In Episode #231, I sit down with Dr Alan Flanagan and Danny Lennon to examine cholesterol, statins, the ketogenic diet, and longevity.
“Getting LDL down always comes first.” – Dr Alan Flanagan
LDL cholesterol has been making waves on social media in recent years. With some diet camps making bold claims about its relevance and the apparently open-ended nature of the evidence, many laypeople may be unsure of how important cholesterol levels really are. In this episode, I’m joined by Danny Lennon and Dr Alan Flanagan to consider the role and importance of LDL cholesterol, looking at heart health on a wider scale as we recap what the literature says.
“The thing I find most difficult to accept is that there seems to be a willingness to dismiss any of the LDL evidence on the basis that it doesn’t apply to a specific population… there’s this idea that evidence becomes invalid, which is nonsensical.” – Danny Lennon
Alan Flanagan, PhD is a researcher and science-based nutrition educator. He is also the founder of Alinea Nutrition, an online education hub dedicated to providing impartial, science-based nutrition analysis. Danny Lennon is the founder of Sigma Nutrition, a company providing educational media content on evidence-based nutrition. He uses his scientific background to read and interpret the latest nutrition research and is a sought-after speaker on evidence-based nutrition.
“Academics don’t speak in the way that quacks do, with that total conviction and certainty that they’re right.” – Dr Alan Flanagan
In this episode, we take the time to unpack the basics of cardiovascular health, providing foundational knowledge and definitions before evaluating the implications. Dr Alan Flanagan and Danny Lennon address whether cholesterol matters if you’re metabolically healthy, why our veins don’t get atherosclerosis, and why our body makes cholesterol if it’s “bad for us”. They also offer advice on dietary adjustments you can make regardless of your dietary pattern, claims by social media “health gurus”, and much more.
Specifically, we discuss:
- Intro (0:00)
- Basics of Cardiovascular Health (4:29)
- ApoB for Predicting Disease (12:18)
- Heart Disease: Where things go wrong (23:23)
- What Causes Artery Damage? (38:47)
- Paul Saladino Claims (50:36)
- Is low cholesterol a problem? (1:04:07)
- Future of Gene Editing (1:27:12)
- Veins vs Arteries (1:32:28)
- Diet Claims (1:41:08)
- Healthy Keto Diet (1:54:08)
- MCT Oil (2:00:02)
- Healthy Fats (2:03:28)
- Final Thoughts (2:09:54)
- Outro (2:19:05)
Danny Lennon and Dr Alan Flanagan offer an excellent synopsis on what the evidence tells us about cardiovascular health and disease. Their knowledge is incredibly valuable, and this duo does an excellent job of bridging the gap between academia and the average person.
You can find Dr Alan Flanagan on Instagram, and learn more about Alinea Nutrition at https://www.alineanutrition.com/. Listen to his previous appearances on the show in Episode #159, Episode #225, and Episode #227.
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More about Alan Flanagan, PhD
Dr Alan Flanagan, PhD, holds an MSc and PhD in nutrition from the University of Surrey, and is a former practicing Lawyer (Barrister) from Dublin, Ireland. Alan is the founder of Alinea Nutrition, an online education hub dedicated to providing impartial, science-based nutrition analysis. Alan is also Research Communication Officer for Sigma Nutrition, creating educational resources for nutrition science. Originally a lawyer by background in Dublin, Ireland, Alan spent a decade practicing as a barrister before moving into science.
More about Danny Lennon, MSc
Danny is the founder of Sigma Nutrition, a company providing educational media content on evidence-based nutrition. Danny is the host of the top-ranked podcast Sigma Nutrition Radio, which as of 2021 has over 6 million downloads, and a monthly audience of ~100,000. His interest and knowledge spans across a number of different areas in nutrition. He has educated many nutritionists and coaches on how to program nutrition for their clients to improve body composition and adherence. Hundreds of coaches have attended his annual Sigma Nutrition Seminar over the past several years.
Danny uses his scientific background to read and interpret the latest nutrition research, before communicating the key points to his audience. In addition to his science background, Danny has also worked as a nutrition practitioner for several years. He has become well known for being the nutritionist to several professional MMA and boxing athletes. He wrote a successful book on this topic: “Sigma Weight Cutting System for MMA & Boxing”.
Danny is also a sought after speaker on evidence-based nutrition, speaking at conferences and seminars all over the world. He has resented at events all over Europe, Australia, and the United States. He has spoken at corporate organizations such as LinkedIn, Johnson & Johnson and Gilead Sciences.
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