The Vitamin Kid

Avoiding bad medicine and finding non-toxic treatments that actually work

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Location: Ankeny, Iowa, United States

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Cholesterol Myth 3: "Meta-analysis"

The problem I have defined as cholesterol mania has many facets. Obviously cholesterol plays some part in the process of coronary heart disease and vascular disease. A common perception is that it is the most important factor, but studies do not bear this out. Some die young with normal cholesterol levels. Some live beyond the normal lifespan with high cholesterol. The famous Atlantic Monthly article, "The Cholesterol Myth," states that elderly persons with high cholesterol tend to live equally as long as those with normal or low cholesterol!

Some studies have suggested an increased risk of cancer in those medicating with anti-cholesterol drugs. Some studies have not.

In spite of billions of dollars of related research since 1993, I believe we have learned little of significance beyond the conclusions of a literature review (a "meta-analysis") published in the British Medical Journal twelve years ago, titled "Cholesterol lowering and mortality: the importance of considering initial level of risk". The authors of that study, from the University of Glasgow Department of Public Health, wrote, "Currently evaluated cholesterol lowering drugs seem to produce mortality benefits in only a small proportion of patients at very high risk of death from coronary heart disease. Population cholesterol screening could waste resources and even result in net harm in substantial groups of patients."

The bottom line is that cholesterol lowering drugs are of no net benefit or even increase the death rate in "substantial groups of patients." And what of those at very high risk who might see a slight reduction in mortality? If drugs were the only means of lowering cholesterol, perhaps the risks would be warranted for this select group. Again, quoting from the study, "Raised mortality from causes other than coronary heart disease was seen in trials of drug treatment (1.21; 1.05 to 1.39) but not in the trials of non-drug treatments (1.02; 0.88 to 1.19)."

The implication is clear. Lower your cholesterol with non-drug methods.

I will repeat the first principle of Hippocrates, upon whose philosophy medicine is supposed to be based: First, do no harm. It is clear that the drugs used to lower cholesterol do cause harm, sometimes very serious harm to the liver and muscles. They have side effects that mimic and exacerbate the symptoms of old age. They may increase your risk of cancer, and they consistently, in study after study, increase the rate of death from causes other than coronary heart disease.

There is a cheap alternative to these toxic drugs. A substance exists which is readily available, non-toxic, inexpensive, and which has been proven in head-to-head trials against cholesterol drugs to lower LDL cholesterol with equal effectiveness. Furthermore, this substance also raises HDL cholesterol levels -- the good cholesterol. Most people haven't heard of this substance. Most people think the only answer to "high cholesterol disease" -- which is only part of the cause of heart disease -- is to take the drugs they see advertised on television.

My next entry will identify this substance and review some of the scientific studies done to prove its effectiveness. Also, I will list sources.


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