Your doctor likely tests your cholesterol at least once a year. And if you aren’t already on a cholesterol drug, odds are he’ll bring up medication when he does.
You see, some 30 percent of American adults over 40 are already taking a cholesterol-lowering drug. And in 2016, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association really turned up the heat. They began pushing hard for that number to go up to nearly 50 percent.
And with your doctor under all that pressure to prescribe drugs to slash LDL cholesterol, it’s only a matter of time before he starts pushing you too. After all, he’ll explain, it’s the only way to protect yourself from heart attacks and strokes in the future.
But a pair of stunning new reports reveal the truth about LDL cholesterol. And it’s what I’ve been telling you all along. When your doctor becomes hyper-focused on LDL, he’s looking in the WRONG place.
You see, there’s another form of cholesterol I’ve warned you about before. This type of cholesterol is typically far more dangerous than run of the mill LDL. Yet most doctors won’t calculate it, much less treat it.
It’s not their fault, really. They were never taught to. So today, I’ve got what your doctor doesn’t. I’ve got the scoop on this OTHER form of cholesterol, including:
- WHAT it means…
- HOW to calculate it…
- THE BEST ways to bring it down
Spoiler alert: Statin drugs aren’t the answer.
The TRUTH about LDL and your heart
This isn’t merely a matter of mainstream medicine missing the point. This oversight could have potentially DEADLY consequences. Because when it boils down to it, they’re giving you the wrong treatment for the wrong condition. Which means you could follow all their guidelines and STILL be at risk.
As I’ve shared with you here in Healthier Talk before, most of the bigger “fluffy” LDL particles pass through blood vessels harmlessly. It’s the smaller, dense oxidized cholesterol… or very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)… that you need to watch out for.
The new research finds that “remnant cholesterol” – which most doctors never bother to check – is the single biggest predictor of major cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke. And that’s where you will find that VLDL I just warned you about is hiding.
But the shockers don’t end there. There are two other details exposed by these new studies that should make any doctor who pushes statins VERY uncomfortable:
- The patients with some of the HIGHEST risks were ALREADY taking statins.
- The biggest risks of all were in patients with high remnant And this was true even when they had PERFECT levels of LDL cholesterol based on mainstream targets.
And the studies confirm that none of the drugs given for cholesterol make much difference when it comes to this new risk factor. Not statins… not high-intensity statins… not the expensive new PCSK9 inhibitors… and not the drug ezetimibe.
Calculate your own remnant cholesterol
So, unfortunately, the researchers stop short of calling for doctors to back off their LDL obsession. They point out LDL can still be a problem. It’s just not as big a factor as they thought it was.
But this is a big step in the right direction. Hopefully, one day soon, your doc will decide to talk to you about your remnant cholesterol on his own. In the meantime, you can calculate it yourself. Start with your total cholesterol. Then subtract both the LDL and HDL. What’s left is your remnant cholesterol.
One of the new studies finds every 10 mg/dL increase in remnant cholesterol raises your cardiovascular risk by 21 percent over nearly 5 years. And some of the biggest risks kick in at 30 mg/dL. But other studies have found you want it below 20 or even under 15.
The levels often jump in response to too many carbs in the diet (which also raise triglycerides). So cut back on the empty carbs along with the rest of the junk food. And don’t forget to sneak in that daily 15-minute walk (or dancing to the oldies session) I’m always encouraging you to do. When you do, both your remnant cholesterol and triglycerides should come down.
Omega-3-rich fish oil can also help cut triglycerides. And while it hasn’t been studied specifically for remnant cholesterol yet, it certainly can’t hurt there too.