Shane Ellison M. Sc.
December 15, 2004

"Lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease (atherosclerosis)!"

Medical Doctors, drug manufacturers and nutritional supplement companies make billions of dollars browbeating us to believe this statement. Despite the exuberance with which it is made, this statement is a health myth. The redundancy of this myth has handicapped health logic among some of the most respected health experts in the world.

Most people insist that because their new statin drug (i.e. Lipitor, Pravachol, Crestor) or nutritional supplement (i.e. red yeast rice, policosanol) plummeted their total cholesterol level from 225 to 180 mg/dL they are safe from the pandemic killer heart disease. Never mind their sugar addiction, insulin resistance (pre-diabetic state) and excess fat.

Good news is that these cholesterol lowering worshipers have health insurance. Low cholesterol does not prevent heart disease and can lead to a myriad of problems. In accordance with science, the higher the cholesterol, the longer we live.[1] The cholesterol lowering myth is proof that "when everyone is thinking the same thing, nobody is thinking."[2]

Logic should bury the myth. The human body is diverse. To verify, measure male anatomy and you'll find that some men have longer ones than others. Similarly, not everybody on the planet will meet the recommended standards set by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) and adhered to by the American Heart Association (AHA) - not without the influence of medicine, natural or synthetic. This excites drug and supplement companies. Logic is a poor defense for cholesterol; western medicine rarely adheres to it. We'll have to move on.

Autopsy results from heart attack victims should bury the myth. If low cholesterol levels prevent heart disease, then we would see high cholesterol levels among those who die early from it via heart attack. This is not so. Half of heart attack victims (those who suffer from heart disease) have low cholesterol.[3] This logic is too simple. Highly educated folk will totally miss this one.

Drug company research on cholesterol lowering drugs should definitely bury the myth. If low cholesterol prevented heart disease then studies would show a correlation between drug-induced low cholesterol and prevention of heart disease. The earlier cholesterol lowering drugs, known as "fibrates," did not. The U.S. General Accounting Office recognized this and intervened. In their report to congress, entitled Cholesterol Treatment - A Review of the Clinical Trials Evidence, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) stated:

"With respect to total fatalities-that is, deaths from CHD [heart disease] and all other causes-most meta-analyses show no significant difference and thus no improvement in overall survival rates in the trials [using fibrates] that included either persons with known CHD or persons without it."

This did not shake the pharmaceutical grip on medical doctors. Doctors prescribe the newer cholesterol lowering drugs, statins, to anyone with a heartbeat. This must be why all medical doctors carry a stethoscope around their neck. Still though, like the earlier "fibrates," these drugs show no correlation between low cholesterol and the prevention of heart disease. Looking at 5 major statin drug trials, these being PROSPER, ALLHAT-LLT, ASCOT-LLA, AFCAPS and WOSCOPS, statin drugs provided an Absolute Risk Reduction in total mortality of 0.3%. These facts will go ignored as well. Prescription drug addiction takes precedent to science, at least in the United States. Therefore, medical doctors and drug companies will obfuscate the truth with complexity and obscurity via statistical contortionists. Don't be fooled, hold steady to logic.

The ubiquity and importance of cholesterol to the human body should bury the myth. Cholesterol acts to interlock "lipid molecules," which stabilize cell membranes. Therefore, cholesterol is a vital building block for all bodily tissues. Lowering such a vital molecule is absurdity. To illustrate, imagine that your house represents your body and the nails holding it together cholesterol. Now start pulling each and every nail out of the house. What happens? The house turns to a pile of rubble. The same is true for the human body.

If these facts don't bury the myth what will? Fear? The death rate from heart disease has not changed over the last 75 years and mortality from heart failure is more than double what it was in 1996.[1]

Adhering to the cholesterol myth is akin to crossing a two-way street while looking only in one direction: you are bound to get run over. Getting hit by a car is not an accident, neither is heart disease. Heart disease is the result of a nutritional deficiency. This nutritional deficiency is overcome by supplementing "essential nutrients". Essential nutrients are those that your body requires for survival but cannot manufacture itself. To ignore this is to commit suicide, in slow motion. Seek health education not drugs.


1. Ellison, Shane. Health Myths Exposed. Copyright 2005. ISBN: 1-4208-0027-2.
2. Quote from Walter Lippman
3. Ridker PM. "Connecting the role of C-reactive protein and statins in cardiovascular disease." Clinical Cardiology. 2003 Apr; 26(4 Suppl 3):III39-44.

© 2003 Shane Ellison - All Rights Reserved

Shane holds a Master’s degree in organic chemistry and has first-hand industry experience with drug research, design and synthesis. He understands that Americans want and deserve education rather than prescriptions.  His book Health Myths Exposed is available at