can preserve my professional, Internet image. And I’m proud to say that one of them was never falling for the low-cholesterol lie.
How many people can say that? Not many.
How Much Money?
Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Lipitor became the first prescription drug to make more than $10 billion in annual sales. To date, Forbes Magazine tells us that statins are earning drug pushers $26 billion in annual sales – the equivalent of your lifetime income, plus 1500 others, every year! Think this can buy medical journals, ads and lobbying to push fear along with the cholesterol-lowering agenda?
Ask Your Doctor These Questions
Eventually, you or a loved one will be forced to make vital decisions surrounding heart disease. So before you follow doctors orders and take a pill to lower your cholesterol to 200 mg/dL. or below, ask the following questions.
How is it that EVERYONE should have the same cholesterol level?
It’s a legit question and you need to hear his response. I mean, do you really think all women should have big breasts or men a large package? Wait, scratch that. Bad analogy. Should all people have the same shoe size?
If your doctor insists that we should all in fact have cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL., then ask him, “Do you know of any studies to prove it?”
He may go into a well-crafted rant about how high-cholesterol is responsible for plaque build-up among the arteries of the heart. But that’s ridiculous because cholesterol is found everywhere in the body, which means that “high” levels would be blocking off all regions, not just those of your heart.
(Cadaver studies and a ton more using the latest techniques show that 90% of the time, blockage only occurs within the coronary arteries, not among other parts like, legs, arms, fingers, or anywhere else.)
Plus, Time Magazine already highlighted the science showing that “most heart attack victims have LOW cholesterol?” If high-cholesterol caused plaque, then why are people with low-cholesterol keeling over from heart attack?
Fact is, there are no studies to prove that high-cholesterol causes “plaque.”
Cholesterol is very important and levels over 200 mg/dL. will never kill you.
5 Facts About Cholesterol Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About
Cholesterol is a versatile compound that is vital to the function of the human body and just like everything else; cholesterol levels differ greatly among individuals. In humans, cholesterol serves five main functions:
1. Cholesterol is used by the body to manufacture steroids, or cortisone-like hormones, including the sex hormones. These hormones include testosterone, estrogen and cortisone. Combined, these hormones control a myriad of bodily functions.
2. Cholesterol helps the liver produce bile acids. These acids are essential for proper digestion of fats and in ridding the body of waste products.
3. Cholesterol acts to interlock “lipid molecules,” which stabilize cell membranes. As such, cholesterol is the building block for all bodily tissues.
4. Most notably, cholesterol is an essential part of the myelin sheath.132 The myelin sheath, similar to the coating on copper wire, ensures that the brain functions properly by aiding the passage of electrical impulses. Without the myelin sheath, it is difficult to focus and we can lose memory. This is why those on cholesterol lowering drugs notoriously lose memory. Few users recognize this side effect because they forgot how important having a memory was.
5. And finally, cholesterol has beneficial effects on the immune system. Men with high cholesterol have stronger immune systems than those with low cholesterol, as can be seen by the fact that they have more lymphocytes, total T cells, helper T-cells and CD8+ cells. Many strains of bacteria, which cause us to get sick, are almost totally inactivated by LDL-cholesterol.
Due to its importance, cholesterol must be circulated to all parts of the body via the estimated 100,000 miles of arteries and veins within the adult human body. Its circulation is based on the fact that oil and water do not mix. Cholesterol is an oily substance, termed a lipid, and cannot blend smoothly with water-based blood. In order to transport this non-water soluble lipid through the bloodstream, the body packages it into special “vehicles” called lipoproteins.
HDL and LDL Facts
The main cholesterol-carrying vehicle in the body is termed low- density lipoprotein or LDL. Because this LDL carries the lipid known as cholesterol, it is referred to as LDL-cholesterol.
Another form of lipoprotein, and there are numerous, is known as high- density lipoprotein, or HDL-cholesterol. The notion that one is bad and the other is good is simply based on the fact that LDL- cholesterol has been found to be one of many components of arterial plaque – HDL has been shown to transport cholesterol back to the liver. The simplistic notion that one is good and the other bad is pharmaceutical sales rhetoric.
Bad cholesterol is as real as the Easter Bunny. Whether a person’s cholesterol is high or low, LDL-cholesterol will still become a component of plaque. There is no relation to the amount of LDL- cholesterol and the severity of plaque. Plaque is nature’s “Band Aid” to the damaged inner layer of the artery, known medically as the endothelium. Without the packaging of LDL-cholesterol we would not be alive. How can this be bad? It’s like saying the immune system is harmful to us.
Having grasped what cholesterol really is, we can now move on to understanding its relation to heart disease. While complex, it is not hard to learn the basics of how heart disease, or rather atherosclerosis, develops.
What Really Causes Heart Disease?
Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory response initiated by damage to the innermost layer (known as the endothelium) of the arteries, which faces the bloodstream. This can happen anywhere, but 90% of the time it happens in the spaghetti-sized arteries of the heart (coronary arteries), probably due to the mechanical stress in this region.
Preventing damage to the endothelium of the arteries sets precedence over lowering LDL-cholesterol levels. Damage to the inner layer of the coronary artery can be attributed to any number of biological disturbances. Working to prevent these inflammatory disturbances is working to prevent plaque build-up and subsequent atherosclerosis/premature death that may follow.
10 Reasons Why You Might Have Heart Disease
- Oxidized Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar and insulin attributed to insulin resistance
- Type II diabetes
- Increased levels of homocysteine attributed to lack of folate and nutritive B vitamins
- Increased levels of cortisol (i.e. stress)
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of nutritive vitamin C (best source citrus fruits)
Once damage occurs to the inner layer (endothelium) of the coronary artery, the body’s natural repair mechanism takes over. The repair mechanism begins with circulating levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) into the damaged area, particularly between the smooth muscle layer and endothelium of the artery.
Once LDLs move into the damaged area of the endothelium, there is an alteration in endothelium function. This alteration begins the inflammation cascade. Most notably, to signal for help, the endothelium begins to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS). This attracts the immune cells to the damaged site. This, in turn, produces growth factors, which cause muscle cells to multiply and invade the damaged area of the blood vessel. Eventually, the conundrum of LDL, immune cells, muscle cells and debris from the initial damage form “plaque.”
Here is the most important thing to understand, plaque is Nature’s “Band Aid” for damage to the arterial wall. This “Band Aid” forms whether an individual has high or low LDL. This, in part, explains why researchers have failed to find a correlation between levels of cholesterol and the growth of atherosclerosis.
If damage to the endothelium persists, atherosclerotic plaque accumulates on the arterial walls. This leads to decreased blood flow from the heart, which causes lack of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. A lack of oxygen and nutrients leads to major problems, involving not only your heart, but also your brain, lungs, kidneys, penile reaction and eventually every bodily system.
Over time, build up of atherosclerotic plaque initiates heart attack and stroke, sometimes without warning. As the artery narrows, tiny blood clots, which are normally harmless, become a death threat. These tiny blood clots, usually capable of passing through a healthy artery, become caught in the plaque and further block the blood flow.
If an artery is blocked in the heart, a heart attack is the result. And if a blockage occurs in the brain, a stroke is the result. Aspirin won’t save you.
Nature’s Heart Cures: Better than Aspirin for Preventing Heart Attack
Out of fear of blood clots and subsequent heart attack, the majority of medical doctors in the USA also recommend aspirin for the prevention of first heart attacks to almost everyone age 50 or older. Such a recommendation has little scientific justification.
Neither men nor women who supplement aspirin benefit from its use. Men who used it aged 55 to 74 with no history of heart disease showed no increase in longevity relative to those who did not use it. The Women’s Health Study, a 10-year randomized, double- blind, placebo-controlled study conducted among 40,000 healthy women age 45 and older, found that aspirin did not prevent first heart attacks or death from cardiovascular causes.
The major study used to rationalize widespread aspirin use today did not use aspirin alone. Most studies utilized buffered aspirin, which contains calcium and magnesium. Thus, the calcium and magnesium present in the pill may have been responsible for the beneficial effects – not aspirin. This is not inexplicable. Magnesium supplementation ensures normal heart rhythm and blood pressure – abnormalities in any one of these functions can increase the risk of complications after a heart attack.
Aspirin use is not without risk. The side effects of aspirin are so severe that they can cause a higher death rate relative to the populations who do not take it. These include hemorrhagic stroke (rupture of blood vessel in the brain), ulcers and allergic reactions.
It would make more health sense to quit taking aspirin and utilize interventions that actually work to avoid heart disease (heart attack and stroke), most importantly losing body fat, increasing your sensitivity to insulin and lowering blood sugar with exercise, a high healthy fat diet and the removal of sugar and processed foods from your diet. Supplementally, garlic, magnesium aspartate, grapeseed extract and hawthorn work far better than aspirin, statins, or even blood pressure meds. Combined, they enhance blood flow, reduce inflammation, strengthen the arterial walls and work to prevent excess clotting – without negative side effects!
LDL not Bad
Getting back to cholesterol – to highlight some of the main points of heart disease progression, the body uses numerous substances to form plaque on the arterial walls. This plaque acts as nature’s “Band Aid” to heal the inner layer of the arteries. The plaque consists of LDL, immune cells and muscle cells, among other things. Recognizing that LDL is one of many substances found in plaque and that it carries cholesterol, pharmaceutical companies and medical doctors coined the phrase “bad cholesterol” when referring to LDL. In a weak attempt to support this, they state that LDL is the culprit of deadly plaque buildup.
Most medical doctors ignore the importance of preventing scarring of the mechanically stressed arterial wall. Instead, they hold on to the one-dimensional argument, which insists that LDL-cholesterol must be lowered to prevent heart disease. In the same breath they prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs.
High Cholesterol Increases Longevity
Increase your cholesterol levels and protect yourself from premature aging. The researchers at the University of San Diego also highlight that epidemiological studies show high cholesterol in those over 75 years of age to be protective rather than harmful.
Professor Beatriz Rodriquez of the University of Hawaii has also found that low cholesterol among the elderly is not healthy. Reported by BBC News, Professor Beatriz Rodriquez and colleagues found that men over the age of 70 who had cholesterol levels between 200 to 219 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) were less likely to develop heart disease than those with low levels. Elderly men with cholesterol levels of below 160 mg/dL had a 55% greater risk of heart disease.
Other researchers have come to similar conclusions. The European Heart Journal has published the results of a three-year study involving 11,500 patients. Researcher Behar and associates found that in the low cholesterol group (total cholesterol below 160 mg/dL) the relative risk of death was 2.27 times higher compared to those with higher cholesterol. The most common cause of death in the low cholesterol group was cancer, with liver disease being second.
Other scientists have focused on the link between low cholesterol and cancer. Behar and associates have linked blood cholesterol levels less than 160 mg/dL to a twofold-increased risk of death from cancer of the liver, pancreas and haematopoietic system.
These same researchers also brought to our attention that healthy men, without any history of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal or liver disease, who lower their total cholesterol, have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Also shown is that those with low cholesterol have an increased incidence of death from intracranial hemorrhage, respiratory, kidney and digestive disease.
Looking deeper into the dangers of low cholesterol, it appears that cancer is not the only possible outcome. The chances of early death increase as total cholesterol drops. The most widely respected medical journal, The Journal of the American Medical Association, published a study entitled:
“Cholesterol and Mortality. 30 Years of Follow-up from the Framingham Study.” Shocking to most, this in- depth study showed that after the age of 50, there is no increased overall death rate associated with high cholesterol! There was, however, a direct association between low levels (or dropping levels) of cholesterol and increased death.
Specifically, medical researchers reported that CVD death rates increased by 14% for every 1 mg/dL drop in total cholesterol levels per year.141 For example, an individual whose total cholesterol levels dropped 14 mg/dL during 14 years would be expected to have and 11% higher death rate than persons whose cholesterol levels remained constant or rose during the same period.
For those who have already suffered from heart failure, lowering cholesterol may just add to the problem and increase recovery time. The Journal of Cardiac Failure published the findings of Horwich and colleagues in a paper, Low Serum Total Cholesterol is Associated with Marked Increase in Mortality in Advanced Heart Failure.” In their analysis of 1,134 patients with heart disease, they found that low cholesterol was associated with worse outcomes in heart failure patients and impaired survival while high cholesterol improved survival rates. Interesting to note, their findings showed that elevated cholesterol among patients was not associated with hypertension, diabetes, or coronary heart disease.
Low cholesterol has also been linked to depression and anxiety. Duke psychologist Edward Suarez found that women with low cholesterol levels, below 160 mg/dL, were more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety relative to women with normal or high cholesterol levels. In 2003, Duke University showed a 20% absolute increase in depression among those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.
Their results add to the literature linking cholesterol and mood. Those who think they are safe from heart disease due to lowering their total cholesterol levels may want to seriously rethink their preventative efforts. Lowering cholesterol, whether by prescription drugs or dietary supplements like red yeast rice, would prove dangerous and goes against centuries of scientific research findings. High cholesterol is protective rather than detrimental.
How Medical Doctors are Fooled – Selective Citation
This begs the question: How does one successfully convince the entire United States that each and every person should have the same cholesterol level? Why is there such widespread acceptance of the cholesterol myth?
The belief that low cholesterol prevents heart disease is the result of selective citation rather than scientific results. Selective citation is the art of conveniently citing supportive studies while burying the unsupportive ones.
In addition to smothering unsupportive studies from our medical history, pharmaceutical companies who sell cholesterol-lowering drugs produce brochures, web pages and various other publications to broadcast the cholesterol lowering myth to millions. As pointed out by the previous editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., major publications such as Lipid Letter, Lipids Online, and Lipid Management are supported and funded by cholesterol-lowering drug makers.
Reaching millions of medical doctors, these publications relentlessly warn of the false dangers of cholesterol in an attempt to nudge doctors into prescribing their cholesterol lowering drugs. This ensures not only profit for these drug companies but also promotion of the cholesterol lowering myth. Preferential citation, combined with paid publications aimed toward medical doctors, guarantees that the pharmaceutical industry can “invent disease” while at the same time providing the remedy.
Cholesterol is among the most important molecules in the human body, especially for children. It’s respective high and low levels do not cause heart disease or prevent heart attack and stroke. To truly live young, get your weight in check and adhere to the “nutrient logic” outlined in Over-The-Counter Natural Cures. Not only will you preserve health, but also wealth, allowing you to live long enough to achieve your dreams and hundreds more you never thought possible. But it starts, by saying no to Lipitor.
About the Author
My name is Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison. I hold a master’s degree in organic chemistry and am the author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures Expanded Edition (SourceBooks). I’ve been quoted by USA Today, Shape, Woman’s World, US News and World Report, as well as Women’s Health and appeared on Fox and NBC as a medicine and health expert. Start protecting yourself and loved ones with my FREE report, 3 Worst Meds.