Monday, November 8, 2010

Suspicious of C.O.P.s

As previously reported here, cholesterol is a benign molecule in charge of repairing cell membranes (which are 80% fat) and hence the lining of arteries. Cholesterol is also vital to synthesize hormones. Unfortunately, while busy working to patch up our leaky arteries, cholesterol has gotten a bum rap; it is now erroneously thought to be the cause of circulatory problems. That’s the thanks it gets…

Blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming the cops who show up at the scene of the crime. Well, they are found around the dead body, are they not?

A good detective would ask why the cholesterol is elevated; he/she would find that the arteries were leaky from cell membrane oxidation.[1] Then, cholesterol would get a medal for trying to repair the leaks.

The problem is that living in the same seedy precinct, cholesterol also gets oxidized. Cholesterol is then forced to do its patch-up job with one hand tied behind its back. The result is predictable: a contaminated crime scene. The patch up job is so bungled (my WWII friends would say FUBAR) that plaque forms on the arterial walls. Think of VELCRO; if both surfaces (cholesterol and arterial walls) are sticky, they will stick together. If cholesterol and the walls were free from oxidation the repair job would result in walls as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

It turns out that the repair of leaky arteries by cholesterol is happening in your very neighborhood (arteries) as you read this article; it is the way of life, creation-destruction, as symbolized by the Egyptian cross, the Ankh and the Mesopotamian Auroboros, the snake eating its own tail.

So, be suspicious of C.O.P.s, or Cholesterol Oxidized Products;[2] they are the real criminals, trying to pass for real cops at the crime scene. They raise the risk of heart disease by a factor of 8. This is most evident in people who eat too much sugar and have a diabetic or pre-diabetic problem.[3] The concept that cholesterol is the problem is so entrenched that the researchers studying C.O.P.s felt that it was “really surprising and quite significant,” even though the oxidation of cholesterol has been well documented in the medical literature for about 10 years.

That C.O.P.s are the real problem is well demonstrated by drugs that treat cholesterol like rosuvastatin; they seem to lower the risk of heart disease even in patients with normal serum lipids. A study showed that the incidence of strokes, heart attacks and other circulatory problems decreased significantly with statin drugs because they have an anti-inflammatory/ anti-oxidative action[4] and not necessarily because they lowered cholesterol.[5] Sadly, the study has been used to promote the sale of these drugs even to people with normal blood cholesterol.

So, how do you prevent oxidation instead of using a potentially toxic drug?

I thought you would never ask…

Eat more foods high in antioxidants, the very ones you no longer find any taste in, because you got used to foods excessively processed, salted and full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Fruits, vegetables and nuts, redolent with antioxidants, have been shown to reduce heart disease in numerous studies. Yet, Americans eat only 2 servings a day of these foods (French fries and ketsup,) instead of the recommended 13 servings to prevent cholesterol and arterial wall oxidation.

Fats are not the problem;[6] animal fats and trans-fats are; they have no antioxidants. So, why did we demonize all fats, including vegetable and fish based fats? For that matter, why do cholesterol-lowering drugs loom so big and fill the airwaves with their commercials?

I thought you would never ask….

[1]Oxidative Stress and its Association with Coronary Artery Disease and Different Atherogenic Risk Factors,”

J. Internal Medicine 2004;256:308

[2] British J. Nutrition 2002;88:335 & J. Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews 2007;23:35

[3]J. Family Practice News October 1st 2010, page 22 & J. Clinical Immunology 2010;134:55

[4] Oxidation also raises the inflammatory marker CRP. J. Clinical Chemistry 2007;53:456

[5] NEJM, November 9th 2008 (10.1056/NEJMoa0807646)

[6]What if Fat Doesn’t Make you Fat,” New York Times Magazine, July 7th 2002 &

The Soft Science of Dietary Fat,” J. Science 2001;291:2536


At November 10, 2010 at 4:58:00 PM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for this eye-opening post Doctor. I'm sending it off to my daughter before she ends up on statins. I seem to crave antioxidants so I go with the cravings.

At November 11, 2010 at 5:18:00 AM PST , Blogger Dr. Dawn said...

Bless you for getting the truth out! The elderly are particular victims of the cholesterol ruse. One of my patients (76 years old) brought me his blood work from his Primary, who had placed him on 80 mg of Simvastatin last year. Subsequent testing indicated progression downward to 135 and, most recently, 103. The notation next to it was "Good cholesterol control". Arghhhhh! So now I have to write a letter... again.

At January 31, 2011 at 4:19:00 PM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

good, you have some good useful tips on your website. I can appreciate that.


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