The Great Cholesterol Scam

Abstract: Coronary Artery Disease is a new disease of the twentieth century.  It was virtually unknown before 1920.  Since Americans ate plenty of meat and eggs, if cholesterol were the source of heart disease, it should have been rampant throughout our history.  There is good evidence to indicate that it is a nutritional deficiency disease and a disease caused by the greater stresses of living in modern cities.  The body will heal itself if there is sufficient nutritional support, or if the emotional response is changed.

The official position of the American medical profession is that elevated cholesterol is harmful to one’s health.  This position has been held, and challenged, for more than 50 years.  It is not the position of all the European medical community, and many studies in the U.S. have identified that low cholesterol levels are a risk factor for early death, as well as sterility and dementia.

Heart disease was almost unknown to medicine before 1900, because so few people died from it.  Yet, by 1943, it was the leading cause of death among American men, although only number eight for women.  By 1984, it had become the leading cause of death for women also.  Husbands and wives almost always eat the same foods, so why didn’t dietary cholesterol affect women as severely as men in 1943, 1953, 1963, or 1973, but then did affect them that way in 1984?

There was no category for CAD (coronary artery disease) by insurance companies or government agencies before 1930, because it was so rare.  All forms of heart disease (congenital, rheumatic, syphilitic, hypertensive, pulmonary, and coronary) were grouped together for reporting purposes.  In Heart Disease, a medical textbook of more than 900 pages, copyright 1931, Paul Dudley White, a famous research cardiologist, wrote:  

“… it may be stated as probable that close to two percent of the population of the northern part of the United States have heart disease of a degree sufficient to produce symptoms or signs.” 
In the 1943 edition of the book, he said:  
“…when I graduated from medical school in 1911, I had never heard of coronary thrombosis, which is one of the chief threats to life in the United States and Canada today….  There can be no doubt but that coronary heart disease has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, where it is now responsible for more than 50 per cent of all deaths….” 
It is astonishing that a disease could go from unknown to #1 killer in such a short time.  And that it is due to eating meat or eggs, as if our forefathers had been vegetarians until then.  Did people in 1890 not eat meat, eggs, salt pork, and lard?  If dietary cholesterol were the cause, why didn't they have heart disease?  Equally as astonishing is the fact that the medical establishment has been unable to significantly treat or prevent the disease.

Why does anyone think that cholesterol consumption is up?  Didn’t people in 1890 eat meat and eggs, salt pork and lard?  And especially after the medical campaign of the 70’s and 80’s to reduce cholesterol consumption, how could cholesterol consumption be up?    Why didn’t the death rate go down significantly in response to the decline in consumption of cholesterol?

Perhaps the most interesting thing to notice is that coronary artery disease and high cholesterol is not contagious, not infectious.  And noticing this is sufficient to raise the question; what causes the problem to begin with?

It is true that people with coronary artery disease and heart attack patients have excessive cholesterol deposits in the main arteries.  These clogged arteries do lead to early death.  But there is a question begging to be asked.  Why does cholesterol deposit there?

As most people know, heart bypass surgery is a standard treatment for advanced coronary artery disease.  In this procedure, arteries are taken from the patient’s legs and grafted onto the heart, bypassing the clogged arteries.  The surgeon will usually tell the patient that he can expect the new arteries to clog in from two to five years’ time, (although in some cases it may be only six months) and that another surgery will be required then.  After the two to five years, the patient has another bypass surgery, and will be told that these arteries will likely clog in from two to five years.  At that time a third bypass can be done.  But at the end of that one, the surgeon will tell the patient that when these arteries clog, it will be the end of the line, because there are no more suitable arteries to take from the legs to sew onto the heart.

And here is that question again, if cholesterol is such a villain; why were unclogged arteries available from the legs to be used on the heart after repeated “cloggings” of those arteries?

Stents are the newest way to open clogged arteries, and they have the same limited time of successful function.  In some cases, the stent itself becomes clogged, in others, the clogging occurs at one end of the stent. 

There are no news stories about people having an arm amputated because the arteries in the arm became clogged with cholesterol and became gangrenous. There are no claims that hair falls out from cholesterol deposits in the scalp.  In fact, nobody thinks cholesterol clogs the capillaries, which are only large enough for one blood cell at a time to pass through.  Why does the cholesterol deposit mainly in the coronary arteries?

While there is a good deal of talk about managing diet to control cholesterol intake, the medical profession does not contend that controlling intake alone will be sufficient to ward off problems for most people.  The reason is that the liver manufactures cholesterol, and in some people, it makes too much.  So here is a second question just begging to be asked: 

Why is the liver trying to kill some people?

It was a good liver when the person was one year old; two years old; ten years old.  For most people it was good to them when they were twenty and when they were thirty.  Why does it turn on them as they get older?

Maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe there is a reason for the liver to increase the output of cholesterol.  Maybe the increased output is “covering up” some problem.  Maybe the way it covers up is by covering up a leaky spot in a blood vessel.  Maybe cholesterol is “radiator stop leak” for blood vessels.

This idea is not new; this answer was proposed in 1968 by Linus Pauling.  He suggested that the arteries were breaking down faster than the body could repair them, and that cholesterol was a temporary expedient to protect us from leaky, about to rupture, arteries.  And what’s the most common cause of death among those with suppressed cholesterol levels?  Hemorrhagic stroke, or ruptured blood vessels.

A significant difference between most arteries and the coronary arteries is that the heart beats twenty-four hours a day, and those arteries on or near the heart are flexed and twisted with each beat.  This amounts to around 100,000 beats per day.  The arteries in the arms and legs are only flexed when the muscles are in use.  Of course, all arteries move with the pulse, but that is not the same as being flexed.

So what was Pauling’s suggestion for those with high cholesterol levels?  Higher doses of vitamin C.  He came to this conclusion because most animals manufacture vitamin C in their livers or kidneys, and do not have coronary artery disease.  Since the time of his writing, other vitamins and minerals (vitamin E, selenium, and Co-Q10) have been shown to be effective in improving heart health, and when these vitamins are present in ample quantities, coronary artery disease disappears, and cholesterol returns to lower levels on its own.  So there is a treatment regimen that works.

Two Canadian doctors, the Shute brothers, started publishing in 1945 their successful treatment of heart disease with doses of vitamin E ranging from 400 IU to 2000 IU per day.  They report complete cures, with no side effects and no need for further medical intervention.  They believe that a change in grain milling about the turn of the century removed the wheat germ, and consequently the vitamin E, from our diets.

But what about the first question: Why do some people have the problem and others don’t?

There may be two answers.  One is that heart disease is a deficiency disease, just as beriberi (thiamin deficiency), pellagra (niacin deficiency), and senile dementia (B-12 deficiency) are.  For those, there is no successful treatment except the replacement of the missing vitamin.  Dr. Wilfrid Shute in Vitamin E for Ailing and Healthy Hearts (1969) makes a case for vitamin E being that vitamin, just as Linus Pauling makes the case for vitamin C.  If you are not deficient, you don’t get the disease.  It has since been discovered that selenium must also be present for Vitamin E to form glutathione, the anti-oxidant.

 The CoQ10 deficiency evidence, from the Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion  Handbook, 1999-2000 edition:

"However, Professor Folkers was not able to convince his superiors to pursue the development of CoQ10 because Merck had  recently launched their new blockbuster drug in the cardiovascular arena called Diuril®.  Consequently, the formula and patent rights for CoQ10 were sold to a  Japanese company.  The Japanese quickly developed new methods of synthesizing large quantities, and CoQ10 has become the best selling and most effective treatment for cardiovascular disease in Japan."
There is also the nutritional issue of the higher sugar intake that began in the first part of the twentieth century.  There is strong evidence that high blood sugar damages the arteries, and that high levels of insulin may also.  Certainly diabetics usually have damaged arteries.  Diabetics who carefully control their intake of “white carbs” have much less problem with all of the symptoms of the disease, including heart trouble, than those who do not.  The diets of the cardiologists Dean Ornish and Robert Atkins both call for very limited intake of sugar and starch, and both have been shown to reduce heart attacks.
 The cardiac surgeons who wrote the book Type A Behavior and Your Heart had the other answer to that question in 1974. 
“In the absence of Type A Behavior Pattern, coronary heart disease almost never occurs before seventy years of age, regardless of fatty foods eaten, the cigarettes smoked, or the lack of exercise.  But when this behavior pattern is present, coronary heart disease can easily erupt in one’s thirties or forties.”
This information was available to doctors in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, although the book was the first presentation to the public.  There have been some quibbles about the specific behavioral traits and what they mean, but the fundamental truth of the basic message stands.  The hormones that the body produces in response to stress, and especially anger, have the ability to distort the body’s balance in favor of action over repair.  If this condition persists, damage accumulates. 

The progressive increase in heart disease in women seems to be related to more women entering the work force, with those attendant stresses, and fewer being full-time homemakers.

So it looks like there are two ways to be healthy: lessen the damage, or increase the rate of repair.  Maybe the best is to do both.  But what can one do about stress in our current circumstances?

The kind of stress that is harmful is that which occurs not because of the circumstances, but from our reaction to the circumstances.  That reaction will be characteristic for each person.  Some people respond directly, then forget about it.  Others fret about it, or carry the stress and anger, indefinitely.  These are the ones that challenge the repair capability of the body.

The habitual or characteristic ways that people have of dealing with life were almost always developed when they were young.  The first time a new situation presented itself, the child made a response.  The next time a similar situation presented, the prior response was replayed.  From then on, it was a habit, and not really available for conscious choice.
If an adult were presented with that first situation now, with all of the experience, maturity, and wisdom they have accumulated over their lives, a very different response might be made, one that did not have stress accumulate. Time Line Therapy® and NLP techniques are excellent choices for shifting the habitual response. 

Usually, one must see a practitioner of those disciplines to get the benefits.  On one’s own, one can learn how to generate the relaxation response.  The relaxation response is the opposite response to the stress response and can be invoked intentionally.  It can be done through meditation, yoga, self-hypnosis, etc.  Invocation of the relaxation response is the intention of all of the mind/body therapies. 

The relaxation response activates the parasympathetic system, that part of the mind and body that heals, rejuvenates, and mends the damage that occurs as a result just going about our daily lives.  With damage being minimized, and with ample nutrients, the body repairs itself at 50 the way it did when it was only ten.  After all, a cut or blister still heals.  Why shouldn’t all parts of the body?

The pharmaceutical industry would have you spend big bucks on prescription medications known to have detrimental side effects, and with no promise of healing, just stop-gap measures of countering the buildup of cholesterol.  They are treating the marker of the disease, not the damaged artery.  It is a case of masking the symptom of the disease, while ignoring the cause.

"If you take the heart cases out of doctors' offices (and the taking of vitamin E poses a threat of it) more than half the income of the medical profession will vanish.  A heart disease case is an annuity for the doctors, and people will continue to die because they are caught in the toils of economics - mink coats for doctors' wives, Cadillacs, and stock and bond investments.  This state of affairs will continue as long as the medical profession is permitted to police itself."   J.I. Rodale, Prevention Magazine, March, 1963 

It’s your life, and your choice.

For more information on Linus Pauling’s work, go to:

For a recent medical study that repudiates the cholesterol theory and supports the Type A Behavior theory, go to:

 WebMD/Lycos - Article - Hostility Predicts Heart Disease

Type A behavior and Your Heart. Friedman & Rosenman, MDs, 1974 
Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Dec 15;156(12):1092-9.

Heart Disease, Paul Dudley White, 1931, pp295-305

For more references, click here

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