The Great Cholesterol Con

The Great Cholesterol ConStatins are the so-called wonder drugs widely prescribed to lower blood cholesterol levels and claim to offer unparalleled protection against heart disease.

Believed to be completely safe and capable of preventing a whole series of other conditions, they are the most profitable drug in the history of medicine.

In this groundbreaking book, GP Malcolm Kendrick exposes the truth behind the hype, revealing: high cholesterol levels don’t cause heart disease; a high-fat diet – saturated or otherwise – does not affect blood cholesterol levels; and, the protection provided by statins is so small as to be not worth bothering about for most men and all women.

Statins have many more side affects than has been admitted and their advocates should be treated with scepticism due to their links with the drugs’ manufacturers. Kendrick lambastes a powerful pharmaceutical industry and unquestioning medical profession, who, he claims, perpetuate the madcap concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol and cholesterol levels to convince millions of people to spend billions of pounds on statins, thus creating an atmosphere of stress and anxiety – the real cause of fatal heart disease.With clarity and wit,

“The Great Cholesterol Con” debunks our assumptions on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and diet. It is the invaluable guide for anyone who thought there was a miracle cure for heart disease, an appeal to common sense and a controversial and fascinating breakthrough that will set dynamite under the whole area.

Available on Amazon

148 thoughts on “The Great Cholesterol Con

  1. timanddog

    Thanks to your great book and many other doctors like yourself that the truth is here at last. I work in a hospice and the doctor there still believe in their God ” Statins”, and carry on prescribing it to our patients right up to their death? I asked the doctors why? And there reply is that it’s important to keep their patient’s cholesterol in check.

    1. Lyne Sanderson

      Actually the truth is, GP’s get paid a bonus for each person they put on a statin and they are fined for each person who comes off a statin. This is exactly what a GP told me, when I asked why a petite woman aged 101 was on a statin. This is also why I was not told to stop the statin I was on, despite having severe muscle pain- which is known to be a adverse side effect from the drug……I have stopped taking them!

        1. Nancy

          I am 72 and taking the statins…my back muscle pain is now killing me also seep deprived feeling low as my cholesterol, I have been told is high. Does anyone one agree I read that : an accurate blood test result should be better done if you fast the day before blood test is taken.. Thank you for your comment.

    2. Sean Coyne

      OK, that made laugh. On a similar vein, my cardiologist insisted that I go on statins, despite having no evidence of heart disease. When I pointed out that there were no studies showing any benefits, including mortality rates he got upset. He got even more upset when I asked him if he still believed that stress caused most stomach ulcers.

    3. Eric Knapp

      This issue is vastly more complex. Oxidation of LDL is a big deal. Go to and click on cholesterol articles and do your homework ! Now ! This is a big deal ! Read up on inflammation in their cardio articles !

      1. Marie Cadavieco

        Inflammation, not cholesterol, is the enemy. If your child falls down and grazes his knee, there will soon be a scab to protect and seal the wound. Is the scab the cause of the injury?

        In the same way, if an artery is damaged by inflammation, the body quickly sends some LDL cholesterol to protect and seal the lesion by forming an arterial plaque. Is the arterial plaque the cause of the damage?

          1. Giovanni Silva

            In addition to inflammation, add immune dysfunction and oxidative stress to the pathogenesis of arterial plaquing

      1. Pema Lhazom

        I am student, We have an project that we have to read your book and than we have to review your book. I have one question is there any summary of this book just overview. I mean I read your book it’s so good written but i didn’t understand what you want to Adresse us. Means main message for the people. It could help us.

        1. kate

          As a student it is best if you write your own review. Your lecturer can tell at a glance if you have used the summarry of the book to form part of your review, and the chances are you will then get 0 for the review. Your own thoughts, however basic are what he/she wishes to see, not those from the book publisher

    1. Philip Ormerod

      I’ve been taking aspirin for years with no side effects. Statins nearly killed me. Never been as fit since stopping them eight years ago. Found that a desert spoon of olive oil brought down my cholesterol and sorted out my ED without the use of viagra.

      1. Nancy

        OMG…should I go your way…??? I am 72, used to be very healthy. Not overweight but feeling shifty with muscular PAIN and sleepless night.

  2. Karen M

    I’m just beginning to re-read your book- I love the dry wit- all the more appreciated this time round. Last week I saw a registrar at the diabetes clinic I attend as a patient and she regurgitated the guff about statins and cholesterol. I pointed out to her that my LDLs and triglycerides had reduced by about 10% and my glycoselated haemoglobin had come down by 16% in the six months since my last bloods. I think my reasoning in forsaking statins must have got through to her as she said rather quietly “I’ll research that”.. Many thanks Dr Kendrick!

      1. Mary

        Dr. Kendrick,
        Forgive my ignorance and I may have read this in your book. Is there any way to reverse atherosclerosis once that process of injury to the endothelium along the vessel wall begins? So many are bullied into taking statins because for whatever reason there may be some mild atherosclerotic changes that may not need stenting or surgery but are seen via angiogram. My doctor used to tell me that statins can reverse that process. So, is there any theory whereby one naturally reverses those signs once there? In other words, can those “injuries to vessel walls” be reversed or healed? If so, have you seen this in your practice? Can you shed light?

        1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

          My own view is that you need to change the balance from damage to repair. The body is always being damaged, always repairing itself. So, if you reduce the damage to the endothelium and/or stimulate more repair, you should be able to heal.

      2. martin Reynolds

        Malcolm believe me you are changing it! from small acorns have grown mighty oaks.Thank you for your revelations on this matter.

      3. E.H de Groot

        You did help a lot of my family members who use statins. Once off the statins they lost all of their small pains and are healthy now.

  3. Karen M

    I’ve just read a long abstract of Beatrice A Golomb’s review of the literature and evidence of the adverse effects of statins on mitochondria (originally published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs 2008). It substantially supports Dr Duane Graveline’s experience and research. Much of what Graveline describes and what Golomb discusses is my own experience of atorvastatin (and of simvastatin before that).

    Dr Kendrick, what is your perspective of the adverse effects such as myopathy and cognitive dysfunction? I would be really interested.

    1. Hans

      …to get off the sugar and starch. Sugar is toxic to the endothelium. Sugars/starch raise insulin levels, high insulin production overworks the pancreas (probably not good for you), high insulin levels are not good for inflammation.

      Go paleo. Eat saturated FAT (meat) from grassfed ruminants. Eat a bunch of eggs if you like. Eat what your ancestors ate 10000 years ago. Or if you have the lactose tolerance gene (from about 5 or 6000 years back), then yee haw, add fresh, organic, preferably un-homogenized milk/dairy to your menu. If your genes don’t permit you to digest milk – say goodbye to it, but don’t try to “replace” it with soy milk. Soy is death on the installment plan.

      Did your specific ancestors eat broccoli or beans 3000 years ago? If not, neither should you. Crucifers are toxic weeds . And beans are unnatural (originally toxic) newcomers. But your own digestive tract probably lets you know that, eh?

      Dump all grains (wheat, oats, rice, corn…) and potatoes – unless you’re Native American and are sure that you can thrive on your ancestral “maize” or Inca potatoes. Low carb is the way.

      Reduce the stress in your life…
      Think positive. Put out positive energy toward others. Give them a chance, they will respond. “Good vibes, man!” Make it your philosophy. Find an outlet for your creativity and/or energy. Get fresh air and sunlight. Make it a habit. Play. Ride a bike, hike, ski, sky dive or just walk and talk to those you happen to meet. Make peace with the world. It’s no big deal. We’re all here in the Milky Way together. Travel- even if just a short distance to see new things to have new experiences. Change the scenery. Fill your calendar with plans to change your life positively. But also factor in mellow, relaxing meditative days whenever you need them. Allow yourself freedom try new things even if you’re really bad at them. Try to learn something new every day. Make the plans to do all these positive things and then DO them.

      1. Sean

        Have to agree with a lot of this. Getting rid of stress is the hardest part though, as it’s often a lifelong habit formed early. Driving in traffic does it to me…grrrr. Hobbies are great though. Hell I fly model planes and although you’d think that was stressful (it can be, lol) it’s good stress and the companionship and larfs at the club makes your whole day. Mmm what else? Oh yeah maybe munch some vitamin C through the day? Linus Pauling may have been on to something there, Some people report reversal of arterial plaque with high dose Vitamin C and lysine supplements. Hard to know if it’s true or another con though.

      2. Harold Hedge

        Yes let’s be like our ancestors and all die before we’re 40, and while we’re at it let’s make this author of this book another million and maybe kill off a few more Grandparents!

      3. Hans

        Life expectancy in Mongolia – a rather extreme example being that it’s a place where life can be hard, health care isn’t quite up to “Western standards” and where they eat lots of meat and dairy like their ancestors – is about 70 years. That’s 30 years past the point where you seem to think people should be dropping dead from a diet heavy in animal fat and cholesterol. Wait… let me do the math again…40 + 30 = 70… yep. Even the ‘sickly Mongolians’ far outlive the “40 years” you think our ancestors “all died before” reaching.

        Also, look up some guy named Genghis Khan. I understand that at some point in history he and a few of his sickly meat-and-dairy eating friends tried to expand their territory but were too darn weak and decrepit and could only manage to conquer most of Asia creating the largest contiguous land empire in history. Imagine what they could have done if they had eaten 5 servings of fruit and veggies every day!

        Fare thee well, Harold.
        All the information to live a long(er) and better life (with regard to diet and/or drugs) is available and just waiting for you to look at and honestly evaluate for yourself. I invite you to read through my other comments (and conversations with others on this page.) You’re also free to turn away and go on believing as you have. It is after all, “your life”. Good luck with your choice because you will be betting your life that what you’ve been taught up to now is true.
        Fare thee well, mighty warrior.

  4. Mandi Kraft

    I agree with much of this but I’m afraid I don’t think that we have such a direct line to our ancestors as to be able to ask whether people we’re descended from thousands of years ago might have eaten broccoli, beans or maize. There’s too much genetic mishmash.

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      I agree that we don’t really know, for sure, what our ancestors ate. However, we do know they ate animals. And, until the advent of farming, they ate very little in the way of grains and suchlike.

      1. Mandi Kraft

        True – and that’s what I agree with: that we should not be eating grains the way we do – as they were unlikely to form a large part of the diet and they affect insulin. Greens, tubers, nuts and berries were probably the most common gathered foods. So I just can’t see saying that cruciferous vegetables are weeds – they’re brassicas, an ancient family of greens with valuable nutrient properties which do not seem to be reliant on human genetic typing to have effect! And anyway, my point was: my genes come from Ireland but include genes from Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, including a whole bunch of others with the possible inclusion of some modern African genes too (and that’s just recent history, who knows what my great-to-the-power-of-twenty grandparents were up to). Can I therefore say I SHOULD be eating Brassicas (they were eaten at least 7000 years ago in the Med) or beans, also eaten for thousands of years in the Med area? This is my problem with rigid paleo: we don’t really know and in any event, SOME evolution has surely happened during the agri-era. But what we do know – as you say, Dr Kendrick – is that grains in quantity, as a staple and especially a refined staple, have led us down a dangerous path. Now we have people who simply can’t, in my view, tolerate grain foods (while some can eat a bit more of them).We do know that we are well adapted to eating animals and that greens, berries in particular, nuts, seeds and tubers have also had a very long history with the human race. So our diets should reflect both that history and the particularly poisonous nature of grain products in modern life

      2. Andrew Kinsella

        Agreed on grains,
        however we do have a reasonably good idea of what the Australian native population ate prior to the European occupation.
        Vegetable matter (from diverse sources, including various tubers) was a big component- and mostly collected by the tribeswomen.
        I suspect there may be an issue with any diet that relies too heavily on one vegetable staple.

      3. Richard Malone

        I guess our ancestors ate what they could, whereas we can eat what we like. So somewhere between just surviving and gluttony there will be a balance. If I pick up a heavy weight a few times every day, my body will adapt. If it has the nutrients it needs, it will adapt more efficiently. If I have cardiovascular damage and I place physical demands on my body while supplying quality nutrition, my body will respond by adapting and repairing. To encourage the success of this process, one needs to adopt a positive attitude that their body can and will heal itself given the right conditions. How can one adopt a positive belief/attitude if they feel like crap. Positive affirmations. Dwell on them, repeat them, meditate on them. While you are feeding your body quality nutrition and your mind positivity you also place some regular physical demands on your body. Don’t go crazy. Be kind to yourself.

    2. Hans

      If you have genes from far flung points on the globe then yes determining your own logical modern diet based on your (varied) ancestors will require a little more consideration. But doing so is still logical…

      If you have “Irish genes” should you be eating potatoes? Sure, we all know the historical connection of potatoes with Ireland… “It has been a staple of the diet” there, right? So, to eat or not to eat?
      There were no potatoes in Ireland until (figuratively speaking…) Columbus returned from the Americas. Potatoes -and tomatoes, and the rest of the New World plants and fruits- could not have been included in European diets earlier than say, about the 1500’s or 1600’s. That is simply not enough time to “evolve” genetically to that change in diet from what ancient Europeans ate for the preceding 30,000 years before Columbus set sail. If you doubt what I say, show me the “potato-eating gene” in the modern Irish-persons DNA. It should be somewhere there in the helix, listed under “P” for potato, or “T” for tuber… On the other hand the lactase-gene is no phantom. 99% of Swedes have it. I’m not Swedish but my ancestors came from Ground Zero of the “Funnel Beaker culture” area (Germany, Denmark, “Angle-Land”) where they learned to drink milk like mad and thrived on it. There is a map floating around showing distribution of the lactose tolerance gene in Europe… There’s also maps showing gluten intolerance. Funny how the further you get away from the ancient Milk-Drinking Ground Zero, the more “lactose intolerance” we find. And the further you get away from the Cradle of Agriculture in the Middle-East, between the Tigris & Euphrates, the more “gluten intolerance” and celiacs we find. Especially Northern Europe, Ireland, too. Imagine that!

      Look up the history of the cultivation and spread of broccoli (as just one example). How long would it have been on the average family’s table in Ireland? In central France? Or in central Spain in its’ present form? In the local medieval supermarkets in Warsaw? Probably nowhere near as long as you think.

      Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying “NEVER eat pizza or potato chips!”. I’m just saying the vast majority of one’s diet should not be unnatural…unfamiliar stuff for one’s own body. I suggest Paleo because it’s a good place to start – like an exclusion diet. You add in more things as you go. I myself am obviously not paleo because of milk consumption. But as noted above I’ve got a 6000 year old “app” for that and it works pretty well 🙂

      1. Mandi Kraft

        Do not make assumptions about what commenters do and do not know. I would be willing to wager I know more than you do about the origins of plant foods, as a science writer who has written extensively on the subject. My main point is that almost without exception we are made up of such a mix of genes that it would be impossible to trace whether one’s ‘specific ancestors’ ate beans or broccoli 3000 years ago, the time you originally mentioned (which in any case is probably too little for much evolution to have taken place, especially since we have displaced physical evolution to a large extent with cultural evolution). You could trace your mitochondrial DNA as far back as about 10,000 years or so, through a process that is still, I believe, not that easy to gain access to – but there’s nothing so direct in my knowledge for the male line. So – and this was my other point – while I agree with the main thrust of eating along the lines, in terms of macro-nutrients – that we evolved to eat, I simply don’t think it is workable to pick on specific greens and say they are weeds. ALL vegetable plants have been hugely changed by agriculture – what, should we only eat berries and fungi gathered in the woods?

        1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

          Mandi. I have approved this comment, but I would please ask you to keep the debate as scientific as possible. None of us know how much other people know about a thing, and one thing that I am always sensitive to is the sense that ‘expertise’ has any credence in scientific debate. Einstein was a patent clerk, Darwin a clergyman, Mendel an unknown priest, Wegener had no reputation in the field of Geology.

      2. Kevin

        Presumably there was a first ancestor to consume the milk and milk products, presumably there bodies then had to do some adaptation to be able to tolerate the lactose or were they ‘magically’ already tolerant. The reason that it took off in central Europe earlier than the middle east is probably more down to longevity, European climate is much cooler than the middle east and there the milk products kept longer.

        As long as you can tolerate a food and you enjoy it, eat it. Just make sure you eat a balanced diet and don’t consume anything to excess – all excesses have negative effects.

        1. Hans

          In answer to the question: “…or were they ‘magically’ already tolerant”: No magic needed. This is where evolution stepped in and adjusted genetics guiding the development of diet from then on. Just as adults the world over at that time were lactose intolerant so were the adults in Northern Europe. But all young (still nursing) children the world over – particularly babies – are indeed lactose tolerant in order to live on their mother’s milk and so cows/sheep/goats’ milk could be given to the babies as a supplement of nutrition or perhaps even in place of mother’s milk if mom couldn’t produce. This practice of supplemental nourishment for babies and younger nursing children at first would have been obviously advantageous in survival and physical development. Natural selection would then favor those children who could stretch their tolerance of lactose into young adulthood. They would come to outnumber the the kids who could not and their lactase-persistent genes would be passed on to their offspring and descendants until you arrive at (what is often found in Northern Europe) : life-long lactose tolerance.

          1. serena hearn

            i do not believe in the still unproven theory of evolution i believe in god a plant based diet is best but too much of anything is not good and we way over do wheat and sugar in todays world.

    3. Hans

      Look up the video “The Vegetarian Myth” with Lierre Keith on YouTube. Goats will probably eat raw broccoli, but I wonder if a cow would… a cow that isn’t starving… Just a thought.

      1. Noonan

        Wait a minute, Mandi gets chided because she’s not keeping the debate “as scientific as possible” but Hans gets to churn out as much paleo dogma as he pleases? Color me confused.

    4. Hans

      First you admonish: “Do not make assumptions about what commenters do and do not know.”

      And then you say: “I would be willing to wager I know more than you do..”

      Hello, Mandy? Anyone home at Hypocrisy Central?

      I really didn’t know I had transgressed so harshly. I thought I was just mentioning something that was factual. You might know “99%” more than me. Does that mean then that I can’t speak of and reaffirm when Columbus crossed the ocean blue? Where am I wrong?

      Are you going to fight me on when the potato got to Ireland? I humbly think the weight of historical written record will prevail against you.

      Wow, you really love them greens. I get that. I’m sorry if your genetics are such a “mishmash” – your own words – but for many (or at least some) the picture of what was available to ancestors is pretty dang transparent. (Now I’m wondering if you would criticize the Maasai tribesmen for not eating bags of broccoli…or some other shrub.)

      I apologize in advance for my unremarkable genetics …but all of my ancestors came from north of the Alps. Upon inspection of that area one does not find for example any banana trees. Darn it. And “3000” years ago one would not find any native growing apple trees, peach trees, plum trees, oranges, lemons or wine grapes around or watermelons littering the floor of the dark forests and heathen moors and bogs. You would find no wheat fields. Grains and grain growing on any kind of communal or organized scale didn’t begin among the northern “barbarians” (nomadic herders and hunters from what is now Ukraine) until they had contact with the Romans after moving into central Europe and got hooked on carbs. It’s said the Germans really liked the Roman’s white bread. Germans have today become great bakers of all kinds of breads and high-glycemic goodies. Doesn’t mean that habit is natural or healthy by a long shot. What do we know about “3000 years ago”? Well, around 2000 years ago I have the Roman historian Tacitus helpfully describing what my ancestors ate and had available to them. One memorable remark is that “the Germans live on the fruits and berries of the forest, venison and coagulated milk.” Tacitus didn’t mention “fungi” specifically when they went shopping in the woods, but maybe some ate lichen and ‘shrooms too. Not my kind of thing, personally.

      Around this time, the Germans had just begun to adopt and incorporate beer-making which requires an effort of clearing land to plant hops, barley, fermentable grains and also requires some technology in the form of pots and containers and know-how. Doubt that was very widespread since bare subsistence and getting through the winter was so important that clearing land for livestock was far more preferable to planting anything for recreation or side dishes.

      Wikipedia says:
      “Broccoli was brought to England from Antwerp in the mid-18th century by Peter Scheemakers.”

      This means that my English ancestors (half of my mishmash) would not have seen a head of broccoli in the marketplace until the 1700’s. Assuming they even lived near the (southern?) port cities. Which mine did not. Do you oppose this timeline claim for the arrival of broccoli in the British Isles? Let me know when your book comes out correcting that faulty history.

      Still following the trail of broccoli and other related toxic weeds I clicked on the link at the bottom of the Wikipedia page to Texas A&M’s page about cabbages, “kohlrabi” and Brussels sprouts, which they say “apparently were unknown anywhere more than a mere 400 to 500 years ago” and “It is said to have been first grown on a field scale in Ireland in 1734, in England in 1837” and “The first rough description of [Brussels sprouts] was in 1587, and some famous botanists as late as the 17th century referred to it only as something they had heard about but had never seen.”

      It kinda seems like if you investigate, you can pretty much nail down what was and was not eaten by your ancestors. But you have at those wild cabbages if you want, Mandy. I for one shall not deny you them. At any time, in any amount.

      1. Mandi Kraft

        It seems that I am unable to get across what I am trying to say. I will not try again; I cannot, without writing a tome, and I doubt I will succeed. I must be a terrible communicator. And, as you point out, a hypocrite – I see what you mean and apologise for that. I made assumptions not only about what you were saying, but your tone.

        1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

          Mandi, Language confuses as much as it enlightens. It often takes my many goes to get my points across. I am certain you wish to improve the health of everyone – as are we all. In truth we are all on the same side here.

      2. Christine

        It amuses me how everyone refuses to admit to the inconvenient truth that our early ancestors lived to about the ripe old age of 35 and that nutrition probably played a role in that.

      3. liz3321

        Christine, a lack of available food might well have played a part in early mortality, but that tells us nothing about the relevance of the type of food. There are many reasons for shortened life expectancy in hunter gatherer populations. High infant mortality is an important one, with lack of medical care skewing the figures for life expectancy both in infants and children. The dangers of hunting also add to mortality.

        A 2007 study by Gurven and Kaplan looked at ethnographic studies on living Hunter Gatherer populations and analysed the available data on lifespan and mortality. reported here:
        Hunter gatherers with access to modern medicine who lived to 45 years old had another 24.6 years of life expectancy. = 70 years of age.
        Mark Sisson reports “This data shows that human longevity is not a product of modern living. It shows that we have inherent proclivities toward long life, as long as we satisfy certain criteria – namely, the steady acquisition of food and shelter and the avoidance of infection, trauma, illness, and violent injury.”

        “On average, 57%, 64%, and 67% of children make it to 15 years among “untouched” hunter-gatherers, forager-horticulturalists, and acculturated hunter-gatherers, respectively. That makes perfect sense, given what we know about child mortality rates in HG populations. The “wildest” groups, the HGs, who rely on hunted and gathered food also experience the most childhood deaths, while the hunter-gatherers with similar diets but presumable access to certain modern trappings enjoy the best childhood survival. Acculturated groups in this study were characterized by increased access to immunization and medical care, especially for children.

        “Of folks who hit age 15, the percentage of hunter-gatherers who make it to age 45 is higher than the percentage of forager-horticulturalists who make it to age 45, but not by much – 64% to 61%. Acculturated hunter-gatherers excel here; 79% of their 15 year-olds make it to age 45. You might even say the study’s acculturated hunter-gatherers were essentially Primal, eating and moving traditionally while enjoying access to modern medicine.

        “From age 45, the mean number of expected remaining years of life is 20.7, 19.8, and 24.6 for hunter-gatherers, forager-horticulturalists, and acculturated hunter-gatherers, respectively. Give or take a few years, they could all “expect” to live about two decades if they were still alive by age 45 – a far cry from a “nasty, short, and brutish” existence.

    5. Hans

      Sorry I misspelled your name, Mandi. Not intentional. I must have Barry Manilow and the conditioning of all those junior high slow dances stuck in my head.

    6. Hans

      Mandi, You and I seem to disagree that ancestral diets can be determined. You might say “not at all” whereas I will say “Close enough.” Is that about right? For yourself, you may have the added hurdle that your genetics are more diverse and to some degree unknown (?)…but even in that case the native diets of any part of the world – at any given point in time – can be researched (looked into…) and you can get a good picture of what was consumed or not. I will leave it to you to determine and decide for yourself (as you alone must) what people in North/equatorial/Southern Africa or Celts in Ireland or French Vikings (Normans), etc lived on at different specific moments in time. Or ya can just throw all that out the window and settle for Twinkies and Doritos. Lots of people do.

      I have enjoyed (cooked) broccoli in my life. Very recently in fact. But one learns things.

      The Weston Price people have a reasonable write up : “Bearers of the Cross: Crucifers in the Context of Traditional Diets and Modern Science”. Food for thought.

      If I take what is known about crucifers (or anything else) and couple that with the knowledge that my genes have had no historical (or only limited) exposure to these foods then it seems logical to me I should avoid them. This is merely how I’ve arrived at my current views. (That and my own experience with raw broccoli.) I wish you well in finding answers to your own questions.

      Dr Kendrick’s examination/comparison of cholesterol levels with heart disease – the famous (or infamous) chart- is a great example of looking at the evidence, in the cold light of day, and coming to the logical conclusion. I once confronted a (family member’s) doctor – a statin supporter- with the seemingly strange situation of the Spanish, French and Swiss having high cholesterol and low cardiovascular problems and the Australian natives with just the opposite situation. I expected one of two responses: Either a spirited well-rehearsed industrial refutation of my claims, or outright calling my basic facts “fraudulent”, “inaccurate”, “mistaken” etc. I got neither. He was like a deer in headlights and could only say, “Well, we don’t really know why some populations do better on some diets…”

      If the statin supporters don’t know what they’re doing why would they drug people? On a life-long basis?

  5. timanddog

    It’s all very well to eat a cave persons diet, but remember that where they lived to the ripe old age of around the 20’s to 30’s we are living to around the 70’s to 90’s. So our diet is not all bad. We are dieing of cancer and heart problems and they died of being eaten by animals and viruses. Perhaps they did not usually die from heart problems because they did not grow as old as us and wear out their bodies with age? I suffer if I eat their diet of berries and nuts as then I’m sitting for hours on the toilet. So I use instead the war time diet of small amounts of everything that I grow in the garden and grass fed meat,

  6. Mikael

    Research show that people who have low cholesterols levels dies first and those who have higher cholesterol levels lives longer. Reason is that statins kills all vital cholesterols. Bad cholesterol LDL with a particle size smaller than 25 nm are those who mess up with the blood vessels and make cardiovascular problems. Reason to those DLD25nm are sugar, omega-6 and the oxygen in the blood. They are making the body to start produce LDL25nm and only way to prevent them to be created is to stop eating carbs and high doses of omega-6. The big fluffy cholesterols are there to deliver the health care units to repair the blood vessels after sugar and omega-6 have also started an silent internal inflammation in the vessel. They deliver repair folks to the damage place. Indications shows that diabetic peoples with blood vessel problems in their eyes seams to stop leaking after they stop eating sugar and vegetables oil “omega-6” since their blood vessel stops rusting. The human are collectors and hunters. We have hunted for fish, and other animals rich in saturated fat and omega-3. Before all our food was not rich in carbs as they are today and they where eaten in the autumn to get fatty for the winter. Same as the bear does when they go for winter sleep. Sugar is killing us.

  7. Justin Roy Olson

    Hi doctor I follow as closely as I can to the Weston a price foundation and have cut out grains wheat and sugar except for fruits and veggies as much as possible I have a total cholesterol of 241 a LDL level of 128 and a HDL level of 104 VLDL level of 9 I had some sugar levels come back I didn’t like it was 5.5 for my Hba1c I think that is what it is and also Bellevue I didn’t drink enough water that morning cause my hematocrit and RBC were higher

  8. Yvonne Wieters

    So does diet correct the high cholesterol levels? I was just put on this medication 2 days ago. I do not like taking RX medication because they usually do more harm then good. I have taken only 2 days and have had a headache ever since. I will discontinue taking until I do further research. I am 65 yrs old, 5’6″, weight 180. My medical HX is sever fibromyalgia and hypothyroid. What do you recommend?

  9. piet

    While my HDL/LDL ratio was good, a recent test for Lipoprotein Lp(a) and (b) showed I have a hereditary high Lp(a) which is the BAD one as it fosters cholesterol deposition by enhancing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It is the oxidised LDL which penetrates the endothelium and leads to the buildup pf plaque and consequent vascular disease. Artery blockage plaque is composed mostly of Lp(a) and not ordinary cholesterol.

  10. timanddog

    Here I am coming up to 67 years old. I don’t know what my numbers are and I really don’t care. I’ve spent the last six years and more reading everything about cholesterol and statins.I have also stopped taking Calcium blockers and Propanalol. I don’t eat all these fad diets. I just eat normal home made meals,with fat on my meat, butter and plenty of salt. I drink milk, and eat small amounts of bread. I do eat large amounts of chocolate. I go for long walks every day.I avidly follow Dr.Kendrick blog. So what is being healthy? Is it popping the endless pharmaceutical drugs? Or living your life and saying NO to DRUGS?

  11. Sally McGuire

    Dear Dr. Kendrick, thanks so much for your wonderful book- I read it when it first came out and have just finished re-reading it. VERY helpful. I always wonder though how you could possibly have resisted referencing the Bandar-log?

  12. elizabeth874

    Just wondering about “commercially confidential” data. If companies are so confident that their statins are unmitigatedly perfect, why don’t they just publish their data? They could redact any trade secrets on formulations.
    Other than the potential for damage to sales if the information didn’t reveal them to be superabundantly wonderful, can you tell me what other sort of information from their trials might damage their interests? I can’t think of any, but perhaps I’m missing something?

  13. Marc

    Great book and I loved the humor, and the clear and solid information even more…. but one question where I can’t find the answers for; what about highly elevated levels of Triglycerids (12-14 mmol/L untreated), while the LDL/HDL levels are “normal”. I surely want to stop the use of my Cholesterol medicine; I have all the bad symptoms (pain in muscles, exhausted, skin problems etc.)

    1. timanddog

      Hi Marc, As a retired hospice nurse, and seeing hundreds of people die. I have come to the conclusion, that life is for living until we are allowed to die from old age. In today’s world to die from old age is the last thing we are being allowed to accomplish. Doctors, the NHS and pharmaceutical companies do not want us to go to our death bed in such an uncomplicated way. These days we have to become patients from our birth onwards, with illnesses that we did not suffer from until the medical profession decided that something that’s normal should be called a name. So doctors, nurses and research scientists and anyone who wanted to make a name for themselves, made up the illness. Ancel Keys and the 21 Ops! I mean 7 country’s and all the other crack pots to the present day.
      So to live a healthy life and to enjoy your life (remember we have only ONE life) and die of old age (unless you get run over by a double decker bus) STOP worrying about all these made up illnesses and get your life back.

      1. Hans

        Right on, timanddog.

        “Life is for living” made me think of the Who song “Had Enough”. Yes, it’s rough and hardly optimistically worded (by Mr. Entwistle from the rough tough world of 1978) but it has a very up and defiant spirit and feeling to it. It tells me: Go, do, and live now!

      2. Jeanette Nguyet Pham

        I totally agree with the last comment. Let’s live a healthy, active and useful life using our common sense and basic knowledge about food.
        I am a very fit 72 years old retired scientist of Asian back ground. I exercise moderately every day by walking, doing yoga, aqua-aerobics. My cooking includes a variety of vegetable and a variety of protein such as fish, chicken, beef, pork, sea food.
        My blood pressure and blood glucose are normal. I always refused to test for cholesterol. Recently, on my GP insistence, I got it tested. Both my LDC and HDC are high!
        My GP started me on Statin 10 mg. The second night I could not sleep, insomnia side effect.
        I have decided to stop taking Statin after a month, having tried it a few times Every time, the side effect was the same.
        I’d rather live a normal healthy and active life, helping people in needs and not to worry about the “silly business of cholesterol”! Half the population is on Statin, how ridiculous! What happens to our common sense?
        The older sister of my friend, living in California, had to go to Emergency three days after she started Satin. She did not sleep the entire three days! Although rare, insomnia is a terrible side effect of Statin!

  14. Lisa

    Whenever I hear about strict paleo with no grains, I always think about the places all over the world where people live to be very old in good health with little dementia. I notice they all consume grains – in moderation. They also spend a lot of time outside (which keeps their circadian rhythms on track and gives them plenty of D), are physically active daily as part of life (vs going to gyms), get good sleep, have strong communities, etc. etc. It seems funny to pick one element of diet and assign all the blame when modern humans also spend almost no time outside, spend too much time sitting and staring at screens, don’t get enough sleep, eat too much processed food and sugar, don’t have strong communities, etc. There are lots of things that could be causing our problems! Hard to tease apart (and maybe all contribute).

    In terms of diet, I like Michael Pollan’s advice: Eat food (ie something your great grandmother would recognize as food), not too much, mostly plants. I think if everyone followed that dietary advice, and lived more like the people do in those places where they age so well, we’d see a lot less chronic disease – with or without gluten …

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      I agree that people become obsessed by diet, and head off towards extremes at very high speed. My own view is that (so long as you do not subsist entirely on pot noodles, and other highly processed foods) you can eat what you enjoy and not worry about it. Our bodies can cope with a wide variety of diets. Personally, I think that eating animals and vegetables in about equal proportion is the best bet.

    2. Hans

      Speaking of teasing…You left us hanging, Lisa.

      Where are these places “all over the world where people live to be very old in good health with little dementia”…where “they all consume grains – in moderation” ? I’d like to read your list of communities where this is the case.

      Would you recommend that celiacs start consuming grains in “moderation” or reintroducing them to their diet? I mean, what harm could it do? Grain-eating is all “natural” and good for all us homo sapiens, right?

      I won’t deny that in some of those places you have in mind where grains are indeed eaten, (along with getting adequate sun exposure, and where the older folks have friend and family support) that then good results ensue. I dispute only that the grains add anything to that outcome or are even benign in themselves.

      Known intolerance to grains – mapped out by region and concentration- can be seen from outer space. And it very likely has to do with human evolution and the millennia of years that given peoples have been in contact with and been consuming these specific “wonderful, life-enhancing” plants.

      There is a book: “Dangerous Grains”. Find it and flip through it. Read some of the case studies and /or individual stories in it. If you have no problems with grains or carbs personally or have elders that have passed 85 and 95 (as I have) that have zero cognitive problems and still have mental capacities and personalities sharp as knives, then what can I say?

      However, more often I see elders (and “youngers”) who otherwise might be healthy but can’t get off the carbs, off the sugar, off the gluten. It’s classic addiction, really. And it shows up in their complaints of joint pains, their bellies overhanging their belts, the wheezing just trying to climb steps….

      I’d say I was “healthy” before… after all, I was a paratrooper…and a military pilot (never been off flight status for any reason in 25 years) so I’m not “unfamiliar” with reasonably good health. But I never knew what REAL health and physical fitness (and shape) was until I gave up grains and every carb except lactose. I eat as much as I possibly can at every meal… I feel sad for those on diets where their food is so questionable or “health-giving” that it must “portioned”… otherwise they’ll get fat or explode or become diabetic or get Crohns or cancer.

      1. Hans


        As you may probably know (or don’t know?), Japan is a nation with more than a little national homogeneity and it is known for having a traditional and supportive communal structure and looking after its’ elders (up to now, I’m told…). Look at how the (outside) world was amazed from the lack of looting in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami. So, there’s yer social structure at work aiding in longevity by reducing stress (people could socially “count on their neighbor” so to speak)… And this all fits in with Dr Kendrick’s research and thoughts on (communal and/or individual) stress and how that then affects a person’s (or a group’s) physical health. Read the book, JR.

        Regarding the Japanese consumption of grains and still being “healthy”… it’s RICE we’re talking about. Not wheat or potatoes or corn. And while I don’t think rice is ultimately beneficial much less necessary to human health, it is – to my conclusion- less nasty than what the other grains, especially wheat, will do to your digestive tract and overall health.

        Wikipedia says this about the history of sushi:

        “The original type of sushi was first developed in Southeast Asia and spread to south China before being introduced to Japan sometime around the 8th century. Fish was salted and wrapped in fermented rice, a traditional lacto-fermented rice dish. Narezushi was made of this gutted fish which was stored in fermented rice for months at a time for preservation. The fermentation of the rice prevented the fish from spoiling. The fermented rice was discarded and fish was the only part consumed. This early type of sushi became an important source of protein for the Japanese.”

        So at first the rice in Sushi was nothing but a “bed” for the fish that was thrown away and not eaten. Hmm. The truth is that humans are hunters and having evolved that way naturally seek out animal protein for optimal health – they only turned to eating weeds and seeds and tubers – and rice- during times of hunger when they couldn’t get their hands on meat.

        BTW, I like sushi – even with rice. Lived on it for about a year. Just haven’t had it in years. Like my stuff cooked these days.

  15. Lisa

    Hans, sorry to leave you hanging. Here is an article in the NYT about one of these communities, an island in Greece (which mentions other long-lived communities, too).

    Of course, I would not recommend celiacs eat lots of gluten – though I do wonder if we may discover in the future some way of “turning off” the gene for celiac. I found this article on the origins of celiac disease fascinating – especially the part about what happened when Sweden changed recommendations on the timing of weaning/introduction of gluten – incidence of celiac tripled and did not go down again till the recommendations were reversed.

    I once read an article (which I have lost track of, sorry) in Scientific American about a study that found that people absorbed more nutrients from foods they liked. When I read the details of the experiment (I believe it was Swedish and Chinese people both eating Chinese food vs Swedish meatballs), it seemed what it actually proved was that people absorbed more nutrients from foods from their heritage. That makes sense to me. We know that Native Americans have problems digesting milk, while Maasai thrive on milk. Many Asians have trouble with alcohol while Mediterraneans benefit from moderate wine consumption. It seems logical to me that we would do best eating what our ancestors ate. This is trickier for Americans but lots of places (National Geographic, for instance) now offer kits that can give one a sense of where one’s ancestors might have come from.

    I don’t know that we have to go back as far as Paleo times. Evolution can happen relatively quickly (read The Beak of the Finch). But it does make sense that we’d do well with foods our ancestors ate – assuming those foods are still available in anything like the form available to our ancestors.

    I agree with those who feel that many chronic modern diseases could be avoided with changes in lifestyle, and I wish modern medicine would focus more on getting good nutrition, correcting mineral deficiencies, maintaining a healthy microbiome, etc. but I don’t know if this will ever happen because who would fund the studies? (Also, fixing nutritional probs will take more than giving guidance on what to eat – we need to fix the way we farm, too. Right now, most livestock no longer absorbs nutrients in grass, monoculture farming depletes soil, etc.. And we probably need to fix correct other factors we don’t even know about – like the order of introducing gluten/weaning).

    But for me, studies like the one mentioned in the NYT, which look at populations around the world that even now live long, healthy lives more consistently than the rest of the world, are a good place to start if we want to figure out what the rest of us should do – and I expect the answer will involve nutrition plus exercise, sunlight, sleep, social interaction, stress, and more.

    1. Hans

      The longevity and health of the Ikarians seems more due to a low stress environment than their hummus, beans, olives or wine. The last (or near last) chapter in Dr. Kendrick’s book about the fate of the Karelians points out the stress-caused part of cardiovascular diseases . Sorry, I can’t say what chapter that is since I loaned out my “Cholesterol Con” book and they who have it won’t give it back.
      In fact, on Ikaria (says the NY Times article) they’re so stress-free they “simple don’t care about the clock…”
      Again, this points more to stress reduction being the big factor, not the consumption of bread, grains, legume paste or a particular wine or herb.
      “Parikos cooked the way her ancestors had for centuries, giving us a chance to consume the diet we were studying. For breakfast, she served local yogurt…”
      I might argue that the regular and traditional consumption of pro-biotic laden dairy like yogurt (or just straight goat’s milk) is counteracting the nasty intake of bean plants and “hummus” and olives. And someone else might argue the exact opposite. Milk is what is often recommended for someone who has accidentally ingested poison. Poison like a toxic bean. (Yeah, I’m anti-bean…)
      How do veggie or grain-consuming countries fare versus the meat & dary countries?
      Here is wiki’s list of life expectancy by country:

      Of the top 10, none you could really say are big bread, wheat or corn eaters. The Asian countries in the top ten, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, are all (traditional) rice consumers and more importantly have small, tight social structures and community support and as far as I know none are communist – there goes the political “communal” need for that ideology.
      It might be true that many Ikarian inhabitants have a historical connection to Greek Communist groups. Nevertheless, that doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling any more than some other people might not be thrilled to hear of an island of well-aging national socialists who in the spirit of socialism interact socially -and successfully- because of their like-minded “communal” spirit. And all this in a NY Times article? Not saying Mr. Buettner is a “Walter Duranty”. I’m just a careful reader when things are entered onto a page. Considering the Soviet (Russian) experiment with socialism (communism), I doubt the Ikarians predilection for communism (according to Dan Buettner) has given them their longevity. It hardly gave longevity to millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Finns, Latvains, etc or Chinese.
      Maybe Mr Buettner wanted to slip some politics into his article. I’m only responding to what he included in his piece. Well, enough “social” commentary.
      Note the position of Iceland (7), Sweden (9), Switzerland (number 11) on wiki’s longevity list. These are traditionally high saturated fat, high dairy and meat countries. Fish is eaten, yes, (not so much in Switzerland) but Australians eat beef, lamb, dairy and France has a traditional high-fat cuisine (meat/cheese/dairy) with life expectancy putting it at Number 14. Beef and pork-eating Spain is right up there ahead of France in life expectancy, with lots of healthy cholesterol in their blood, too.
      Where is Greece on the list?
      Just behind the energetic, but psychically-stressed and self-hating Germans. Hardly an endorsement of a Greek or “Mediterranean” diet, considering what stresses the Germans have carried (still carrying…) in the last 100 years. Maybe the workaholics in Athens are driving down the Greek average.
      Sweden at number 9. Greece at number 25. The gloomy land of no sun for months and Ingmar Bergman films where more people commit suicide than Greece, still outlives the Greeks on average.
      The list shows Mongolians (traditional meat &dairy eaters) outlive Indians (grain & vegetable eaters) by 6 years.
      On this site below we see Mongolia (meat/milk country) is number 144 in the world with cardiovascular disease deaths:

      While grain and/or vegetable-oriented India is ranked 37th:
      There are other factors involved and I won’t preach to any group to change it’s traditional ways. But that’s the whole point I’m making: Bread, wheat, potato, corn and bean eating is not traditional in specific parts of the world – Northern Europe for instance. And it’s dangerously misguided to push it.

      In the other NY Times article on celiacs it says:
      “Roughly 30 percent of people with European ancestry carry predisposing genes [for gluten sensitivity], for example. Yet more than 95 percent of the carriers tolerate gluten just fine. So while these genes (plus gluten) are necessary to produce the disease, they’re evidently insufficient to cause it. ”
      I’m sorry but this is totally backwards thinking. Non-grain eaters aren’t “predisposed” to the “disease” of having a hard time with grains, it’s that other peoples have mutated (usually over a long time) to tolerate that nasty plant.
      When the anti-dairy people say : “It’s not the non-milk drinkers that have lactose “intolerance”, it’s that you milk-drinkers are mutants…”, they are absolutely right.
      I as a happy, untroubled milk-drinker AM a mutant. I am the descendant of mutated people. I, (a cow’s milk-digesting human) am the exception – not the norm.
      Around 6,000 (or more) years ago my European ancestors added the lactase-producing gene into their bag of survival tricks. Around that time middle-easterners, Mediterranean peoples were perfecting or had perfected the grain-eating (or olive-curing, or grape-fermenting…) cultures for their survival. And in the Americas the natives began to cultivate and develop corn and potatoes as staples to their own advantage.
      The central poimt being, it’s not unusual for one group to be “fit” on one diet and another on a very different one. But do remember that when some “authority” says that Swedes “have a problem” with gluten “sensitivity”. No, gluten is just simply unnatural for Swedes. And many others.
      “One comparative study involving some 5,500 subjects yielded a prevalence of roughly one in 100 among Finnish children, but using the same diagnostic methods, just one in 500 among their Russian counterparts.
      Differing wheat consumption patterns can’t explain this disparity. If anything, Russians consume *more* wheat than Finns, and of similar varieties.”

      Hello, Anybody home at the NY Times? Is it possible that Finns having had a (somewhat…) more merciful history than the average Russian peasant have not had to resort to various “breads” plain and simple and that would explain the Russian endurance and *tolerance* to wheat and gluten?? “Ukraine is the breadbasket of Russia” I’ve heard. Yeah. What is the “breadbasket” of Finland? Really isn’t one. In fact Scandinavians really only used oats and rye, once they did clear a field.
      How “natural” is grain eating? How accessible is bread?
      There’s a lot work that goes into grain production in order to make your “daily bread”. And by “work” I mean force times distance or W= F x D. First, you have to clear land. Will you do that by horse and plow? Or by machete and scythe and shovel? Then planting…Again, by hand? Or “mechanized”? You must know that your store-bought loaf of bread is produced by tractors and combines running on petroleum products. Humans couldn’t possibly keep up the production level needed to supply today’s simple loaf of “daily bread” and cereals if they had to produce it without machines.
      Imagine if each person had to have a windowsill patch of wheat sprouts… that you grow for your morning toast. A lot fewer muffins would be eaten I bet.
      When you get to the point in life where you are dependent on Rudolf Diesel’s invention to clear, plant and harvest this “natural” staple called grain then you must really realize it’s not that natural. A cow needs grass. I can milk the cow. And if and when it’s necessary, slaughter for meat. No engines or petroleum needed. Not so with grain production. If you have a backyard or access to a patch of ground try for once to produce a loaf of bread from planting to baking and out of the oven, ready to eat. Can you build an oven? Wood or coal-fired of course. Unless you can easily nearby tap natural gas for your homemade oven or know how to build an (electric) dynamo to heat the coils in an electric version. I can at least make a clay pot (like my ancestors did) to catch the milk I get from the cow.

      I say all this, to point out that grains (and a lot of carbs people take for granted) are just…not…natural. And actually are bad in the long run for many of us and the planet. Gad, that sounds preachy. But it’s unfortunately true.

      1. Lisa

        Hans, your list of countries by life expectancy is interesting, but since the blue zones are not countries but small regions within countries, we’re talking apples and oranges. People in the blue zones eat and live differently from their compatriots. Japan is #1 on your countries list. It also has a “blue zone,” Okinawa, where residents live much longer than the average Japanese person. Ikarians also live much longer than the average Japanese person (not to mention the average Greek). The other three blue zones (in Italy, Costa Rica, the US) also feature people who live longer than their compatriots and longer even than the average person in countries in the top 10 in terms of life expectancy.

        As you say, we don’t know that diet is the key factor in the extraordinary health of blue zone inhabitants. It is certainly feasible that Ikarians benefit more from lack of stress than from diet (and/or from those other good things we mentioned, like regular physical activity, sunshine, socializing, sense of purpose, etc.). Maybe you’re right and they thrive in spite of certain elements of their diets. Who knows? But it’s worth noting that the diets in all the “blue zones” around the world – which are highly varied in their particulars – include both legumes and grains.

        Re: your scenario of people forced to grow wheat in window boxes … will these people be raising cows and chickens in their living rooms?

        Feeding the world on grass-fed livestock would be great, but if we got rid of factory farms (which we clearly should – they’re the biggest grain consumers and overall contribute way more to global warming than fossil fuels), everyone would have to be willing to eat a lot less meat (like in blue zones!) and pay a lot more for it.

        Anyway, the main reason I look to the blue zones for dietary guidance is that I have come to distrust ALL the “experts” in terms of nutrition advice. I would rather just hear what kinds of things people eat in places where humans seem to thrive. The gurus all have agendas. For ex, in the intro to one of Buettner’s blue zone books, Dean Ornish describes the blue zone diet as “low fat” – yet a few pages later, in the first discussion of a blue zone diet in the actual book, Buettner says Ikarians get 50% of their calories from fat. I’m not sure how Ornish missed that – except that when one has an agenda, it can cloud vision.

        Btw, here is another piece on diet you might enjoy, Hans.

        1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

          Yes I could see nothing the the Blue Zones that gave me any indication that any particular diet was good, or bad. I think the only clear factor (dietarily) was eating local, natural, produce.

      2. Lisa

        Dr Kendrick, yes, that is just why I like learning about the blue zones. Seeing how people can thrive eating a wide variety of specific foods (from the seaweeds of Okinawa, Japan to the rice & beans of Nicoya, Costa Rica) helps me ignore people who insist that NO ONE should eat gluten or dairy or legumes or meat or fish or whatever. Incorporating fresh local produce seems helpful, as you say. Same with avoiding highly processed foods. Beyond that, no universal “rules.”

  16. Kath Bretton

    An excellent book. Lent to me by my sister to read whilst on holiday and I couldn’t put it down. We will be encouraging our dad to read it in the hope he insists my mum is taken off statins which she has been on for several years (she has Alzheimer’s – not suggesting any link but it does make you wonder?)

    1. Nancy Williams

      Statin’s are the means to genocide. No one with Alzheimer”s should be on statins. Look at the current research on AD.

  17. Marilyn Schroeder

    Bought the book this week and almost finished. So informative. Someone asked earlier Dr Kendrick, if statins are to be avoided, how best would the atherosclerotic damage (thickening and 50% blockage of the main coronary artery) be repaired. Husband’s lipids & fasting blood glucose all within optimal range. Further improved since last testing 15 months ago. We’ve been eating very low carb, moderate protein and good fats for the past 12 months. (PS. who knows what state the artery was in before tests last week. It may have been more blocked before we commenced #LCHF!)

  18. elizabeth874

    I found your site and book after hearing Rory Collins speak on the radio few months ago. There was just something about the tone of voice that made me wonder who was funding his work. It has been really useful to read the book and have the evidence.
    Stress does seem to be bad news for health all round, including the effects of cortisol on insulin resistance. There does also seem to be evidence on the effects of refined carbs (and high intakes of carb in general) in high GL (glycaenic load) diets, as well as the direct effects of stress.
    Dr Briffa discusses it here

    The fizzy, sugary drinks sold with fast food must surely have a detrimental effect, even though the cholesterol in burgers is irrelevant.

    I’m wondering if this would be a topic you could look at in any future editions or books? I’m sure it could help many.

  19. frank bryan

    Hi I have been on statins for a number of years,I also take a cocktail of other drugs.
    My brief medical history is,bowel cancer 14 years ago,operated on all sorted now.
    I had a heart attack 10 years ago,stent’s inserted no problem.

    Four years ago another heart attack,stents replaced ,prescribed the usual statin,
    I was getting all the side affects that other people have described ,but didn’t connect it with the drug,having one of my routine cholesterol tests it was found to be a bit high,so they increased the statin. my symptoms got a lot worse ,so I stopped taking them,the affect was immediate I felt like I was back to normal.
    Last Friday I had another heart attack and was rushed to the hospital,blocked stents was diagnosed,the doctors were fantastic more stents fitted,but advised next time it would be a by pass,
    The worrying thing is I have come home with new medication,one of which is 80 mg of statin I don’t intend to take this,but I will take one of my old 10mg for one week,
    The crazy thing is I had a cholesterol check a week before my last heart attack and it was normal.
    I have ordered the book about the cholesterol scam , after reading part of it in hospital,lent to me by another patient,the nurse seeing the book, was far from happy,and actually told the guy off who lent me it .But to be fair I had stopped taking statin of my own accord months ago.
    I can not blame GPs they can only go on information from the pharmaceutical industry .
    I can only say researching into this dangerous drug has been a eye opener for me. and come to the conclusion its just a money spinner , How can this practice be allowed to continue.
    I apologize for my bad grammar.I for one will never take statin again after this week,

  20. Rick

    Frank raises a question that is usually not addressed. What about the guy who’s already had a cardiac event or two? My cardiologist wants me on statins because of my cardiac history. He says my cholesterol readings were fine just before I had a heart attack, but now those same readings are much too high for one who’s had bypass surgery. Is there a compelling case for us to use statins because we are now high risks?

  21. Hans

    A question for Dr. Kendrick:

    I have a relative who’s been on prescribed statins for some time (years and years) and who I now find out is also on Multaq. When I asked if my relative was also supplementing with CoQ10, the response was “No. Why would I need that?”

    Might an insufficient production of and persistent lack of CoQ10 through statin use have caused (or exacerbated) the effects (atrial fibrillation, whatever) that got my relative put on Multaq?

      1. Rick Brooks

        Is there a general benefit to nonspecific persons who have had cardiac surgery for taking statins? I cannot see how statins can help after an event if they are not effective before. I do appreciate your wisdom in avoiding questions about specific individuals not directly under your care, Doctor Kendrick. My mistake.

      2. Hans

        I forgot. I just got swept up in the moment (finding out about the Multaq on top of it all) and was thinking out loud. I could have put such a question hypothetically, but I think I already know what may be happening.

  22. Lynn

    Since new headlines last month about the lack of connection between diet and blood cholesterol, several doctors are now speaking out agreeing that it doesn’t seem to be significant. However, those same doctors still say that low-cholesterol diet and statins considered mandatory for those who have experienced cardiac events in the past. I fail to understand that reasoning. If cholesterol lowering is not beneficial for non-cardiac patients, why would it help those who’ve had cardiac events? Makes no sense to me.

  23. Peter Robson

    The Lancet reports this week results of a trial by CTT (Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration). Its a consolidation of several other reports, a meta-analysis, and once again the results suggest that statins are valuable in saving lives. The position is best summed up in this quote from Prof Len Kritharides, Chair of the Cardiovascular Health Advisory Committee of the Heart Foundation of Australia : “They show unequivocally that statins similarly benefit men and women in preventing heart attacks without evidence of serious harm. Importantly, the study also demonstrates that treatment with statins improves overall survival in men and women. These results should give great encouragement to patients and their doctors that lowering cholesterol with statins prevents cardiovascular disease.”. I have encountered statistics which categorically state that statins do NOT improve overall survival. So who is right? My inclination is still to agree with your position (the Kendrick one!), but a little guidance in interpreting this new meta-analysis would be most appreciated. (In passing, the Lancet wants one to pay to read the report, whereas it appears freely available on the CTT web site. )

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      You cannot save live, you can only extend life expectancy. That would be my first point. I think the most important issue to note about the CTT is that they are part of the CTSU which received nearly £300m in funding from the pharmaceutical industry over the last ten years or so.

  24. Peter Robson

    Yes, my error – just reading your book (arrived in the post today!) taught me the distinction between saving lives and extending lives. However, your reply suggests that because CTT is in receipt of big pharma finance, ALL their prognostications are to be viewed with suspicion. I await your forensic analysis of their paper with great interest…

  25. Gay Corran

    Dr Kendrick, thank you for doing all the research for both your books and then writing about your findings with such lovely dry wit. I wish everyone would read them, most especially GPs. I have a question: as there must be a great many GPs who are still practicing and are over 50 years old, will they not themselves be on statins, since almost everyone over 50 “should” be taking them? And will these GPs not be experiencing the adverse effects? And will they not be thinking to themselves, hmmmn… Muscle pains, brain fog, memory probs, tiredness: now where have I heard that before? And will they not be thinking, uh oh, I think I might try stopping the statins for a bit to see if the symptoms abate, then start again and see if they reappear? Or have they all too much wisdom to allow their own medical advisors to prescribe something they know is so damaging? Just asking…

  26. Tom

    What a load of rubbish, where is the acual evidence that cholesterol does not contribute to heart disease?

    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Perhaps you would care to read the book I wrote on this subject? And please, I do like people to be reasonably polite on this blog. Statement such ‘what a load of rubbish’ are difficult to debate as they contain no evidence, no facts, and nothing that it is possible to confirm, or refute.

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  28. Nicky James

    Having read the book, I’m still not sure if I should be trying to lower my cholesterol (1.2/5.9) or just give two fingers to my doctor who is talking about wholemeal bread and statins. My problem is that I’ve been eating low carb and not worrying about fat for almost a year but my weight hasn’t ‘fallen off’ as so many low carb advocates have promised and my cholesterol is high. I’m having big problems defending a low carb / high fat diet to friends and my family in the face of personal empirical evidence (weight / cholesterol) that it’s not working.

  29. liz3321

    I see today’s Daily Mail is reporting on a study which finds that statins can slow down the progress of cancer. Will be interested in your thoughts on this.

  30. liz3321

    I see today’s Daily Mail reports that cancer progresses more slowly in people on statins. Will be interested in your thoughts on this.

  31. el4in3E

    Hello there.
    I recently (4 and a half weeks ago in fact) suffered a heart attack and had to have a stent placed in my right artery. I turned 52 on Monday. The awful thing is trying to understand how this happened to me. I am a vegetarian for whom eating meat is out of the question for ethical reasons, and have been a vegetarian for 30 years. I have always had low cholesterol – I saw the consultant today who informed me that on admission to the ward my total cholsterol was 2.8, and my blood pressure has always been (when measured) around 112 -115 over 61/62. I walk a lot (but of course could exercise more I suppose) and I am not overweight. So none of the risk factors. It has been such a shock and I am so confused by all the contradictory information I have read.
    I have learned from my own experience and from reading Dr Kendricks book and other information out there, that there is no way that the problem is cholesterol. If mine was lowered any more I would probably fall over!
    Being prescribed a host of drugs to reduce blood pressure, and of course a statin has left me feeling very uncomfortable. I saw the consultant cardiologist today who insisted that statins were an integral part of my recovery and pooh poohed everything that casts doubt on this. He did say some lovely things too…..I owe my life to the doctors who placed the stent, and so am eternally grateful to them. In terms of cholesterol, he said there was conflicting evidence that low cholseterol is bad for you and that for me obviously 2.8 is not low enough. I asked if I could have a lipoprotein test to see if my body manufactured a high level of LDL – the lp (a) but was told that they don’t test for that and such thinking is in the research phase; essentially clinicians wouldnt know how to treat me for high lp(a) if indeed that was the issue. He did mention that the MRI are running a research project on lipids and I am left wondering whether I should fork out privately to get a lipid test done? The question I have, is what should my GP advise me to do if it is high anyway? I have read somewhere that l-carninite can help?
    Anyway initially I took the statins along with the tigracelor, biosprilol and ramipril, and asprin but have felt so so ill. Muscle twinges in my neck, back, chest, arms, thighs, stomach. After reading about statins I decided to stop taking them…..this was about two weeks ago – am still having some twinges but the last couple of days have felt better although still not perfect. Am still taking the rest.
    I am toying with what to do. It seems that the standard advice is that if you have had a heart attack, take the statin. It has anti-inflammatory properties. BUT it will still do the same things to me as it does to people who have not had an MI and I really feel uncomfortable taking it. I am also by the way, taking coQ10, and drinking pomegranate juice (good apparently for reducing inflammation in the arteries), and krill oil. Also lots of vitimain C. As for the mediterranean diet ….well I have probably eaten more aubergines than most cardiologists.
    SO I guess I wondered if any of you had any insight regarding someone like me? To be honest I feel dammed if I do and dammed if I dont. The GP has suggested I go on 10mg but surely there must be another method of reducing the progression of CAD…other anti imflammatories that can help like the ones above? If anybody has any experience of this please do let me know?? Sorry, just feel a bit desperate.

    1. Ngwenya

      A low carb high fat diet is anti inflammatory. High carb (and as an ex-vegetarian I understand the carb levels in veggie diets) raises triglycerides and therefore contributes to heart disease. You want to go below 2.8 in cholesterol? Are you aware of the dangers? The lower cholesterol, the higher the all-cause mortality. From comments on the Framingham study: “For those participants who were over age 50, lower cholesterol rates were associated with a higher risk of death from CHD and all causes. In fact, for every 1 mg/dl drop in cholesterol levels, there was a 14% increase in heart related death, and an 11% increase in overall mortality.
      In other words, declining levels of cholesterol increased the risk of death from all causes, not just CHD.” Most doctors just don’t know about this and other research that shows much the same. Please try to find a doctor with experience in ketogenic diets or LCHF, and seek other solutions.

  32. Patricia

    I have being on Statins for many years.Not happy about being on them.I then decided to go on the Lchf diet lost weight then I took myself of my Statins then after 7 weeks I thought I would go and have my blood taken.My Dr said that I had to go back on my Statin because my bad Cholestrol was 11.Any help I can get from you I would be very grateful.

    1. Ngwenya

      7 weeks is not long enough! Doctors have told me that people on LCHF can take six months and more to stabilise with regard to cholesterol – it took 11 months for me. Frankly, I don’t think cholesterol matters much when it comes to heart disease, but for those who care, my cholesterol is now almost perfect – trigs way down, HDL way up, LDL down. 6 months ago it was what a doc would have termed disastrous. I would suggest seeking out a doctor who understand the impact of LCHF.

  33. Donna

    My Mother is 81 & has been on cholesterol reducing meds for years, she has recently had a stroke.
    She had a poor diet & was nutritionally undernourished with a low Hb. She is now in an aged home for low care & is quite improved, I would like to get her off the statins. Is this possible after such a long time & considering her age

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  35. Helen Sedgwick

    Ok I’m very worried and confused! MaternalGrandad had 4heart attacks, 4th killed him. Mum had heart attack at 42 and needed triple bypass but they could only do a double. One brother died suddenly aged 44 of heart disease. My other brother suddenly aged 54 of the same. I am obviously high risk and have just been put on 40mg statin and asprin. I have other health problems, fibromyalgia, arthritis high BP and am having echocardiogram next week.
    Do I refuse statin even though I’m so high risk?!…..thank you

  36. Ken Black

    Hello, I have been on Statins for eleven years since having a heart attack. I told a friend yesterday that I dont understand why I am on Statins considering that my cholesterol has always been low with a readings of 1.7 and the highest taken a few weeks ago was 2.5. He was shocked and told me that that is too low. Do you have any opinion on this Dr Kendricks?

  37. Malcolm

    I am new to this debate and I find reading many of the enteries shows how people take thier experiences and beliefs to tell us how we should eat and live.
    This is not helpful, there are several posts that claim eating diets that our ancesstors ate would make us healthier.
    We are all individuals we process food the same way but have diferent reactions, some people have serious intollerance to specific foods. The fruit, nuts & fungi that were brobably eaten and are basically healthy, cause health problems even death for some now.

    We have changed, by selective breading, most of the food we eat, thats before it’s processed. From my perspective our own evolution has stopped, our health service has seen to that plus the abundance of food and helping people with fertility problems. In the past only those that could manage in thier environment survived.

    We have to be very careful with any advice given on the internet it is very difficult to know what is right, I tend to distrust any advice that tells me thier product is the best or I will be missing a great opportunity.
    However everything you buy makes someone a profit, house, car, mobile, food and drugs all do it. +++
    I may be being a bit negative but thats just because there is too much advice given that is illconsidered.
    I live in the here and now, I not only want to be healthy in bady I want to enjoy life, that means eating things that may be “bad” but I do enjoy.

    Help me enjoy life beiing healthy is not emough.

  38. Angela

    I am ,55 not particularly overweight with cholesterol of 7.4 I have today been prescribed statins by a consultant but decided to research a little before taking them. I have been trying to change my diet since my last test over 3 months ago but I was not tested again today just given statins, I might have reduced it myself but I will never know

    1. Antony Sanderson

      Angela . . . there is no evidence that reducing cholesterol has any effect on reducing cardiovascular disease or all cause mortality in older women. So, on that basis alone taking statin is not attractive.
      Another US study showed that 14% of menopausal women end up with diabetes so this makes it even less attractive.

      On the other hand, studies have shown that for older people there is a positive association between cholesterol levels and longevity. People with higher cholesterol level tend to live longer. This may be because the vilified LDL particles, besides acting as carriers for fats and cholesterol, ‘moonlight’ as are part of the innate immune system. They will attach themselves to bacteria and viruses and toxins and help neutralise their effects.

      Research last year showed that people brought to a US hospital suffering trauma were more likely to suffer critical sepsis if they had low LDL levels. Again from last year, I have a Phd research paper describing the protective effects of LDL against MRSA infections (in the lung) . . . and there are scores more papers describing the same.

      If you are worried or just interested to see if you diet change has changed your cholesterol I would suggest you get a test done elsewhere.
      I have gone to our local chemist and got the cholesterol and lipid tests.
      I have gone online and got more detailed tests over the post (The doctor’s surgery took the blood sample).

      I used to get my cholesterol down by eating oats in the morning and taking 2.5g of stanols (the stuff they put in cholesterol reducing spreads). This moved it from 6.5 to 5.1 mmol/l. But now I am 66, and need all the protection from my immune system that I can get, I am happy with my 6.5.

  39. postkey

    “There is no link between high cholesterol and heart disease in people over 60, a major study has found.
    Health officials are accused of fear-mongering as a comprehensive analysis reveals that older people with high levels of “bad” cholesterol actually live longer.
    Heart specialists have called for NHS guidelines to be overhauled completely. They question whether the millions of people in Britain who are prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs are being wrongly medicated.
    “The truth has always been out there: that the cholesterol hypothesis is wrong,” Malcolm Kendrick, a GP and co-author of the study, said.”

  40. QueenKETO

    This is one of the best books I’ve ever read, both funny and informative. It has cemented what I read in WDDTY many, many years ago. I’m 53, have FFH (allegedly) and stopped statins 15 years ago when I became enlightened about health in general, much to the disbelief of my GP who told me I was a ‘ticking bomb’ due to my 6.5 mmol/l. Since then I have also been enjoying a calorie unrestricted KETOGENIC ‘diet’ that is 75-80% fat, 15% protein and 5-10% carbs. I’m 5’6″ and weigh 51kg. I don’t take any medicines at all, not even Paracetamol, just Starflower oil, Bromelain and Curcumin supplements. I am the proud nanny of an 8 year old and recently started my own low carb high fat recipe blog ( I am basically living proof that conventional heart disease – statins – low fat theories are total nonsense, even for FFH.

  41. Terri Gonzalez

    I am in the process of purchasing your book. I was just listening to you on KPFA. My 45 year old husband had a stroke 6 months ago. He was given statin as part of his daily med regiment. He does not have cholesterol issues but was told “just incase”. He’s notices back pain, loss of memory and some confusion but not sure if it’s due to all the meds. Reading the book should give me more insight. Thank you

    1. Antony Sanderson

      One of the well documented effects of taking statins is new onset of diabetes, Over the course of 3 years of taking statins I slowly moved from being ‘normal’ into being a diabetic. All of this while I was no longer drinking, lost a lot of weight, was eating no cakes, crisps and biscuits.

      Not long after becoming diabetic, came the muscle damage in my shoulders; developing to the point that I had to be helped to get my jacket on; I couldn’t lift my arms to wash my hair in the shower. I speculated to the doctor about how long it would take before “I would not be able to wipe my own bum”. My wife felt the statins were to blame and set me researching. Within a couple of weeks I had learnt about the how statins work, the mechanism by which can cause muscle damage; found research showing simvastatin and atorvastatin damaging insulin producing pancreatic beta cells. I stopped taking statin . . . shoulders improved. The doctor said I needed to keep off for a couple of months more to really see an effect. Each week the pains diminished. I have been off ever since. It took over a year for the pains to go to virtually nothing. Even now 3 years on there is still pain when I extend one arm – and put that down to statin induced nerve damage – less easy to repair.

      Also, now after 3 years I am no longer diabetic – no damaging statins – low carb diet – keep the glucose level in check – bit of fasting to help repair.

      Now the reason for writing . . . Statins can cause diabetes, Insulin is required by the brain for short term memory. Damaging insulin receptors in the brains of mice cause them to not be able to learn maze tricks, and ended up with brains that seem to have the same sort if damage as found in Alzheimer’s. It has been speculated that statins might interfered with insulin activity in the brain causing the well known memory problems in some people who take statins. (1 brother and 1 sister are included in this group). It was with some horror sometime ago that I read that Alzheimer’s was being called type 3 diabetes by some researchers. Insulin dysfunction causing one form of dementia?

      On the precautionary principle and knowing that, although statins will “decrease a small amount” the likelihood of getting vascular disease it increases that chance of death by other causes (eg cancer) by the same amount. – ie zero sum game – I would not touch statins with a barge pole.

  42. Johan Horak

    My doctor just showed me a scan of one of my arteries in my neck showing the narrowing due to build up and how the blood is constrained passing this area. He tells me within three months this will be away if I take Zuvamor statin. I don’t want to take the stuff but it sounds attractive. But reading your book and other articles I am worried.

    How do I remove this build up?

    I am on high fat low carbs, take a lot of magnesium and other.

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  46. Philip Ormerod

    This book is a great read. Read it after statins wrecked me. Wouldn’t be enough space here to list the side effects. I now eat good fats such as beef dripping lard and butter and steer well away from the so called heart healthy plastic spread and sump oils made from pressing seeds. I found a desert spoon of olive oil every morning lowered my cholesterol and believe it it not sorted out my ED without viagra. Also staying active and cutting down the carbs helps.

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  48. Giovanni Silva

    I absolutely love your knowledge. And to step up and voice your rational opinion when a majority of your colleagues will ridicule you, that’s even more impressive as you are doing this for the sake of your patients well being…… hoooray to you!!”!
    I stumbled onto this platform. I am a chiropractor in the U.S.A. I constantly educate my patients on the cholesterol myth. Many have gotten off statins and are doing AMAZING with my protocol.
    My research leads me to believe its arterial insult due to:
    – Inflammation
    – Oxidative stress
    – Immune dysfunction
    All of these cause a lack of nitric oxide production.
    Diet, nutraceuticals, exercise, decreasing toxins/pesticides in the body is much more efficacious. And NO bad side effects.
    Thank you for your amazing service.
    I’m absolutely ordering your books today. My lucky day!!!

    1. Rick Brooks

      I have seen documentation that corroborate your reply to Dr Kendrick. I began to take L-citrulline and L-argenine to increase my nitric oxides and it has made dramatic reduction in blood pressure levels as well as helping with ED. These supplement studies have also suggested a reduction in arterial inflammation. Do these supplements do more for reduced arterial plaque than statins?

      1. hermosadoc

        Take a look at Neo40 and Arterosil.
        These 2 have amazing research and clinical evidence in improving NO production.

  49. Max

    So what about people with familial hypocholestimia.. I’m 71 with 9.6 total cholesterol so am. Told. If. I don’t take statins I will. Likely have a heart attack or stroke. I, take. Half the dose I should. As. They make. Me ache…. They also did tests. & my heart is fine, doesn’t. Make. Sense

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  56. Sue perin (@PerinSue)

    My 50 yr old son had an 98 % blockage &was scented since he took the statins recommended by stupid cardiologist he was close to rhabdomyalyisis.I took him off the statins &told him to tell cardiologist to bugger off.he still has kidney problems &id like to sue the shite out of advice was learnt from your book &zoe harcombes book.thank you for helping me.

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  58. BarbaraW

    Just been reading “Alirocumab Reduces Total Hospitalisations and Increases Days Alive and etc etc” Odyssey Outcomes Trial. Love the results, 15.6 Hosp/deaths avoided per 1000 years treatment! And, “increased Days Alive and Out of Hospital, primarily through a reduction in days dead” Wow, counting in days, not weeks or years? Then read patients reviews! So glad I didn’t bother taking up my Cardiologists offer of swapping to this after LFTs up the creek on oral statins. Dodged a bullet there, I feel.

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