SOURCE: UltraWellness

December 11, 2007 13:55 ET

New Study Finds Lowering Cholesterol Can Be Harmful to Your Health

Mark Hyman, M.D. of UltraWellness Debunks Cholesterol Myths

LENOX, MA--(Marketwire - December 11, 2007) - For years, well-meaning doctors, echoed by the media, have emphasized what they long believed is the intimate link between cholesterol and death by heart disease. However, you may be surprised to learn that lowering your cholesterol levels can actually be harmful to your health.

In a recent study by The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that even when bad cholesterol (LDL) is under 70, statin drugs won't protect your health if good cholesterol levels (HDL) are also low.

"If you're like most of the patients that I see in my practice, you're convinced that cholesterol is the evil that causes heart disease," said Mark Hyman, M.D. of UltraWellness. "However, cholesterol is only one of many factors that contribute to your risk of getting heart disease. Most people are taught that cholesterol is bad, but the body uses cholesterol for thousands of important bodily functions."

Cholesterol helps build cell membranes, covers nerve sheaths and much of the brain, and is a key building block for hormone production. Without cholesterol, the body would not be able to maintain adequate levels of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and cortisol, and would die.

"Another cholesterol myth is that a high fat diet causes cholesterol problems and heart disease," said Hyman. "This isn't entirely true. Sugar, not fat or LDL cholesterol, is the real cause of heart disease. Sugar drives good cholesterol levels down, causing pre-diabetes and most heart attacks."

The biggest source of abnormal cholesterol is not fat, it's sugar. The consumption of high fructose corn syrup, which is present in sodas, many juices, and most processed foods, is the primary nutritional cause of abnormal cholesterol as well as most of the cholesterol issues doctors see in patients.

Another important factor is the type of fat consumed rather than the amount. Trans-fats (hydrogenated fats) and saturated fats promote abnormal cholesterol, whereas omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats actually improve the type and quantity of cholesterol the body produces.

For more information on good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol, the key factors of cardiovascular disease and heart disease, as well as tests your doctor can undertake to determine your overall risk of heart disease, visit The UltraWellness Blog.

About UltraWellness:

UltraWellness -- lifelong health and vitality -- is based on the emerging field of functional medicine, which addresses health problems not by treating the symptoms, but by balancing the 7 core underlying biological processes that govern health. This is done by finding imbalances, getting rid of the things that cause those imbalances, and providing the necessary things to restore balance, which then allows the body's natural intelligence to facilitate healing and take care of the rest. Co-founder of UltraWellness, Mark Hyman, M.D., is a respected medical consultant, New York Times bestselling author, lecturer, practicing physician and leader in the emerging field of functional medicine.