It's hard to pick out the truth about cholesterol. It's much maligned, avoided, attacked. There are even drugs that eradicate it (well, not exactly, but that's what they tell us).
Most in the western world "know" that it is evil. It's killing us by the millions... or is it?
Well, to be honest, the truth about cholesterol is it's not a villain at all. Your body NEEDS it. Your body MAKES it. Without it you would DIE.
Let's take a look at what it really is, and how it relates to smart healthy eating.
Cholesterol is an essential part of every single cell in your body. It's also required for your body to make hormones, vitamins A, D, E, and K. It even protects against infections, and perhaps even atherosclerosis.
The truth about cholesterol is the opposite of what we're told by the drug companies that manufacture anti-cholesterol drugs.
It's a common misconception that because something is present at an event, it's the cause of it. Cholesterol is present in the plaque that is in arteries, so we assume it's the cause of the plaque.
The same type of thinking would cause you to believe that since flies are found around garbage, they must be causing the garbage to appear. Since they appear around dead animals, they must be killing the animals. (pretty amazing, those flies killed a bull moose!)
Backward thinking. Let's study disease, and death, and figure out a way to be healthy. Let's find out what causes all these disease, and sickness, and then we'll know all about how to stay healthy.
That's like learning how to be rich by studying the poor. How to swim by studying people who have drowned. How to fly by studying birds that can't fly.
Forward thinking. Let's study people who are healthy, and figure out how to be healthy. Let's find out how they live, and eat, and then we'll know all about how to stay healthy.
Study the rich to learn how to get rich. Study the worlds best swimmers to learn how to swim. Study things that fly to learn how to fly.
As a student, and a health practitioner I always believed what my instructors told me, and towed the party line about cholesterol (so I was oblivious to the truth about cholesterol). Then one day I was watching a documentary on the Inuit, and learned about the massive quantity of seal and walrus blubber they eat. Almost their entire diet consists of high fat meat.
I knew right away, they probably have an incredibly high rate of heart disease, sickness, and death. How could you eat that much fat and cholesterol and not have a massively shortened lifespan.
What I found out, shocked me.
Before they were introduced to our "western" diet, they had virtually no incidence of heart disease. Zero. Zip. Nada.
In the years since statin drugs (anti cholesterol drugs) were released, now becoming the highest selling drugs of all time, deaths due to heart disease continue to soar. The inescapable conclusion?
Anti-cholesterol drugs do NOTHING to reduce heart attack.Lowering your cholesterol does NOTHING to reduce heart attack.
So, obviously the truth about cholesterol is has NOTHING to do with heart attack. Your body NEEDS it.
Because it is essential in hormone production, low cholesterol levels lead to depression(1), sickness(2), even suicidal tendencies.(3)
Okay, so once you know the truth about cholesterol one thing becomes crystal clear. It's crazy to try to lower your cholesterol level.
Now what? "How do I avoid all these diseases?" - That's the wrong question. I think you mean "How do I get health?"
By studying the healthiest people, and doing what they do. By knowing the truth about cholesterol, eating smarter, and living more naturally.
Now that you know the truth about cholesterol, you may want to look in to other truths.
The truth about cholesterol - Sources
Abstracts of most sources can be found at the National Library of Medicine
(1) Hillbrand M, et al, Serum cholesterol concentrations and mood states in violent psychiatric patients: an experience sampling study. J. Behav. Med. 2000 / 23 (6) / 519-529. , Golomb BA, et al, Low cholesterol and violent crime. J Psychiatr Res 2000 Jul-Oct;34(4-5):301-9. , Guggenheim, C.B. & H.G. Foster Jr., Serum cholesterol and perception of anger and sadness. Psychol. Rep. 1995 / 77 (3 pt 2) / 1343-1345. , Kaplan J. et al, The effects of fat and cholesterol on aggressive behaviour in monkeys. Psychosom. Med 1990 / 52 / 226-227. Rozzini, R. et al, Low serum cholesterol and serotonin metabolism. Risk of depression is higher in elderly patients with lowest cholesterol values. Brittish Medical Journal 1996 / 312 (7041) / 1298-1299. , Delva, N.J. et al, Brain serotonin (5-HT) neuroendocrine function in patients taking cholesterol- lowering drugs. Biol. Psychiatry 1996 / 39 (2) / 100-106. , Kaplan J. et al, Demonstration of an association among dietary cholesterol, central serotonergic activity, and social behaviour in monkeys. Psychosom. Med. 1994 / 56 / 479-484.
(2) Weverling-Rijnsburger, A.W. et al, Total cholesterol and risk of mortality in the oldest old. Lancet 1997 / 350 (9085) / 1119-1123. , Forette ,B. et al, Cholesterol as risk factor for mortality in elderly women. Lancet 1989 / 1 (8643) / 868-870. , Isles, C.G. et al, Plasma cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and cancer in the Renfrew and Paisley survey. Brit. Med. J. 1989 / 298 (6678) / 920-924. , Rose, G. & M.J. Shipley, Plasma lipids and mortality : a source of error. Lancet 1980 / 1 (8167) / 523-526.
(3) Sarchiapone M, et al, Cholesterol and serotonin indices in depressed and suicidal patients. J. Affect. Disord. 2001 / 62 (3) / 217-219. , Papassotiropoulos, A. et al, The risk of acute suicidality in psychiatric inpatients increases with low plasma cholesterol. Pharmacopsychiatry 1999 / 32 (1) / 1-4. , Kunugi, H. et al, Low serum cholesterol in suicide attempers. Biol. Psychiatry 1997 / 42 (2) / 196-200. , Kaplan, J.R. et al, Assessing the observed relationship between low cholesterol and violence related mortality. Implications for suicide risk. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1997 / 836 / 57-80. , Zureik, M. et al, Serum cholesterol concentration and death from suicide in men : Paris prospective study 1. Brit. Med. J. 1996 / 313 (7058) / 649-651. , Gallerini, M. et al, Serum cholesterol concentrations in parasuicide. Br. Med. J. 1995 / 310 (6995) / 1632-1636. , Gier, JA et al, Low serum cholesterol level and attempted suicide. Am. J. Psychiatry 1995 / 152 (3) / 419-423. , Engelberg, H. ,Low serum cholesterol and suicide. Lancet 1992 / 339 (8795) / 727-729.