Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease but Is a Substance Vital to Health

by Joanne

in Heart Disease

We’ve had it hammered into us that cholesterol causes heart disease, and that reducing cholesterol will decrease our chances of dying of a heart attack. We’re told to cut back on foods high in cholesterol and we’re given statins to interfere with our bodies’ ability to form cholesterol. But cholesterol is a vital health-promoting nutrient used in many biological processes. Blaming heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming a fire on the firemen who arrive to put out the fire. Correlation is not causation.

Cholesterol is a fat-soluable substance found in all animals. It regulates cell membrane integrity and is a precursor to the steroid hormones. Our bodies make much more cholesterol than what we consume in our diets, and reducing dietary cholesterol has little effect on serum cholesterol. Cholesterol entering via diet is taken up by all the cells in the body. The liver synthesizes some cholesterol and it is the primary organ responsible for managing blood cholesterol levels.

A common misconception is that there are different types of cholesterol, such as the “good” HDL cholesterol and the “bad” LDL cholesterol. But there’s really only one cholesterol molecule in the entire animal kingdom and it’s transported in many forms throughout the body.

HDL and LDL refer to lipoproteins, which are the structures used to transport cholesterol through the body. Chris likens the structure and function of lipoproteins to a bus carrying cholesterol as passengers. He describes how lipoproteins differ based on size, density, and the type of proteins contained within.

What’s not commonly taught is that high cholesterol was known in the early 20th century as a sign of hypothyroidism, and cholesterol levels were managed by treating the thyroid. Modern medicine has completely abandoned this wisdom in preference to lowering cholesterol via pharmaceutical statins.

Chris shares his vast knowledge of the role of cholesterol in the body, how the different forms of lipoproteins are created, the possible health ramifications of inhibiting cholesterol production, and the particular foods you want to drastically reduce to avoid cardiovascular disease.

Total time: 50 minutes.

Interview

Click to listen to interview or right-click to download MP3 file

Bio

Chris Masterjohn is the creator and maintainer of Cholesterol-And-Health.Com, a web site dedicated to extolling the benefits of cholesterol and cholesterol-rich foods. He is a frequent contributor to Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and a recurring speaker at the Foundation’s annual conference. After encountering negative experiences on a vegetarian diet, Chris discovered the importance of including animal products in the diet. He is currently a doctoral student in Nutritional Science and plans to graduate with his PhD in 2011.

Links in Interview

Diet for a New America book by John Robbins
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration book by Weston A. Price
Overcoming Thyroid Disorders book by David Brownstein

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