I’ve been obsessed with cholesterol ever since a visit to my doctor a few years ago.

He told me that too much of it – especially in my 50’s – will kill me.

Apparently if I consume excess amounts of it in the form of saturated fat, it will ‘build up’ in my arteries and stop the flow of blood to my heart.

Hasta la vista, baby…

Yet this bloated orthodoxy has since rusted into our brains from health evangelists for over 50 years…..without rebuttal.

Until now.

You see, recent research (1) is beginning to throw a pie in the face of our ingrained diet/heart theory and yes, for over 50 years the cholesterol-causes-heart-attack is still just a theory!

And when you think about it, if cholesterol was causal to our middle-aged demise why does the body naturally produce so much of it?

Your liver alone manufacturers a 10 egg yoke’s worth of this waxy ‘killer’ substance each day, not to mention a few more eggs-worth by your own body cells.

Makes me want to reach for the nearest bread knife and cleave out my own liver, don’t you think?

And what about all the nasty cholesterol we eat from read meat & dairy – surely that can’t be good for us either?

Any health advocate who still believes the cholesterol we eat is ‘carried’ from our gut to our arteries needs to be re-educated. The molecules of ingested cholesterol are simply too large (called esterified cholesterol) to pass through the gut wall.  Whatever stays in the gut is passed in stool.

To me, my healthy cholesterol production is a clever way to keep me alive rather than a planned attack to kill me.

In fact, without cholesterol we would most certainly die. It makes up the walls of our trillions of cells; it’s responsible for sex hormone and bile production and assists in the synthesis of vitamin D.

Take cholesterol away and we would literally be a pool of DNA soup on the floor.

Higher amounts of cholesterol in the body are protective to heart attacks

In fact, if we compare the intake of cholesterol with cardio vascular deaths (CVD) across 192 countries we’ll come to an amazing conclusion.

And that is, the likelihood of CVD is inverse to the volume of cholesterol in our body.

In other words, individuals who had less cholesterol in their body had a greater incidence of cardio vascular disease. The higher the amount – the more protective to CVD.

This would suggest that trying to lower cholesterol – an almost national obsession – would be counter-intuitive to good health.

Recently Canadian Health Authorities have removed cholesterol as a predictor of cardiovascular events based on such feeble evidence.

Yet with all this information at the ready we are still gullible to the cholesterol/CVD debate.

So next time your health professional questions your cholesterol level by a concerned stare over metal-rimmed bi-spectacles,  stand up and bang your drum for the rock star that cholesterol it truly is.

  1. Low Cholesterol is associated with increased major adverse cardiovascular events in men aged >70 year not taking statins: Sonali Rukshana Gnanenthiran.  

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