Skip to comments.What’s Cholesterol Got to Do With It?
Posted on 01/27/2008 12:19:54 AM PST by neverdem
THE idea that cholesterol plays a key role in heart disease is so tightly woven into modern medical thinking that it is no longer considered open to question. This is the message that emerged all too clearly from the recent news that the drug Vytorin had fared no better in clinical trials than the statin therapy it was meant to supplant.
Vytorin is a combination of cholesterol-lowering drugs, one called Zetia and the other a statin called Zocor. Because the two drugs lower LDL cholesterol by different mechanisms, the makers of Vytorin (Merck and Schering-Plough) assumed that their double-barreled therapy would lower it more than either drug alone, which it did, and so do a better job of slowing the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries which it did not.
Heart disease specialists who were asked to comment on this turn of events insisted that the result implied nothing about their assumption that LDL cholesterol is dangerous, only about whether it is always medically effective to lower it.
But this interpretation is based on a longstanding conceptual error embedded in the very language we use to discuss heart disease. It confuses the cholesterol carried in the bloodstream with the particles, known as lipoproteins, that shuttle that cholesterol around. There is little doubt that certain of these lipoproteins pose dangers, but whether cholesterol itself is a critical factor is a question that the Vytorin trial has most definitely raised. Its a question that needs to be acknowledged and addressed if were going to make any more headway in preventing heart disease.
To understand the distinction between cholesterol and lipoproteins it helps to know something of the history of cholesterol research.
In the 1950s, two hypotheses competed for attention among heart disease researchers. It had been known for decades that...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
However, if people with intestinal issues use Vytorin .. they can be in for major problems .. just ask me.
My doctor finally had to take me off the stuff .. so people need to be careful.
I went on Vytorin because I happen to be one of those people who has to deal with both types of cholesterol, and it was a real struggle (even with a good diet - which I have) to keep my number under 200.
Now that's real Science!
bump for later
Been telling freepers this for years.
From the article:
Researchers involved with the Framingham Heart Study found that in men and women 50 and older, total cholesterol per se is not a risk factor for coronary heart disease at all....Indeed, what the Framingham researchers meant in 1977 when they described LDL cholesterol as a marginal risk factor is that a large proportion of people who suffer heart attacks have relatively low LDL cholesterol. ...In clinical trials, researchers have been unable to generate compelling evidence that saturated fat in the diet causes heart disease.
If you want to dig into studies, go read the "Mr. Fit study", you'll find some suppressed results there that show restricting cholesterol in the diet actually caused more heart attacks than in the control group.
There is other research linking CHD and CAD to damage done to the circulatory system by viral infections, 5 or 6 in particular.
Don’t worry about your total cholesterol number, worry about your triglycerides and HDL. The most important is your ratios.
Go here and please read this article, it is very important.
Well .. I have a very good doctor .. and he’s the kind that makes you take charge of your health. If I had refused to take a statin, he would have grumbled a little, but he would not have forced me to take them.
But .. I do know what the numbers mean and mine were bad - since I’ve been on the statin, they have really corrected and I no longer have heart palpatations. My dad died at 49 from clogged arteries. I don’t wish to join him just yet.
I realize you may be trying to help - but the key is getting people to search this stuff out for themselves. Once they know what the good numbers should be .. they’ll know whether they do or don’t need statins.
Not all doctors are pill pushers.
Check out http://www.n3inc.com/ for their RES-Q 1250 product.
It lowered my 55-y/o wife’s total cholesterol from 235 to 176 in three months.
It is a concentrated fish oil. Our cardiologist recommended it.
Now that's real Science!
Hey. it's the same logic that brought us global warming caused by man. Al Gore was not the first snake oil salesman of convenience.
True enough - If you find one that says "I don't know" to any question keep him/her, otherwise "dead doctors don't lie" is prolly applicable.
As far as the numbers go, they can vary 30 points from test to test - from the same lab and the same blood sample.
I still advise trust but verify because after all they're all practicing medicine.
Just out of curiosity, do you believe saturated fats, and/or cholesterol cause heart disease?
My cholesterial was low (still have family history) the Dr wanted to put me on Lipitor (I told him where to go). He kept saying the lower the better. I said prove it. It’s all about HOMOCYSTEINE. Take your Metanx (www.metanx.com).
Elevated H-levels could be from heliobactor pylori, CMV, chlamydia pneumoniae or similar viri. Ever been treated for an ulcer, or respiratory infections?
Worst. Tina Turner. Cover. EVER.
The literature also states the conventional wisdom is cholesterol levels should not be above 180. The literature claims this is dangerous as any reading below 200 can trigger a massive stroke or heart attack.
My husband was chewed out by his doctor last week. He’s a confirmed couch potato and his blood work came back that his blood pressure was high, he’s 40lbs over weight (5’11/220lbs), his cholesterol is 191 and his blood sugar is high. I’ve been nagging him forever to start working out with me and he refuses. Doctor told him he had no choice now. His cholesterol is below the 200 mark but is not good because his good cholesterol is only 27. I also have a high normal total at 175 but my good cholesterol is 60 and my BP normally runs 115/60 or so and I’m 53!
He walked with me yesterday but complained the whole way about it being cold. We only walked 2 miles but he said he will stick with it. Hopefully I can get him to the gym with me in a few days! I like to run so if we are at the gym we can both work at our own pace.
Interesting story, with interesting information. But, it’s from the NYT. Can we believe it?
I had an internist that didn’t put much stock in the homocystiene aspect, but at the same time said if I was concerned just take folic acid, that will lower it.
A friend that has a genuine cholesterol problem was telling telling us last week that some medical entity was again lowering the bar of recommended cholesterol levels. To the point of absurdity. Low enough that most of the adult population would need to be on prescription drugs to meet these levels.
It is reaching the point where one should adhere to the gold standard of determining why things are where they are now on this subject: “Follow the Money”.
(THE idea that cholesterol plays a key role in heart disease is so tightly woven into modern medical thinking that it is no longer considered open to question.)
Sounds like global warming - so scientifically “accepted” that nobody should bother with questioning it with facts.
A healthy diet is a first step to good health regardless of what cholesterol benefits may or may not result. Fresh fruits and vegetables, smaller portions of meat and less refined sugar and junk food certainly won’t hurt your health. Good heredity helps too. My cholesterol levels are what my doctor calls a cardiologists dream, but so were my father’s. A daily low dose aspirin may also be an effective preventative against heart disease as some researchers believe their is an inflammatory component that leads to blood clots in the coronary arteries.
One of Tina Turner’s biggest hits was “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” in the early ‘80s. I assumed this headline was a reference to that.
Thats the idea.
There are numerous other ways in which statins might be effective. They reduce inflammation, which is now considered a risk factor for heart disease. They act to keep artery walls healthy. And statins act on lipoproteins as much as on the cholesterol inside them. They decrease the total number of low-density and very low-density lipoproteins in the blood, including the smallest and densest form of LDL, which is now widely believed to be particularly noxious.
I dropped my cholesterol from 220 to 153 in 6 months by going low carb. I don’t skimp on the meat or cheese, I use cream in my coffee instead of milk, and I’ve cut out everything white (bread, potatos, rice, sugar) etc.
I also eat piles of vegetables, not much fruit because of the carbs. My triglycerides are 58.
I’m coming to the conclusion that at least for some people dietary meat and fat aren’t the problem, it’s the starch and sugar. Starch and sugar raise insulin levels, which are inflammatory and can cause inflammation of the arteries that the cholesterol then is generated by the body to try and patch up.
Studies have been done with insulin drips in dogs where the vein that had the drip inserted into it clogged really bad really fast.
I view cholesterol as “body spackle”, and if you stop the damage that requires the spackle to fix less of it will be generated.
I literally wouldn’t be bothered to keep living if I had to eat like that. Always hated vegetables and most of the other “good stuff”. Straight carbs for me along with a good stiff dose of statins. No red meat, though. No diet-related deaths or heart attacks in my family. Blood sugar fine. Hoping to keep up the streak. Cheers.
This sentence from the article:
“They decrease the total number of low-density and very low-density lipoproteins in the blood, including the smallest and densest form of LDL, which is now widely believed to be particularly noxious.”
makes no sense. Which are they, low density or high desnity?
Also, any have any thoughts on how high serum triglyceride levels factor into all this? I have rather high (about double to triple what be considered “normal”) levels of triglycerides, as well as lowish levels of HDL. My lipids doctor has mentioned putting me on drugs to lower my triglycerides, but I’m hesitant to start down a life-long path of taking drugs with known side-effects in many people.
Well, you know what you would be if your cholesterol went to zero.
Most probably from bleeding out, massive hemorrhagic leakage of your veins and arteries.
The statement is correct. Basically it is saying LDL is lowered, HDL is not lowered, even the relatively H form of LDL is lowered. Everything is relative.
I'm not picking on you in particular. You just happened the last person that I saw make the comment, but that has to be the most trite comment on this forum.
What part of the drive by media do you find trustworthy? The New York Post that endorses Schumer and Hillary? The NY Sun pushing a third party run for Bloomberg? The Washington Times has been questioned about its bona fides. The author questioning the cholesterol hypothesis is not on the NY Times payroll for a regular paycheck. That's why he's called an Op-Ed Contributor, not an Op-Ed Columnist.
ALEX BERENSON is on the Times payroll. Question all sources.
Plus, that same 20% suffer pain in the extremities while using statins.
Not many drugs out there that work directly to suppress immune responses AND have a neurological effect.
I think this answers the question. If everyone is defined as "sick, then this means everyone needs "medication."
Ratios, ratios, ratios.
High HDL, low triglycerides, and fluffy LDL.
My belief is based on watching my dad struggle with heart disease for years. Therefore, I think clogged arteries increase the issue for those who have already inherited heart disease genetically.
I am convinced I’ve lived a lot more years because I did not increase the stress on my heart by clogged arteries.
My doctor tests me every 3 months - before he will renew my medication. If he doesn’t like the numbers, he puts me on a stricter diet for a couple of weeks and retests me. From that we determine what adjustments I may need to make in my diet. That’s when he put me on Vytorin, but it didn’t work right for me because of my other intestinal issues.
I’m still on a very low dose of Lovastatin - and I’ve never had any other issues with the medication. Even when I creep back up toward 200, he still doesn’t increase the dosage. I recently lost 16 pounds and that seemed to help more than anything. I’m still working on trying to keep those pounds off. I also noticed that when I ate Oatmeal (even the instant in the little packets) - that’s when I got the best result and my number dropped to 187.
I’m already taking Omega-3 every day. I too believe it has helped to keep my number in a more normal range.
It is reaching the point where one should adhere to the gold standard of determining why things are where they are now on this subject: Follow the Money.
Amen, I don’t know exactly how this thing is being worked but I am becoming disgusted with all the advertising for prescription drugs that end with, “Ask your doctor if (fill in the blank) is right for you”. This is not how it is supposed to work, anyone with eyes and a brain can see that the goal is to have everyone on some kind of chronic medication to be taken forever. It is easy to see how the drug companies profit from this but what is making the physicians so eager to prescribe all this junk. I do know that a lot of testing labs are owned by doctors who send business to the labs. Are the doctors being given free stock in the drug cmpanies or what, something is going on!
It’s all about inflammation.
And I am doing the same. The only thing that keeps my blood sugar in line is drastically reducing carbs in my diet. Also, my triglycerides have gone down. My cholesterol is up slightly, but I’ve just started recently on the low carb way of eating. I expect that number to drop, too.
Do you follow Atkins or something else? Have you lost weight eating this way (or maybe that wasn’t your intent)?
My well-respected internist said the ratios are what’s important. My HDL is under 40, but my total C is also low, so the ratio was healthy.
I have a total cholesterol a little over 200 (LDL 135, HDL 80). One doc acts like I’ll die tomorrow, the other says keep doing what I’m doing. Since my ratio is excellent I told the one doc who wanted me to start statins to piss up a rope. Hopefully it will take a while to see how this plays out.
Not only that but they create a real mess in your kitchen and are hard to clean up. In the old days when we used bacon grease and butter stove tops were much easier to keep clean. I just decided anecdotally, in my non-scientific manner that if it is that hard to clean off the stove where is it sticking in my body. I’m back to bacon grease and butter.
You have to eat cholesterol in order to have cholesterol. Lose weight and stop eating cholesterol and your cholesterol will drop like a rock. It’s not rocket science.
I started doing atkins and saw the same result.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
To help with blood sugar levels, without insulin, try cinnamon. My blood sugar was high normal, but because of family history, my doctor suggested I do something about it, and suggested the cinnamon. It worked.Look it up. Of course my low carb helps but not enough apparently, since I'd been on the low carb for a couple of years before I ever saw that doctor.
How much cinnamon, what kind, i.e. powder or capsules, and how often, if you would be so kind?