Cholesterol is found in nearly every cell in your body. This waxy substance is vital for optimal functioning of cell membranes, regulating protein pathways and supporting brain health, hormone levels and reducing your heart disease risk. Your body also uses cholesterol to manufacture vitamin D after being exposed to the sun. As Zoe Harcombe, Ph.D., has noted, "It is virtually impossible to explain how vital cholesterol is to the human body. If you had no cholesterol in your body you would be dead." The majority of the cholesterol in your body, approximately 80%, is manufactured in your liver, suggesting your body cannot survive without it. In the past decades cholesterol has been vilified as a primary culprit in heart disease. Merck brought the first statin drug, Lovastatin, aka Mevacor, to market in 1987. Since then, statins have gone on to become the biggest selling class of pharmaceutical compounds of all time, with annual sales in excess of $19 billion in 2017 and projected to reach $24.4 by 2022.6,7 A new study from Duke University Medical Center finds 26.5% of U.S. adults who fit the current criteria to use cholesterol-lowering drugs are not taking them. The study is suggesting this occurs since doctors do not offer the drugs to their patients or the patients express concern over the side effects. Senior study author Dr. Ann Marie Navar from the Duke Clinical Research Institute believes public perception of side effects is unrealistic. However, despite Navar's attempt to downplay the side effects of statin medications, the risks are well-documented and supported by scientific evidence, so the fears are well-founded.

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