An Urban Legend
by, 04-27-2012 at 08:07 PM (589 Views)
Here's something to lower your level of fear.
These days, governments and some institutions decide what the truth is, and their decisions have nothing to do with actual facts. For some reason the story about high serum cholesterol levels causing arteriosclerosis came to mind this morning. Although arteriosclerosis plaque is formed of cholesterol, there is no known causative link between serum cholesterol and arteriosclerosis formation. There are several candidates for a causative agent, and there may be several different causes, but it hasn't been nailed down, and the amount of serum cholesterol has nothing that anyone has found to do with whether the plaque forms.
I decided to search the internet to see whether anyone had made it clear that cholesterol tests are just a way to give testing labs a little more income. Oddly enough there isn't much. There was an article in The Skeptic about the myth earlier this year, but the internet addicts weren't getting the message out there. I did find some articles that mentioned that there was no causative link, and there was an article that reported a medical study that showed that saturated fats provide more protection against arteriosclerosis than do unsaturated fats. http://www.lowcarbportal.com/archive...erol/index.php
This site has links to several articles and/or studies that attack the myth http://home.cogeco.ca/~rgrabreck/ddoctor/links.htm . That site mentions the Skeptic article. The author of that site has other strange ideas, but this is a good article http://www.thincs.org/ , and this is another good article http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/cholesterol.htm .
In fact, cholesterol is a necessary precursor to many hormones and other chemicals produced by the human body. Sex hormones are largely derived from cholesterol. Zero cholesterol would mean zero estrogen and zero testosterone. Cholesterol also is used by the body to transport chemicals around the body. After a cholesterol molecule finishes its transportation mission, it is a of low density, and it is available for conversion into something else, recycling for another transportation, or being broken down and used for something else. It is normal for there to be significant quantities of serum cholesterol at all times. In times of stress or excitement the quantity normally increases.
There was an extensive article about heart disease and cholesterol in Newsweek in the late 1980's that gave both sides of the story. There were two items that I recall clearly from the article. One was the comment by a noted cardiologist that his heart attack patients never had high serum cholesterol levels. The other was that while there was no known causative link between high serum cholesterol levels and arteriosclerosis, there was a known link between low serum cholesterol levels and strokes. I wish that I still had the article, but I gave it to someone whose husband had severe heart trouble. The main thrust of the article was that there should be more investigation into what makes cholesterol accumulate on arterial walls. There were and still are several suspects, and there may be multiple causes. One of the suspects is a variety of herpes that normally is inactive until shortly after people die, when it grows and reproduces; this virus is commonly found in arterial plaque. There are also some bacteria that tend to make cholesterol coagulate.
With all of this known and there being no reason to reduce serum cholesterol levels, why do doctors and pharmaceutical companies try to get people to lower cholesterol? Other than the obvious: to make money. I don't understand it.
On the other side of things, cholesterol is a food that most people can digest easily that can be used by the body to make other materials, convert to fat for storage, or used immediately as fuel. Most foods are broken down in the stomach or intestine, but cholesterol can be absorbed without being broken down. It's ideal for emergency rations, at least as good as chocolate. Now there's an idea, maybe cholesterol could be combined with ground cocoa beans and some sugar and some chilies to make really delicious food. It might be better than mole sauce.