The Problem Isn’t Cholesterol … It’s the WRONG KIND – and OXIDATION – of Cholesterol

Cholesterol Itself Isn’t the Problem

While doctors have assumed for decades that high cholesterol causes heart disease and other health problems – and that lowering cholesterol is the way to fight disease – they have apparently missed the boat.

For example, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study in 1987 finding no no correlation between cholesterol levels and mortality in people over 50. The study also found that falling cholesterol levels can sometimes lead to increased mortality. A large government study found that raising levels of HDL “good” cholesterol using a drug did not reduce the risk of heart disease. The Journal of Cardiac Failure reported that low serum total cholesterol is associated with marked increase in mortality in advanced heart failure. Similarly, the Journal Lancet reported that reductions in the cholesterol level of the elderly increased mortality. Other studies have reached the same conclusion.

It is also important to have a reality check: cholesterol is actually a vital precursor to vitamin D, and to basic hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and adrenaline. If we don’t have enough cholesterol in our body, we will be sickly, impotent and depressed.

Despite the foregoing, mainstream doctors are pushing cholesterol-lowering drugs called “statins” like they were candy … and some are even pushing to add it to the public water supply. As Paul Joseph Watson notes:

Drug companies claim that statins have been proven to lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease and strokes, leading many health experts to insist that they be artificially added to public water supplies, but dangerous side-effects buried by drug companies conducting statin trials have now come to light, in addition to the fact that “for three quarters of those taking them, they offer little or no value.”

A new study published in the Cochrane Library, which reviews drug trials, examined data from 14 drugs trials involving 34,000 patients and found evidence of “short-term memory loss, depression and mood swings,” that had been deliberately underplayed by the drug companies funding the research.

The researchers warn that, “Statins should only be prescribed to those with heart disease, or who have suffered the condition in the past. Researchers warn that unless a patient is at high risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, statins may cause more harm than good.”

However, despite the fact that statins have also been linked to a greater risk of liver dysfunction, acute kidney failure, cataracts and muscle damage, health authorities have been pushing for the drug to be added to public water supplies as part of a mass medication program that is not only illegal without consent, but also threatens a plethora of unknown consequences.

Only last week, George Lundberg, MD, the editor of MedPageToday…, wrote an op-ed entitled, Should We Put Statins in the Water Supply?

In May 2008, renowned cardiologist Professor Mahendra Varma called for statins to be artificially added to drinking water.

Putting statins in the water supply was also considered during a November 2008 discussion which featured Robert Bonow, M.D., of Northwestern University in Chicago, Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and Anthony De Maria, M.D., of the University of California at San Diego.

Also in November 2008, CNBC aired a segment lauding the effectiveness of statins, after which one of the hosts remarked, “Why don’t they just put statins in the water supply,” to which CNBC’s medical expert replied, “A lot of people have said that and they are in the water in fact.”

Small Molecules Are the Problem

If cholesterol itself isn’t the problem, what is?

Ron Rosedale, M.D., says that the problem isn’t cholesterol, (LDL or HDL), but small-sized cholesterol particles and oxidation of cholesterol:

As CBS News reports today:

A recent study supports the idea that excess consumption of high fructose corn syrup is linked to an increase in risk factors for heart disease by increasing a type of cholesterol that can clog arteries. The University of California, Davis, study also indicated that calories from added sugars are different than those from other foods. Subjects had 25 percent of their caloric intake replaced with sweetened drinks. Nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope was surprised to see that after only two weeks, “We found that the subjects who consumed high fructose corn syrup had increased levels of LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” she tells Gupta. “I started eating and drinking a whole lot less sugar.”

What happens says Stanhope, is the liver gets overloaded with fructose and converts come of it into fat, which gets into the bloodstream to create “small dense LDL,” the kind of LDL that forms plaque in arteries. The irony here is that for precisely that reason – avoiding heart disease – a government commission in the 1970s mandated that we lower our fat consumption. “When you take the fat out of food, it tastes like cardboard,” says Dr. Lustig. “And the food industry knew that, so they replaced it with sugar…and guess what? Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and death are skyrocketing,” he tells Gupta.

Similarly, the Harvard School of Public Health notes:

One problem with a generic lower fat diet is that it prompts most people to stop eating fats that are good for the heart along with those that are bad for it. Another problem is that when people cut back on fat, they often switch to foods full of easily digested carbohydrates—white bread, white rice, potatoes, sugary drinks, and the like—or to fat-free products that replace healthful fats with sugar and refined carbohydrates. The body digests these carbohydrates very quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. Over time, eating lots of “fast carbs” can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes as much as—or more than—eating too much saturated fat. That’s why it’s important to replace foods high in bad fats with foods high in good fats—not with refined carbohydrates.

Eating less sugar and refined carbs helps to reduce formation of small-molecule types of cholesterol.

In addition, cinnamon may help stabilize blood sugar levels. For people with certain types of diabetes, it may reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. See this and this. The resveratrol in red wine also helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

As the Harvard School of Public Health notes – contrary to medical dogma – fats are not bad … they are essential for maintaining a health cholesterol level and good health. We just have to eat more good fats. See this and this.

As the Mayo Clinic notes, trans fats increase bad cholesterol. But Omega 3s, olive oil, and other healthy fats reduce cholesterol … and are essential for good health.

The Mayo clinic notes that a handful of raw nuts a day helps lower cholesterol. Harvard found that walnuts are especially helpful in reducing cholesterol.

High-fiber foods also help reduce cholesterol.


The other main problem is the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidation of the cholesterol in our bodies creates damaging compounds, in the same way that oxidized fats become rancid and unhealthy. See this, this and this (more here).

Increasing the amount of antioxidants in our diet helps to protect against damage from oxidized cholesterol. Antioxidants are – by definition – compounds which prevent oxidation.

Dr. Andrew Weil notes:

The antioxidants in green tea help lower cholesterol and prevent the cholesterol in your blood from oxidizing.


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to be beneficial for heart health by protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation and by re-energizing the mitochondria in the heart cells, which is where energy metabolism occurs.

You may be surprised by the cheapest and most abundant sources of antioxidants. Find them here.

Note: I am not a health care professional, and this should not be taken as medical advice.

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  • kim

    ‘the great cholesterol con’ goes into great depth on this subject. dr. kendrick first dispatches with the myths surrounding saturated fat and ‘high cholesterol’ (absolutely meaningless in terms of gauging heart disease, instead, the best predictor is the combination of high triglycerides and low hdl*).

    he shows that statins provide absolutely no benefit for women. the only population helped by statin usage is males with pre-existing heart disease. consumer reports reached a similar conclusion.

    *what causes high triglycerides and low hdl? wheat. this condition is also called ‘metabolic syndrome’ or previously, ‘pre-diabetes’. contrary to what the ada says, it has nothing to do with fat or red meat.

    an interesting sidenote: only the pancreas and the brain produce insulin. when first it appeared on the scene, alzheimer’s was tentatively called ‘type 3 diabetes’.

    the incredible success in treating diabetics with low carb diets might well spill over into alzheimer’s, a disease where the brain cells are being starved as they can no longer take in glucose as energy. fortunately, the brain (and heart) run fine on (healthy) fats.

    if you remove wheat from your diet, don’t replace it with soy. perhaps in a million years we’ll have evolved a second or third stomach which might allow us to process grains, or the biochemistry required to disable the toxins in soy and canola. today, though, no human should eat wheat, soy or canola. and we shouldn’t be eating animals/fish fed with corn. there is no such thing as a vegetarian chicken in the wild. chickens turn bugs and worms and sunshine into eggs and tasty meat. cows / grass. salmon / other fish. no antibiotics required.

    the proof that none of these problems are genetic? (heart disease, diabetes, obesity, alzheimers, auto-immune disorders, pcos, ms, rheumatoid arthritis). take any currently healthy and fit animal out of the wild, put them on a diet of factory foods, watch them become obese/diabetic. genetic flaws explain diseases which have very low rates of incidence. if you’re looking at 60% of your population facing obesity, diabetes, etc, you’re looking for a dietary/environmental culprit.

    it’s the wheat, stupid. fuck monsanto. stop eating wheat.

    another myth which must die: ’10 minutes of daily sun provides plenty of vitamin d’.
    1) north of atlanta, during winter months, even hours every day of exposure will not suffice to provide adequate levels.
    2) 75% of u.s. children are deficient in vitamin d (30nmol or less). only 3% of african americans are above 30nmol.

    if you’re eating grassfed beef/milk/butter/cheese, pastured chickens/eggs and wild caught fish then supplementation may not be necessary.

    the vast majority of factory farmed beef/chicken/fish, however, is raised without access to sunlight, and thus is likely to contain very little vitamin d. we are not eating the same foods that our parents ate. they drank full fat milk from cows which spent the whole day in the sun.

    dr davis of ‘wheat belly’ fame has posted a guide to getting vitamin d right:

    Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S., study says:

    Creighton Study Shows Vitamin D Reduces Cancer Risk

    “CONCLUSIONS: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”

    A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes: Results: Twenty-one of the 28 participants who were enrolled completed the study. Diabetes medications were discontinued in 7 participants, reduced in 10 participants, and unchanged in 4 participants.

    take the fear out of eating fat:

    The Dark Side of Soy

  • Chimp

    As Dr. Rosedale points out, HDL and LDL are NOT cholesterol. HDL and LDL are lipoproteins (that transport cholesterol and trigs) in the bloodstream (which is water based). Most people do not even grasp this basic concept – which is then often facilitated by labels such as “LDL cholesterol.”

  • Eric

    This is the best summary of the current state of knowledge on the subject that I have ever seen.

  • Ash c

    The last sentence of your new post says the cheapest source of antibiotics but it should read: “antioxidants”. It may confuse your readers. 🙂 Love your blog; I read it daily.

  • Also note that statins deplete the body of CoQ10, for instance here:

    As a reply to kim, about a month ago my naturopath recommended I stop eating wheat, which I have (pretty much) done, and although I haven’t had any blood work done since then, I must admit that I feel better.

  • Nicole Lascurain


    I hope all is well with you. Healthline just published an infographic detailing the effects of high cholesterolon the body. This is an interactive chart allowing the reader to pick the side effect they want to learn more about.

    You can see the overview of the report here:

    Our users have found our guide very useful and I thought it would be a great resource for your page:

    I would appreciate it if you could review our request and consider adding this visual representation of the effects of high cholesterol to your site or sharing it on your social media feeds.

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