Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Misconceptions about cholesterol

Cholesterol is a very essential chemical compound for our body. If the body does not have enough cholesterol, the production of essential hormones such as vitamin D, testosterone, estrogen and aldosterone will decrease. As a result, if the level of cholesterol in the body decreases, symptoms of illness will appear, sexual power will decrease and depression will nest in the body.

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For decades, our doctors have been saying that cholesterol is the main cause of stroke and heart disease and to avoid these diseases, we need to reduce the level of cholesterol in our blood. Not through lifestyle changes or natural means, but to reduce cholesterol, you have to take expensive drugs. It should not be difficult for anyone to understand whether they say these things for their own benefit or for the benefit of the company. 

Medical scientists published in ‘The Journal of the American Medical Association’ in 1987, the cause of death of people over fifty has nothing to do with blood cholesterol levels. The scientific research also shows that when the cholesterol level is too low, various metabolic disorders are created in the body. It does not end here. Most recently, ‘The Journal of Cardiac Failure’ and the journal ‘Lancet’ have published, when blood cholesterol levels decrease, the mortality rate of complex heart patients increases.

Cholesterol obtained from nature is not dangerous to health. But cholesterol is destroyed when it is cooked or burned at high temperatures. Cholesterol is not easily converted at 100°C. But when cooked for an hour at 120 degrees or more, cholesterol is converted into different chemical compounds through oxidation. These are called damaged cholesterol. These harmful substances include 7-alpha hydroxycholesterol, 7-beta hydroxycholesterol, 5-alpha epoxycholesterol, 5-beta epoxycholesterol, cholestane triol and 7-ketocholesterol.

Bad cholesterol actually refers to these harmful compounds. Besides, it is not right to call cholesterol bad cholesterol or good cholesterol. But all cholesterol is bad in excess. No cholesterol is bad in moderation. The bad side of LDL cholesterol is one class people prefer to look at. Do we recognize the numerous good functions of LDL cholesterol in the body? 

When heated to a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius, the structural signal of cholesterol is completely broken. Foods that require more than 120 degrees of temperature to cook, the existing cholesterol in those foods is not healthy, it is converted into harmful cholesterol. Cholesterol-rich animal foods such as beef, cow, buffalo meat are hazardous to health as they have to be cooked at high temperatures for a long time.

If someone constantly eats foods rich in harmful cholesterol and free radicals, these harmful substances will increase the density of the blood and gradually begin to accumulate in the lesions created on the inside of the veins. So cholesterol-rich foods cooked at high heat for a long time or fried in burnt oil can increase your risk for stroke and heart disease.

Cholesterol is a very essential chemical compound for our body. If the body does not have enough cholesterol, the production of essential hormones such as vitamin D, testosterone, estrogen and aldosterone will decrease. As a result, if the level of cholesterol in the body decreases, symptoms of illness will appear, sexual power will decrease and depression will nest in the body. Doctors who prescribe statin drugs (Generic: Atorvastatin, Brand: Lipitor, Mavacor, Zucor, Pavacol, Lascol) to reduce cholesterol, their sexual ability or sexual desire is often reduced or destroyed (Loss of libido). Many patients have to resort to the doctor again with this problem. Many doctors then advise the patient to take Viagra or other such dangerous drugs, which exposes him to danger.

One more important fact to remember. Cholesterol is an essential building block for the trillions of cell walls in our bodies. It is mandatory to have enough cholesterol in the body as cell walls cannot be formed due to lack of cholesterol. Cholesterol makes up 25 percent of the brain’s total volume. Without enough cholesterol, the brain cannot function properly. Despite all this, doctors advise patients to take high-dose statin drugs like chocolate or candy to lower cholesterol.

One study found that in three-quarters of patients, this group of drugs did not work at all or only marginally. In a study published by the Cochrane Library, 14 trials of statins in 34,000 patients found depression, mood changes, liver problems or reduced performance, kidney failure, cataracts, muscle damage and temporary memory loss among patients. The statin group of drugs is now ruling the world. In 2007, sales of Lipitor in the United States alone were approximately eight billion dollars. And its worldwide sales were at least 13 billion dollars. In 2001, US doctors prescribed Lipitor to 57 million patients. Why do so many people take anti cholesterol drugs? For this, medical scientists and doctors have a big role to play.

In 2004, a group of doctors lowered the normal range of LDL from 130 to 100 to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. In the name of reducing the risk of heart disease, they again lowered the LDL level from 100 to 70. As a result of lowering this level, nearly two million people in the United States are covered by Lipitor. Dear reader, now you must understand why a single drug of Pfizer has been doing billion dollar business for years. It was later revealed that the company had a vested interest in medical scientists and doctors who were involved in lowering cholesterol levels. They received millions of dollars each from 10 companies for this unethical act. Our country is not an exception in this regard.

If the level of cholesterol in someone’s blood increases to an abnormal level, in most cases we can reduce it to normal levels through natural methods and lifestyle changes. Instead of lowering cholesterol naturally, we are doing ourselves more harm than good by taking harmful drugs prescribed by the doctor. We often get sick due to lack of health awareness. We also have a great reluctance to acquire the minimum common knowledge required for health protection. When we get sick because of self-indulgence or extravagance, we become overly self-conscious about getting well or staying healthy. Due to irrational fear, we establish such control in living or eating, which again goes to extremes. For a happy and healthy life it is always better to take the middle way.

We believe that eating cholesterol-rich foods only increases blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol-rich foods such as beef, eggs, milk, liver, brain, etc. increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Based on numerous evidences, it is said that eating cholesterol-rich foods does not change the cholesterol level of the body. Even if the cholesterol level increases by eating these foods, it does not have any effect on the body. This is mainly because 80 to 85 percent of the body’s cholesterol is made from glucose produced from sugary foods. Only the remaining 10 to 15 percent of cholesterol comes from cholesterol-rich foods.

Due to globalization our food habits are changing very fast. Not only kids but also adults are getting addicted to junk food these days. All over the country, especially in Oligli of Dhaka city, wherever I look, I see only colorful fast food shops. The foods sold in these stores contain a lot of salt, harmful cholesterol and trans fats. There are also fruit juices and soft drinks that contain excessive amounts of sugar. All the mentioned foods greatly increase the risk of stroke and heart disease in the elderly. All foods that are fried in oil or trans fats at high heat are the main cause of stroke and heart disease.

A scientific study conducted on elderly people in South Carolina, USA, has shown that there is no relationship between the so-called dietary habits of cheese, butter, whole milk, eggs, animal fat, and red meat in the body’s cholesterol level. Eating one egg a day does not increase the risk of stroke or heart attack. It is said that eating two eggs every day does not increase the risk of heart disease in healthy people. However, after years of eating egg whites, we have forgotten the taste of real eggs.


People in the underdeveloped world do not eat butter for fear of stroke and heart disease. But butter is a very useful and useful food for the body. Butter contains vitamin E, vitamin K-2 and vitamin A. It also contains useful minerals, healthy fats, iodine, antioxidants and anticancer high quality linoleic acid. We also have misconceptions about eggs. But eggs are an essential balanced food like milk. Eggs contain protein, fat, choline, selenium, biotin, B-vitamins, phosphorus, antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. For years we have been skipping this important ingredient for fear of cholesterol. There is no scientific basis for the claim that eggs raise cholesterol levels and that this cholesterol is responsible for heart attacks and strokes.

Many people do not eat milk for fear of fat. Most milks available on the market are advertised as fat-free or as containing 1 to 1.5 percent fat. I have seen exactly the same practice abroad. There is no scientific reason to think that milk with 5 percent fat instead of 1 or 1.5 percent fat is unhealthy. Yet we have become overly conservative in our consumption of eggs, milk and butter. The results of the study support that cholesterol from food is much less harmful than we thought in the past.

Chris Masterjohn earned his PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut. He said, the amount of cholesterol required by the body for daily functioning, as we cannot get that amount of cholesterol from food, the body synthesizes cholesterol itself to meet its needs. 

If we consume more cholesterol from cholesterol-rich foods, the body will produce less cholesterol to balance it. When we stop eating cholesterol-rich foods like eggs, milk, butter or liver, our body increases the synthesis of this essential compound. In 70 percent of people, cholesterol-rich foods raise cholesterol little or not at all. In the remaining 30 percent of people, cholesterol-rich foods raise cholesterol levels. However, science does not support that this increased cholesterol has any relationship with heart attack or stroke. Studies have not proven that increasing cholesterol levels in the body will cause health problems.

We can adopt some methods to avoid stroke, heart disease. One. Diet should be moderate and balanced. Exaggeration with food is not good. Two. Carbohydrates should be reduced. We eat excessive amounts of rice or bread. There is no need to eat so much rice. People who eat more rice have higher cholesterol levels. Sugary foods and soft drinks should be avoided.

A recent study found that consuming too much ‘high fructose corn syrup’ increases the risk of heart disease. Lately, soft drinks are being prepared using fructose corn syrup in addition to sugar. Many people are addicted to these sugary soft drinks. Excess carbohydrates from eating too much sugar, high fructose corn syrup, too much bread, or starchy foods lead to fatty liver and diabetes-like diseases. Fiber or fibrous vegetables, fruits, whole grains and rice should be the main part of the diet. Healthy fats include avocados, olives, coconuts, milk, eggs, butter, cheese, and freshwater fish. Foods burnt in oil, burnt and animal food cooked at high heat should be eaten less. It is essential to drink at least three liters of water every day. The rest is exercise. Adequate exercise should be done daily. Exercise stroke, heart disease, It can protect you from many complex diseases including diabetes. Everyone lives a regular life and stays healthy.

The artie is originally written in Bangla by Dr. Muniruddin Ahmad and translated by Bishleshon Team.

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Professor Dr. Muniruddin Ahmed
Professor and Head of Department, Daffodil International University and Former Professor and Dean, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Dhaka


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