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  • Lipitor Commerical

    Saw a lipitor commercial today. It claimed that 80% of people who have heart attacks have high cholesterol. Anyone know what research they're referring to here?

    Volume was off (we were listening to music) so I didn't hear the audio, but I thought it was interesting. It almost seems like the they're feeling threatened by the number of people who are starting to question the lipid hypothesis and the effectiveness of statins. True or not, they're clearly trying to scare people. For example, in another of their commercials, the actor says he was "kidding himself" about his cholesterol.

    It's hard to trust companies who care about nothing but they're bottom line.
    Last edited by Bill_89; 04-24-2011, 07:52 PM.

  • #2
    It could be that 80% of ALL people have "high" cholesterol...what I'd need to see is the percentage of people who don't have a heart attack who have the same cholesterol levels.
    Liz.

    Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
    Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food

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    • #3
      I just find it odd how some people can claim there is no relationship while others insist the relationship is strong. Of course, it's not I'd expect anything different from a company that sells cholesterol lowering medicine.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lizch View Post
        It could be that 80% of ALL people have "high" cholesterol...what I'd need to see is the percentage of people who don't have a heart attack who have the same cholesterol levels.
        Oh but they are just a heart attack waiting to happen. They are going to die....someday...and then we can blame cholesterol.
        MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

        "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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        • #5
          Heh. Just saw the commercial again.

          They use the phrase "don't kid yourself" at least three times. It is definitely a psychologically convincing argument.

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          • #6
            Cholesterol is a part of the body's healing response, therefore it makes sense that, given what it needs to manufacture it, the body will produce cholesterol in the presence of arterial inflammation. The Jaminets (Perfect Health Diet) just did a multi-part feature on cholesterol (well, HDL ) that explains some of it. You wouldn't expect people to believe that firetrucks cause fires because they're around burning buildings, but that's what the lipid hypothesis says. Like lizch says, it's important to look at those who don't have CVD as well. Actually, here's part of the answer, courtesy of Richard Nikoley, a chart of total cholesterol vs heart disease mortality of 86 countries; there's a nice cluster of countries in the 200-220 TC range (CW says keep below 200) that correlates to lower mortality.

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            • #7
              If you define "high cholesterol" as "the threshold of total cholesterol over which 80% of heart attack victims are tested," then yes, that's a true statement. It's like saying "Did you know that 50% of Americans are BELOW AVERAGE???!?!?!?!!?"

              "It almost seems like the they're feeling threatened by the number of people who are starting to question the lipid hypothesis and the effectiveness of statins. "

              Absolutely, because statins do minimal good for a very small group of people (men under ~60 who've already had a coronary event), vitamin D is many times more effective for everyone with none of the side effects, and the lipid hypothesis is bunk anyway.

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              • #8
                I'd also be interested in knowing what they consider "high." If they set the bar super low, then that would include almost everyone.

                So I've heard of cholesterol being a healing mechanism. So does that mean that high cholesterol is a marker for inflammation? if so, that might mean that there is an association between cholesteral and heart disease, but that not that cholesterol causes heart disease. If this were the case, a statin would actually make things worse . . . but then the plaques themselves are made of cholesterol. Bleh.

                J. Stanton: I love your site. Great work on your articles!
                Last edited by Bill_89; 04-24-2011, 08:20 PM.

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                • #9
                  The plaques aren't only made out of cholesterol, but smooth muscles cells, macrophages (a type of white blood cell I believe), calcium.... it's a real mess. In some cases, yes high cholesterol is a marker of inflammation; for example the Paul Jaminet explains that one way to increase your HDL is to swallow a whole lot of pathogens: that's bad. Then again, another way of increasing your HDL is through ketosis; in this case we're increasing a healing response without adding to the body's burden, so the end result is positive.

                  Because cholesterol has purposes other than the healing response, and because cholesterol synthesis can be upregulated without adding to the body's inflammatory or infectious burden, a "high" cholesterol reading by itself is absolutely meaningless.

                  Statins have an anti-inflammatory side-effect, which is likely the true driver of the results seen in that small portion that J. Stanton mentioned. The other side-effects (the ones they don't tell you about) aren't so great to live with.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by J. Stanton View Post
                    If you define "high cholesterol" as "the threshold of total cholesterol over which 80% of heart attack victims are tested," then yes, that's a true statement. It's like saying "Did you know that 50% of Americans are BELOW AVERAGE???!?!?!?!!?"

                    "It almost seems like the they're feeling threatened by the number of people who are starting to question the lipid hypothesis and the effectiveness of statins. "

                    Absolutely, because statins do minimal good for a very small group of people (men under ~60 who've already had a coronary event), vitamin D is many times more effective for everyone with none of the side effects, and the lipid hypothesis is bunk anyway.
                    Right-o.

                    My new argument for those who haven't looked into the issue much yet is that mother nature ain't stupid. She doesn't produce cholesterol unless she needs it and what causes the need for cholesterol? Damage to the body, particularly the arteries. If you eat saturated fat and make cholesterol it's because you need it. Combine an inflammatory and damaging diet that will cause heart disease by itself with a sufficient fat diet and you get a heart attack with high cholesterol levels, but it doesn't follow that the cholesterol levels caused it. I think that the cholesterol helps as best it can. There was that hyperlipid post that showed that the best survival of MIs was in those with the highest LDL cholesterol. No kidding!
                    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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                    • #11
                      "High cholesterol" isn't a marker for anything: it's a very weak association that doesn't even hold for many groups, like women, people over 60, and Japanese people (if I recall correctly).

                      Triglycerides/HDL is the strongest correlation with heart disease you'll get out of a standard "cholesterol screening" (which isn't even measuring cholesterol: it's measuring lipoproteins, which carry lots of different things besides cholesterol).

                      Originally posted by Bill_89 View Post
                      J. Stanton: I love your site. Great work on your articles!
                      Thank you! I'll be back on the dietary science this week...but expect me to continue to cover topics outside it in the future, as I strongly believe that diet and exercise are just the start of a very long journey.
                      Last edited by J. Stanton; 04-24-2011, 08:53 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Yep, it's by far the best. Beyond low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: respec... [J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009] - PubMed result

                        Interestingly, non-HDL does seem to be a decent Marker, but it is most likely that those who have high non-HDL are the very same ones who have the high triglycerides. It does seem like LDL has some correlation, but that is just because damage to the arteries (which causes heart disease) increases the need for LDL cholesterol. There are indeed plenty of people who die with lower LDL which automatically falsifies the lipid hypothesis or at least the LDL monomania. Those who are starving their bodies for cholesterol are equally, even more likely to die than those who are eating plenty of good fat but are still just as inflammatory.

                        Chris Masterjohn said he was going to elucidate this on his blog soon.
                        Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                        Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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                        • #13
                          I don't know if it's the same commercials, but I have been seeing some lately where supposedly a "friend" is staring into the camera lecturing someone about their blood tests and recommended cholesterol meds, and laying on a major guilt trip to make them take their meds. That's just appealing to fear and it's sad.

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