Do normal LDL cholesterol levels protect us from cardiovascular disease?
The correct term for LDL is Low-Density Lipoprotein and it is also called the “bad cholesterol” because LDL tends to create plaque in the arteries and atherosclerosis.
There are however different opinions about the risk of cholesterol and LDL.
I think you will find the following research data interesting.
What most laboratories are reporting as normal for LDL cholesterol are values below 99 mg/dl and it used to be even higher than that.
Let’s take a closer look at that. What do so-called “normal” people die from?
The normal low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol range is 50 to 70 mg/dl for native hunter-gatherers, healthy human babies, free-living primates, and other wild mammals (all of whom do not develop atherosclerosis (O’Keefe JH Jr, et.al., 2004).
The same researchers stated that no major safety concerns have surfaced in studies that lowered LDL to this range of 50 to 70 mg/dl.
There is a consistent relative risk reduction in major vascular events in patient populations starting as low as an average of 63 mg/dL and achieving levels as low as a median of 21 mg/dL, with no observed offsetting adverse effects (Sabatine MS, et.al., 2018).
The only factor required to cause atherosclerosis is cholesterol (Benjamin MM, Roberts W, 2013).
Other factors like genetics (1 in 500), cigarette smoking, diabetes, overweight, inactivity and stress will not by themselves form plaque. They will, however, contribute to and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease if cholesterol and LDL are elevated. This is according to what Benjamin MM and Roberts W reported at the at the 39th Annual Williamsburg Conference on Heart Disease.
What can you do to keep cholesterol and LDL low?
A low glycemic index, high nutrient, plant based diet will do that for most people. Statin drugs will also do it, but it is preferable to use food.
Benjamin MM, Roberts WC.Facts and principles learned at the 39th Annual Williamsburg Conference on Heart Disease.Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2013 Apr;26(2):124-36
O’Keefe JH Jr, Cordain L, Harris WH, Moe RM, Vogel R.Optimal low-density lipoprotein is 50 to 70 mg/dl: lower is better and physiologically normal.J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Jun 2;43(11):2142-6.
Sabatine MS, Wiviott SD, Im K, Murphy SA, Giugliano RP.Efficacy and Safety of Further Lowering of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Patients Starting With Very Low Levels: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Sep 1;3(9):823-828.
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