5. Cholesterol-lowering may shorten your lifesection 1). If it were, lowering of the high cholesterol by any means should prevent it, but it doesn´t (except with the new group of cholesterol-lowering drugs, the statins; see below).
Before the introduction of the new cholesterol lowering drugs, the statins, more than 40 trials have been performed to test if cholesterol-lowering can prevent a heart attack. In some of the trials the number of fatal heart attacks were lowered a little, in other trials the number of fatal heart attacks increased. Overviews of the trials have shown that when all results were taken together, just as many died in the treatment groups (e.g. those whose cholesterol was lowered) as in the untreated control group (78,79). The following table gives the accumulated results. None of the differences were statistically significant. Nor were they by more sophisticated analyses.
That some overviews have shown a positive result after cholesterol-lowering is because they had ignored or excluded one or more trials with a negative outcome (79).
The mentioned overviews included mostly diet and/or the older cholesterol-lowering drugs. But a new type of drugs, the socalled statins (for instance Zocord®, Mevacor®, Lescol®, Lipitor® and Pravachol®) have been succesful. However, their effect isn´t exerted through cholesterol-lowering, they have other and more useful properties Unfortunately they also stimulate cancer growth (see section 6)
Some of my scientific papers about this and similar issues:
questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in
cardiovascular disease. J Clin Epidemiol 1998;51:443-460.
Read also a dissent to the paper: Golomb BA. Dietary fats and heart
disease-dogma challenged? and my answer; same journal and same issue.
This paper won the Skrabanek award 1999
popular-scientific books, where you can read much more: