As I was finishing up writing my new book Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers? just a few short months ago, I knew even then that the companies that have profited to the tunes of tens of billions of dollars annually in both the food manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries would be hard at work doubling-down on their efforts to keep the cholesterol fallacy alive and going strong. And it didn’t take long to find evidence of this from the drug companies seeking to keep the confusion over cholesterol going. I recently saw the headline “Amgen, rivals pursue approval for new class of anti-cholesterol drugs” hailing the great coming of a brand new classification of cholesterol-lowering drugs that are basically set to be marketed as the long-awaited missing miracle pill we’ve been needing to improve heart health (wait, weren’t statins supposed to be that?).
These new drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors, which are designed to prevent this protein from blocking the liver’s clearance of LDL cholesterol from the blood, are set to replace and/or supplements statins which are described in the article as “ineffective” to lower LDL levels enough. These new PCSK9 drugs being developed by virtually every major pharmaceutical company out there are being set to be approved swiftly by the FDA and available to the American consumer within just a few short years. The side effects from taking these medications has not yet been revealed, but they better hope there are a lot less severe ones than statins lest online discussion groups like this one are created talking about how much they hate it! Nevertheless, the pharmaceutical companies are already licking their chops with this new classification of drugs that they believe will be a “blockbuster”–but I think it’s time to add in a bit of Cholesterol Clarity to this discussion, don’t ya think?
Here are 5 points to ponder about this news story:
1. Artificially dropping LDL-C on paper with a medication does NOTHING to improve your risks for cardiovascular disease.
2. Not all LDL cholesterol is created equal. Small, dense LDL particles are indeed the most dangerous kind and should be avoided by eliminating culprit carbohydrates and vegetable oils from your diet. However, large, fluffy LDL particles are perfectly harmless and can be obtained by consuming your own personal carbohydrate tolerance level while consuming plenty of healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats.
3. LDL cholesterol does not “build up” in your arteries. It’s inflammation that begins in the arterial wall when the small, dense LDL particles penetrate it and makes it inflamed. The cholesterol merely acts as a “firefighter” putting out the “fire” of inflammation. We wouldn’t blame firefighters for starting the fire, so why are we blaming cholesterol for clogging our arteries? The cholesterol is there attempting to save you from the inflammation brought on by your poor diet and stressful lifestyle.
4. Isn’t it interesting that researchers are now saying statins are becoming “increasingly ineffective” when they’ve been handed out to patients for them to pop like Tic-Tacs because of their “high” cholesterol levels? They were marketed to the public as life-saving drugs but now we’re being told they’re just not good enough? I think this is probably the most telling bit of information from this entire column. Unfortunately, they want to combine statins WITH these new drugs to lower cholesterol levels by what they claim is upwards of two-thirds. But does that make them healthier in the process? Hardly.
5. The answer by the well-meaning expert quoted in the story to the question “Can LDL levels fall too low?” broke my heart when I read it: “Everybody’s worried about that. It’s probably not a problem but it remains to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” WHAT?! The mental effects alone of having TOO LOW cholesterol should be of grave concern to anyone, but they just shove this concern aside as being “probably not a problem.” COME ON! Too low cholesterol is killing more people than any perceived threat of too high cholesterol ever could.
With nearly one in 4 Americans currently taking a statin drug (to the tune of $29 billion and rising in annual profits), companies like Pfizer (the makers of Lipitor) are already making plans to increase that number even further with their own versions of this brand new drug that does nothing more than continue the cholesterol confusion that is needlessly scaring people half to death over their cholesterol levels! It’s time to end the madness regarding the way we look at cholesterol and stop looking for the next magic pill. I’ll say it as clear as I can: Cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart disease and you can’t have heart disease apart from inflammation. Control the inflammation and you take care of your cardiovascular health. Period.
Help bring some sanity to this conversation and pick up a copy of my new book Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers? It’s also available as a Kindle e-book, Apple iTunes iBook, Nook e-book or in your local Barnes & Noble store. And the book is NOW AVAILABLE worldwide, so help us spread the message to the people in your life who need to hear the truth about cholesterol. Arming them with the facts now keeps them from falling prey to gimmicky new drugs like these later.