Cholesterol is an essential molecule without which there would be no life, so important that virtually every cell in the body is capable of synthesizing it.
-Michael R. Eades, M.D.
Cholesterol is not a deadly substance, but a substance essential to the cells of all mammals. 25% of the entire cholesterol content of the human body is found in the brain. Cholesterol is vital for mental health and studies have shown that those who lower their cholesterol too much can become aggressive or suicidal and have a higher than normal chance of getting Alzheimers or Parkinsons’ disease.
You do not get elevated cholesterol levels from eating fat. Dietary cholesterol accounts for no more than 10% of blood cholesterol. Cholesterol is so important that the body produces 3,000-4,000mg of it every day.
Cholesterol is Essential to the Body, in so Many Ways
- Necessary for tissue repair
- Protects against hypertension
- Precursor for Vitamin D production
- Prevents neurological problems
- Acts as an Antioxidant, prevents cancer cells from forming
- Regulates insulin
- Is the raw material needed to make hormones
- Cholesterol is a basic raw material made by your liver, brain, and almost every cell in your body
Cholesterol Does NOT…
- Create heart disease
- Increase from the consumption of cholesterol
- Build up in adipose tissue
- Function without synthesis
- Elevate from eating fat
IF cholesterol REALLY caused heart disease it would be a risk factor in all ages and both sexes. The rate of heart disease in 65 year old men would be 10 times that of 45 year old men. Women would suffer 300% less heart disease then men, none of which is true.
HDL and LDL are two types of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein, while LDL contains more fat and less protein, HDL contains more protein and less fat.
HDL is referred to as “good” cholesterol, and LDL as “bad” cholesterol, however his is actually a misconception. The body makes VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) in the liver and transforms it into LDL. This then transports cholesterol to the tissues where it is needed. HDL is used to transport hormones and cholesterol back to the liver, so both forms of cholesterol are essential to health, and both are necessary for “good” health.
The amount of cholesterol needed depends on the age, weight, and other factors of the individual, but the medical industry has made a range not healthy for some individuals.
So why the Connection to Cholesterol and Heart Disease?
Cholesterol, by itself does not cause arterial plaque to form, it needs to become oxidized to stick to the arteries, or suffer free radical damage. Once oxidized cholesterol becomes sticky, and it can attach itself to damaged areas of the endothelium lining of the arteries. This in turn triggers an immune reaction that becomes a chronic inflammatory “fire” in the lining of the arteries creating arterial plaque that causes heart disease. The key here is to avoid oxidized cholesterol, found in processed foods.
Cholesterol can also become oxidized due to a lack of antioxidant nutrients or increased environmental toxins. The lesson here is to avoid oxidized cholesterol and prevent body cholesterol from becoming oxidized in order to prevent arterial damage from toxins and infection.
What you Need to Know
- Cholesterol is a minor player in heart disease
- Cholesterol levels are a poor predictor of heart attacks
- Half the people with heart disease have normal cholesterol
- Half the people with elevated cholesterol have healthy hearts
- Lowering cholesterol has extremely limited benefits
- The whole theory that cholesterol causes heart disease was wrong in the first place
- When the National Cholesterol Education Program lowered the “optimal” cholesterol levels in 2004, eight out of nine people on the panel had financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry
If your goal is to prevent cardiovascular disease, stop focusing on cholesterol and start focusing on reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in your body.
A healthy diet is the place to start, eating a lot of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables like kale, mustard and collard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, bok choy and dark green leaf romaine lettuce. Include some antioxidant-rich fruits, such as blueberries and other berries, pomegranates and apples.
Do an oil change by dropping margarine, shortening and processed vegetable oils from your diet. Use olive oil, coconut oil and butter instead. Supplement your diet with Omega-3’s, or Krill oil and fat soluble vitamin D3, these nutrients reduce cardiovascular inflammation. They can also inhibit the oxidation of cholesterol.
What You Need To Know about Fat
- Saturated fat has been wrongfully demonized (saturated fat is found in butter, cheese, meat and coconut oil)
- Saturated fat raises “good” (HDL) cholesterol
- Omeg-6 fats, vegetable oils are pro-inflammatory (will cause inflammation)
- The balance between omega-6 and omega-3 is far more important than saturated fat intake
Comprehensive data showed that the single dietary factor that had the strongest association with coronary heart disease was sugar.
-Dr. John Yudkin
The connection to the rise in coronary artery disease and onset of low fat diets is no coincidence; this also has created a rise in obesity and diabetes.
Reduce or eliminate all refined carbohydrates from your diet. Eating cholesterol-rich foods like butter and eggs, and consuming naturally occurring saturated fats has NOT been linked to increased risk of heart disease. On the other hand high insulin levels have been exposed to be a major risk factor for heart disease. Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, corn syrup and white flour spike insulin levels. This then leads to insulin resistance, which in turn increases inflammation and contributes to high blood pressure, and dramatically increases your risk of heart disease. So bottom line, say no to sugar and yes to good fats and complex carbohydrates like your leafy greens.
Reduce your risk of heart disease by avoiding environmental toxins. This includes chlorine, bromides, solvents and other chemicals that can cause cholesterol to oxidize by increasing inflammation in your body.
“Cholesterol’s ability to fight toxins may be one reason why it is found at the site of arterial injuries caused by inflammation. But blaming cholesterol for those injuries is a little like blaming firemen for fire.” (The Great Cholesterol Myth)
Take care of your body and it will take care of you. The key is to eat healthy food.