One of the most controversial topics among diabetics (and others who have been told that they need to “get your cholesterol down”) is this one! This usually occurs when vegetarian diabetics want to eat low-carb and find that eggs are a primary source of protein. The message that “cholesterol is bad and if you have high cholesterol, you should take a statin to lower it” is out-of-date and not in sync with the most recent scientific evidence.
This is Dr. Zoë Harcombe’s review of a book written by James and Hannah Yoseph entitled, How statin drugs really lower cholesterol: and kill you one cell at a time. “There are three key contributions of this book:
- The explanation of precisely how statins work in the human body (and in animals where they have been used for drug testing).
- The documentation of medical journal articles proving that the precise mechanism as to how statins work has been known by their proponents throughout.
- The detailing of the conflict of interest endemic in the pharmaceutical industry and approval processes, which have monumentally failed the human race.
“This book should be read by every person before they either prescribe or take statins.”1
Your body needs cholesterol! And if you don’t eat enough cholesterol, your body will make more. Here’s an article that looks at the current research on dietary cholesterol and the role it plays in blood cholesterol levels and heart disease. Dietitian Kayla McDonell says, “Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, but it also absorbs a relatively small amount of cholesterol from certain foods, such as eggs, meat, and full-fat dairy products. The amount of cholesterol in your diet and the amount of cholesterol in your blood are very different things. Dietary cholesterol has little to no effect on blood cholesterol levels in most people. More importantly, there is no significant link between the cholesterol you eat and your risk of heart disease. Dietary cholesterol is not linked to the risk of heart disease. High-cholesterol foods like eggs have been shown to be safe and healthy.”2
The purpose of cholesterol is to protect your arteries from the inflammation that high blood sugar has caused. “Not only is cholesterol not bad, but it is also one of the most vitally important substances inside of your body. There is no such thing as good and bad cholesterol. These terms are fictitious. In fact LDL, the so called ‘bad’ cholesterol, and HDL, the so called ‘good’ cholesterol, are not even cholesterol; they are lipo-proteins, transports for cholesterol. Hypothyroidism and elevated cholesterol are a common tandem.”3
“Research is beginning to show that your genetic makeup—not diet—is the driving force behind cholesterol levels,” says cardiologist Steven Nissen, MD, of Cleveland Clinic. “About 85 percent of the cholesterol in the circulation is manufactured by the body in the liver,” Dr. Nissen says. “It isn’t coming directly from the cholesterol that you eat.”4 “The body creates cholesterol in amounts much larger than what you can eat,” he says. So avoiding foods high in cholesterol won’t affect your blood cholesterol levels very much.
And diabetes contributes to cholesterol metabolism regardless of obesity. “Cholesterol absorption efficiency was lower and cholesterol synthesis was higher in obese subjects with diabetes than in those without diabetes, suggesting that diabetes modulates cholesterol metabolism more than obesity alone.”5
Studies show that lower cholesterol is associated with more deaths from heart disease than high cholesterol. “Why are we lowering cholesterol when lower cholesterol is associated with more deaths from heart disease and all causes for men and women?”6
DISCLAIMER: If your health care practitioner has prescribed a statin medication for the purpose of lowering your cholesterol, do not stop taking it without consulting with your doctor or other qualified health care professional.
We do not think that cholesterol in food is a real problem, and we suggest you begin with what we believe is the most important book you can read on this topic: Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric C. Westman. The Amazon entry says: “Jimmy Moore, a prominent and highly respected health blogger and podcaster, has teamed up with Dr. Eric Westman, a practicing internist and nutrition researcher, to bring you one of the most unique books you’ll ever read on this subject, featuring exclusive interviews with twenty-nine of the world’s top experts from various fields to give you the complete lowdown on cholesterol.”7
The only really important numbers on your fasting lipid panel results are your HDL (which should be over 50) and your triglycerides (which should be under 100). The most recent study we have found on this topic is “Low HDL and high triglycerides predict COVID-19 severity,” (Masana, L., Correig, E., Ibarretxe, D. et al. Low HDL and high triglycerides predict COVID-19 severity. Sci Rep 11, 7217 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-86747-5).
1Harcombe, Zoë. “How statin drugs really lower cholesterol & kill you one cell at a time,” Dr. Zoë Harcombe, PhD (October 25, 2013). https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2013/10/how-statin-drugs-really-lower-cholesterol-and-kill-you-one-cell-at-a-time/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).
2McDonell, Kayla, RD. “Why Dietary Cholesterol Does Not Matter (For Most People),” Healthline (September 26, 2019). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dietary-cholesterol-does-not-matter (accessed on 7/30/2020).
3McEvoy, Michael. “Cholesterol: Your Body is Incapable of Making Hormones Without It,” Metabolic Healing, n.d. https://metabolichealing.com/cholesterol-your-body-is-incapable-of-making-hormones-without-it/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).
4Nissen, Steven, MD. “Why You Should No Longer Worry About Cholesterol in Food,” Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials (February 19, 2015). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/02/why-you-should-no-longer-worry-about-cholesterol-in-food/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).
5Simonen, Piia P., MD; Helena K. Gylling, MD; and Tatu A. Miettinen, MD. “Diabetes Contributes to Cholesterol Metabolism Regardless of Obesity,” Diabetes Care 2002 Sep; 25(9): 1511-1515. https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.25.9.1511. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/9/1511 (accessed on 7/30/2020).
6Harcombe, Zoë. “Cholesterol & heart disease – there is a relationship, but it’s not what you think,” Dr. Zoë Harcombe, PhD (November 23, 2010). https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-there-is-a-relationship-but-its-not-what-you-think/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).
7Moore, Jimmy, and Dr. Eric C. Westman. Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL Is Wrong with My Numbers? Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing, 2013. https://amazon.com/Cholesterol-Clarity-What-Wrong-Numbers/dp/1936608383/
Cholesterol: Your Body is Incapable of Making Hormones Without It
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Why You Should No Longer Worry About Cholesterol in Food
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