Confusion about Cholesterol Results

Huh? What?

As I was reading the latest news on heart health, my brain went into confuse mode as I read an article.  This article points out exactly how easily incorrect conclusions about cholesterol levels are drawn, even from intelligent credible sources.

The conclusion from looking at a cholesterol study of 6880 persons reported by the National Institute of Health:  They discovered that those with colds and minor illnesses in the course of the study had slightly lowered HDL levels (about 2%) and slightly lowered total cholesterol levels (slightly more than 2%).

The researchers labeled this as barely statistically significant but realized that this may skew their results if they don’t account for the variability induced by having a cold.

As an aside, cholesterol levels do tend to vary from day to day, especially if a high carbohydrate diet was eaten the day before, in particular refined carbohydrates.

In order to make sure their results were meaningful, they wanted to warn other researchers to account for colds, as the cold lowered the cholesterol (by using it up I would assume.  Their final statement:

Although small, a differential rate of minor illness may sometimes significantly affect interpretation of TC epidemiological and intervention studies or the timing of measurements in clinical practice.

However, getting sick is NOT a good way to lower cholesterol.)

In an authority blog this morning, I ran across the following conclusion from this study, which is clearly incorrect:

The results of the study indicate that people with low cholesterol are more prone to minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, runny noses and sore throats.

Original post to article

So, even intelligent people with a vast knowledge of a topic can easily draw incorrect conclusions, especially about a topic as complicated and as yet not completely understood as cholesterol levels.  This means that as yet, many people are misinformed and are going on information that is so often repeated, that it is held to be true.  Let’s get to the bottom of it.