Links & Quick Hits

~ First a preliminary notice or announcement. In November we once again broke the record for both visits and page views (smashed the latter is more like it). We had more than 3,000 additional visits in November as our previous record of 53,500 visits set in October. As for page views, October’s record of 95,000 was smashed by an additional 17,000 page views.

Unfortunately, demands on my time have been increasing from several fronts, including the business that pays the rent. All this to say that while I sincerely appreciate the emails (and comments on the blog), please, please don’t be offended if I don’t get back to you. I’m getting dozens of emails per day now, many of them complex and with questions, and if I’m going to maintain a quality blog for all, I’ve got to set some limits somewhere. Also, some of you have good ideas for websites, forums, email lists and so on and I encourage you to pursue them — and I certainly don’t mind a mention from this blog. But it is very unlikely that I will be able to participate in any important way.

Look, I’m not saying don’t email me, but you’re gonna have to take your own chances about getting any kind of acknowledgement or response. And, for sure, I really like getting links to relevant news and studies and so forth and I’ll always endeavor, at minimum, to acknowledge your effort if I end up blogging about it.


~ Speaking of new forums, how about The Primal Tribe, a project of Philip Kafka. Here’s what Philip tells me about it.

Enter The Primal Tribe – an online community for people who pursue a natural, healthy, and caveman inspired existence. The Primal Tribe is a brand new forum for people who believe that when it came to diet, and activity levels, that the first people were also the right people. They might have eaten and moved as they did out of necessity, but we admire their living habits, and follow them out of choice.

The Primal Tribe is composed of healthy, strong, and devoted people – people whith determination and will power. It is for people who want to expand and introduce their knowledge of natural, primal living, and want to connect with others of the same mindset.

The community is young, and it is yours to form. Please register, look around, and introduce any topics of discussion that you might have.

The more the merrier. And, the more different approaches and variety, the larger the net that’s cast.

~ This is from back at the first of the year, but thank god. You can now relax and have as many of “god’s eggs” as you want, as they’ve finally been cleared by the “authorities.” Thanks to O Primitivo Ricardo for that one. Oh, saturated fat is still the devil incarnate. So, one down & one to go.

~ And back-to-back good stuff from Ricardo; this, an email I’ve had in my inbox for far to long. While he pointed me to a whole bunch of Japanese studies, I find the first one the most compelling.

The Relationship between Total Blood Cholesterol Levels and All-cause Mortality in Fukui City, and Meta-analysis of This Relationship in Japan


Shirasaki published a Japanese paper about the relationship between total cholesterol levels and all-cause mortality in Fukui City, Japan. His cholesterol data were not grouped according to ordinal 20mg⁄dL (0.52 mmol⁄L) intervals. In the present study, we re-calculated his data for meta-analysis. The relative risk (RR) of all-cause mortality adjusted for age and sex showed a decreasing trend with total cholesterol levels (p for trend <0.0001).

In order to summarize the relationship between total cholesterol and all-cause mortality, literature describing this relationship in Japan was collected mainly using computer search engines. Literature published before 1995 was excluded. Reports with the total number of study subjects smaller than 5,000 were also excluded. Five reports were found suitable for meta-analysis of cholesterol levels and all-cause mortality. Meta-analysis revealed that the RR in the <160 mg⁄dL (<4.14 mmol⁄L) group [RR=1.71 (1.41, 2.08)] was significantly higher than in the reference group [160-199 mg⁄dL (4.14-5.17 mmol⁄L)], and that the RRs in the 200-239 mg⁄dL (5.18-6.21 mmol⁄L) group [RRs=0.83 (0.74, 0.94)] and ≥240 mg⁄dL (≥6.22 mmol⁄L) group [0.78 (0.65, 0.95)] were significantly lower than in the reference group when both men and women were combined. We suggest that Japanese subjects with cholesterol levels ≥240 mg⁄dL (≥6.22 mmol⁄L) should not be regarded as hypercholesterolemic or dyslipidemic except when having some genetic disorders like familial hypercholesterolemia because they are in the safest ranges in terms of all-cause mortality.

We also have the full text PDF and here’s a very interesting excerpt.

However important the effect of cholesterol on CHD might be, the risk of all-cause mortality is lower at higher cholesterol levels. This is because of a very low incidence of CHD death in Japan (see introduction). Wether or not high cholesterol levels are a cause or effect of a high mortality, it is clinically very important to note that low cholesterol levels are associated to a sizable and significant extent with all-cause mortality (…)

Switching to LDL-cholesterol from the total cholesterol in the Guidelines is good because hypercholesterolemia due to high HDL-cholesterol levels can be excluded. At the same time, this switching is very confusing. There are very few epidemiological data about the relationship between LDL-cholesterol and deaths. Considering the present meta-analisis, JAS Guidelines appear to face a serious paradox. If a doctor prescribes cholesterol lowering medicines to subjects with cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dl (6.22 mmol/l), the doctor is prescribing medicines to those who have the least chance to die.

Those whose risk of death is smallest probably have the least need for medication. Japanese subjects with cholesterol levels above 240 mg/dl (6.22 mmol/dl) should not be regarded as hypercholesterolemic or dyslipidemic because they are in the safest ranges in terms of all-cause mortality except for some genetic disorders like FH cases. Further studies are warranted.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Grok on December 1, 2009 at 16:37

    Don’t know him personally and he could be a good guy, but Philip sent me two emails that seemed pretty spammy. Hope I don’t sound like a dick, but basically TPT looks like a leach cruising for an MDA scraps. I was immediately turned off.

    Pretty nice plug you gave considering the amount of effort that’s been put into the site. Anyone can buy a domain, auto-install a forum and start spamming MDA readers.

    Kind of an insult to folks like you who have spent oodles of time to generating quality content. IMO of course 😉

    *stepping down from the soapbox*

    • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2009 at 09:10

      I got plenty of help from others mentioning my blog when I got going in this and I’m more than happy to return the favor.

      I wish him well, and you too with your excellent blog and the graphics you are able to turn out.

    • Grok on December 2, 2009 at 10:08

      Thanks Richard. Wish I had more time. I have about 20 article started. Ha-ha

      I enjoy FTA. I refer to this site whenever I talk to people with heart issues. You have quite the honeypot of data and links for them to dip into.

  2. Philip Kafka on December 1, 2009 at 20:07


    Thank you for helping the Primal Tribe out. I appreciate your acknowledgment. I have followed your blog for some time, and I am thankful for your assistance.

    Grok – I did in fact send you an e-mail, but not because I spam, but because I liked your ideas and blog. Like I said in my e-mail, I would be very pleased if my community contained members like you. In fact, there are some threads on the forum that are right up your ally (Primal Mashed Potatoes for one!). I wanted my forum to serve as a place where the most impressive primal minds could pool their thoughts, and yes, promote their own sites as well.

    All I want to say is – as a someone who claims to be a “Modern Caveman,” you should respect that I am out here on the web, trying to fend for myself. I have no problem with you having no interest in my site, but hey, respect my mission.

    I’ll continue to stop by your blog, in fact, it will probably be of greater interest to me now…

    All the best to the both of you, and the rest of the primal community.


  3. Grok on December 1, 2009 at 21:01

    Hey Philip,

    I didn’t really want to come across mean, but I’ve been in the web game a long time and have seen it all. Just throwing out what the first impressions feel like. If I’m feeling them… others are too.

    Rafi over at is doing a pretty good job. You might look around and see what he’s doing to help his site climb.

    100% behind fending for yourself! The only “man” I work for is myself. It’s best that way 🙂

  4. Philip Kafka on December 1, 2009 at 21:44

    Ok, Thanks Grok… I understand. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    I am surprised you have recommended passionatefitness… he is using free software, has ads in place, and doesn’t seem to have put much work into the site since inception… If I were to get an e-mail from him, I’d be weary…

    But shoot, that’s my opinion of his site, just like you had yours of mine. Ill dig deeper into it though. Thanks.

    Hope to eventually see you come around and join the Primal Tribe… haha.


    • Grok on December 1, 2009 at 23:36

      Never said I wasn’t going to come around. But I usually travel alone.

      Just offering constructive criticism. Take it or leave it. I’ve been around a while. I’ve owned and operated dozens of websites in the last decade. Sites with thousands of members, at least three sites which had almost double the traffic of Free The Animal. I was crashing servers back in 2001. This is stuff I know. If I had any capital or rich parents I’d be an internet tycoon. Problem is, I like to let people rip me off. Now I’m just a poor caveman paying off his debts. That’s ok, I’m happier than ever.

      CastleGrok is barely a blip on my radar, so don’t judge my opinion based on that. The only reason I even started the site was to force myself to take more pictures of my life that was passing by too quickly. It’s since morphed some, as I’ve enjoyed doing it more than I expected and met some cool people

      As far as Rafi and his site…

      1.) I’m ad blind. Sometimes I even like ads. Sometimes it means they can pay their bills without trying to convince me to buy something 😉

      2.) Free open source software is often the best (wordpress/drupal/joomla/phpbb/zencart/etc.. are a few that come to mind). I prefer to use OS these days. Easier to modify and often superior. Haven’t even looked to see what he’s using.

      3.) I know of at least 3 new articles he’s written in the last week and I don’t even follow him.

      As long as he keeps it up, his site will be successful. Mark my words.

  5. Dane Miller on December 2, 2009 at 05:50

    Richard, here is an interview I conducted with Gary Taubes. He discusses the effects of cholesterol, where the soft science is and whether or not foods with cholesterol are actually “bad.” Just a reiteration of everything the Paleo community has been saying.

  6. Keith Thomas on December 2, 2009 at 10:59

    As to new forums, blogs, sites etc., I’d really like to hear of any from countries other than US, Canada, UK and Australia. I have been visiting Amadeus Schmidt-Philipp’s vegetarian palaeo site for about 10 years: and have noted very few updates since around 2005. Amadeus is German. There are strong yet diverse health traditions in India and China, a ‘physical culture’ tradition in India and the rich martial arts tradition of China, so I expect this diversity will, eventually, lead to palaeo diversity there as well.

  7. jon w on December 2, 2009 at 15:39

    Considering the present meta-analisis, JAS Guidelines appear to face a serious paradox…the doctor is prescribing medicines to those who have the least chance to die. Those whose risk of death is smallest probably have the least need for medication…Further studies are warranted.

    ha ha. sounds familiar. I love it.

  8. cjlizzard on December 3, 2009 at 12:07
    • Richard Nikoley on December 3, 2009 at 12:10


      Well, that Trevor Marshall is a fucking moron who’s abusing science.

      Dr. Davis has addressed this, as has Cannell of the Vitamin D Council.

    • jon w on December 3, 2009 at 12:41

      for his “alternate theory” to be true would mean that every animal that makes Vitamin D is slowly destroying their own immune systems? WTF?

      but there’s a real gem in that paper.

      “…for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”

      Ioannidis JP. Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Med. 2005 Aug;2(8):e124.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 3, 2009 at 12:47

      Also, Dr. Harris just blogged about Vitamin D Deniers.

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