Unhealthy cholesterol? Warning of eggs and butter removed

Unhealthy cholesterol? Warning of eggs and butter removed

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Cholesterol Warnings: Eggs and butter are not that problematic
For years, people were warned about cholesterol-containing foods. A high consumption of eggs, butter and Co has been associated with health risks to the heart. More and more experts are now pointing out that cholesterol in foods does not pose any health risk.

Eliminate cholesterol warnings
For decades, doctors and nutritionists have warned against eating too much cholesterol-containing foods. An increased consumption of eggs, butter and Co has been associated with health risks - especially for the heart. It has been assumed that such foods have a negative impact on cholesterol levels and thus on the risk of stroke and heart attack. In the meantime, however, more and more studies indicate that cholesterol in foods is only a moderate or no health risk.

At the beginning of the year, experts in the US announced that the cholesterol warning for foods such as eggs and butter should be removed. On the other hand, scientists also point out that cholesterol can very well be harmful. Among other things, what type of cholesterol is ingested plays a role. So the discussions about good and bad cholesterol continue.

Consequences of an elevated cholesterol level
Cholesterol is not inherently harmful. Most of it is produced by the body itself. The problem is LDL cholesterol ("low density lipoprotein"), also called "bad cholesterol". Around one in three cholesterol levels are too high. The consequences of this fat metabolism disorder can be serious. A common consequence of an increased cholesterol level is hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). With this disease, deposits appear on the inside of the vessels, so that the artery diameter gradually decreases until the affected area is finally completely blocked. Diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, angina pectoris, circulatory disorders and renal insufficiency can occur.

Diet or medication
With high cholesterol levels, it is usually recommended to change your diet first. If that is not enough, cholesterol-lowering drugs are often prescribed. However, some health experts believe that it is not sensible for all patients to lower cholesterol. Cholesterol is sometimes bad for the heart, but it is also a building material for the synapses, the nodes that ensure that the billions of nerve cells in the brain can meaningfully connect. As “Welt” reports online, people who start taking statins or other cholesterol-lowering drugs “have almost four times as many memory problems the following month than those who do not lower their cholesterol levels”. The more "the cholesterol-lowering effect of a drug, the more the brain suffers". Some medications can cause side effects such as attention and perception disorders and mental confusion.

Not lowering cholesterol in all patients
According to the newspaper, the Danish doctor Uffe Ravnskov has long warned against lowering cholesterol levels in all patients. This does more harm than good. "50 percent of people who have a heart attack have high cholesterol," said Ravnskov, who established an international research network of cholesterol sufferers years ago. "The other half has a low cholesterol level and yet atherosclerosis." Although the blood lipid levels are quite normal, their vessels become sticky. It is undisputed that cholesterol-lowering drugs actually push the fat out of the vessels. "But whether this also leads to a reduction in the risk of heart attack is not at all certain."

Consider different factors
This skepticism is confirmed by a recent study by the independent research network Cochrane Collaboration. "If 1,000 people take a statin for five years, 18 will avoid a heart attack," says the scientists. According to research, it usually makes no sense to prescribe a statin or a similar agent. Nikolaus Marx from the German Society of Cardiology said that before any prescription, "other factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, age, gender and a possible family predisposition should be taken into account".

Reduce the risk of a second heart attack
Despite all the criticism, it is also pointed out that statins are very effective and necessary - but only for a group of patients: statins reduce the risk of a second infarction in people who have already had a heart attack. "We should not further unsettle these patients," said Jonathan Schertzer from McMaster University in Ontario, "but rather work on improving the medication." The Canadian biochemist and his team have succeeded in defusing the statins' insulin-inhibiting effect with a kind of urea shell. A change in diet could also increase the effectiveness of the medication and reduce side effects. In this context, he advises a diet inspired by Japanese cuisine, with lots of green tea and fish.

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