I would venture to say that there is no subject on God’s green earth that is as poorly understood as cholesterol.
When talking about cholesterol, the extent of most people’s understanding is that it’s the demon that leads to heart disease and the magic number to strive for is 200, baby.
And if your blood tests show you’re in the elevated range, welcome to the world of statins.
But how did we get here?
And why have our rates of heart disease continued to go up, despite increasing numbers of people on statins?
Let’s start at the beginning…
How it all started
What most people don’t realize is that cholesterol’s role in the development of heart disease has been grossly overstated.
The demonization of saturated fats and the low-fat, low-cholesterol theory stems back to 1963, when physiologist Ancel Keys and his "Seven Countries Study" claimed to have found a correlation between total cholesterol and heart disease.
But in reality, this was the result of cherry-picking data and omitting several countries from his work.
When 15 countries that he conveniently omitted from his study were added back into his data, the results showed NO relationship between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease.
Here’s an interesting tidbit—Keys suffered several strokes in the last few years before he died in 2004.
Cholesterol is actually a good guy!
What statin manufacturers don’t want you to realize is that cholesterol is actually a good guy and plays several vital roles in your health:
1- Healing ointment
Cholesterol is your body's internal healing ointment.
When your blood vessels become damaged by things such as aging, inflammation, high blood pressure, injuries, wear and tear or free radical damage, cholesterol comes in to repair the damage.
Now, if the damage is allowed to worsen in your blood vessels and inflammation becomes chronic, cholesterol is continuously summoned to do its job over and over and over...and that's when it can accumulate.
But it's the inflammation in your blood vessels that's the culprit here.
2- Nervous system health
Cholesterol is crucial for proper functioning of the serotonin receptors in your brain.
Low levels of cholesterol have been linked to aggressive and violent behavior, depression and suicidal ideation.
3- Digestive health
Your liver’s bile salts are made from cholesterol.
Since bile is needed for fat digestion, low cholesterol levels can lead to low bile salt production and poor digestion of fats.
Plus cholesterol helps maintain the strength and health of your gut wall.
4- Vitamin D & hormones
Your body uses cholesterol to manufacture Vitamin D when you're exposed to the sun.
Plus your body needs cholesterol to make the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol as well as male and female hormones.
5- Strong cell walls
Cholesterol gives your cell membranes strength and stability.
It's also an opportunity for food manufacturers to deceive you.
Food companies market their highly processed vegetable oils as “heart healthy” and claim that they help lower LDL cholesterol.
First of all, when vegetable oils are heated, they form dangerous compounds similar to trans-fats! So the "heart healthy oil" you're cooking with triggers inflammation in your arteries.
Second, having too many vegetable oils in your diet makes your cell walls weak and flabby. When your body senses this, it pulls cholesterol from your blood and drives it into your cells to strengthen their walls.
When this happens, your blood cholesterol level understandably goes down—and the vegetable oil looks like a hero.
6- An antioxidant!
Cholesterol acts as an antioxidant, protecting your body against the free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer.
This explains why cholesterol levels typically go up with age. The older we get, the more free radical protection our aging tissues need.
Nature’s perfect process
Another common cholesterol misconception comes from what's commonly called the "2 types of cholesterol"--HDL and LDL.
In truth, HDL and LDL are not “types” of cholesterol at all, but instead are lipoproteins that are cholesterol "carriers."
Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) carry cholesterol to the cells and tissues of your body where it’s needed.
Then high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) come through like a “clean-up crew,” picking up any excess cholesterol remaining and bringing it to your liver to be recycled.
Your liver packages any leftover usable cholesterol in its own “carrier” (called VLDLs or Very low-density lipoproteins) and sends it back off into circulation, then eliminates the unusable portion through your GI tract.
When this process works properly as Nature intended, your arteries stay wide-open, healthy and CLEAN.
So...what IS the problem with cholesterol?
The real problem with cholesterol stems from a malfunction with the lipoprotein/cholesterol delivery and clean-up process I described above.
And that is typically the result of three things—poor elimination of old cholesterol, sugar and inflammation.
Here's the scoop on each:
Poor cholesterol elimination
Cholesterol is a very hard, waxy substance, making it difficult for your body to eliminate.
Your body depends on strong intestinal activity and the assistance of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and fiber to clear excess cholesterol through your GI tract.
If cholesterol is not eliminated, it can be reabsorbed back into circulation...and make its way to glom up your artery walls.
So if you're like MANY Americans who can't remember the last time you had a decent BM, eat processed and fast foods, and wouldn't know fiber if it jumped up and bit you in the derriere, you may be in cholesterol trouble.
Sugar—not so sweet
Sugar (especially in the forms of refined carbs and high fructose corn syrup) "mixes up" the lipid cycle, causing LDLs to miss their cholesterol "deliveries" and be in circulation too long, and the HDL "clean-up crew" to get jammed up.
What that means is your cholesterol doesn't get to the cells that need it and excesses don't get cleared away...so instead the cholesterol can accumulate on your blood vessel walls.
Inflammation—cholesterol in overdrive
As I mentioned above, when you have inflammation in your arteries (which is largely due to your diet), that will repeatedly sound the alarm for cholesterol to come on the scene.
How to REALLY keep your cholesterol healthy
Here are 3 ways to help keep your cholesterol levels where they should be:
1- Eat your way to healthy cholesterol
To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, you MUST minimize the refined inflammatory foods in your diet—that includes grains, sugars, white flour, starches, processed vegetable oils and the #1 health wrecker in the world--soda.
Plus since fiber acts like a broom in your body to help sweep away excess cholesterol, it’s crucial to make sure you’re eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits.
2- Get enough anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats
When you have too few anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats in your body (like most people with a typical diet), you're encouraging inflammation in your arteries (where cholesterol can build up) as well as not being able to eliminate cholesterol as well as you should.
But when you support healthful levels of these crucial fats, you help to keep inflammation low in your body and get rid of excess cholesterol.
In addition to incorporating fatty fish like salmon into your diet, VitalMega-3 can help you achieve this optimal balance.
Studies have shown decreases in cholesterol of up to 20 percent in just 10 DAYS by boosting Omega-3 EFA's through diet and supplementation!
VitalMega-3 is a pharmaceutical-grade molecularly distilled fish oil that provides an artery-healthy 1,200 mg of Omega-3s in each daily two-capsule serving.
3- Support efficient digestion
If your digestion hasn’t been too rosy lately, and especially if you take acid reducers, chances are good that you are lacking in the digestive enzyme department and need some help breaking down your foods.
If that sounds like you, then Digestizol Max can come to your rescue!
Digestizol Max’s complete blend of 15 plant-based enzymes can help your body break down ALL of your foods and pave the way for smoother digestion and more regular BMs!
Bye-bye excess cholesterol!
Now you know the REAL truth about cholesterol and how you can naturally help your body maintain healthful levels!
To your health,