Does Cholesterol Help the Elderly Live Longer?

    Does cholesterol protect the elderly from heart attacks?

    Does cholesterol protect the elderly from strokes? Does cholesterol save the elderly from hospitalisation for infections?

    Yes, elderly people with high blood cholesterol levels have fewer heart attacks than those with lower cholesterol levels. Elderly people with high blood cholesterol levels also have fewer strokes than those with lower cholesterol levels. And elderly people with high blood cholesterol levels are indeed hospitalised for infections less often than those with lower cholesterol levels.



    The scientific explanations of the above relationships between low cholesterol and disease are simple. If you take or are contemplating taking any of the statin drugs to lower your cholesterol levels, such as Lipitor or Zocor, please read these explanations carefully.

    • Cholesterol is an antioxidant. It has anti- inflammatory effects. Cholesterol is essential for cellular ‘cross- talk’. It is crucial to cell membrane health. Cholesterol is the queen mother of all steroid hormones in the body. It is the raw material for vitamin D.
    • Cholesterol is essential for healthy cell membranes, which are crucial for fighting infections. This is why people with higher cholesterol levels have fewer infections than those with lower cholesterol levels.

    After taking this look at the molecular biology of cholesterol, you would expect that people with high blood levels of healthy (non-rancid, non-oxidised) cholesterol would live the longest. And this is in fact true.


    In late 1960s, my microscopic studies of arterial plaques removed in autopsy samples showed the presence of cholesterol crystals only in dead tissues deep in the walls of the vessels. I never saw cholesterol crystals in the inner lining tissue of the arteries, called the intima. From these observations, I concluded that cholesterol deposits are not the cause but a consequence of tissue injury in blood vessel walls caused by excess acidity, incremental free-radical activity, microclot and microplaque formation in the circulating blood, stickiness of arterial lining, and intimal injury that precedes plaque formation. Cholesterol crystals appear in the plaque much later.

    In 1997 I published a large number of photographs of microclots and microplaques in the circulating blood in the Journal of Integrative Medicine. I present and discuss the basic scientific facts about cholesterol metabolism to help people integrate such knowledge – connect the dots, so to speak – with crucial clinical information at length in my video seminar entitled ‘Cholesterol Prolongs Life‘.

    Does Cholesterol Help the Elderly Live Longer?


    A large number of studies validate the above statements.

    • A well-known report was published as far back as 1990 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (272: 1335-1340) by Dr Harlan Krumholz of Yale University. His survey showed that twice as many elderly people with low cholesterol levels as elderly people with high cholesterol levels died from heart attacks.
    • In 2003 Uffe Ravnskov, author of The Cholesterol Myths, conducted a more extensive survey of the published reports, analysed 11 studies of elderly people, and supported the conclusion of the earlier Yale University report. His findings were published in the Quarterly Journal of Medicine (96: 927-934).
    • In 2007 The Lancet, in my view the most prestigious medical journal of all, published a large survey of published data on over 40 000 women who were given statin drugs for primary prevention of coronary artery disease. The opening words of the authors, professors John Abramson of Harvard University and James Wright of the University of British Columbia, are most revealing: ‘The last major revision of the US guidelines, in 2001, increased the number of Americans for whom statins are recommended from 13 million to 36 million, most of whom do not yet have but are estimated to be at moderately elevated risk of developing coronary heart disease. In support of statin therapy for the primary prevention of this disease in women and people over 65 years of age, the guidelines cite seven and nine randomized trials, respectively. Yet not one of the studies provides such evidence.’
    • In the mid-1990s, Professor D R Jacobs and Dr Carlos Iribarren conducted a follow-up study of 100 000 healthy people in the San Francisco area over 15 years. They reported that those who had low cholesterol were hospitalised for infections more often than those with higher levels. Their data were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (1997; 26: 1191-1202) and Epidemiology and Infection (1998; 121: 335-347).
    • In 2007, higher rates of newly diagnosed cancers were observed among people with lowered low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (lowered with the use of statin drugs). The Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported a direct relationship between lowered LDL cholesterol and cancer (2007; 50: 409- 418). Consider the following quote from that article: ‘In 23 statin treatment arms with 309 506 person-years of follow-up … we observed a disturbing significant inverse relationship between achieved LDL-C levels and risk of newly diagnosed cancer.’
    • In a celebrated 1989 study of drug lowering of cholesterol levels, the New England Journal of Medicine reported more deaths among individuals who took the drug than in the control group treated with a placebo (1987; 317: 1237-1245).

    My message in this article: please, please find out the scientific truth about lowering cholesterol levels and the relationships of low cholesterol with disease before you start taking statin drugs. It is better to empower yourself with knowledge now than learn about cholesterol only after years of wasting huge amounts of money on drug treatment, suffering fatigue and risking liver injury.

    Editor's note:Here is an article on The Truth about Statins. This article takes a comprehensive look at the evidence.

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