And four TRUE heart disease risk factors
Let’s talk about cholesterol.
The terms “good” and “bad” cholesterol get thrown around like confetti.
And you’ve heard over and over and OVER that too much cholesterol is bad for your heart.
But what you don’t tend to hear (except from me) is that all of that “too much” talk is total hogwash…
Cholesterol isn’t the enemy it’s been made out to be by big pharma.
In fact, it can be quite PROTECTIVE to your heart—especially as you age.
So, allow me to dispel two of the greatest cholesterol MYTHS that continue to circulate.
Then, I’ll explain what you really need to do to help protect your heart and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease—cholesterol levels aside.
Myth No. 1: Cholesterol is bad for your heart
Cholesterol is one of the most important—yet misunderstood—molecules in the body.
It’s a waxy substance that’s carried in your blood. And it’s essential for the function of every cell in your body and brain. (It’s so vital to our health and development that human breast milk contains significant quantities of it.)
It’s manufactured in animal, human, and some plant cells. Major food sources include the saturated fat in meat, eggs, and dairy.
Of course, for decades, mainstream medicine tried to blame heart disease on cholesterol…and on foods that contain cholesterol.
But, dating back to the early 1980s, scientists have found no association between consuming saturated fats in the diet and cholesterol levels in the blood.
Plus, studies going back to 2010 have repeatedly found no link between saturated fat and heart disease.
One analysis of 21 studies involving nearly 350,000 people found that saturated fat was NOT associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease.1
Another analysis of 32 studies involving more than half a million men and women found no link between any type of fat consumption and cardiovascular disease.
The authors concluded: “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”2
Meanwhile, a new review of 18 studies involving more than 40,000 participants found that the saturated fats that naturally occur in dairy products may actually reduce your heart disease risk.3
And a new 15-year study of nearly 10,000 women ages 50 to 55 found that consuming more saturated fat decreased their risk of heart disease AND their rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.4
So, to summarize, consuming the cholesterol naturally found in animal and plant fats doesn’t increase your blood levels of cholesterol…and doesn’t increase your risk of heart disease.
In fact, it might even LOWER your risk!
Now, because I’m sure you’re wondering, doesn’t saturated fat raise the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood? And doesn’t that lead to heart disease?
And that leads me to the second myth about “bad” LDL cholesterol…
Myth No. 2: HDL and LDL are “good” and “bad” for you
To debunk this myth, it’s helpful to look at how cholesterol functions in your body.
Fats or lipids like cholesterol aren’t soluble in your blood, so they’re carried into your cells bound to a protein (imagine microscopic boats ferrying the cargo of cholesterol through the blood).
This combo is known as a lipid-protein, or lipoprotein.
Lipoproteins are characterized as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
What makes a lipoprotein carrying cholesterol (or any other fat or lipid) “high” density is that it has a higher weight—or a lower weight in the case of LDL.
But—and this is KEY—cholesterol doesn’t change its molecular characteristics based upon whether it’s carried in the blood by low- or high-density lipoproteins.
Still, that didn’t stop some so-called “experts” from inventing the concept that one type of lipoprotein is “good” and the other is “bad” when the “cholesterol causes heart disease” myth first began falling apart.
Supposedly, these “experts” say that, saturated fat raises LDL “bad” cholesterol. And it’s “bad” because it raises the risk of heart disease.
In the same breath, they determined that lowering LDL cholesterol and/or raising “good” HDL cholesterol saves lives from heart disease.
But… there’s really no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol. The entire concept is based on flawed science and faulty reasoning.
Indeed, how can one type of cholesterol be “good” and the other “bad” when HDL and LDL cholesterol are exactly the same molecule?
In fact, a number of studies have shown no reduction in heart disease mortality (death) for people who successfully lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol. Nor do studies show a benefit to increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
One recent review of 39 large studies of drugs designed to increase HDL levels found that boosting HDL had NO BENEFIT on all-cause mortality, heart disease mortality, or the likelihood of having a stroke.
The authors were particularly critical of statins, noting that these poisonous pharmaceuticals “do not show an added benefit of trying to bump HDL levels.”5
Lesser-known heart disease risk factors
Of course, all of this doesn’t mean that cholesterol doesn’t factor into heart disease. It’s just not the most important factor.
After all, when a lipoprotein in the blood encounters a wall of an artery, things can happen.
A particle of LDL that’s inflamed or oxidized can bind to the interior of the artery wall where it doesn’t belong, and cholesterol can be released. This occurrence can be part of a long process that eventually contributes to formation of a plaque in the artery.
(This is known as arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. In the arteries of the heart, this is called coronary artery disease, or heart disease).
Also, a molecule (often LDL) can break into a damaged or dysfunctional section of the artery wall. Once there’s a breach, other cholesterol molecules can invade and accumulate.
This causes oxidation and a full cascade of inflammatory responses—which is much more important in terms of heart disease than the cholesterol carried by the damaged lipoprotein spilling out into the artery.
In other words, cholesterol is a consequence, not a cause, of the oxidation and inflammation that damages blood vessels and leads to heart disease.
In fact, it’s been said that blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming firefighters for a fire. Firefighters come to the scene of the fire, but are not the cause of it.
Other, TRUE causes (of damage to the artery walls that can lead to heart disease) fall into four key categories:
1.) High levels of homocysteine. Your body needs this naturally occurring amino acid to make protein. But too much homocysteine can lead to heart disease.
Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid (B9) help remove excess homocysteine from your blood. So, ask your doctor to test your levels. If they’re elevated, supplement with a high-quality vitamin B complex.
2.) High blood sugar and diabetes. Both of these conditions can damage blood vessels, which is the leading cause of cardiometabolic heart disease. Following a healthy, balanced diet full of fresh, whole foods is a great way to manage blood sugar.
3.) High blood pressure. Unlike high cholesterol, high blood pressure is one of the main culprits behind heart disease. And one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure is to reduce inflammation. Which leads me to the final factor behind heart disease…
4.) Inflammation. Increased inflammation in the blood can be measured by a CRP (C-reactive protein) test. If it turns out you have high inflammatory markers, you can successfully lower your inflammation with diet and lifestyle changes.
Eating a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat (especially lamb), nuts, seeds, and olive oil has been shown in numerous studies to lower inflammation. (You’ll also want to avoid sugar and processed foods.)
And just 140 to 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (not per day!) can substantially lower inflammation.
This type of activity can include walking, swimming, housework, gardening, or anything you enjoy doing (especially outside, in Nature, which has its own health benefits).
Bottom line? When it comes to slashing your risk of heart disease, forget hyper-focusing on your cholesterol numbers.
And definitely forget the cholesterol-lowering drugs. They don’t address the real issues, and can actually create more health problems!
Instead, there are many natural, non-drug approaches to preventing and reversing heart disease, as I outline in detail in my Heart Attack Prevention & Repair Protocol.
To learn more, or to enroll today, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3YA00.
SIDEBAR: The SURPRISING link between cholesterol and COVID-19
An interesting new meta-analysis of 22 studies showed that people who were hospitalized or died from COVID-19 had significantly lower cholesterol levels than those who had milder versions of the disease.
The studies involved a total of about 10,000 people who had COVID between January 2020 and January 2021.6
Plus, another article published in 2021 discussed five other studies showing substantially lower HDL and LDL cholesterol, along with triglycerides, in men and women diagnosed with COVID (both severe and mild cases).7
Authors of the various studies aren’t sure why there’s a link between COVID and cholesterol.
The meta-analysis noted that cholesterol might be necessary to help synthesize a substance in the lungs that helps fight viral infections. And another study postulated that HDL cholesterol might be involved in the regulation of immune cells that fight off COVID infections.
Despite these findings, some researchers and doctors are still pushing statins for people who are testing positive for COVID.
1“Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46.
2“Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Ann Intern Med. 2014 Mar 18;160(6):398-406.
3“Biomarkers of dairy fat intake, incident cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: A cohort study, systematic review, and meta-analysis.” PLoS Med. 2021 Sep 21;18(9):e1003763.
4“Association of carbohydrate and saturated fat intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in Australian women.” Heart. 2022 May 25;108(12):932-939.
5“Increasing HDL Level Ineffective at Decreasing Cardiovascular Events.” Am Fam Physician. 2015;91(2):133-134.
6“Cholesterol and Triglyceride Concentrations, COVID-19 Severity, and Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis With Meta-Regression.” Front Public Health. 2021 Aug 18;9:705916.
7“Covid and cholesterol (C&C): Something to worry about or much ado about nothing?” Trends in Anaesthesia & Critical Care. 2021 Feb;36:39–40.