The American Heart Association recently issued new guidelines regarding cholesterol control starting with monitoring children as young as two years old. The AHA recommended a lifelong approach to lowering cholesterol to reduce everyone’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
While the guidelines did take an aggressive stance in fighting cholesterol through diet and exercise, they also recommended prescribing cholesterol lowering drugs including hard-hitting PCSK9 inhibitors added to statins for high risk people. Some experts say that the warnings are aimed at the wrong culprit when it comes to reducing the risk of dreaded diseases in our country.
“While cholesterol lowering drugs like satins are still valuable for a certain population, the real Public Enemy No. 1 is sugar — not cholesterol,” Dr. Stephen Sinatra, co-author of “The Great Cholesterol Myth” along with leading nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden tells Newsmax. The well-known integrative cardiologist adds: “I myself prescribe statins for men only, under the age of 75, who already have proven coronary artery disease along with CoQ10, but not for the general population.”
Sinatra points out that cholesterol is not the villain main stream media claims it to be and is needed for brain health, boosting the immune system, hormone production and fighting infections. In fact, very low cholesterol levels have been linked to depression, aggression, cerebral hemorrhages, and a loss of sex drive.
“The link between high levels of total cholesterol and heart disease has never been proven,” he says. “Cholesterol is a poor predictor of heart attacks since only about 50% of heart attack victims have high cholesterol levels, and 50% of people with high cholesterol do not have heart disease.”
And yet, in the U.S., approximately 15 million people are prescribed statin drugs, making it a $20 billion industry.
“Doctors prescribe them randomly for anyone with a so-called elevated cholesterol level,” says Bowden. “Interestingly, the Framingham study revealed that people with the highest cholesterol levels actually lived the longest. And the claim from drug companies that statins save lives usually does not hold up upon close examination. You may see a slight reduction in heart attacks but your will see a corresponding increase in cancer and diabetes.”
Sinatra points out the often debilitating side effects of statin drugs including muscle weakness, elevated liver enzymes, and a higher risk of diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
“On the other hand, chronic inflammation is a major prediction of coronary heart disease,” he says. “Studies show the elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker, puts you at twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular related problems as those with high cholesterol.
“The number one dietary contributor to inflammation in the artery walls is sugar, It’s a far bigger threat than cholesterol. Reduce, or better yet eliminate, sugar and processed carbohydrates in your diet and you lower inflammation.
“My main concern with the AHA study is that it takes away attention from what’s really causing our epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. And that’s sugar.”
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