A high cholesterol level is often singled out as the number one health hazard. We all know about the enormous fortunes that drug companies make selling drugs to lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL)—in theory, the bad cholesterol. Do these drugs work to your benefit? In nature, there are very few sure bets. The weight of the evidence from my own independent research is that the most popular cholesterol drugs do indeed lower LDL, often by a meaningful amount.
Not being a doctor, I would never presume, of course, to offer medical advice to anyone. I am, however, a professional researcher and reader on a wide array of topics, from world currency markets and gold; to the AK-47 assault rifle, the risk of an EMP attack, the American business cycle, and the importance of compound interest and dividends; to successful retirement, investing, Burgundy food and wine, the Hammond B3 organ, and cholesterol. I do not meet with clients or patients all day. I don’t commute, attend meetings, or spend much time on the phone. I don’t watch TV (with the exception of the Patriots), play golf, or attend cocktail parties. That leaves a lot of free hours in the week to read. And read I do. In any given week, I cover a lot of ground. Good for me, right? Well yes, and good for you, too. I write to you about my findings with the thought that the subject matter that is of interest to me may also be of interest to you and your family.
On the family health front, as on most subjects, I do all of my own research. I do not rely on others. As is the case in the intelligence community, most of what you want to know is out there in white-paper form if you know where to look and are able to devote the proper time to rigorous research. On the subject of cholesterol, the literature is mixed, and I mean oddly mixed. There is by no means a consensus as to the value of lowering LDL, especially for senior citizens, women, and those among us who have not had a heart attack. In fact, there is a meaningful body of evidence to the contrary. Then there is the issue of the risks of taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. The risks are generally not well understood by the public and are quite troubling.
There is much less contrary opinion when it comes to high-density lipoprotein (HDL). High levels of HDL are usually looked upon as a plus for your health and welfare. I operate under the premise that this is so and every day take two soft-gel caps of Ultimate Omega (1280 mg of total omega-3, from purified deep-sea fish oil). Daily, I also take three soft gels of North American flax oil from Barlean’s (1335 mg of omega-3). In my view, a proper ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s is beneficial. For me, an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio between 4 to 1 and 1 to 1 looks best. As a result, I aim to hold my daily intake of omega-6 essential fatty acids in check. Many Americans operate at a 20-to-1 ratio, which is a primary cause of ill health. I work on maintaining a healthy ratio by cutting out polyunsaturated oils. Prime offenders are margarine and safflower and sunflower oils. Monounsaturated, heavy, high-heat sunflower, safflower, and avocado organic oils from companies like Spectrum are quite another matter and offer many beneficial properties.
So the cholesterol issue is complex and filled with contrary opinion. For my money, the decision to take any given drug always leads off with a strong bias against. I am 70 years old and do not take any prescription drugs. I attribute this good fortune to my rigid diet and exercise regime and to not smoking. Debbie is in the same camp and also benefits from her practice at Shakti Yoga, where she is currently working on a 10-weekend yoga teacher certification course.
I wish each of you a great start to the New Year. Through my extensive daily reading, I will be doing my best to contribute to your family’s good health and financial and personal security in 2011. Richardcyoung.com is updated for you daily, usually by 8:00 a.m. And we conclude each week with pithy e-mails from both Richardcyoung.com and our sister Incite & Insight site at Youngresearch.com. Finally (against my best instincts), you can follow us on Facebook! Happy New Year to you all.
P.S. Check out Hearst Ranch’s great grass-fed beef website.
If you’re willing to fight for Main Street America, click here to sign up for my free weekly email.