What is Cholesterol anyways? and what exactly does it do for our bodies?
We have been told for decades that cholesterol is a bad thing, however did you know that 75-80 percent of our cholesterol is produced in our liver?
Which means only 20 percent of our cholesterol comes from what we eat. Almost everything you know about cholesterol is not completely true.
There was a time in history when we were told to cut out eggs, meat and dairy because we would get high cholesterol. Some still believe this today.
Our world went into a complete shift where everything was nonfat and low fat.
Well that didn’t prove to be good for our bodies and people’s cholesterol did not improve to the point now, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Clearly we have done something very wrong.
So what now ? Let’s dive into some information that will leave you rethinking what you know about cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance that holds our cells together. We need cholesterol for cellular repair.
When we get an injury our body causes inflammation and slows the blood flow to the injury site. (think of the last time you got a scratch)
This causes clotting to occur so cells can multiply and inturn cause a scar to form.
This is what happens when arteries get damaged, our body is trying to fix the damage to the arteries causing a plaque to build up, or a scab in other words. SO the question is how are the arteries getting damaged in the first place?
The answer is a poor diet , specifically a diet high in sugar and processed foods.
HDL, LDL and Triglycerides
We have all heard HDL( high density lipoprotein) is the good cholesterol and LDL( low density lipoprotein) is the bad cholesterol. It really isn’t about good vs. bad.
They each have their own functions for the body.
HDL binds to toxins in the bloodstream and then transports them to the liver so the body can get rid of it. Therefore, it has the potential to prevent heart disease, which is why it is labeled “the good one”.
LDL is responsible for delivering cholesterol to the cells.
LDL gets its bad name because it certainly can cause inflammation and plaque buildup when it is presented with oxidative stress and sugar.
Only some of the LDL particles are small enough to travel to our arteries, which means many are larger particles and do not cause plaque build up.
Your LDL can actually be low and you can still be at risk of heart attack and stroke because of damage due to stress and sugar intake.
I mentioned how cholesterol is meant to heal cuts, so LDL is building up to fix the tears in your arteries to try to heal them.
So they’re really not bad but we do need to create a balance between our HDL and LDL and fix the issue that is damaging our arteries in the first place.
Your LDL/HDL should be 2 to 1 ratio. Which means if your LDL is 200 your HDL should be 100.
Triglycerides are another big lab that is observed in our blood work that plays a role with cholesterol.
Triglycerides main job is to store unused calories and provide your body with energy. If these are high it’s caused by high blood sugar, to correct this you need to lower your blood sugar.
So what is good about Cholesterol?
Here is a list of some other cool stuff Cholesterol does for our body
1.) Covers the neurons in our brain for proper cognitive function. In fact low cholesterol has been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease
2.) Helps produce the stress hormone cortisol
3.) Helps produce the sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
4.) Aids the body to create bile acid to digest fats
5.) Converts sunlight into vitamin D in the body, which is essential for healthy bones, teeth and helps fight diseases and cancer
Wow , cholesterol is sounding pretty good to me!!
But What About Statins?
The medical community has taught us to fix high cholesterol with a pill, a medication called Statins.
Here is what Statins do, it blocks an enzyme in the liver so it stops making cholesterol. It also stops the production of a crucial enzyme that converts food to energy, it is called CoQ10.
It is found in almost every cell in your body and it is a powerful antioxidant. Does that sound like something you want to get rid of?? I say NO!!
Guess what, our heart really needs CoQ10 , because it needs that energy , it’s the organ that requires the most amount of energy.
Statins also don’t allow vitamin K2 to synthesize. K2 regulates calcium ,stops calcification in our arteries and keeps our blood thin. Without the K2 our blood gets too thick , which then you will most likely be put on another medication to thin the blood.
The list of side effects for Statins are long including; muscle damage , weakness, cognitive/ memory issues ,increased risk of diabetes, liver disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety and cancer.
Statins have been proven to be dangerous to people’s health but it is one of the most widely prescribed pharmaceuticals.
Studies have shown that statins only benefit 1 out of every 100 people taking the drug! What does that mean? This means 99 of the 100 people who take statin medications do not improve the chances of avoiding a heart attack or stroke, at all.
That is alarming!
What’s a Heathy way to Balance Cholesterol?
The correct way to address balancing your cholesterol is to correct what you are eating.
This is probably going to be a shock to you but you need to be eating a good amount of healthy fats.
Fill your diet with avocados, olives ,various nuts ,cook your veggies and meat in olive oil and coconut oil.
Remember what sugar and processed foods do to your arteries, they cause tears so get those out of your diet immediately. Eat whole, organic, nutritious foods.
Your body will thank you for it.
Cholesterol isn’t the bad guy, in fact our bodies really need it!
I don’t know about you but the risk factors for taking the meds seem way too high, so I am going to opt for natural solutions.
Hopefully your new found knowledge will help you address high cholesterol differently so your body can thrive and use cholesterol the way it was intended to.
Written by Lori Strand – Wellness Coach at Twin Oaks Health