Does Cholesterol Truly Cause Heart Disease

Does high cholesterol really cause heart disease?  This is the question that many people are asking. You might be surprised by the answer. 


This excerpt was taken from an interview between Dr. Mercola and Uffe Ravnskov, MD, phD. 


            Q: When did you begin to suspect that the cholesterol theory of atherosclerosis might be wrong?  What led you to this conclusion?  Before then, had you believed the cholesterol theory?  Was this part of your training? 

            A: I never thought that it was true.  I heard about it for the first time in 1962 shortly after getting my MD.  My biochemical knowledge was still intact at that time and I knew that cholesterol was one of the most important molecules in your body, indispensable for the building of your cells and for producing stress and sex hormones, as well as vitamin D. 

            The idea that cholesterol in the blood should kill us if its concentration is a little higher than normal, as they wrote in the Framingham paper, seemed to me just as silly as to claim that yellow fingers cause lung cancer.


            Q: If the cholesterol hypothesis is error, does this mean that all of its therapies- low cholesterol diet, cholesterol lowering natural therapies, and medications- are wrong?

            A: Absolutely! This type of treatment is meaningless, costly, and has transformed many healthy people into patients.

  I receive hundreds of emails a year from patients, who have regained their health after having stopped their cholesterol-lowering treatment.


            Q: Specifically, what are your views on statins?

            A: Their benefit is trivial, and has been seen only in male patients who already have heart disease.  Worse is their many adverse effects are ignored or cleverly belittled by the trial directors.  Independent researchers have found many more adverse effects and in much higher numbers.  If they are true, it means that today, millions of previously healthy people probably consider their weak and painful muscles, their bad memory, their sexual failure, and their cancer to be a consequence of increasing age, and so do their doctors.  The risk of cancer is most alarming.  Both animal experiments, epidemiological studies, and several of the statin trails have shown that low cholesterol predisposes to cancer. 

            This widespread use of statin treatment probably explains why the decrease of the smoking habit that has been going on in many countries hasn’t been followed by a decrease of cancer mortality.  We should have seen a decrease because smoking predispose not only bronchial cancer, but to all kinds of cancer.


            Q: Drug companies market vigorously the highest, strongest doses of statins.  Lipitor is pushed at the highest dosage, 80 mg.  This dosage is the most powerful for lowering cholesterol and LDL, but it also causes more adverse effects and costs more than lower doses.  What are your thoughts about this?

            A: The outcome of these trials is a further demonstration that the small benefit from statin treatment has nothing to do with cholesterol.  For instance, although cholesterol plummeted and remained about 50 percent below the initial value during the whole SEAS trial, it did not change morality, but it increased the number of cancer with statistical significance. 

            Q: If statins can be helpful in reducing the incidence of heart attacks, who should take them?

            A: In my view, nobody. 


            Q: From the data I have seen, statins have not produced a reduction in overall cardiac deaths.  Do you have any ides of why this is?

            A: As you know, the statins block not only the synthesis of cholesterol, but also of other vital molecules, for instance coenzyme Q10, and muscle cells, including those of the heart, cannot function properly without Q10.


            Q: Do you think that mainstream medicine will ever relinquish its view that elevated cholesterol causes heart disease, and that statins are the magic bullet?

A: I hope so.  The failures of the most recent statin trials have been commented on by several journalists in the major U.S. newspapers.  In Sweden, a revolution is going on.  Here, a general practitioner treated her own obesity successfully by eating a low carbohydrate diet with a high concentrate of animal fat.  When she advised her obese and diabetic patients to do the same, she was reported to the National Board of Health and Welfare for malpractice.  After a two-year-long investigation, she was acquitted, as her treatment was considered to be in accord with scientific evidence.  The subject has gained general attention due to a number of radio and television shows, where critical experts, including myself, have discussed the issue with the representatives of the official view. 

Most important, thousands of patients have experienced themselves that by doing the opposite as recommended by the current guideline, they have regained their health!


            Q: Are there any other risk factors that should be followed? Such as: C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, homocysteine, lipoprotein A…  Any other factors?

            A: Such analyses may be helpful for doctors to put the right diagnosis in patients with a disease of an unknown origin.  But to check healthy people’s blood to find deviations from normal is the freeway to unnecessary medication.


            Q: Are there any other alternative therapies besides statins that people might consider?

            A: There is no reason for healthy people to take drugs, or anything else, to prevent heart disease, as long as we do not know the very cause.

Reprinted by permission

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