More Cholesterol madness, in my opinion
- Created on Sunday, 12 December 2021 07:01
Dr. Michael Gregor made a video about heart disease in which he starts by showing you that atheroslerosis starts early in life, in the teen years, and plaques start forming in the 20s, and by the 30s, there are prominent plaques, even in the coronary arteries. No doubt this is a dismal situation. But, what’s causing it? Dr. Gregor assumes it is LDL cholesterol. And let’s be clear: he thinks that the mere presence of this substance in the blood causes heart disease.
But, that is crazy because cholesterol is a totally normal constituent of the blood, and it is a ubiquitous substance throughout your body. Every cell in your body waterproofs itself using cholesterol. The first and most essential thing a cell has to do is distinguish itself from its environment, and it does so by depositing cholesterol in its outermost membrane. It’s cholesterol that is the citadel between cell and non-cell.
And you know, of course, about the role of cholesterol as the building block of all steroid hormones, including estrogen and testosterone, and let’s talk about it. Testosterone levels vary widely in men, and I mean many fold. There are men in the 200 range, and then there are men who are over 1000 in their total testosterone. And frankly, I’d rather be high than low, and fortunately I am. And I don’t take testosterone. I wouldn’t do that unless I was extremely low because once you start doing it, your testacles start to atrophy. So, if I was low, I would do things to try to boost it higher naturally. Taking testosterone should be the last resort. You don’t want to rush into that.
I don’t assume that having high testosterone (about 900) is doing me harm. So, why should I assume that the building block of testosterone (cholesterol) does harm? I had blood work done recently, and my total cholesterol was 158, and that’s where I want it. I don’t want it below 150. And that’s from eating a vegan diet. So, all that cholesterol was generated by my body, and I assume it made it because it wanted it. And I am very glad that my body has no trouble making cholesterol, since I’m not eating any.
In the video, Dr. Gregor acts like it is undisputed that cholesterol causes heart disease. He likens it to smoking causing lung cancer. Can you imagine? How dare he compare a normal and esssential body molecule to cigarette smoke?
In the video, Dr. Gregor cites a group of African-Americans who have a genetic defect in the PCSK9 gene that causes them to have, on average, 28% lower LDL cholesterol. And they have 88% less heart disease. That’s impressive, but 28% lower LDL is commonly achieved with drugs, yet, you don’t see anything close to 88% less heart disease in them. So, it’s just an assumption that it’s the lower cholesterol in the blood that accounts for the 88% reduction. Supposedly, they achieved this 88% reduction in heart disease risk with an average LDL of 100, but, if all it took to prevent heart disease was to get your LDL down to 100, it would have been wiped out by now.
Then, Dr. Gregor waxed on about how low can you go. Your LDL cholesterol, that is. 70? 50? 30? How about 15? Try for even lower. Then, Dr. Gregor asks if LDL cholesterol can ever be too low? Maybe he thinks the ideal amount is zero.
There is an interesting test to find out whether you have heart disease and it’s called Coronary Calcium. I wouldn’t do it just because it involves ionizing radiation. But, I accept that you shouldn’t have calcification going on in your heart; it’s a muscle not a bone. So, ideally, your coronary calcium score should be zero.
But, did you know that there are people who have high LDL cholesterol, like 190, who have zero coronary calcium, and after 10 years, they still have zero coronary calcium? It’s true.
Now, the irony is that I’m in favor of the plant-based diet, and I eat it myself. So, I’m not getting any dietary cholesterol either. But, my total cholesterol is in the 150s, and my LDL is about 100. Sometimes a little more, and sometimes a little less. But, I am satisfied with those numbers, and I wouldn’t dream of doing anything to try to change them. And I think it’s crazy to do so. You don't try to regulate your blood potassium, do you? Your body has set points for everything, including cholesterol. Deciding that "Fire: bad/So is cholesterol" is just plain stupid.