Nutritionist Jonny Bowden, PhD and cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD have written a book focused on heart disease prevention: “The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will.” This book is a must-read for anyone interested in heart health and anyone taking, or considering taking statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs). The book notes that the only individuals that may benefit from statins are middle-aged men that have suffered a heart attack. In addition, statins do not reduce the risk of death for men of any age who have not suffered a heart attack, women, or children.
It explains that statins increase the risk of diabetes, cancer, erectile dysfunction, mental confusion, and memory loss.
The authors suggest that cholesterol has been wrongly accused because:
- Cholesterol is harmless and is only a minor player in heart disease
- Cholesterol levels are a poor predictor of heart attacks
- Half the people with normal cholesterol have heart disease while half the people with elevated cholesterol have perfectly healthy hearts
- The number one dietary contributor to heart disease is sugar, which is a far greater danger to your heart than fat.
The book points out facts that I learned in medical school and many that I was not aware of:
- The body can manufacture cholesterol; thus, lowering cholesterol in the diet may not necessarily lower serum cholesterol levels.
- Cholesterol is the precursor of essential steroids in the body. Cholesterol is the basis of cortisone, and sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), Vitamin D, and bile acids needed for digestion.
- The only time that cholesterol is a problem is if it is oxidized (damaged).
- The true cause of heart disease is inflammation.
- The concept of “good” and “bad” cholesterol is outdated.
- There are several types of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and several types of HDL (“good “) cholesterol.
- It is far more important to know whether you have a pattern A or pattern BLDL cholesterol profile than to know your total amount of LDLs.
- A cholesterol level of 160 mg/dL or less has been linked to depression, aggression, cerebral hemorrhage (stroke), and loss of sex drive.
The book discusses the aforementioned points in detail and is written in a manner that can be followed by anyone without a scientific background. The last chapter makes specific suggestions regarding heart health. It is entitled: “Putting it All Together—a Simple and Easy Bueprint for a Healthy Heart—and Life.”
I have read the book cover-to-cover and highly recommend it. It is published by Fair Winds press and is available at amazon.com (Paperback: $13.17; Kindle Edition: $9.99).