High Cholesterol! 2 Sides to every Argument

31 May 2013
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Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

One of the things I've learnt in life is that nothing is ever quite as clear cut as it seems, and that there are always at least 2 opinions on any given subject. For me, this is one of the things that makes our life so interesting: rival football fans arguing over the greatness of their teams; government rulings that split opinion; to different tastes in music. Opinions bring people together as much as they divide others, and pretty much everything you say is opinion based.

But what about facts? Facts for me are really: opinions that are widely accepted amongst our society. People don't really argue against facts, and in an argument facts are commonly used to strengthen one side or the other. In our society you wouldn't argue against '1+1=2', you wouldn't argue against 'Newton's Law of Gravity', and you're unlikely to argue against football being a worldwide sport.

However, history tells us that facts can frequently be disproven, for example:

  1. 'The world is flat'
  2. 'Smoking is good for you'
  3. Or what about 'high cholesterol levels cause heart disease'?

OK, so most of you will agree with the first 2 examples above: both are statements that at one time in our society were widely accepted opinions (facts), and now exist as statements that have been proven wrong time and time again. But what about the 3rd example...?

'High cholesterol levels cause heart disease'

Think about that for a moment.

Now I bet most of you are wondering 'why has Dave listed this as something that has been frequently disproven?', and I can't blame you for questioning it: this is everywhere in our society, and is preached by those in power and those that we generally wholeheartedly trust:

  • Doctors
  • The NHS
  • The British Heart Foundation
  • Government health agencies
  • The list goes on...

On 'all matters medical' we don't tend to question these groups. And I for one are no different, I never questioned the 'high cholesterol levels cause heart disease' hypothesis, that is until now.

'The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth about what really causes Heart Disease and how to avoid it', written by Dr Malcolm Kendrick, this book has made me stop, think and take action.

'The Great Cholesterol Con' by Dr Malcolm Kendrick
Dr Kendrick is a medical doctor who has over 25 years experience and has spent many years researching the causes of heart disease.

In his book, Dr Kendrick starts off by talking about the science of 'what cholesterol is' and how it functions within the body, highlighting that, this substance we all seem to fear is actually a key part of our bodily processes: in fact we'd struggle without it!

As your read on Dr Kendrick takes you through the history of the high cholesterol hypothesis, explaining how it came about and why it is still so 'mainstream' today. Part of this story is the connection to statin drugs, used within our society to prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol. Statins are a multi-billion pound revenue maker for large drug companies around the world: the same drug companies that sponsor research institutions; the same drug companies that present research to doctors in order to sell these drugs to the medical practitioners who then prescribe them to... guess who? Yes, us - Joe Public.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Statins: a class of drug used to lower cholesterol levels.

Dr Kendrick cites a lot of evidence from trials throughout history and the world that show that:

  1. Statins do not increase life expectancy
  2. Statins do not prevent heart disease in patients without cardiovascular symptoms
  3. Higher total cholesterol levels is associated with lower cancer mortality
  4. Higher total cholesterol levels is associated with lower rates of death from heart disease

If Dr Kendrick is right, then why is the medical world so keen to reduce cholesterol levels? Maybe because there is so much money to be made on drugs like statins.

The amount of evidence Dr Kendrick points to in this book is astonishing, and I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. The book goes on to talk about what Dr Kendrick really thinks is the key to heart disease, and yes the evidence he presents for this is just as convincing.

This book is well written, and whilst discusses complex scientific topics is presented in a way that is easily understandable to those outside of the medical/scientific world.

'The Great Cholesterol Con' is a must read for all. It provides a different opinion on a topic that could be classed as mainstream 'fact'. It has certainly made me stop and think. Whether you agree with Dr Kendrick or not, at least hear him out before passing judgement. One day in the future we could all be looking back and wondering why we ever believed that 'high cholesterol levels could cause heart disease'.

If you're interested in reading this book then you can easily find it on Amazon (no I'm not making any commision here!).

For more information about Dr Kendrick just Google him, or check out his personal blog.

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