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Your cholesterol tells very little about your future health by Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD
Tuesday, September 06, 2011 11:17 am Email this article
One of the most surprising facts about cholesterol is that there is no relationship between the blood cholesterol level and the degree of atherosclerosis in the vessels. If a high cholesterol really did promote atherosclerosis, then people with a high cholesterol should evidently be more atherosclerotic than people with a low. But it isn´t so.
[This article was written by Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD, and is an excerpt from his book The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease.]
[Note: The book Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You is a shortened, simplified and updated version of Dr. Ravnskov's first book, "The Cholesterol Myths".] No correlation between the amount of cholesterol in the blood and the degree of atherosclerosis
1936 study found absolutely no correlation between the amount of cholesterol in the blood and the degree of atherosclerosis
The pathologist Dr. Kurt Landé and the biochemist Dr. Warren Sperry at the Department of Forensic Medicine of New York University were the first to study that question (25). The year was 1936. To their surprise, they found absolutely no correlation between the amount of cholesterol in the blood and the degree of atherosclerosis in the arteries of a large number of individuals who had died violently. In age group after age group their diagrams looked like the starry sky.
Drs. Landé and Sperry are never mentioned by the proponents of the diet-heart idea, or they misquote them and claim that they found a connection (26), or they ignore their results by arguing that cholesterol values in the dead are not identical with those in living people.
Numerous studies from various countries found the same thing
Studies from India, Poland, Guatemala and the USA have found the same thing: no correlation between the level of cholesterol in the blood stream and the amount of atherosclerosis
That problem was solved by Dr. J. C. Paterson from London, Canada and his team (27). For many years they followed about 800 war veterans. Over the years, Dr. Paterson and his coworkers regularly analyzed blood samples from these veterans. Because they restricted their study to veterans who had died between the ages of sixty and seventy, the scientists were informed about the cholesterol level over a large part of the time when atherosclerosis normally develops.
Dr. Paterson and his colleagues did not find any connection either between the degree of atherosclerosis and the blood cholesterol level; those who had had a low cholesterol were just as atherosclerotic when they died as those who had had a high cholesterol.
Similar studies have been performed in India (28), Poland (29), Guatemala (30), and in the USA (31), all with the same result: no correlation between the level of cholesterol in the blood stream and the amount of atherosclerosis in the vessels.
Coronary Angiography Studies
Coronary Angiography Studies are Fundamentally Flawed
The question about blood cholesterol and atherosclerosis has been studied by coronary angiography also. It seems as if every specialist in coronary angiography in America has performed his own study, funded with federal tax money awarded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. In paper after paper published in various medical journals, using almost identical words, these medical specialists emphasize the importance of the blood cholesterol level for the development of atherosclerosis (33).
But the reports offer no individual figures, only correlation coefficients, and these are never above a minimal 0.36, usually even smaller. And they never mention any of the previous studies that found no association between degree of atherosclerosis and level of blood cholesterol.
Studies based on coronary angiography are fundamentally flawed if their findings are meant to be applied to the general population. Coronary angiographies are performed, mainly, on young and middle-aged patients with symptoms of heart disease, which means that a relatively large number of patients with familial hypercholesterolemia must have been included. Again, there is an obvious risk for the kind of bias that I described above. The fact that this objection is justified was demonstrated in a Swedish study performed by Dr. Kim Cramér and his group in Gothenburg, Sweden (34). As in most other angiographic studies the patients with the highest cholesterol values had on average the most arteriosclerotic coronary vessels.
But if those who were treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs were excluded, and almost certainly this group must have included all patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, the correlation between blood cholesterol and degree of atherosclerosis disappeared.
Note: This article was published with Uffe Ravnskov’s approval.
It is posted on his website here
About the Author
About Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD
Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD is an independent investigator, and the President of The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (http://www.THINCS.org).
He is also the author of several books, including:
Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You (2009)
Ignore the Awkward : How the Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive (2010)
The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease (2002)
Note: His book “Fat and Cholesterol are good for you is a shortened, simplified and updated version of his first book, “The Cholesterol Myths”.
Contact Info for Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD
Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, independent investigator
President of THINCS, The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics
Magle Stora Kyrkogata 9, 22350 Lund, Sweden
tel +46 46145022 or +46-702580416
Other Articles by Uffe
Other articles by Uffe Ravnskov
Here are other articles by Uffe.
- Diet has never been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease or death noted Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD
- Cholesterol-lowering May Shorten Your Life by Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD
- Lowering cholesterol by diet or drugs has not been shown to extend lifespan, Edward R. Pinckney, MD
- Diet is NOT an effective way to prevent coronary heart disease said George Mann, ScD, MD
- Warning against cholesterol-lowering in the general population, Michael F. Oliver, MD
- ‘The idea that saturated fats cause heart disease is completely wrong’ says biochemist Mary Enig
- Your cholesterol tells very little about your future health by Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD
- Diet has little to do with your blood cholesterol by Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD
More about the Author
More about Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD
Here is his biography from Amazon.com.
“Uffe Ravnskov was born 1934 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He graduated in 1961 from the University of Copenhagen with an M.D, but has worked most of his time as a clinician and a researcher in Sweden, where he got his PhD from the University of Lund.
“He has published more than 100 papers and letters critical of the cholesterol campaign; most of them in major medical journals. Honoured by the Skrabanek Award 1999 given by Trinity College of Dublin, Ireland for original contributions in the field of medical skepticism, and by the 2007 Leo-Huss-Walin Prize for Independent Thinking in Natural Sciences And Medicine.
“He is a member of the editorial board of two medical journals and is the creator and spokesman of THINCS, The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (http://www.thincs.org), an organization that includes more than 100 researchers and other university graduates from all over the world.
“More details about Uffe Ravnskov are available on http://www.ravnskov.nu/uffe”
About the Author on Wikipedia
About Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD on Wikipedia
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