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The Heart Attack Culprit: Cholesterol Isn't to Blame

A Silent Killer in Our Midst

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The Heart of the Issue

The Cholesterol Myth

Zone Living One of the best ways to live a longer and better life is to reduce the likelihood of dying from heart disease. If we could eliminate heart disease tomorrow, the average life expectancy of every American would increase by an estimated ten years. Although mortality from heart disease has decreased due to medical advances, the incidence of heart disease is on the rise.

We are led to believe that elevated cholesterol is the cause of heart disease. As a result, we have declared war on dietary cholesterol, and that has also meant a war on dietary fat. The result of that dietary approach has been an epidemic of obesity. That is why the focus of the medical community has shifted to reducing blood cholesterol levels to the lowest levels possible. Not surprisingly, the most profitable drugs (statins) known to the pharmaceutical industry are the primary weapons in this continuing war. But what if cholesterol was only a minor, secondary player in heart disease?

Protecting yourself against heart disease requires far more than just simply lowering your cholesterol levels. In fact, 50 percent of the people who are hospitalized with heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels. What’s more, 25 percent of people who develop premature heart attacks have no traditional risk factors at all. So, if elevated cholesterol isn’t the primary cause of heart disease, what is?

I am not saying that cholesterol has no role in heart disease, only that it is a secondary factor that plays a far lesser role in fatal heart attacks than silent inflammation. If your goal is to reduce the chances for a fatal heart attack, then it’s far more important to decrease silent inflammation than to decrease cholesterol. So how did the importance of inflammation get lost, and how did hype over cholesterol get started? To answer those questions, you have to go back nearly 150 years.

One of the greatest physicians in the 19th century was Rudolf Virchow. Nearly 150 years ago, he stated that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease based on his observations of autopsies of the very rare number of people who had actually died of a heart attack. At the turn of the 20th century, the greatest physician in America was Sir William Osler. When asked why he didn’t include a chapter on heart disease in the classic textbook of medicine, he replied that the disease was so rare that most physicians would never see it. However, all this began to change.

In 1913, studies by a Russian scientist demonstrated that feeding a large amount of cholesterol to rabbits induced atherosclerotic lesions. As a result of this experiment, physicians began to believe that dietary cholesterol might be the primary cause of heart disease. Unfortunately, further studies found that dietary cholesterol induced atherosclerosis in rabbits because it depressed thyroid function. If thyroid extracts were given at the same time as the dietary cholesterol, then there was no damage to the arteries. What’s more, studies in primates suggested that a high-cholesterol diet only led to accelerated lesions on the arteries if the arteries were significantly inflamed in the first place. Although these findings should have put a damper on the primacy of the cholesterol connection causing heart disease, this was not the case.


I’m confident that Ultra Refined high-dose fish oil*, especially when coupled with improved insulin control, will have a significant role to play in the treatment of heart disease. By controlling your level of silent inflammation, you can reduce your risk of dying of heart disease to being as rare as it was at the beginning of the 20th century.

To learn more about silent inflammation and heart disease read The Anti – Inflammation Zone by Dr. Barry Sears, published by Harper Collins.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As with any natural product, individual results will vary.

For more information about Dr. Barry Sears, his incredible fish oil supplements, or the popular Zone Diet, please visit

If you purchase any Zone Labs, Inc. products, part of the proceeds support CBN ministries.

Dr. Barry SearsDr. Barry Sears is a leader in the field of dietary control of hormonal response. A former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his efforts over the past 25 years to the study of lipids and their inflammatory role in the development of chronic disease. He holds 13 U.S. Patents in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

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