Customer Review

139 of 157 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, but doesn't really provide any answers, 22 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The Great Cholesterol Con ~ The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It (Paperback)
At first glance this book seems very well researched and written, and essential reading for anyone taking statins or concerned about cholesterol levels.

Dr Kendrick criticises research into the saturated fat - cholesterol - heart disease link, on the basis that most of the researchers involved in this field had set out to prove this link rather than studying it objectively. The author then seems to apply similarly biased thinking to try to prove his own theory that stress is the primary cause of heart disease.

Dr Kendrick is right to point out that a number of countries with high saturated fat consumption and low incidence of heart disease have been conveniently ignored by those trying to prove the diet-heart hypothesis. The author makes no attempt however to find other explanations for this. A lot of research is being carried out into homocysteine which is a non-essential amino acid that has been found to be very irritating to the outer lining of the arterial wall. Homocysteine is produced when there is insufficient folic acid, B12 and B6 in the body to convert methionine (found abundantly in animal meats) into cysteine, which can be excreted by the kidneys. Interestingly, populations with high saturated fat intake and low incidence of CHD all seem to have high consumption of these B vitamins in their diets, as well as Omega 3 fatty acids which are known to be cardio protective. Has this been conveniently ignored by Dr Kendrick because is doesn't fit his stress-heart hypothesis?

I work in the field of cardiac rehabilitation and it is an area where a multi-disciplinary approach is required. Diet, activity levels, smoking, pharmacology and stress are all major factors and trying to suggest that one factor is more important than the others is, in my opinion, completely wrong.

For a book written predominantly about stress and heart disease, the practical advice on reducing / dealing with stress is a disappointing page and a half postscript.

The book is very good at showing some of the misinformation that does exist about cholesterol and heart disease and explaining some of the problems with statins and some of the research that has been carried out by drug companies. If however, you are looking for a book to help improve the health of your heart, then this book on it's own is not comprehensive enough.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jul 2008 20:09:04 BDT
What a shame that it is so difficult to get the NHS to monitor homocysteine levels -

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2008 20:55:43 BDT
I wonder if it has something to do with there not being a pharmaceutical remedy for reducing homocysteine levels? Statistically there are many people with high cholesterol who do not develop heart conditions and many people with low cholesterol levels who do. There is a significantly higher correlation between homocysteine levels and cad. Dr Kendrick does do a fantastic job in exposing some of the flawed thinking behind the existing approach to cholesterol and heart disease and with more and more physicians now considering alternative viewpoints hopefully homocysteine monitoring will become more widespread in the future.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Nov 2008 21:39:21 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Nov 2008 21:40:11 GMT
launter says:
I doubt it, the pharmaceutical industry would be putting all their efforts into creating a remedy if they thought it was worth while

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Nov 2008 22:08:28 GMT
The pharmaceutical industry generally agree that high homocysteine levels cause damage to the artery walls. A pharmaceutical remedy is possibly not worth while (financially) and initial attempts to use drugs to lower homocysteine levels has not resulted in a reduction in mortality.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Dec 2009 01:30:33 GMT
R. Painter says:
There IS a way to lower homocysteine levels - increase dietary folate or take B vitamins - a quick search will find more details!

Posted on 30 Oct 2011 10:39:11 GMT
Lady Vibart says:
a very honest and helpful appraisal. Books that claim to have ALL the answers are usually as misguided as the ones they are criticising so very helpful to have an even handed critic. Thank you

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2011 11:00:22 GMT
Lady Vibart says:
When we see the amount of processed food that is eaten in the west plus the food that is flown 1000's of miles it is hardly surprising that we are short of vitamins - especially B complex. In her books written back in the 60's ? Adele Davies (Let's eat right to keep fit etc) advocated all kind of supplements of B complex and C etc Her critics said she was wrong because she died (at 90+) ! When we see last weeks headlines about vitamin supplements causing death and that they should be banned (to coincide with European legislation against complementary treatments) etc, ignoring 20-30 years of reasonable scientific study, we can suspect the Big Boys' influence. Sadly GP's quite often have little training in nutrition and even less time to study the latest reports. When I worked in a GP's surgery for several years, every month the drug rep would arrive with the latest 'pharmaceutical wonder' PLUS a fabulous lunch spread from M&S etc as the GPs/nurses had just 40 minutes or less for lunch and, that way, the rep was sure of a grateful audience! I have been put under lots of pressure from the heart consultant to take statins (or die!) as my chol. level is 8 plus despite very healthy organic diet, but so far I have resisted because of adverse reports from friends on Statins -as in depression/aching legs/lethargy etc so ANY kind of scientific research on homocysteine levels etc is a boon.

Posted on 16 Aug 2012 01:12:50 BDT
HardToPlease says:
If you spend a little time researching you will find that there is significant evidence that folate deficiency is THE cause of heart disease. Unfortunately, proof positive is unlikely to arrive any time soon because the definitive trial to prove this would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and no pharmaceutical company is going to do this because they can't patent a vitamin!

Furthermore, the body produces cholesterol naturally in order to heal itself. The cholesterol accumulates as a plaque in areas of inflammation in order to heal whatever damage has caused it. In other words, high cholesterol is evidence that you have areas of inflammation which your body is attempting to heal. In my opinion, the inflammation is caused by the damage done to the lymphatic endothelium which is a layer of cells one cell thick covering the interior of the body from the lips through to the anus and the arteries and/or the vascular epithelium as mentioned by Jason. Depending on the nature of the damage to the epithelium and where it is, we will be symptomatic. Treatment with folic acid, B12, B6 and the other vitamins and minerals as necessary is required in order to reduce and eventually eliminate the causes of the inflammation and, hence, reduce cholesterol.

It should also be noted that any damage to the lymphatic endothelium in the area of the stomach and gut will cause vitamin and mineral malabsorption. In my opinion, people with so-called IBS are exhibiting such symptoms and should investigate their nutritional status. Malnutrition is actually a common health problem here in the UK! Never mind the third world.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Feb 2014 12:41:16 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Feb 2014 12:41:44 GMT
Rustygecko says:
There's loads-a-money, for the pharmaceutical companies, politicians and doctors, in giving everyone statins; none in homocysteine. My doctor would have my dog, cat and goldfish on statins if he could.

Posted on 18 Apr 2015 15:57:37 BDT
reader says:
My only comment is:- My husband was put on statins last July, in September he had an episode of Global Amnesia. He was given the highest dose of statins without any attempt to control his cholesterol level by diet, even though he was overweight! His heart is healthy and there are no other symptoms aside from elevated cholesterol levels. There was no attempt to check his family history of heart disease or strokes (NONE), or to check whether the side-effects could be harmful to him. In fact he has a family health history of Alzheimer's Disease, his mother and all her siblings have it as did their mother and my husband now has impaired short-term memory! Needless to say the tablets went straight back to the pharmacy, who made no comment except to advise him to tell his GP, and he is now on a lower-fat diet, more to control his weight than his cholesterol levels!
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