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There Is Only One Type of Cholesterol: Here's Why

We keep hearing about different types of cholesterol. It's all nonsense. There's only one cholesterol molecule, so there's only one type of cholesterol. What started this nonsense of types of cholesterol?

Deep Fried Butter

Photo from Morgue File,

by Heidi Stevenson
Article Concept by Andrej Oljaca

Just how many types of cholesterol are there? The more we're indoctrinated with the cholesterol-as-poison myth, the more types they seem to find. HDL. LDL. VLDL. And those pesky triglycerides: Are they a type of cholesterol? Here's the truth:

None of them are cholesterol, and there is only one type of cholesterol! That's right. HDL, LDL, and VLDL aren't cholesterol. And cholesterol isn't a fat.

All that nonsense bandied about to make you fearful that your cholesterol levels are too high ... well, unless they're the "right type" of cholesterol ... or maybe it's making sure they're at the right balance ... or whatever the latest fad among doctors happens to be ... It's all pure and utter nonsense. It's a cooked up jamboree of confusion, designed to put not only you, but also your doctor, off balance and disoriented so you'll buy into the idea that you really must take their poisons ... uh, drugs, or you could die tomorrow.

The Only Kind of Cholesterol

Cholesterol Molecule, by Gaia Health

Cholesterol Molecule, by Gaia Health

The elements in cholesterol are 27 carbon atoms, 45 hydrogen atoms, and an oxygen-hydrogen pair. That's 27 carbons, 46 hydrogens, and 1 lonely oxygen.

A cholesterol molecule includes four hydrocarbon ring structures, as shown in the tinted area of the diagram to the right. These rings place cholesterol in the steroid hormone family. In fact, all other steroid hormones, including estrogen and testosterone, are made from cholesterol.

The hydroxyl group is indicated by the HO at the bottom of the diagram. Any molecule that has a hydroxyl group is defined as an alcohol. Alcohol is water soluble.

Cholesterol has a tail of carbon and hydrogen atoms that extends off the rings. Both the tail and rings are nonpolar, which means that they dissolve in oil, but cannot dissolve in water.

This is a cholesterol molecule. There is no other kind of cholesterol molecule. There is, therefore, only one kind of cholesterol. You can look and look, but you'll never find another model of a cholesterol molecule.

The Confusion

So where did the idea that there's more than one sort of cholesterol come from?

Remember that cholesterol consists of three parts. Two of the three cannot be dissolved in water. Overall, that makes cholesterol incapable of dissolving in blood. Therefore, it requires a carrier to be transported throughout the body. That carrier is a lipoprotein. And that's where the idea that there are different kinds of cholesterol come from.

There are different kinds of lipoproteins. Each carries cholesterol, but they are not part of cholesterol. So where did this idea that there are different kinds of cholesterol come from?

History of the Cholesterol Myth

A string of events and studies led to the myth that cholesterol is harmful. Back in 1889, researchers Lehzen and Knauss reported on a child who died suddenly at the age of 111. The child was born with a condition, called hypercholesterolemia, which causes massive overproduction of cholesterol. This seems to have been the seed that led to the concept that cholesterol is bad.

Then, a series of experiments were done on lab animals2,3. Nikolai N. Anitschkow fed rabbits purified cholesterol, demonstrating that they developed atherosclerosis. Of course, rabbits do not naturally eat such a diet—but that little detail seems to have been ignored. So more such experiments were done on goats, hens, parrots, guinea pigs, pigeons, and rhesus monkeys. The same was attempted on dogs, but being natural meat eaters, it didn't work. Of course, this bit of information was ignored.

In 1955, Ancel Keys was already convinced that fat in the diet is key to cholesterol levels. He did an epidemiological study claiming to show that high fat intake is directly linked to heart attacks. The catch is, he cheated. He collected data from 22 countries, many of which strongly conflicted with his conclusion, which was based on the data from only 7 countries! He cherry-picked his data to produce the results he wanted. Nonetheless, his so-called research is cited to this day. For a humorous look at his work, take a look at this video.

From that point, modern medicine was hooked on the cholesterol-as-villain theory. The question is: Why? Why was it so important to accept obviously flawed junk science? Like any other industry, modern medicine wants to sell products, which means getting people to doctors' visits and pushing drugs. Treating cholesterol as a villain has led to a constant stream of people turned into patients, streaming into doctors' offices and getting drugs, primarily statins, but many others, too, as the drug-as-prevention idea has gotten rolling.

So the pseudo science mills got to work producing faux study after faux study purporting to show how cholesterol causes heart disease. In that effort, they started to discover different "types" of cholesterol. Since that's obviously absurd, what exactly are they referring to?


Health and Cholesterol Free Zone sign

Photo by Sean Munson (with "HEALTH AND" added).

Remember that cholesterol isn't water soluble? As a result, they need to be carried by something else to travel in the blood. Those things are lipoproteins, so named because they're a mix of fat (lipo-) and protein. As it turns out, there are different types of lipoproteins. So, when you hear about different types of cholesterol, what they're really referring to is lipoproteins that carry both cholesterol and fat to cells. This association of lipoproteins with both fat and cholesterol has led to the idea that cholesterol is a fat, but that is also untrue.

There are several types of lipoproteins, more, in fact, than we're generally told. Ever hear of chylomicrons? Those are the biggest kind of lipoprotein—but we never hear about them because no one has figured out how to measure them in a blood test. Now that should tell you something about this whole cholesterol myth. Apparently, the only lipoproteins we're going to be informed about are those that can be measured. If they can't measure them, then there's no way to determine if you need a drug to raise or lower them.

We don't often hear about VLDL (very low density lipoprotein). That's because no one's really figured out an easy way to measure it. When we are given a measure, it's nearly always a guesstimate, based on an assumed ratio with triglycerides.

VLDLs carry fats in the form of triglycerides to cells in the body. They also carry cholesterol, but don't release it. When VLDLs have released most of the fat, they're called IDLs (intermediate density lipoproteins). IDLs release more fat to cells and become LDLs (low density lipoproteins).

LDL is what's meant by bad cholesterol. There are indications that after LDLs have distributed their cholesterol, they become small enough to burrow into the linings of arteries and oxidize, thus resulting in the inflammation that's so damaging. Whether this is true or not, it's quite clear that cholesterol is not the issue. In any case, LDLs disperse cholesterol molecules to cells where they're needed.

HDLs (high density lipoproteins) are often called "good" cholesterol. They have several functions, including the transport of cholesterol. However, rather than transport it to cells, HDLs transport cholesterol from them and back to the liver, where the liver determines whether to recycle or dispose of it. The liver is in control of how much cholesterol is in your body, not lipoproteins.

Among HDL's functions is to carry anti-oxidative enzymes. This could explain why HDL is the seen as good: it may help neutralize potential harm done by depleted LDLs' oxidation.

Cholesterol, Friend Not Enemy

Cholesterol has been demonized. Yet the more it's demonized, the more heart disease we've seen. Obviously, something's wrong with the the theory. Unfortunately, entrenched interests won't let it go without a fight. There's simply too much money riding on this false hypothesis. So, more and more details are discovered, resulting in more and more distinctions in so-called types of cholesterol—in spite of how obviously absurd the concept is. There is one, and only one, type of cholesterol.

This one type of cholesterol is critically important for survival. It's required to make Vitamin D3. which is required for brain and nerve function. Without it, you can't form memories, so it's no wonder that statins, which interfere with cholesterol formation, can harm memory. Cholesterol is required to form corticosteroid, testosterone, and estrogen. We need cholesterol, and interfering with it results in devastating health effects. It should come as no surprise that statins produce so much harm.

Truly, if you value your health, you will ignore the warnings about high cholesterol levels. Unless you suffer from hypercholesterolemia, a congenital defect, the chances of having excess cholesterol are fadingly slim. If you have a problem with lipoproteins, reducing cholesterol isn't going to help, and taking statins, which do reduce cholesterol as they claim, could do terrible things to your health.

Just remember that cholesterol isn't measured by blood tests. Lipoproteins are, and they aren't cholesterol.

You can see Dr. Kendrick lecture about the cholesterol con in this video.


  1. An interpretive history of the cholesterol controversy: part II: the early evidence linking hypercholesterolemia to coronary disease in humans
  2. Thematic review series: The Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis. An interpretive history of the cholesterol controversy: part I
  3. Heart Frauds: Uncovering the Biggest Health Scam in History, page 60
  4. Plasma Lipoproteins – Composition, Structure and Biochemistry
  5. Lipoproteins: Lipid Digestion & Transport
  6. LDL Oxidation in Atherogenesis
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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So what, what does this mean for the prevention and treatment of the disease of the heart and arteries? This article is more academic than anything else. So what's new, cholesterol does not cause heart/artery disease. I would be helpful to many that if you're going to put this type of article out there, to provide resources for the obvious follow questions: those are, "How do I best maintain clear arteries? How do I prevent heart disease? How do I unclog my arteries?" I mean come on, this article begs so many more questions that it begins to answer. Sorry for the negative feedback, but more is need for average people who are reading this because they would be left with a sense of, "Okay, now what do I do? with this information?" Clearly going off statins is a start, but what do should folks do next for reversing preexisting diseases of their hearts and arteries?

Low grade systemic inflammation

For a start Forget about cholesterol tests. Its all about inflammation of your arteries. Get tested for low grade systemic inflammation. Request the high sensitivity CRP test (HS-CRP). IF the test comes out high then focus on a low inflammation diet plan. Stay away from pro inflammatory foods.


That is a good start for folks to "chew" on.

My life as a shill

I was a big pharma shill for more than fifteen years. I sold many things, among them statins. Cholesterol level is something that can be objectively measured and compared. Nothing more. The amount of scarring in the arteries is a much greater factor in the development of heart disease, and triglyceride levels increase with the amount of starch consumed. It is not an issue.

Religious nonsense

When I get into arguments with religious/superstitious fanatics and they run out of rational arguments/evidence they resort to personal attacks or saying things like "I don't care what you say, I know that I am right because I have faith" - basically they argue black is white and then there is nothing left to be said.

Statins have wrecked my life

I wish that I had this information available before I took Lipitor. I now have permanent frontal lobe damage due to taking Statins. This means that I have severe memory loss, especially my short term memory. I also suffered agonizing muscle pains after taking Statins for just a few weeks. For several months I was practically bed ridden, and couldn't even dress myself in the normal manner. I had to figure out other methods to put my clothing on since I couldn't raise my arms above my shoulders, or behind my back. Within weeks of taking Lipitor I was a virtual cripple. I am now taking more than a dozen supplements a day to help overcome the damage caused by Lipitor.

Thank you

Thank you for telling your story. It's tragic that so many people are so severely harmed by these drugs given under false pretenses. 

ingrained thought patterns

from a lifetime of incorrect information are very difficult to go against. I have first had to realize that practically everything I thought I knew was wrong, and this applies to all areas of life, to start learning new things and making new choices. Thanks for an excellent article...

Cholesterol explained

Thank you for this article. I am no fan of Big Pharma and I am upset about how many friends and family whose health is being destroyed by statins. This article will go a long way in explaining the truth about these dangerous drugs and cholesterol.

Re: There Is Only One Type of Cholesterol: Here's Why

Your main issue seems to be a semantic one - you do not address the biochemistry/ physiology of large amounts of cholesterol being delivered to artery walls, inflammation, foam cells etc. Maybe it is addressed in the references but you have not given any evidence that the conventional view is wrong and therefore there is no incentive for me to wade through the references. Regards, Phil.


There is only one kind of cholesterol. Cholesterol is not a fat. That's not semantics. That's fact. 


What I mean is that you are complaining about semantics - yes it is true that there is only one cholesterol but in the "popular" vernacular, the different types of "cholesterol" refer to the delivering capacity of the the different types of lipoprotein - yes, it is incorrect - so what? You didn't respond to my criticisms of your article. Complaining about the incorrect use of the word "cholesterol" is like me complaining about people who talk about "Cryogenics" (thinking it is about freezing people - it is NOT - that is "Cryonics") but I know what they are talking about nonetheless.


The fact is that cholesterol is routinely referred to as a lipid and, as a result, confounded with fats. As a result, people are routinely told - by their doctors - to control cholesterol by controlling their fat intake (and usually condemning the wrong kind of fat). 

The issue most assuredly is that cholesterol is defined as the evil when it most assuredly is not. The issue is that people are given absolutely abominable advice - and horrific drugs - to control cholesterol levels, when that is simply not the problem.

Cholesterol has become the focus because it's an easy target - because it's easy to measure certain kinds of lipoprotein levels and to call them cholesterol, as pointed out in the article. It's led to a totally mistaken approach to the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

I have not responded to the rest of your criticisms because they are not the point of the article. They are, instead, the typical approach of shills - an attempt to mislead by redirecting attention away from the topic.


Cholesterol still

I think you are incorrect (from what I have read about the disease progression - here I am specifically talking about atherosclerosis) - cholesterol IS a problem - I don't care if people get it mixed up with fats or not, or use an inexact expression  . .

BTW, I am certainly no fanboy of Big Pharma but there IS evidence that statins do what they are supposed to do but, as with any medication - do the cost-benefit analysis - I believe that for some (most?) at risk people, the benefits outweigh the costs.

My point is, again, you did not present anything in the article that had the affect (on me at least) of "Wow, that is really interesting! - I will definitely spend more time digging deeper in the references".

Connect the dots – statins are risky.

Progression of Vascular calcification linked to statins

Diabetes linked to statins


TGA warning for statins causing diabetes, and memory loss


Mayo clinic info on statins




You're entitled to your opinion

Yes, statins do what they're supposed to do - lower cholesterol. But cholesterol isn't the problem, and no one's demonstrated that lowering cholesterol extends life. In fact, the opposite has been shown.

Try reading Kendrick's book on the topic, The Great Cholesterol Myth. It's a good starting point.

The latest shill game.

There is NO good evidence that statins prevent heart disease - or that cholesterol causes it. If you don't know that, then you are reading Big Pharma supported studies or ones by people beholden to Big Pharma. 

The latest shill game seems to be to say, "I'm no fan of Big Pharma, but ..." and then go on to try to claim that the arguments given are invalid, but without a single statement that actually supports the claim.

Frankly, if it talks like a shill, then the assumption must be that it is a shill. You should be ashamed of yourself - or didn't you bother reading the comment from the person whose life has been devastated by statins? 

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