ABOUT CHOLESTEROL: By Martin R. Carbone -- 12/1/09
- What is it?
- What does it do?
- Should you try to control your cholesterol?
NOTE: See the list of 111 articles below -- they are numbered.
My personal conclusions follow. These conclusions are based on my reading of the listed articles and some related information.The numbers shown in ( ) refer to the number of the 111 listed articles.
Q: What is cholesterol?
A: A self-regulated fatty substance (19) (also called a waxy alcohol (7) or waxy substance (34), or fatty alcohol (45), primarily made by the liver (14) and the brain. It basically comes in two forms, LDL and HDL. LDL is a low density version that basically repairs cells throughout the body (14). HDL is a high density version that removes excess cholesterol from the body
Q: What does it do?
A: It builds all the cell membranes in our bodies (14) (47), makes hormones, regulates itself (16) and keeps us alive. It "constitutes 50 per cent of the fragile membranes that sheath all cells" (48)
- My cholesterol readings are: LDL = 189 / HDL = 48 / VLDL = 24 / Total cholesterol = 251 (as reported)
- The ratio of LDL to HDL is 3.9.
- The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is 5.2
- I have recently been advised, by Dr. Levelier to take Crestor, a Statin
Much theory and evidence supports the idea that HDL scavenges excess cholesterol (9) (16) (19) (21).
No studies have linked HDL to any problems.
The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL seems to be an important factor. Lower ratios are good. The average ratio for all people in the U.S. is 4.5. People with heart problems have ratios of 5.5. Since my ratio, at 5.2 is above the average, it appears that I am at some risk. (92). Also see (32) for other suggested ratios. However the preponderance of other data is at odds with these suggested ratios, so I am discounting them.
Michael DeBakey, the famous surgeon, has significant doubts about the general conclusion that cholesterol causes heart problems (22) . He has stated, that 30 years of observation of more than 15,000 patients had led him to conclude that cholesterol was not the central cause of atherosclerosis, the artery-clogging condition that kills hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.
Duane Graveline a medical doctor and former astronaut has written extensively about the dangers of statin drugs and the reduction of cholesterol. See << http://www.spacedoc.net/>>
U. Ravnskov, a medical doctor and researcher has written extensively about the dangers of reducing cholesterol. He thinks it is a valuable material that has nothing to do with heart problems. See << http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm >>
"Cholesterol is essential for brain development and neuronal functions. However, at present little is known about cholesterol homeostasis in the central nervous system with is separated by the rest of the body by the blood-brain barrier." See << http://www.helsinki.fi/biocentrum/ikonen.html >>This suggests it may be dangerous to take statins, which may interfere with cholesterol in the brain.
I see no evidence that reducing LDL reduces death or heart problems. Reducing LDL is widely assumed to reduce death and heart problems -- but the assumptions are just that, assumptions, they are not based on any reasonable evidence. All the studies (and there are many) that conclude that LDL cholesterol or total cholesterol is a problem did not take levels of HDL into consideration! Until that is done, there appears to be no justification for the conclusions. It may be that in all of those tests, it was the absence of HDL that caused the problem. (20)
The process and mechanics of cholesterol production (3), (10), (14 -- this study resulted in a Nobel prize) (35) (57) and arterial problems (12), (13) (97) seem to be very well known, but nothing in that process indicates that HDL is incapable of controlling the levels of LDL.