My father has been off Lipitor (and statins) since May last year, so that’s 10 months, and he’s now had his first blood test which, of course included his cholesterol levels. My mother came to me concerned that Dad’s cholesterol level had increased to 6mmol/l (from 3 mmol/l a year ago when on Lipitor).
Actually that’s fantastic news, but it was a strong reminder how indoctrinated we all are that everyone must have a low cholesterol level. Even I had to remind myself that 1) for men over the age of 50, the relationship between cholesterol levels and CHD disappears and 2) as we get older our cells need more cholesterol for repair (see my blog page on ‘Statins – The Basics’ for a summary of cholesterol in regard to levels, age, CHD etc).
As my father is nearly 80 years old, he should have a level over 5.5mmol/l, but it’s hard for my parents to ignore what the rest of the media is telling them. I was concerned that my father had started taking Lipitor again, but luckily they trust me… Actually it’s difficult for me too, but I strongly believe that for my father, at his age, the risks and side effects of taking statins far outweigh the dangers of not taking it – especially the 80mg of Lipitor he was taking previously!
But the hype about cholesterol & saturated fat causing heart disease keeps propagating… One recent example is the Daily Mail article ‘Ban butter to save thousands of lives’ where a leading UK heart specialist warned people to cut saturated fat, by swapping from butter to margarine, to prevent heart disease. The article did go on to state that there may be some connection with Unilever, the maker of Flora margarine! The good thing the article mentioned was that there is a campaign to ban trans fats stating ‘ trans fats are much less well known than saturated fats but are much more damaging’. Plus the article went on to state ‘trans fats found naturally in meat and dairy products are not dangerous’ – it is so good to see these things actually written in a regular newspaper! (for the background to fats & trans fats read my blog pages – Undertanding the chemistry of fats – Part 1 & Part 2).
I also love Clarissa Dickson Wright’s response that her godfather who was part of the founding Unilever empire (who make margarine) made her promise to never eat the stuff as you have no idea what went in it!!!!
Another example is the current TV add by the Australian Heart Foundation that tells mothers to stop spreading butter on their children’s’ toast due to the saturated fat content, and change to margarine instead. I hate to think what damage the hydrogenated oils and manufactured trans-fats are doing to those children! I can’t see any good reason to switch from butter (grass-fed milk of course. See my blog page – Grass fed vs grain fed animal products).
Betty bought some better butter – grass fed butter J