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Today, Lydia and I want to talk about cholesterol. Why has cholesterol been deemed inherently evil by Western medicine? What functions does cholesterol serve in the body, and why do our bodies require it for optimal health? Lastly, what factors affect cholesterol readings and risks for heart disease? Should statin drugs be used? Are they even safe?
We want to help shed some light on the facts and the myths of cholesterol. Though the tides seem to slowly be changing, many people have been harmed by the push for low-fat, low-cholesterol diets over the last few decades, especially with the rise in the use of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
Missed previous episodes? You can find them all here.
Links From This Week’s Episode:
- The VH Podcast, Episode 8: Can We Please Stop with the Willy Nilly Supplementation?
- The VH Podcast, Episode 10: Ascorbic Acid vs. Whole Food Vitamin C
- The VH Podcast, Episode 17: Magnesium 101
- Don’t Fear the Fat! Saturated Fat Phobia Lacks Scientific Basis
- Butter IS Better – The Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter
- The Saturated Fat Myth – Eat More Butter (and Coconut Oil)!
- Cholesterol Is Finally Officially Removed from ‘Naughty’ List
- Cracking the Cholesterol Myth: How Statins Harm the Body and Mind
- Health Guides: Statin Drugs
- Statin Drugs Linked to Arthritis, Heart Trouble and More
- Are Statin Drugs Killing the Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fat?
- Consumer Alert: 300+ Health Problems Linked to Statin Drugs
- Statins Articles by Dr. Mercola
- Miraculous Magnesium and DIY Magnesium Oil
- Health Assessment with Lydia
- Hair Analysis with Lydia
- Information about HTMA and Minerals
- How to Create a Game Plan to Keep Your Whole Family Healthy
Listen to The Vibrant Health Podcast :: Episode 28
Read The Vibrant Health Podcast Show Notes :: Episode 28
Cholesterol Facts & Myths Show Notes
Make sure you check out the Links from the Episode for lots more information on today’s topic.
Why is cholesterol deemed inherently evil by your doctor when we actually need it for optimal health?
Cholesterol is the precursor or raw material used to make pituitary, adrenal and sex hormones. It is also required to form vitamin D and bile acids. The liver makes about 2 grams of cholesterol daily, regardless of dietary intake.
Cholesterol is also essential for your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It is critical for synapse formation (i.e. the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things, and form memories).
Cholesterol is composed of high-density lipoproteins, or HDL, and low-density lipoproteins or LDL. There are also other fractions. HDL (unoxidized) is often called “good cholesterol,” while LDL (oxidized) is often termed “bad cholesterol.”
The body makes about 10 times the amount of cholesterol than what anyone actually eats, so reducing dietary cholesterol is not the answer here.
Cholesterol has many positive roles:
- Starting material for many of our hormones
- Needed for healthy cell membranes
- Needed for mitochondrial function
- Brain function
- Peripheral nervous system
- Vitamin D
High cholesterol is often a stress indicator. Under stress, the body makes more of it, most likely in an attempt to produce additional adrenal hormones. This is one reason why I love HTMA is that we can see markers for stress in the body unique to the individual and create a plan to help their body heal and deal with the underlying stress and inflammation. Popping a pill (statin) will never ever do that – it’s a false sense of security.
Too low cholesterol is not healthy either as this can lead to an increase in depression, strokes and violence.
For example, (based on insights from HTMA and oxidation rate, i.e. metabolic rate/metabolism).
Fast oxidizers often have low cholesterol levels. They burn fats rapidly and readily convert cholesterol into adrenal and sex hormones. They actually need way more fat and need to often reduce excess simple carbohydrates, and by so doing, can relieve stress from imbalanced blood sugar, which can have an effect on elevated cholesterol readings. Instead of being told to avoid saturated fat, these people should be told to avoid simple sugars.
Slow oxidizers do not handle fats as well as fast oxidizers. They can develop high serum cholesterol levels because sluggish adrenal glands may not adequately convert cholesterol to adrenal hormones.
What factors can affect our cholesterol readings and risks for cardiovascular disease?
Any of these factors can increase stress on the body and have implications on the body that lead to cardiovascular disease:
- Copper deficiency is associated with atherosclerosis.
- Copper is required for connective tissue synthesis.
- Low thyroid activity is associated with heart disease.
- Zinc deficiency and cadmium toxicity cause hardening of the arteries.
- Magnesium deficiency is related to high blood pressure and heart disease. *This is a biggie folks – please refer to our magnesium podcast!!!!
- Elevated homocysteine is related to vascular disease.
- Homocysteine, an amino acid, can be reduced by an adequate intake of folic acid and vitamin B6.
- Other vitamins and minerals are needed to combat stress and for the integrity of the arteries.
- Chromium supplements have been shown to lower cholesterol, along with manganese, B-complex vitamins and other nutrients needed for carbohydrate metabolism.
- Inflammation and infections can play a role in artery disease.
- High blood pressure from any cause will affect the arteries.
- Smoking, diabetes, coffee drinking and lack of exercise can contribute.
- Oxidant damage from vegetable oils and other oxidant exposure can cause vascular problems. The oxidant theory may explain why some populations that consume more animal fats have less heart disease.
- Hydrogenated oils, as in margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise and fried foods, may contribute to cardiovascular disease. This includes the new margarines that do not contain trans-fatty acids.
- Chlorinated and fluoridated drinking water and residues from ionic detergents may be factors.
- Whole food C is pretty key too – refer to our podcast.
There are more but that list is a great place to get started because everyone needs help with pretty much all of them in this day and age.
Hair analysis is an excellent tool to get some great information about your current biochemistry, but if you are not ready to get started with that just yet, please at least choose a few of the above to start working on.
Since we can’t tell people what supplements to broadly take (as that has its risks), we can’t recommend just taking all the nutrients without seeing a hair test. We can safely say that everyone needs magnesium and can take some or do the transdermal forms, and everyone can focus on some whole food C. Those two are good places to start and we’ve already covered them on previous podcasts.
What about Statins?
There is far more that goes into your risk of heart disease than your cholesterol levels. Statins are not the answer because they are used to lower cholesterol to reach a certain number goal on a lab test. They never ever deal with the underlying inflammation that is affecting altered readings to begin with, plus they have some pretty bad side effects…and there is evidence showing that statins may actually make your heart health worse.
Problems with Statins/Side Effects:
- Muscle weakness
- Reduced thyroid function by inhibiting the conversion of T4 to T3
- Memory reduction
- Reduced immunity
- Depletion of vital nutrients (Carnitine, CoQ10, Zinc, Vitamin E, K2 and healthy lipids)
Drugs to lower cholesterol may have side effects and do not address the biochemical causes of heart disease. They are rarely needed if a patient will follow a scientific health-building program. Improving the diet and lifestyle, balancing body chemistry through proper supplementation and reducing stress are often effective, non-toxic ways to control cholesterol.