Open Future HealthCholesterol as Heart Disease Risk Factor

After fifty years of striving for low cholesterol, we discover that cholesterol doesn't matter.

Good News: Higher HDL-Cholesterol is protective, and LDL-Cholesterol itself is probably harmless. Very small high-density particles may or may not be important.

Cholesterol as Heart Disease Risk Factor

Protective Cholesterol?

Cholesterol SourcesIf HDL-Cholesterol is protective, we can call it "good cholesterol." HDL-Cholesterol is returning to the liver.

Hence, LDL-Cholesterol is assumed to be "bad" and almost everyone is prescribed a statin to reduce their CVD risk. However, LDL-Cholesterol is travelling from the liver to body tissues and the brain. LDL-Cholesterol does important work, so your body produces it when it's needed.

It's now well known that any effort to reduce cholesterol levels by diet cannot succeed. Your body produces it's own cholesterol independent of your diet.

The link between LDL-Cholesterol and CVD is tenuous. Both the Lyon Heart Study and the Local FileWomen's Health Initiative show no effect of LDL-Cholesterol on CVD.

If there is any risk at all in LDL-Cholesterol, it arises from small dense particles it can carry. Hence, the presumed link between LDC-Cholesterol and CVD is being questioned. It may be more smoke than fire.

Framingham Study

Tavia Gordon: One-time director of the Framingham Heart Study reported:

"No relationship could be discerned within the study between food intake and serum cholesterol level."

Therefore, avoiding eating eggs, for instance, was ineffective in reducing total cholesterol in the blood.

The Framingham study showed that total cholesterol isn't a good marker of CVD.

Cholesterol is Abundant in Cell Membranes.

Cholesterol is found in every cell of your body. It is especially abundant in the membranes of these cells, where it helps maintain the integrity of these membranes, and plays a role in facilitating cell signaling-- meaning the ability of your cells to communicate with each other so you function as a human, rather than a pile of cells.

Local FileThe Framingham study confounded researchers by showing that cholesterol is protective, and that people with higher cholesterol live longer. For 30 years, they were sure of the opposite.

ArrowReturn to Science Homepage
Printed from,