Interviewer: Doctor, can you give me your opinion on statin drugs? The opinions range obviously and here at the A4M I think a lot of people are talking out against them. But what's your thought on those, the cholesterol lowering drugs?
Dr. Ed Park
, MD, MPH: Yes. You know, it's funny because you saw my website.
Interviewer: Yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Ed Park, MD, MPH: It mentions it as one of the good things to do. So that was received wisdom from my days as a regular medical doctor.
Dr. Ed Park, MD, MPH: You know, the problem with evidence-based medicine is you can kind of read what you want into it.
Dr. Ed Park, MD, MPH: So when you really drill down and you really step back and you say, "Okay. What are we really doing here?" You're filled with the basic chemical reaction of the bodies, HMG-CoA reductase. So this is how we synthesize sterol hormones. I mean, that can't be really that good, you know? And so in fact, there are some idiosyncratic reactions, some of which I've seen which are very harmful and they can cause really debilitating illness. They're rare, I mean, they're in the one per thousands but they happen.
But in general, there's a more subtle background effect that people don't like how they're feeling them because you're messing up the chemistry, you know. And the problem is that a fundamental premise of cholesterol lowering drugs seems so appealing, right? That if we lower the cholesterol because cholesterol is associated with these bad outcomes, you'll have better outcomes, when in fact that logic appears to be totally flawed, you know?
It's like, when I did the webinar, I came to realize that my belief is that the reason you get HGL cholesterol is not because it's been overproduced, it's being underutilized, you see? So if the cells are healthy, they need more fat. The cells are unhealthy, then they don't need more fat. So an LDL means a big bag of fat. An HGL is a little bag of fat. That's all it means.
So think of it like that old "I Love Lucy" episode where she's pulling chocolates from the conveyor belt, right? If Lucy is unhealthy or fat or tired, she's not pulling as many chocolates and there's more chocolate getting through. Same thing. So if your cells are unhealthy as a system, there's just bigger bags coming at the other end. So in fact what we found here, this whole multi-billion dollar industry common wisdom is all just totally wrong actually because cholesterol is not the causal agent. It's like saying "You know, the reason why peoples' cars wear down is because the cup holders get old." I mean, yes- it was related, but it wasn't really the cause.
I mean, that's a little trivializing. Cholesterol is a key component of atherosclerosis and high cholesterol in certain familiar syndromes is devastating, don't get me wrong. But for the run of the mill, really the problem is not the cholesterol. The problem is the under utilization of the cholesterol. And people even think you eat cholesterol, you are what you eat, when point in fact you can not eat any cholesterol and you make plenty of it and as long as you're old you'll have a high cholesterol level. It's just chemistry.
So if you're eating whale liver up on that igloo in Alaska, you'll still make carbs and protein. And if you're a vegetarian, all you eat is carbs and proteins or whatever, you're going to make cholesterol. So, you know, we can't treat the system. The system knows what it's doing. The problem is not what you're eating, it's the metabolism. And the metabolism is not necessarily what you're doing in the gym or eating. It's the fact that your cells are old and damaged so the rules of the game change.
I was talking to a 25-year-old guy, very fit. Last night he said, "Yes, I know. I have to struggle sometimes. I feel like I'm putting on weight." It's just the system. The stem cells are old and they stop to respond to insulin, glucose, cholesterol, in the same way. And so you can be the best gym rat in the world but eventually you'll acquire a little pooch because that's the visceral fat.