Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Is High Cholesterol Really a Risk Factor?

Reposted from Life Extension


By Michael A. Smith, MD
In 1969, an American Heart Association spokesperson stated that people with excess cholesterol levels should be treated medically.

This doctor went on to state: “In short, we have come ... to the point where we are probably preventing a disease that was considered to be an inevitable accompaniment of aging not very long ago.”1
At the time, the American Heart Association met with fierce criticism from prominent cardiologists who continued to proclaim there was no evidence that cholesterol reduction conferred protection against heart attacks. These attacks on the cholesterol theory of heart disease were published in the leading medical journals of the day.

Regrettably, it was not until 1984 that the medical establishment formally recognized the relationship between high cholesterol and heart attack incidence.2
So to answer the question: Yes, high cholesterol is a heart disease risk factor. It’s just not the only one. And that is where the problem lies.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is classified as a sterol. It provides critically important functions throughout your body, including:

  • Building and maintaining cell membranes
  • Acting as a precursor to sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen
  • Serving as a precursor to fat-soluble vitamins
Since cholesterol is fatty, it can’t travel around your bloodstream without help. This is where the carrier molecules, called lipoproteins, come into play. Although you can’t live without the lipoproteins, they are also the real culprits behind the development of arterial plaques.

Cholesterol makes a circuit between your liver and your tissues. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, transports cholesterol to the tissues; whereas, high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, transports cholesterol away from the cells.

When one has excess LDL, too much cholesterol can be deposited into the arterial wall. Insufficient HDL, on the other hand, impairs cholesterol transport away from the arterial wall. Too much LDL and/or not enough HDL can thus set the stage for atherosclerosis — the official medical word for arterial plaques. But there’s so much more to arterial plaques than just cholesterol. And this is where the problem lies.

Conventional doctors for many years believed that statin drugs, medicines that lower cholesterol, were going to cure heart disease. But obviously they haven’t despite the billions of dollars Big Pharma makes off the drugs. So what’s going on?

Additional Heart Disease Risk Factors

There are several other risk factors involved in the development of atherosclerosis. So, yes, we believe that cholesterol is a risk factor; it’s just not the only one. Bottom line: Don’t solely focus on cholesterol, but don’t ignore it either.

Here’s a list of additional risk factors to look at:

  • Low testosterone
  • Excess estrogen
  • Low vitamin D
  • Low omega-3 fats
  • Low vitamin K2
  • Low paraoxonase-1 activity
  • High homocysteine
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood sugar
  • High fibrinogen
  • High lipoprotein phospholipase A2 activity
  • High lipoprotein(a)
  • High C-reactive protein (inflammation)
Now, we know that this is a long list, and you may not know what to do about all of these risk factors. Fortunately, we do.

So feel free to call our health advisors if you’d like. They can review all of these risks factors with you and even suggest blood tests for you to consider. You can reach our advisors directly at 1-800-226-2370.


  1. Circulation. 1970 Apr;41(4):723-8.
  2. Available at: http://consensus.nih.gov/1984/1984Cholesterol047html