Saturday, October 29, 2005

Cholesterol: The Missing Information

Millions of people rely on various websites for accurate, sound information. One such site is which recently released an online guide, How to Lower Blood Cholesterol. For anyone interested, is a New York Times company. On their main website, New York Times Company: Our Company, they state that the "core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment."

The article in question left me wondering, where exactly was the "high-quality" aspect to the information presented? The highly visible banner at the top of the page encouraged readers to "learn more" about Vytorin, a statin drug, while the information itself was scant and offered little options to dietary intervention, with only the AHA Step 2 Diet suggested before starting stain drug therapy.

A review of the evidence shows that other dietary approaches may actually be more effective to not only lower total cholesterol, but to improve cholesterol ratios of HDL, LDL and triglycerides. It is the ratio of these components of total cholesterol that are much more important to weighing risk than total cholesterol alone or any one single component of your cholesterol panel viewed in isolation! Yet, nowhere in the article is such detail provided.

Statins are indeed effective, but they do carry some significant risks - risks that can be avoided if one explores other options and tries these other options before throwing their hands up in the air after just one dietary approach that doesn't work for them. Specifically - a controlled-carb approach!

A diet that restricts carbohydrate intake has been shown to be highly effective with cholesterol improvements in the majority (70-90%) who can maintain a controlled-carb lifestyle. Such an approach isn't for everyone - there does exist a small population of people who are "responders" and will see no benefit from carbohydrate restriction. But, if you work with your doctor, it is worth the effort to see if this alternative dietary approach is appropriate for you.

The article should have noted the data that shows controlling carbohydrate is an effective approach - but I can only conclude that such information was missing because the section about cholesterol is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. Every last page I clicked on throughout the section kept coming up with banners to Vytorin - learn more, learn more, learn more - about Vytorin! Maybe needs to change their name to!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:22 AM

    Fantastic comments, thanks! I tend to question my doc (a lot) when a new script is recommended to quickly. Sure I want to live longer --but I'm currently on a med that if I'd been told more 20+years ago, I probably wouldn't have started it. I wonder what my heart health would be like today if lifestyle changes had been preached more strongly. The change in my bathroom habits due to 3 months of Vytorin is hardly worth the fantastic readings. Since I view medicine as a 'practice', I must be allowed to interact and thus seek feedback to prepare my next discussion. Again, thanks much.