The New Cholesterol Guidelines: Why They Suck

The release of the new cholesterol guidelines on Nov. 10, 2018, shows that the American Heart Association and Co. have doubled down on the cholesterol theory of heart disease and the related notion that statins are the solution to everything.

The new guidelines say we should aim for lower LDL numbers—“as low as possible, in some cases less than 70”, said GMA’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton. When asked if statins were safe, Ashton replied emphatically, “One-hundred percent!” adding that we should use statins even more aggressively in pursuit of lower cholesterol numbers—“at whatever dose is necessary”, says Ashton)

It’s the greatest marketing plan for a drug I’ve seen in my lifetime. And it will undoubtedly work.

The AHA has evidentially learned the lesson of modern-day politics: double down and play to your base. In this case, the “base” consists of doctors and patients who have never shown much inclination to question the party line on cholesterol, and seem blissfully unaware of the raging debate about the continued relevance of cholesterol lowering as we know it.

The debate on cholesterol and heart disease affects their life about as much as the Russia investigation impacts the life of a farmer in Iowa, which is to say not at all. The overworked docs get a lot of their info from pharmaceutical reps and from studies sponsored by Big Pharma. And the patients listen to the doctor. It’s a nice solid base from which you can control the narrative (and the policies) on heart disease and the drugs that treat it. Modern-day politics shows that if you have an enthusiastic base that supports a policy—like lowering cholesterol because it “causes heart disease” — your policy can win the day, even when it’s completely wrong.

As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”.

Screening should start at age 2. On what planet was that, again?

The new guidelines also suggest screening for cholesterol at as early as two years old.

Let’s look at that one for just a sec, shall we? Fact one: Cholesterol is absolutely essential to brain development. You need it for memory and thinking. Without cholesterol, your brain is pretty much screwed. Fact two: Your kid’s brain doesn’t get fully developed until about age 25 when the cerebral cortex finally comes online.

Now put those two facts together and do the math.

We still have free speech in this country, so let me say this very clearly: In my opinion, putting a child with a developing cholesterol-dependent brain on a cholesterol lowering medication is medical malpractice.

Statins in the water supply?

As far as statins being safe for everybody, that’s patently and demonstrably false. How do we know? From groundbreaking peer-reviewed research by Beatrice Golumb of Stanford University.

Statins produce a laundry list of side effects—from muscle pain to memory loss to plunging libido—and, as Golumb’s research shows, about 65% of doctors don’t report these ADR’s (adverse drug reactions) to the FDA.

Why, you ask? The doctors don’t “believe” these side effects were caused by statins, (which, of course, is exactly what the statin manufacturers say! Quelle surprise!) Research shows that most doctors strongly believe they themselves are not susceptible to drug- company marketing influences, though the research shows the exact opposite.

The next era in personalized medicine? Not so fast…

The new guidelines are being marketed as the “next phase in personalized medicine”. Not even close. What the AMA and Co. is doing here a classic marketing ploy—take a buzzword everyone is talking about (personalized medicine) and slap it on your product so it seems relevant, even if your product is as unrelated to the buzzword as a peacock is to a salamander.

Personalized medicine—which nearly everyone agrees is the future of medicine and nutrition—involves very specialized and detailed genetic testing that can help suggest the proper dose of any medicine or nutrient for a given individual. The new cholesterol guidelines have zero to do with cardiometabolic genetic testing, and everything to do with giving this old, tired package of recycled and outdated ideas the appearance of being “current” and “cool”.

Did someone mention triglycerides?

It’s worth noting that, in this 120-or-so page report, no guidelines were provided for the treatment of triglycerides. This is a clue to the real agenda of the AHA, a clue that’s hiding in plain sight. Here’s why.

Triglycerides—a form of fat that can be measured in the blood—are a serious risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The very telling Triglyceride: HDL ratio—which you can calculate yourself from any blood test (just divide HDL number into Triglyceride number)—is an extremely important indicator of your risk for cardiovascular disease (as well as other cardiometabolic diseases like diabetes). We want triglycerides to be low, and since the guidelines are, after all, about lowering blood lipids (both cholesterol and triglycerides fit into that category), you’d think someone would address the triglyceride problem.

Nope. No recommendation from the committee on how to lower triglycerides.

Here’s my guess as to why. There’s no good drug for lowering triglycerides.

However, there is a treatment for high triglycerides that’s effective close to 100% of the time. It’s called a low-carb diet.

In study after study after study (just Google Professor Jeff Volek) triglycerides drop like a rock on a very low-carb diet, and with it the risk factors for heart disease.

Will the real agenda please stand up?

It’s my opinion that the main agenda of the committee wasn’t lowering the risk for heart disease. The main agenda of the committee was expanding the market for statin drugs.

And they couldn’t have written a better business plan to accomplish that than the new cholesterol guidelines. Congratulations, boys. Statin shareholders, get out your kazoos. The rest of us should start getting second opinions from doctors trained in functional medicine, and others—like licensed NDs—who are not in the powerful shadow of statin drug makers.

And please—if you want my opinion– run the other way if your doctor suggests a statin for your two-year-old.




  1. Brenda

    Well said and thank you.

  2. Andrea Tangredi

    I cannot take statins. I have stage 4 kidney disease and was on statins for about 3 years. I started to have bad pains in the area of my kidneys and my nephrologist ordered an ultra sound. My kidneys looked fine… no increased inflammation. I went to a pain clinic for further advice and the very discerning doctor told me to stop taking statins. Overnight, the muscle pains went away. Heaven forbid if they are allowed to put statins in our water supply.

  3. Carol Taylor

    My Mum and Aunt lived to over a 100 My Mum died without a Statins
    My Aunt, was 103 when she died had no problem thinking, until her Doctor
    decided at 102 to put her on a Statin {for what ever reason} after a week on a Statin Drug, she could not remember anything…Your Brain needs Cholesterol!
    Doctors get a pay back from the Drug Companies for given you Drugs even when you don’t need it, 103 come on! use your head. Gone are the days when Doctors went by the Rule “First Do No Harm”

  4. Chris Hawkinson

    Your comment about the cholesterol guidelines be made by “ . . . for the most part, been run by a bunch of old guys, mostly white, . . .) has such a racist tone. Why add the “mostly white” comment? You write about not making things political, yet throw in that garbage to either promote the perverse idea that white men are the problem or you somehow are siding with non-whites to favor their opinion — assuming they share this notion.

    Most sad.

    I have purchased many of your books and read and listened to your interviews over the years — and have always found you to be kind and positive. That comment you wrote about “mostly whites” was 100% inappropriate, hurtful, and racist in usage.

  5. Rob

    Totally agree with you, Johnny. My doc wanted to put me on a statin, even though my triglyceride/HDL ratio is 0.76, because he was “concerned” about my cholesterol number (just a bit above 250). That’s not going to happen! I would look for a new doc, but it wouldn’t do any good, as there are no functional medicine docs where I live, and all of the other docs are controlled by Big Pharma. Our health care system is a complete disaster.

  6. David Kercher

    Hey Jonny,
    I have read articles, interviews and a book written by Dr. David Agus and his endorsement of statins. Your report, and the fact that Dr. Agus is an oncologist and not a cardiologist, leaves me confused and not wanting to trust anyone. Agus publically insists that he is not financially motivated in statins….but that still doesn’t mean much to me.
    Your thoughts on Dr.Agus?

  7. Mary Ann Jordan

    You go Jonny Bowden!!!! Love your posts and your book! People, start eating food that God gave you instead of all this crap in boxes, bottles and cans! Eat simple, flavorful and FRESH!!! And stop letting your doctor scare you into statin drugs! Live a life well-lived with all your mental faculties and strength in your limbs to exercise. God will take you when it is your time and you won’t be a vegetable “just existing” at that time. Who wants to live life sick and half alive? Not me. Eat well and trust in the Lord.

    Thanks for keeping up the good fight for us Jonny!

  8. Crystal Pecora

    I love this , I just had my cholesterol and other blood work run by my doctor and my cholesterol changes all the time, this year as I’m more keto/ low carbs my
    HDL 97 Mg/dL my Triglycerides 45mg/dL . Some years my triglycerides are in 30’s I’ Mwaiti g for test results form life extension with lab Corp to see what my cholesterol is.
    My dr said omg your total cholesterol is higher than your normal 230 and under do you want me to run in4 months and discusss meds….my answer was NO
    Right now I’m fighting inflammation for a fall a foot fracture, and root canal infection. My systemic inflammation is always below 1 …we will see this year. I’m 66 and lean, sprinter and resistance training, and walking..I do my fasting glucose and in fasting it goes in the 50’s and lower and ketones rise in a long fast, normal in 70’s dawn effect can be higher when I run them.i have your books and cholesterol one…I’m a health coach too for women mid life and beyond.thankyou also my LDL calculated was 150, I’m lean and fit at 66 years old.

  9. Patricia Hopkins

    Once again brilliant information from Jonny Bowden. Thank you for this update and the affirmation that the pharmaceutical industry and it’s investors interest in the statin conversation is not about the physical health of human beings but about the monetary health of their wallets!

  10. Joanne

    This could not have been more timely! I shared it w my entire msgr list!

  11. Jan, Australia.

    I know 2 people who take statins. Both developed Type 2 diabetes and memory loss within a few months of starting on these drugs. One is my Dad, who’s 90 – he developed severe muscle aches & weakness, so I talked him into taking Co-Enzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol)that I keep supplying him with. His doc never mentioned that it could help & that you actually need it when taking statins. If he runs out & forgets(!)to tell me, I can see by the way he walks & groans that he needs a new bottle of Co Q10.

  12. Dr john

    Well if choleserols are the key to heart diseases and longevity, by way no proof that is the case…then eliminate, sugars, processed carbs, and red meats….when you loose 40 as I did, your lipids will collapse….mine are 59, LDL, trygliserols 72, and actually my total is 115, too low…sugar 72…eat right, exercise 5 day ,,prevent chronic diseases, Dr john

  13. HEY BOSS


    Please, stop keeping the ‘WHITE MAN’ down.

    Thank you.

  14. Sannyreado

    Make a more new posts please 🙂


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