Myths and Truths: Does Dietary Cholesterol Matter?

“Before any treatment for any health condition, one must first consider the body as a whole.”

How often the discussion changes concerning one’s diet? One study says butter is bad and then good and another says margarine is good, and I can smell a skunk even when hidden in a study, P.U.  The tastiest things turn out to be bad for your health, and wouldn’t you know it, turnips are good for you. Maintaining one’s health and following a holistic diet is hard enough but, when you do everything right and things still appear out of range, what’s next?

Cholesterol seems to be a contentious issue; it changes according to your age, weight and gender. Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in blood and produced in your liver, and it is necessary for maintaining life. We also get cholesterol from our foods, especially animal products like meat, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk. The brain weighs 2% of the body weight and comprised of 20% cholesterol, so if you’ve ever been called a fat head, scientifically it was 20% accurate. Cholesterol is defined as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)—often referred to as “bad cholesterol”.

LDL is the most prominent within the body. HDL is considered good for you because it absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver to flush it safely from the body. Plus, high levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke and equalize your LDL for your overall cholesterol levels. On the other hand, high LDL levels can build up on the walls of your blood vessels, though this is not always the fault of fat but could be from the buildup of plaque caused by inorganic calcium deposits. In conjunction, your blood vessels build up plaque over time and begin to narrow your blood vessels slowing the flow to and from your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it results in angina (chest pain) or heart attack.

Doctors test cholesterol levels in a subclinical manner, when there are no direct clinical findings or symptoms. Although they may be below the surface and undetectable, they monitor early based on these guidelines using an acceptable range. This mass testing approach works in general for certain age groups but it has limitations and the prescribed treatment is not for everyone. Without first knowing a total overview of the entire cardiovascular system, a patient’s diet, lifestyle and any genetic predisposition, medical assessment may not be accurate. If doctors feel they are out of range LDL of 4 or higher, they immediately recommend medication, namely statin drugs which once prescribed they are normally taken for life. Before any medication is considered, a complete assessment must be taken that aligns with your vital organs, your cardiovascular system, including your liver for non-alcoholic fatty disease (NAFLD).

Out of curiosity, I like to examine the money trail—sales statistics explain so much. As we have previously discussed in other newsletters, medical doctors are not properly trained to make dietary recommendations or prescribe based on holistic health treatments. Instead, they are trained by pharmaceutical sales reps (and given selected studies in order to convince the physician) that their medication is the one to use. In the case of treating high cholesterol the drug of choice is Pfizer’s Lipitor. For a decade Lipitor was one of the company’s top blockbusters, with record-high revenues of approximately 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2006. One must be suspicious when national screening is performed and a golden child treatment is recommended across the board, money has a way of corrupting the most innocent discoveries.

What about our diet? A lot of research has been conducted, especially on eggs. Eggs are one of those foods that taste so good, are a significant source of dietary cholesterol, and as you remember, thought to be bad for you. But according to several trusted studies, the opposite might be the case.

[…] eggs may even help improve your lipoprotein profiles, which could lower your risk. One study compared the effects owhole eggs and a yolk-free egg substitute on cholesterol levels. People who ate three whole eggs per day experienced a greater increase in HDL particles and a greater decrease in LDL particles than those who consumed an equivalent amount of egg substitute. However, it’s important to note that eating eggs may pose a risk for those with diabetes, at least in the context of a regular Western diet. Some studies show an increased risk of heart disease in people with diabetes who eat eggs.[1]

I see no issues eating up to 4 eggs per week but I do recommend only selecting organically feed chicken or duck eggs because the feed given for commercial chickens if full of contaminants, hormones and antibiotics.

The “cholesterol hypothesis”—stating that people with high cholesterol are more at risk of dying and would need statin drugs to lower their cholesterol—seems to be shaking. Collecting the findings from past studies involving more than 68,000 participants over 60 years of age, it looks like that “bad cholesterol” has nothing to do with elderly deaths. In fact, older people with high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), live sometimes even longer, than their peers with low levels of this same cholesterol. “We found that several studies reported not only a lack of association between low LDL-C, but most people in these studies exhibited an inverse relationship, which means that higher LDL-C among the elderly is often associated with longer life,”[2] said Diamond, one of the members of the research team. What’s more, it appears that having low cholesterol is linked to a higher risk of death from cancer, respiratory disease, and accidents in adults aged 80 and older.

There are, of course, natural treatment options for treating cholesterol after dietary considerations. S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAM-e) is one of the only safe and effective treatments for treating NAFLD that affects 40% of the population, and is known as the silent killer. The other option is chelation therapy with EDTA—this one safely removes built up plaque and heavy metal accumulation within the arteries. There are two options: the drip intravenous done by certain medical doctors or the treatment from Doctor’s Choice called CLAW-OCHMB. It is based on a person’s age, one bottle for every ten years of life, e.g. a fifty year old would require five bottles, and the treatment would last 5 months.

Red yeast rice used to be an effective treatment option but the active natural occurring ingredient was removed because this cost effective approach was not patentable or habit forming. Although it is sold in health stores under the same name but like a eunuch it lacks the potency, and can’t perform the tasks required.

Before any treatment for any health condition, one must first consider the body as a whole and instead of medicating the symptoms treat the complete system beginning with the core of health issues. Remember to always get a second opinion: my recommendation would be to see a naturopathic doctor to consider your options.

References:

  • McDonell, Kayla. 2019. Why Dietary Cholesterol Does Not Matter (For Most People). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dietary-cholesterol-does-not-matter
  • David M Diamond, Uffe Ravnskov. 2015. How statistical deception created the appearance that statins are safe and effective in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. 8 (2): 201.

[1] McDonell, Kayla. 2019.

[2] David M Diamond, Uffe Ravnskov. 2015.