Cholesterol gets a bad rap from all the propaganda over the years. It is actually a vital part or your bodily functions and new discoveries show how important it actually is. This article explains what cholesterol is and its importance to our every day lives.
Definition of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found everywhere in your body and used in many ways. Cholesterol helps with your cell membranes, vitamin D, bile acids, digestion, and hormones. It is especially important substance for your brain and its function.
Dr. Mercola defines it perfectly in his article:
High-density lipoprotein or HDL: This is commonly known as the "good" cholesterol that helps keep cholesterol away from your arteries and remove any excess from arterial plaque, which may help to prevent heart disease.
Low-density lipoprotein or LDL: This "bad" cholesterol circulates in your blood and, according to conventional thinking, may build up in your arteries, forming plaque that makes your arteries narrow and less flexible (a condition called atherosclerosis). If a clot forms in one of these narrowed arteries leading to your heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke may result.
Triglycerides: Elevated levels of this dangerous fat have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. Triglyceride levels are known to rise from eating too many grains and sugars, being physically inactive, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol excessively and being overweight or obese.
Lipoprotein (a), or Lp(a): Lp(a) is a substance that is made up of an LDL "bad cholesterol" part plus a protein (apoprotein a). Elevated Lp(a) levels are a very strong risk factor for heart disease. This has been well established, yet very few physicians check for it in their patients.
"Notice please that LDL and HDL are lipoproteins -- fats combined with proteins. There is only one cholesterol. There is no such thing as 'good' or 'bad' cholesterol. Cholesterol is just cholesterol. It combines with other fats and proteins to be carried through the bloodstream, since fat and our watery blood do not mix very well. Fatty substances therefore must be shuttled to and from our tissues and cells using proteins. LDL and HDL are forms of proteins and are far from being just cholesterol. In fact we now know there are many types of these fat and protein particles. LDL particles come in many sizes and large LDL particles are not a problem. Only the so-called small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, because they can squeeze through the lining of the arteries and if they oxidize, otherwise known as turning rancid, they can cause damage and inflammation. Thus, you might say that there is 'good LDL' and 'bad LDL.' Also, some HDL particles are better than others. Knowing just your total cholesterol tells you very little. Even knowing your LDL and HDL levels will not tell you very much." -Ron Rosedale, MD
The following are some very interesting facts about Cholesterol.
Your liver produces about 2000 mg of cholesterol every day (1)- If you have low cholesterol (less than 200) you are 3 TIMES MORE at risk of a stroke.
Cholesterol is used in nerves to PROTECT them
Fat soluble vitamins D, A, K, and E need cholesterol to help the body absorb these vitamins (This could be the reason you can't get that Vit D higher)
Your body uses cholesterol to make all your important sex hormones and adrenal hormones (5)
15% of the dry weight of your brain is made of cholesterol (6)
People with low cholesterol (less than 200) suffer 40% of strokes
A study showed that the "risk of stroke decreased 15% for every 3% increase of saturated fat." (2)
Another research paper shows that showed that there was absolutely NO CONNECTION between eating eggs and the risk of heart disease or stroke in either men or women. (3)
It has been shown that eating butter actually lowered LDL cholesterol but raised the HDL "good" cholesterol! (4)
High cholesterol is from the inability for your metabolism to efficiently handle the cholesterol you need.
So if you have "high" cholesterol, you have to wonder WHY is it high and WHAT is not functioning correctly to cause this?
Saturated fatty acids vs. Trans fatty acids
Saturated fatty acids raise HDL "good" cholesterol, whereas the trans fatty acids lower HDL cholesterol.
Saturated fatty acids lower the blood levels of the atherogenic lipoprotein (a), whereas trans fatty acids raise the blood levels of Lp(a)
Saturated fatty acids conserve the good omega-3 fatty acids whereas trans fatty acids cause the tissues to lose the good omega-3 fatty acids.
Saturated fatty acids do not inhibit insulin binding whereas trans fatty acids do inhibit insulin binding.
Saturated fatty acids are the normal fatty acids made by the body and they do not interfere with enzyme functions such as the delta-6-desaturase, whereas trans fatty acids are not made by the body and they interfere with many enzyme functions such as delta-6-desaturase.
Some saturated fatty acids are used by the body to fight viruses, bacteria and protozoa and they support the immune system whereas trans fatty acids interfere with the function of the immune system.
Stearic acid, a naturally saturated fatty acid, is the preferred food for the heart whereas trans fatty acids replace these saturated fatty acids in the cell membrane, thus depriving the heart of its optimum energy source.
Saturated fatty acids are needed for proper modeling of calcium in the bones whereas trans fatty acids cause softening of the bones.
Saturated fatty acids from animal sources are carriers for vital fat-soluble vitamins whereas factory-produced trans fatty acids are devoid of these important nutrients.
High cholesterol = metabolic imbalance
High cholesterol is just a symptom with an underlining problem. It is important to understand specifically where these imbalances arise from. We can separate these dysfunctions into water/electrolyte balance and anaerobic/dysaerobic balance.
Anaerobic/dysaerobic balance concerns not only the problems of oxidative energy production, but also represents the two opposite abnormalities of lipid metabolism. An anaerobic patient has insufficient fatty acid activity and excess sterols; the dysaerobic patient has excess fatty acids and insufficient sterols. Cholesterol is a sterol fat. An excess, therefore, represents an anaerobic imbalance, while low levels correspond to a dysaerobic condition. However, there is a vital fact about cholesterol of which most are not cognizant; its biological role is played only at the cellular level. This means that serum cholesterol levels say absolutely nothing about a patient's cholesterol status (8)
If anaerobic, their cells are so saturated with cholesterol that it has now begun to accumulate in the serum. A dysaerobic patient actually has low cellular cholesterol due to excess fatty acid activity there. Serum levels rise as the cholesterol is unable to penetrate the cells.
The anaerobic patient responds to one or more of the following supplements: negative valence sulfur, vitamin B6, magnesium (orotate or aspartate), L-carnitine, copper, and proteolytic enzymes (bromelaine, pancreatin). Dietary recommendations include avoidance of sugar, alcohol, fermented foods, and sterol fats. If dysaerobic, the patient's supplemental needs will be met from the following: glycerol, choline, inositol, potassium (orotate or citrate), bioflavenoids, and niacin. The diet must avoid free fatty acids and trans fatty acids (vegetable oils, margarine, salad dressing, fried foods, canned meats), and include sterol fats (--- Yes, the diet must include high-cholesterol foods such as eggs). (9)
High cholesterol does not have specific correlation to risk of cardiovascular disease!
Drugs and Danger
Lets talk about Statins. Statins block enzyme HMG CoA reductase so the liver can not synthesize cholesterol, but this puts a huge load on the overall liver function. This could possibly cause liver damage. They also decrease your Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This is needed in the heart and muscles. This could explain why some people complain of muscle pain after they start to take their statin.
Eight of the nine doctors on the panel that developed the new cholesterol guidelines had been making money from the drug companies that manufacture statin cholesterol-lowering drugs. (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2004-10-16-panel-conflict-of-interest_x.htm)
Primary cause of heart attacks or strokes
eating too much sugar and carbs
low HDL cholesterol
dietary deficiencies of saturated fats and cholesterol
excess dietary polyunsaturated fats
dysregulation of hormones
excess insulin (Syndrome X)
Oxidative stress to the heart and arteries
What is oxidative stress? Free radical molecules destroy the molecules and this is oxidative stress. Examples include apples browning or iron rusting. Now, what happens inside the body can be much worse, especially to cells in the brain or in the heart.
One, JUST ONE, free radical can cause a cascade and destroy enzymes, DNA, or an entire cell. This can lead to a destruction of organ tissues and artery walls. We can even go as far as saying that this can contribute to cancer forming cells. This is when narrowing of the arteries form due to the rapid growth of cells.
Lower Your Cholesterol
It simply comes down to eating a more diverse and clean diet. Get rid of the junk food, processed foods, or things that don't even resemble food. Eat more raw foods and a wider variety of vegetables. Eliminate as much as you can or completely (if you are disciplined enough) grains, gluten, sugars, and any foods you may be sensitive to from your daily diet. Use a wide ranges of oils and the specific uses for them. These oils could include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and many more. Eat more eggs and organic grass-fed meats for protein. Exercise is so important for your body. Your body craves to move! You were made to move! So start moving with yoga, tai chi, swimming, and even just walking helps. As always, consult with you physician before you make any major changes. If you are ready I would love to help you on this adventure. You can contact me at OWRchiro@gmail.com or at my website www.OptimalWellnessRedefined.com
Anitschow, N: "Changes in the Rabbit Aorta in Experimental Cholesterol Steatose," Beitr Pathol Anat 56; 379-404, 1913.
Gilman, et al and published in the December 24, 1997 Journal of the American Medical Association
Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999; 281(15):1387-94)
The Journal of Lipid Research, 2000;41(5):834-39)
Clausen, J: "Gray-White Matter Differences," Handbook of Neurochemistry, Vol 1. edited by Lajtha. New York, Plenum, 1969, 273-300.
National Commission on Egg Nutrition, Eggs and Cholesterol, A position paper, Chicago, 1972.
Revici, E: "Research in Physiopathology as a Basis of Guided Chemotherapy," 453-457, New York 1961.