What Should Your Cholesterol Be?

According to the Mayo Clinic website, lower levels of cholesterol are better. For total cholesterol, says the Mayo Clinic, below 5.2 mmol/L (= 200 mg/dL) is “desirable”. A level from 5.2 to 6.2 mmol/L is “borderline high”, and above 6.2 mmol/L (= 240 mg/dL) is “high”.

A 2011 study from Norway, based on 500,000 person-years of observation, found drastically different results. For both men and women, the lowest levels of total cholesterol (below 5.0 mmol/L) were associated with the most death. For men, the best level was intermediate — what the Mayo Clinic calls “borderline high”. For women, the safest levels were the highest.

If high cholesterol causes heart disease, as we are so often told, the pattern for women makes no sense. For a long time, experts have told us to limit egg consumption because eggs are high in cholesterol. However,  a new study shows that egg consumption has no association with heart disease risk.

Via Malcolm Kendrick. I also like his post about whether statins cause muscle pain.

9 Replies to “What Should Your Cholesterol Be?”

  1. Obligatory “causation is not correlation” counterpoint: old and dying people are made to lower their cholesterol, and if young people lowered it they would be fine or even healthier.

    (I think it’s 70% likely to be causal)

  2. The great tinkerer, evolution, developed Cholesterol as an intricate part of the way the human body works over millions of years. To think that medicine can understand the complexities of the situation and improve upon it seems quite arrogant & foolish.

    This part seems to recognize that humans are not living as intended:

    “In the Diet, Obesity, and Gene (Diogenes) Project, increased protein consumption together with a modest reduction in glycemic index was beneficial for weight control. Substituting protein for carbohydrate also partly resulted in lower blood pressure, improved lipids levels, and concomitantly reduced cardiovascular risk. Higher vitamin D intake might have beneficial effects on the reduction of visceral adipose tissue and other cardiovascular risk factors.

    Another possibility is that lifestyle factors associated with egg consumption might have obscured a positive association between egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. However, regular egg consumption tends to be associated with unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking and physical inactivity.”

    In other words, eating too much sugar, being inactive, not getting enough vitamin D, & smoking are unnatural & harmful behaviors for humans. I feel 1000% more confident that addressing these 4 things would be more effective & less dangerous than attacking Cholesterol.

    Seth: The evidence that high cholesterol causes heart disease is close to zero. Because of this, it is likely that roughly everything mainstream experts say about cholesterol will be wrong. It’s like starting an argument “let’s assume 1 = 0.” With that assumption, you will reach a lot of wrong conclusions.

  3. In the United States heart and arteriosclerosis are the leading cause of premature deaths but in Japan deaths due to cardiovascular diseases are insignificant! We have to wonder why! Japanese eat a lot of fish that contains omega 3 oil, a fat known to reduce plaque in the arteries thereby reversing atherosclerosis. Omega 3 unsaturated fats increase the HDL or high-density lipoproteins and their particle size that are essential for keeping the arteries from blocking. Microbiology and biochemistry are very complex sciences and many phenomena are not at all understood. Many anomalies exist. As mentioned above, omega 3 in fish oil reverses artery plaque yet it contains significant amounts of dietary cholesterol and its molecular is extremely similar!

    Seth: The French also have a low rate of heart disease — and they eat much less fish than the Japanese. There is one clear similarity between the French diet and the Japanese diet: Both eat a lot of fermented food, far more than other countries.

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