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Cholesterol is Not the Enemy – We Got It Completely Wrong

Most of the people get it all wrong when it comes to cholesterol, just like saturated fat. For over a couple of decades now, edible oil manufacturers are telling us that consumption of butter, eggs and coconut oil will increase our cholesterol levels and can cause heart issues.

The pharma industry also did a good job of scaring us about Cholesterol, so that they could sell a lot more cholesterol controlling medicine and supplements.

Cholesterol – Fact Vs Fiction:

Cholesterol Butter - Myths About Cholesterol

Ron Rosedale, MD, who is widely considered to be one of the leading anti-aging doctor in the United States, explains the role of cholesterol in a cool way.(Ref 1)
“Notice please that LDL and HDL are lipoproteins — fats combined with proteins. There is only one cholesterol. There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol.

Cholesterol is just cholesterol.

It combines with other fats and proteins to be carried through the bloodstream, since fat and our watery blood do not mix very well.

Fatty substances therefore must be shuttled to and from our tissues and cells using proteins. LDL and HDL are forms of proteins and are far from being just cholesterol.

In fact we now know there are many types of these fat and protein particles. LDL particles come in many sizes and large LDL particles are not a problem. Only the so-called small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, because they can squeeze through the lining of the arteries and if they oxidize, otherwise known as turning rancid, they can cause damage and inflammation.

Thus, you might say that there is “good LDL” and “bad LDL.”

Also, some HDL particles are better than others. Knowing just your total cholesterol tells you very little. Even knowing your LDL and HDL levels will not tell you very much.”

In most part of the world people’s minds are hypnotized in to believing that cholesterol is evil and bad for health. This is a very harmful myth and awareness should be created among people about the actual properties and functions of cholesterol.

“First and foremost,” Dr. Rosedale points out, “cholesterol is a vital component of every cell membrane on Earth. In other words, there is no life on Earth that can live without cholesterol.

That will automatically tell you that, in and of itself, it cannot be evil. In fact, it is one of our best friends.

We would not be here without it. No wonder lowering cholesterol too much increases one’s risk of dying. Cholesterol is also a precursor to all of the steroid hormones. You cannot make estrogen, testosterone, cortisone and a host of other vital hormones without cholesterol.”

It is extremely important to understand that we will all be dead if we had no cholesterol. Here are some of the things that we need to know about Cholesterol.

i)    If we had no cholesterol then we would all be dead. None of the important functions of our body would be possible without cholesterol.

ii)   Even if we consumer zero grams of cholesterol a day, our bodies will make it for us, because it is extremely critical for our health.

iii) Of late we come across this terminology of good and bad cholesterol. This again is fiction, because there is nothing called as good or bad cholesterol. Cholesterol is an a essential bio-active compound. The HDL and LDL  are not cholesterol, they are just lipoprotein ( High and Low Density Lipoprotein respectively). Even here LDL is not absolutely bad, there are several important LDLs. HDL is technically the carrier of recycled cholesterol.

iv)    “The cholesterol in food has no impact on cholesterol in the blood and we’ve known that all along.” – Ancel Keys.

Cholesterol is essential to metabolize our sex hormones and vitamins like A, D, E and K. Without it, you’d be dead in no time. Whenever we consume more cholesterol in our diet, our body will down regulate the cholesterol synthesis in the body.

HDL (high density lipoprotein), which everybody recognizes as the “good cholesterol” is in fact a transporter that takes excess cholesterol in the blood and brings it back to the liver. On this point, conventional wisdom and the Paleo principles don’t differ; high HDL is a good thing and the more the better.

High cholesterol in our body is a symptom, not a cause

Elevated serum levels of cholesterol is actually a symptom of some other underlying problem in the body, and definitely not the cause of the problem. When something bad is happening in our body you find cholesterol there, it doesn’t mean that those bad things happen because of cholesterol. This happens more often during  any inflammation in the artery, cholesterol rushes to the inflamed area to cure it. In most cases the inflammation subsides, but when it doesn’t more cholesterol accumulate there to cure it and that is when plaque starts to form.

Actually cholesterol is treating the problem and not causing it. In this case, the underlying problem is oftentimes inflammation at the artery level.

As we always say, ‘address the cause and not the symptom’; in this case one should address the causes of inflammation. High levels of insulin, refined sugars, too much of simple carbs, trans fat, hydrogenated fats and omega-6 fatty acid rich vegetable oils can cause inflammation. So diet high in anti-oxidants and anti inflammatory agents can prevent most of these issues.

Even paleo diet is based on this concept. Today lot of scientific studies are conducted on the effect of cholesterol on anti-aging and cellulite reduction. Check out this work on Cellulite control.

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About the author

Ajithkumar

Ajithkumar, an Engineer and a management professional is the founder of AlternativeMedicineWiz.com. He’s practiced Yoga and Pranayama for more than a decade, after learning it from his renowned guru Gireeshan. He has a keen interest in Ayurveda and Siddha medicine.

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