skinSomeone told me that there’s an article that proves cholesterol CAUSES vascular disease/death. I went ahead and read the summary of the article, or the salient points made by the authors and their editors.

Yes, that article (The Lancet – Volume 370, Issue 9602, 1 December 2007-7 December 2007, Pages 1829-1839) reports on a meta analysis of 61 prospective studies that involved approximately 55,000 vascular deaths. The authors stated, “Reported associations are with usual cholesterol levels…” It reports “Total cholesterol was positively associated with IHD mortality in both middle and old age and at all blood pressure levels.”

They also report, “at older ages (70–89 years) and, particularly, for those with systolic blood pressure over about 145 mm Hg, total cholesterol was negatively related to hemorrhagic and total stroke mortality”. The age factor also suggests that there is an inverse relationship between cholesterol in people above 50 years of age.

None of this demonstrates that cholesterol CAUSES the condition or the death.

The only fact is that some people who died of these conditions also had elevated cholesterol – not all. And, there is not a cause-and-effect link, only the supposition or hypothesis, based on a correlation.

I have a gauge in my car. When the needle is on the letter “E”, the engine won’t run. If I studied thousands of similar vehicles, I know I’d discover a very strong correlation between the letter “E”, and failure of the engine. The letter “E” is not causing the problem. It is the fact that the letter “E” and the failure to run are both CAUSED by something else – lack of fuel. Moving the needle on the gauge away from “E”, closer to “F” will not make the engine run.

Elevated cholesterol and vascular mortality ARE RELATED. They are probably BOTH the result of the same processes in the body, most likely caused by the same thing. One hypothesis is inflammation. Yes, just another hypothesis, but one for which drug makers aren’t pushing their wares to resolve – yet.

As I’ve done for years, I conclude that cholesterol levels are correlated with vascular disease, but cholesterol does not cause it. I am still waiting to read research – not a meta analysis – that proves a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Until then I will strongly object to using drugs to artificially, and dangerously, lower cholesterol in otherwise healthy people.

The authors of this article report, “Nevertheless, there is conclusive evidence from randomized trials that statins substantially reduce not only coronary event rates but also total stroke rates in patients with a wide range of ages and blood pressures.”

Sadly, they don’t site references for that assertion. Instead, they seem to rely heavily on the presumption, rather than the facts.

Please read everything you can about Statins. I am extremely passionate about this topic and I’m standing up and yelling about it.
Here are links to every article or blog post I’ve made regarding the subject: