Below is a fascinating interview I had with Dr. Bret Scher. He is a cardiologist based in San Diego, about the therapeutic benefits of the LCHF lifestyle and the associated fear of cardiovascular disease risk. We also talked about the relevance of serum cholesterol levels (LDL cholesterol in particular) and the fact that the anti-inflammatory effects of statins might possibly explain why trials show a small (if any) reduction in cardiovascular incidents.
I asked him how he started to embrace the low carb lifestyle and he said that is started with an observation early on in his practice. The standard of care that is taught was not working with a lot of his patients. Then he started to look at all the current research. “Once you start to see the re-examination of all this information, you can’t help but question it”, he says. “We’re ingrained with what we’re taught …. doctors fear going outside of that standard of care.”
His comment that “you can’t help but question it” does not really hold true for most doctors though. As engineers we question everything. With doctors, however, they have so much to learn that they cram it all in such that they can regurgitate it later. Often they don’t seen to have the time (and they’ve never been taught) to question whether any of their training might be flawed. An example of this is that Dr. Scher is the only one in a practice of nine cardiologists who is currently open to this conversation.
Then we got onto the question of statin drugs and something he said hit me for the first time. The fact that statins have an anti-inflammatory effect as well as an LDL cholesterol lowering effect. All the latest research points to the fact that it is inflammation and damage to the arterial walls that results in a build up of plaque and the development of cardiovascular disease. Some statin trials (in very select groups) have shown very small (statistically insignificant) decreases in cardiovascular events. If there is ever a reduction of any kind, who’s to say that it’s not the reduction in arterial inflammation that is responsible for these observations?
I did an interview recently with another San Diego based internal medicine doc, Dr. Brian Lenzkes and it turns out he and Dr. Scher were residents together back in the day. Now they are joining forces to get this message out to our local community here in San Diego. This includes trying to reach the medical community which warms my heart! We need doctors to convince other doctors so this is an awesome place to start. Come and meet them and others at one of our events and maybe you’ll be inspired to do what they are doing in your own city. You can also see another great post here on cholesterol levels and the brain or one on Why We Fear Saturated Fat.
[Doug Reynolds: Founder – LowCarbUSA®]