Inflammation More Important than Cholesterol
Inflammation: More Important than Cholesterol?
November 16, 2008

At the American Heart Association conference in New Orleans, 
researchers from the Jupiter study reported that statin drugs caused 
people with normal cholesterol but with high C-reactive protein 
levels to suffer 54 percent fewer heart attacks, 48 percent fewer 
strokes, 46 percent fewer angioplasties or bypass operations and 
20 percent fewer deaths from any cause than those taking placebos 
(NEJM November 9, 2008). The results were so dramatic they made the 
front page of the New York Times, Washington Post and many other 

A C-reactive protein test (CRP) measures inflammation. Inflammation 
is caused by anything that keeps your immunity active such as 
chronic infections or anything that damages tissue such as smoking, 
having high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Last week I reported 
a theory to explain why eating mammal meat causes inflammation and 
is associated with increased risk for premature death, cancers and 
heart attacks. Meat contains a molecule called Neu5Gc that humans 
do not have, so the immune system of humans attacks this protein as 
if it was an invading germ and eventually attacks the host itself to 
destroy the blood vessels and increase risk for heart attacks and 

Many scientists feel that inflammation is a stronger predictor of 
heart attacks than high cholesterol levels. At present, statins are 
prescribed to treat people with heart disease or high cholesterol. 
This study shows that they prevent heart attacks in people with high 
CRP and normal cholesterol levels, presumably because statins reduce 
inflammation. About 7 million people in the US have normal 
cholesterol and high CRP. Treating them with a brand-name statin 
would cost each $116 a month or $9.7 billion a year, and prevent 
about 28,000 heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths each 
year. Rather than just writing a prescription, I think doctors 
should ask why a patient's CRP is elevated and try to lower it with 
lifestyle changes or treatment of any underlying chronic infection.

If you read my book The Healthy Heart Miracle (first published in 
2003), you know this already.