Lowering Bad LDL Cholesterol Does Extend Life

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers say they have proven definitely that lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels can extend life. Now researchers say keeping your LDL or bad cholesterol level lower definitely leads to a longer lifespan, supporting multiple journal studies and found in what the scientist say is the only randomized controlled trial that lowering LDL cholesterol can help people live longer.

The findings come from the Program on Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias (POSCH) randomized controlled trial at the University of Minnesota. The study showed that patients who received a bypass in the part of the colon called the ileum where cholesterol is absorbed, along with diet instructions, lived one year longer than their counterpart who received diet instruction alone. The study included 838 heart attack survivors between the ages of 38-60.


The type of surgery the patients received is now only available to a few patients at high risk for heart attack and who cannot tolerate cholesterol lowering medications. The study commenced in 1975. Follow up 25 years later showed that lowering cholesterol added one more year of life for the study participants.

Anti-cholesterol medications called statins are given to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels and are the treatment of choice for preventing heart disease, peripheral vascular disease and for preventing heart attack. Henry Buchwald, M.D., Ph.D., bariatric surgeon at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and lead investigator says the study..."contributes to a long path of findings from the POSCH trial, that is, high levels of LDL cholesterol are detrimental to your health."

The scientists say the study finding is the only trial that looked at the life-extending benefits of lowering cholesterol over a twenty-five year span. They also say it is the only randomized controlled trial that shows the "the life-sustaining" benefits of lowering cholesterol.

Annals of Surgery: doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181deb4d0