TMMI (Too Much Mis-Information)

9 06 2010

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I am continually amazed at the level of misinformation which circulates. From patients to preachers on the web there are contrasting viewpoints with regard to health, nutrition, science and data. It is striking how people attached to particular perspectives will vehemently denounce and decry differing points of view-even in the face of substantial data. I would like to share today and tomorrow some excerpts from a community presentation I often give: Cholesterol: Fact and Fiction. Here are the questions and answers in True/False format. The entire slide will be available at the end if you want to peruse the actual data slides, but this gives you the overall idea:

Cholesterol: Fact and Fiction

  1. Cholesterol levels correlate with risk of heart attacks
    1. True: Data from multiple studies show a relationship between increasing levels of total cholesterol (TC), very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL) and increasing risk of cardiovascular events. There is a negative correlation between high density lipoproteins (HDL) and cardiovascular events.
  2. You need to consume cholesterol because it is an essential component to proper bodily functioning
    1. False: Cholesterol is needed by the body for important cellular functions such as proper cell membrane composition and function, steroid and vitamin D production and other vital roles. However, people get cholesterol in two ways. The body —mainly the liver — produces varying amounts, usually about 1,000 milligrams a day. Foods also can contain cholesterol. Typically the body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so people don’t need to consume it. Saturated fatty acids are the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol.[i] So beware labels that say “contains no cholesterol” because it may be high in fatty acids which your body will use to produce cholesterol.
  3. The cholesterol in your blood causes blockages
    1. False: Cholesterol and other fats can’t dissolve in the blood. They have to be transported to and from the cells by special carriers called lipoproteins. These are molecules that our bodies manufacture (again with genetic predispositions) that consist of different pieces of proteins and fats. Cholesterol is a component of these molecules. These molecules, as a result of both size and number, can get into the walls of the arteries. Here they can become “oxidized”; a process by which they undergo a chemical transformation. These oxidized particles cause inflammatory changes, which over time can lead to plaque being built up and the arteries narrowing due to plaque encroachment or the plaque can rupture and cause a clot to form in the artery obstructing blood flow.
  4. Cholesterol within the lining of the blood vessels causes inflammation
    1. True: The cholesterol component of the lipoproteins cannot be metabolized. It remains in the lining of the blood vessel and starts an inflammatory process and vicious cycle.
  5. The only way to get rid of cholesterol is through intestinal excretion
    1. True: Cholesterol is not metabolized; it is excreted in the intestines. The amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood is controlled in two important places — the liver and the intestines. The liver produces cholesterol (using it to make digestive — or bile — acids) and also removes cholesterol from the lipoproteins circulating in the blood. The intestines absorb cholesterol from food. The intestines also reabsorb about 50% of excreted cholesterol from bile.

 View the slides: 

Cholesterol: Fact & Fiction

[i] (AHA, 2010)





3 responses

10 06 2010

good article, is there more ???

10 06 2010

@supple: Thanks-Did you download the slide set? That has my whole presentation of slides, including data and detail that were a bit much for the post.

11 06 2010

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