When Dr Haroun Gajraj, a vascular surgeon, had a routine check up 8 years ago, they found 9.3 millimoles of cholesterol in every litre of blood — almost twice the recommended maximum. He was put on statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that are supposed to prevent heart disease and strokes.
After 8 years of being on statins he did more research into them and he concluded that “statins were not going to save me from a heart attack and that my cholesterol levels were all but irrelevant”
3 months later, he informed his GP of his decision saying that they were causing him pain in his arm, rather than saying he was skeptical about statins. His GP wanted to switch him to a different brand of statins. However, Dr. Gajraj insisted that he had another blood test.
His doctor was amazed at the results as his total blood cholesterol was lower than when he had been on statins. after 3 months without the pills, it was 5.4mmol/l (5.4 millimoles per litre of blood) compared with 5.7 mmol/l a year earlier.
What changes had Dr Gajraj made?
- He eliminated sugar including alcohol and starchy foods such as bread
- He ate more animal fat – saturated fat has been acquitted of causing heart disease by a recent “meta” analysis of 70 studies by Cambridge University.
- He was eating red meat 3-4 times a week
- He enjoyed eating butter, full-fat milk and plenty of eggs
Results since he made the dietary changes and came off statins:
- His LDL levels (so-called bad cholesterol) were lower than when he was on statins.
- His ratio of HDL (so-called good cholesterol) to LDL was under four for the first time.
- Blood pressure was down
- He was slimmer, especially around the belly
- His triglycerides were lower than at any time in the preceding eight years
- Fasting blood glucose was at an optimum level
- Total white blood count was lower
Dr. Gajraj believes that high cholesterol has been a scapegoat for too long. He says that it may, in some circumstances be an indicator of heart disease but there is NO EVIDENCE of a causal link.
He also says that GPs are, by definition, generalist. They don’t have time to read and analyse data from every paper on every medical condition.
He is 58 years old and says that he feels better than ever.