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What do we know about cholesterol?

Cholesterol Basics

We seem to hear about it all the time, but what do we really know about it. TV

adds warn us that it causes heart disease and that “diet and exercise are not enough” to control it. Then they tell us we need their drug. What do you know about cholesterol?

Here’s a simple little true or false test to see; the answers are below. #1) Cholesterol is a vital substance necessary for health. 2) the lower your cholesterol the better your health. 3) levels less than 150 significantly reduces your

chance of dying from heart disease. 4) the lower your cholesterol levels the greater your risk of dying from cancer. 5) Cholesterol helps protect the body from environmental toxins. 6) Cholesterol helps maintain fertility and sex drive. 7) Eating foods high in fat will raise your cholesterol. 8) Statin drugs have lowered the incidence of heart

disease. 9) Oxidative stress and inflammation are the root cause of heart disease. 10) High insulin levels are a

greater risk factor for cardiovascular disease than high cholesterol.

While there is some cholesterol in the foods we eat, most is produced by the liver; although it can be pro-

duced by every cell in your body. Cholesterol also serves several important roles in the body, the most important being the formation of cholic acid that is used to make bile salts which emulsify and digest fats. About 60 to 80

percent of the body’s cholesterol is used for this purpose. Second most important use is the production of ad-

renal and reproductive hormones. It is also need to help the skin, it helps prevent water loss from the body and is used in small amounts in cellular membranes. Cholesterol helps bind toxins, reduces inflammation and helps

to protect nerve and brain tissue from chemical damage, and improved immune function just to name a few

things.

What is a healthy range for cholesterol levels? Today they tell us that it’s somewhere between 0 and 170,

but if your cholesterol was actually 0, you’d be dead. 170 is also too low as there are many people with ranges well over 200 that are quite healthy. High cholesterol is simply a symptom that something is wrong with the

body. Healthy non-pathological cholesterol levels should be between 200 and 275 with blood type O being high- er as they metabolize proteins differently. Too low a range is associated with increased risk of cancer, stroke, sui- cide and death from coronary artery disease. It is associated with low fertility, erectile dysfunction, increased risk

of infection, and reduced protection from neurotoxins, mercury and heavy metals. Also, low levels do not de-

crease your risk of heart disease and they increase your chance of dying if you have a heart attack.

All I will say about the drug industry is this: there is no scientific evidence that statin drugs reduce the

risk of heart disease. The side effects are terrible and in 2005 the pharmaceutical industry made over 14 billion

dollars profit on statin drugs alone.

When we talk about cholesterol we are most familiar with HDL, LDL and triglycerides. HDL being high

density lipoproteins and LDL being low density lipoproteins. These are by-products of protein metabolism and are

not water soluble. Triglycerides are water soluble and used by the body for fuel. HDL is used to transport cho-

lesterol from the tissues to the liver while LDL is used to

transport manufactured cholesterol from the liver to the tissues Answers to test: 1T,2F,3F,4T,5T,6T,7F,8F,9T,10T

Some Cholesterol Facts continued from page

Eating saturated fats or foods containing cholesterol does not have a signif-

icant impact on cholesterol levels. The liver does not use fats, saturated or otherwise to make cholesterol. Cholesterol is a by-product of protein me- tabolism. It also doesn’t make HDL or LDL, but VLDL which is convert-

ed to LDL through triglyceride loss. The main difference between HDL

and LDL is the amount of protein in it. HDL is about 50% protein with

the majority of the lipid portion being triglycerides. LDL’s have lower triglyc-

eride content and higher cholesterol content. I know, it’s confusing.

Cholesterol helps your body to remove toxins, so if your cholesterol and LDL levels are

higher, maybe you have some environmental toxin in you system. Lowering your cholesterol lev-

els without ridding the body of the toxins exposes you to more inflammation and free radical damage because the body is less able to remove them and repair itself. This may explain why the risk of cancer increases as cho-

lesterol levels decrease.

As to cardiovascular disease, the main problem is caused by inflammation not cholesterol. Cholesterol

tries to help by removing the toxins causing the inflammation and then by acting as a “patch” over the damaged area in the artery. Unfortunately this patch collects calcium and other minerals and continues to grow over time causing arteriosclerosis. This is shown in what’s called the “Mediterranean Paradox.” People in this area eat di- ets high in fat, yet have very low rates of heart disease. Same with Eskimos whose diets are very high in fats and

have almost no heart disease.

High insulin levels in the blood are a greater risk factor for heart disease than high cholesterol. That is

why your triglyceride levels are important. A high TGL/HDL ratio could mean too much insulin which increas-

es fat disposition and inflammation. This is usually caused by eating too many simple carbohydrates. When people were first encouraged to eat more carbs about 20 years ago, because they were told cholesterol and fats increased heart disease, they decreased their consumption of fats and meats. The result was no change in rates of heart disease but, diabetes and obesity rates have more than doubled! Why? Remember that cholesterol is mainly used to make bile salts which digest fats. Eating healthy fats actually decreases cholesterol levels. Also,

bread makers stopped using iodine as a dough conditioner and switched to bromides which remove iodine from the body which interferes with fat metabolism. Lastly, the body turns excess carbohydrates into triglycerides for

storage. Too many carbohydrates getting turned into fats and not enough proteins being converted to HDL.

The main key to balancing cholesterol levels and preventing heart disease is to remove toxins from the

body and prevent inflammation and increase your antioxidant levels. Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of

high quality fats ( like olive oil, flax oil, nuts, etc.), quality proteins that aren’t overcooked and low-glycemic car-

bohydrates to keep insulin levels in check. There’s so much more but not enough room.