Cholesterol

When you start discussing fats and eating more fats, as has been proposed, then the natural concern that often arises is, ‘ what about my cholesterol?’ The first believed truth is that elevated cholesterol is related to potential cardiovascular risk. There now is a plethora of evidence and research showing that this is in fact incorrect. The cholesterol concern is just a myth, which has become a perceived truth by the masses. Uffe Ravnskov has written in great detail about this in his books THE CHOLESTEROL MYTH and IGNORE THE AWAKENED: How The Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive which I highly recommend if you still believe in this myth. Unfortunately those who would most profit from it, pharmaceutical companies, keep this myth alive. Dr. Mercola has presented a great deal of evidence to this fact. For his detailed research please see http://cholesterol.mercola.com/ or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/the-cholesterol-myth-that_b_676817.html

The second believed truth is ‘if I eat more fats then my cholesterol will rise’. Originally this myth was based on the Framingham Heart Study in 1948 which is where the lipid hypothesis came from (that by consuming dietary fats ones cholesterol would rise and cause heart disease). This research was weak. They correlated being over weight and high cholesterol with increased cardiovascular risk. What they did not tell people though from this study was that the people who ate a diet high in saturated fats, the lower their cholesterol levels.

The truth is that the liver makes 75% of the cholesterol. Food is not the primary source. Many people think if they just eliminate all animal products, which are were we derive cholesterol in our diet that cholesterol will go down. However this has been shown to be untrue as many vegetarians often have high cholesterol. The body produces over 60 different forms of cholesterol, which are necessary for a myriad of functions. Elevated levels of cholesterol are often an indicator of stress and elevated levels of insulin. Insulin’s job is to help transport excess glucose into the cells and then into the liver in the form of glycogen. If the liver gets overburdened with this job it then releases the glycogen back into the blood stream, which then saturates the blood with cholesterol.

There is a secondary mechanism at play as well. Excess glucose in the blood from carbohydrates or sugars depletes the body of basic vitamins and minerals. Stress, in fact, will do the same thing. This is why elevated cholesterol can be an indictor for long-term stress. Vitamin C is a necessary component to maintain healthy arteries. With less vitamin C available the arteries start cracking, which is the first sign of a low-grade level of scurvy. The body in its inherent wisdom will then release cholesterol from the liver in order to fill in the cracks and prevents the arteries from leakage. Over time this will start to block arteries through the formation of plaque. Blood pressure will also increase, which may then in turn lead to cardiovascular issues. The point here is that the real culprit for cardiovascular risk is from extended periods of high levels of stress, which create a cascade of internal events, elevated cholesterol being one of them.

There can be other reasons for cholesterol to rise. One of them would be because of a body chemistry imbalance, which is often stress induced. Cholesterol may also elevate if it is needed to protect the body from too much oxidative damage from free-radicals. Excessive sugar would be another reason as descried above and finally some people will have a familial tendency towards elevated cholesterol.

It is truly madness thought to think we need to lower cholesterol via medication. This is not even considering the serious side-effects which include diabetes and memory loss. If we do so we are denying our bodies the raw materials necessary to make the proper hormones, which are necessary to manage stress. Without them regulating stress becomes a major challenge. Cholesterol is an essential component of health and well-being. Here is a short list of items that cholesterol is necessary for:

1. It is vital component to every cell membrane in the body. How can this be bad???

2. It is needed for normal brain function and forming memories.

3. It is vital for neurological function.

4. It provides lubrication of mucus membranes, which is necessary for a healthy sex life.

5. It contains the raw materials to make pituitary, adrenal, and sex hormones.

6. It forms Vitamin D which supports a healthy functioning Immune System

7. It forms bile salts which help emulsify and break down fats

8. Helps in healing the body and feeds the skin.

The important thing to remember is that high cholesterol is a symptom of a greater imbalance. Some of it may be externally generated via or diet while some may be internally generated by how we are able to cope with the stresses of life. Either way by changing one’s diet, working with stress and reducing constipation cholesterol can naturally come down.