The People's Perspective on Medicine

Listen to Dr. DuBroff Discuss the Cholesterol Hypothesis

Dr. Robert DuBroff, cardiologist and lipidologist, tells why he thinks we need to look again at the cholesterol hypothesis and re-evaluate statins.
Heart, high cholesterol, heart disease,

We spoke with cardiologist and lipidologist Robert DuBroff, MD, a few months ago about his take on the cholesterol hypothesis. Since that time, he has retired from his position as associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM.

You may have heard part of his interview in Show 1053: How to Have a Healthy Heart. We thought, however, that you might want to listen to more of our discussion with him. So we are offering the full interview for those who are interested.

You’ll learn who might benefit from seeing a lipidologist. Dr. DuBroff describes the history of how cholesterol got to be considered the main driver of heart disease and why he doesn’t think the cholesterol hypothesis has been proven.

We talk about studies of heart-healthy diets and discuss the implications of the ACCELERATE trial of a new medication, evacetrapib. Perhaps statins have benefits besides their ability to lower cholesterol; Dr. DuBroff also talks about some potential side effects of statins. How should these be weighed against their benefits? What are the most critical elements of a lifestyle that can help you keep your heart healthy?

We invite you to let us know what you think about this interview in the comments below.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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After taking a statin for several years, with the calves in my legs feeling as if they were on fire, I simply told my primary Dr. that I was no longer going to take it. My vascular specialist was aware of this and told me to take red yeast rice in place of the statin. My primary doc did not agree and said the red yeast rice wouldn’t do anything. I tried it, and it didn’t change my LDL much, but certainly did help the nerve and muscle pain in my legs. So I stopped the RYR. At the next trip my vascular specialist asked why I stopped taking it. He said,”Start back on it immediately.” I did and am still doing as the specialist recommended. Don’t know which doctors’ instructions to follow.

I heard this show on the radio when it aired back in October. I had just been reading about the Banting/Ketogenic diet as well as the book by Tim Nokes, Juno Proudfoof and Sallyanne Creed, “The Real Meal Revolution”, and after hearing this I made my mind up then to stop taking the statins I’d been on for over 30 years.

My wife and I have reduced our daily intake of processed carbs to near zero and overall carbs to less than 30 grams daily. The Banting diet is a high fat low carb diet very similar to the Atkins diet that gained some ground in the 80/90s, only banting screens out sugar and processed carbs as the main culprits. With all that said after two months on the “diet” (which it’s not but is a way of lifestyle change) my cholesterol check from a couple weeks ago came up with the the following: overall 369, triglycerides 93, LDL 256, and HDL 94.

As alarming as the numbers seem, if you do the ratio of HDL to overall I’m actually beating the AMAs 4:1 recommendation. I think we may have been overdoing the animal fats a bit (go bacon!) but this program reminded me how much we have to learn about and prevent heart disease and how much big pharma has against finding out the truth. The book, The Real Meal Revolution has a wealth of information along these lines and how the Banting diet has many benefits as well as the lack of science of how we got to the American diet we have now.

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