At the conclusion of a three part interview with Chris Kresser, Chris Masterjohn talks about the role of cholesterol in heart disease, how to handle cholesterol and more. During the interview Masterjohn tells listeners what to do, and what not to do about high cholesterol.
So, the first thing that we need to understand is that there are good reasons and bad reasons for increases in cholesterol in the blood. So, one of the reasons that cholesterol can increase is if we’re clearing lipids from the liver. Let’s say, for example, that a person has nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and they start resolving it. Well, one of the key problems with fatty liver disease is that the lipids get stuck in the liver and they’re not being released into the bloodstream, so once you start clearing that, part of what may happen is you may get an increase in triglycerides, and you may get an increase in cholesterol in the blood. And that is a good thing because nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is not only very dangerous for the liver, but it’s actually a much stronger predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. And this is a currently emerging field, but there is one study that was done in Japanese people, and they just looked at a number of a Japanese population that was apparently healthy, and they looked to see if they had fatty liver or not, and then they followed them over a number of years. And they found that fatty liver disease increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by over fivefold; whereas, LDL cholesterol predicted it somewhat, but the study wasn’t even statistically powerful enough to make that connection to LDL cholesterol statistically significant. And then when they incorporated LDL cholesterol and metabolic syndrome in a statistical analysis, they found that LDL cholesterol and metabolic syndrome, neither of those were even significant, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease raised the risk of cardiovascular disease by about threefold or fourfold for men and about fourteenfold for women. So, if we’re clearing lipids from the liver, then this is a good thing.
Read the entire interview here.