August 31st, 2010
Cows and cholesterol     (Bart) I get cranky about the mis-use of numbers, especially to support an agenda. For example, the landmark study on cholesterol and heart disease determined that only 0.3% of men whose cholesterol was below 170 died from heart disease. Meanwhile, 1.3% of men whose cholesterol was over 265 died of heart disease. Oh, my! 265? I guess it's time to pre-arrange your funeral. In fact, since 1.3/0.3 = 4.33, you could say that the risk of death is over 4 times greater ... or maybe not. Look at the actual difference. In the low-cholesterol group, 99.7% did not die from a heart attack. Among the very-high-cholesterol group, 98.7% did not die from a heart attack. That’s a difference of 1.0%. So ... even if you have "very high" cholesterol, your chances of dying from heart disease -- compared to anything else -- aren't even 2%. Lipitor at $300+ per month?  Hmm.   Cui bono? -- to whom is the benefit? Now, since every bit of my physiology training relates to four legs instead of two, I'm compelled to append the following observation. Cows do not generally die from heart attacks.  There is an exception for hypomagnesaemia, but that is really inside-baseball. Cows also produce their own Vitamin C in abundance. Vitamin C is the healing vitamin. My suspicion is as follows: because we humans must ingest our Vitamin C, many, many people are far below levels needed for ongoing healing. This is particularly true of the vast majority for whom a fruit or vegetable is but an occasional acquaintance. In the case of heart disease, these folks can't heal weakened or damaged blood vessels. My speculation is consequently this: absent sufficient Vitamin C to effect genuine repair, our bodies do the equivalent of Bondo job on a fender -- they plaster cholesterol plaque in place, hoping it will buttress a weak blood vessel enough to keep it on the road. So, "high" cholesterol? Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and take 1000 mg Vitamin supplements every day, after which, don't really worry about it. Your body won't need to do the Bondo routine on your blood vessels. Certainly, therefore,  don't be stampeded by pharmaceutical companies' distortion of numbers intended to make you believe you're four times as likely to die if you don't buy their product every month. /curmudgeon