Healthy Beginnings

Cholesterol – not the only one to blame for heart disease, stroke and death

All our lives we have been bombarded by tough messages about cholesterol. Lower your numbers or face heart disease, stroke and death. However, retrospectively, we report that other mechanisms are responsible for heart disease, namely inflammation. Damaged, oxidized cholesterol, burned steak fat on the barbecue, and damaged fats and oils currently consumed by folks eating trans fats, margarines and heated oils cause inflammation along with the great Satan – sugar.

In the early 1970s, sugar industry lobbyists influenced medical researchers to believe that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease. Further research has shown that sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup cause metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Cholesterol the Good

Cholesterol composes about 30 percent of all cell membranes, modulates membrane fluidity and functions in intracellular transport, cell signaling and nerve conduction. Within cells, cholesterol is a precursor molecule for vitamin D and all steroid hormones, including the adrenal gland hormones cortisol and aldosterone, as well as the sex hormones progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Low cholesterol, in our experience, is associated with viral illness and Lyme disease. High cholesterol, especially 300 or over, may be an indicator of low thyroid functioning, even in the face of normal thyroid blood levels1.

Hypothyroidism and Heart Disease

These pages have been replete with praise for replenishing thyroid hormone with clinical symptoms
of low thyroid such as depression, coldness, dryness, heavy periods, fatigue and high cholesterol. When I was in medical school in the 1960s, high cholesterol was associated with low thyroid2. In 1976, Broda Barnes, MD, Ph.D., published a landmark study in his book, Hypothyroidism: the Unsuspected Illness.

In this study, he reviewed 1,569 patients who had
been on natural thyroid hormone therapy for 22 years. When compared to the Framingham Heart Study – a study conducted in Framingham, Massachusetts that is routinely used as a baseline for cardiovascular disease – he predicted that, of his patients, 72 should have suffered heart attacks (only four attacks occurred).

Cholesterol Does Not Cause Vascular Disease

Cholesterol does not cause atherosclerotic vascular disease. It is time to stop making cholesterol the solitary scapegoat for the development of heart disease. An abundance of evidence clearly links inflammation
 to cardiovascular disease. People consuming the
typical modern American diet filled with sugar, refined carbohydrates, soda and processed foods are constantly subjecting their bodies to inflammation3.

Interestingly, chlorine was first introduced in drinking water in 1912 before cardiovascular disease became common4. Water filtration to remove chlorine and other drugs and hydrocarbons is also an important part of protection against heart disease (hair analysis can detect heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum and arsenic, and is available in our office).

Magnesium Works as Well as Statins

Statin drug use to reduce cholesterol levels has been associated with memory loss and confusion1-5. The
FDA recently required that a warning label be added
to statin drugs noting that they can increase the risk
of memory loss and confusion, as well as liver damage and type 2 diabetes. Statins have also been linked to myopathy (muscle weakness), rhabdomyolysis (muscle degeneration), peripheral neuropathy (pain, numbness and tingling in the feet and legs), insomnia, heart failure and erectile dysfunction1-5. Magnesium works similarly to statins to increase good cholesterol and reduce the bad ones without side effects6.

Critics of statin research note that many studies failed to complete and publish negative findings lending less credence to support their use. There are many anti-inflammatory nutrients that we can all take to prevent cardiovascular disease. These include CoQ10, chromium, L-carnitine, vitamin C, magnesium glycinate, curcumin, green tea, resveratrol, thyroid, testosterone, measuring and removing lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury with chelation therapy all help to improve the odds in our cardiovascular battle, which is the leading cause of death in America.

For more information, call Gerber Medical Clinic at 775-826-1900 or visit


  1. Hak AE, et. al. Subclinical hypothyroidism is an independent risk factor for arteriosclerosis and myocardial infarction in elderly women: Rotterdam Study. Ann Intern Med 2000:132:270-278.
  2. Textbook of Endocrinology Edited by Robert Williams, MD. W. B. Saunders Company 1974.
  3. AW Campbell, Alternative Therapies. 2014; 20:8-9.
  4. Mughal FH. Chlorination of drinking water and cancer: a review. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 1992; 11: 287-292.
  5. Otruba P. et al. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011; 32:68-90.
  6. Rosanoff A, Seelig MS. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004; 23: 5015-55.