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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Blog arrow Can Elevated Cholesterol be Beneficial?
Can Elevated Cholesterol be Beneficial?
Wednesday, 27 September 2006

They're perplexed, flat out stumped. Total cholesterol (TC), the knee jerk bad guy for heart disease, isn't all bad. What are they going to do? Patients with heart failure and higher total cholesterol had a greater survival rate, as reported in the September 2006 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology. Researchers evaluated TC levels and survival in 1,646 patients with heart failure. These subjects were drawn from the Intermountain Collaborative Study Registry, a 10-year database covering the years from 1993-2003. TC levels were divided into quartiles, with quartile 1 having TC levels of 140 mg/dl and below, quartile 2 had TC levels of 141-167 md/dl, quartile 3 had TC levels between 168-200 mg/dl, and those in quartile 4 had the highest TC levels, greater than 200 mg/dl. The mean age of the patients was 65.5 years, 65% were men and 65% had coronary artery disease (blocked coronary arteries). Those patients in quartile 3 had a 34% decreased risk of death versus those in quartile 1. In other words, heart failure patients with higher cholesterol did better than those with lower total cholesterol. Further, those patients in quartile 1, with the lowest levels of cholesterol, had the highest level of inflammation. Inflammation is recognized as a significant marker for cardiac risk. Patients in quartile 3 had the lowest levels of inflammation of the 4 groups.
One of the lead researchers in the study stated that the results were 'nonintuitive'. Well, of course they are. Isn't this supposed to be science, not intuition? If the results of your research don't confirm your theory, you're supposed to review it, not use your intuition to explain away the unfortunate results.

Remember, cholesterol is a necessary nutrient. Every cell wall in the body contains some. Many hormones like testosterone and others need cholesterol in their manufacturing process within the body. So it makes sense that a certain amount is necessary, and too low an amount, specifically lower than 168 mg/dl in this study, is potentially detrimental.

This isn't the first time that low cholesterol has been linked with health problems. In September 2003 at the 16th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Conference in Prague, it was reported that depressed patients with low cholesterol might be at increased risk of suicide. What was the cutoff point for low cholesterol in this report? 160 mg/dl--almost exactly the numbers in this current study.

Do you think this means that there are other factors involved in heart health besides your cholesterol numbers? I do.

For Optimal Health


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