Health-benefits-of-high-cholesterol – now they tell me. I have been taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol for more than twenty years. We are now hearing that a growing number of health practitioners are saying that there are several health benefits-of-high-cholesterol. This seems to contradict what we have been told for decades that high cholesterol is a major cause of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
About fifty-percent of people with heart attacks or
strokes have cholesterol levels within recommended limits. Just about as many
with high cholesterol levels have no heart problems.
Cholesterol is an important component of the membrane that surrounds each cell, and it is used by the body to produce bile acids, vitamin D and steroid hormones. Additionally, there is evidence suggesting that low serum cholesterol is associated with depression, suicide, muscle damage, memory loss, serious progressive neurological disorders and general ill-health.
people think about cholesterol in connection with heart health. But cholesterol
is just as important to the health of our brain as it is to the heart. The
brain is rich in cholesterol and has about one fourth of all the cholesterol in
our body. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) transport needed cholesterol to the
neurons in our brain and other parts of the nervous system.
God and our bodies must think cholesterol is important because the body that God created produces cholesterol primarily in the liver. The amount of cholesterol that the body produces will be more or less depending on how much cholesterol containing foods that we eat.
After all that we have been told could there be not one but several health benefits-of-high-cholesterol? I have been reading (see references) that cholesterol is essential to life. We cannot live without it.
We know that cholesterol circulates in the bloodstream and is synthesized primarily by the liver and several other organs. It is transported throughout the body by carrier proteins called lipoproteins that are defined by their density that is high density (HDL) and low density (LDL).
cholesterol is routinely defined as good and LDL cholesterol is defined as bad.
It is not, however, a universally held belief that all HDL is good and that all
LDL is bad. There are two forms of the LDL molecule, one large and one small.
The small LDL molecule can be harmful but only when oxidized while the large
LDL molecule may actually be beneficial.
The fact is that all cholesterol including HDL can be harmful when oxidized. Another lipoprotein known as lipoprotein [a] or Lp[a] is similar to LDL but denser. This is a dangerous lipoprotein. If you have a family history of heart disease, you need to know your Lp[a] level and discuss it with your physician.
LDL cholesterol is much easier to oxidize than HDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL ultimately causes inflammation and plague formation. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with heart attacks and strokes because the more cholesterol you have in your blood the more likely that it will become oxidized. (Refer to page 22 in “Health and Nutrition Secrets”). Oxidation and inflammation are the culprits.
LDL carries cholesterol to the cells that need it and HDL returns any and all excess to the liver. Therefore the balance of LDL to HDL is important to reduce the risk of heart disease. This can be achieved by increasing HDL levels while lowering LDL. The American Heart Association suggested guideline is to keep your cholesterol ratio 5-to-1 or lower. An optimum ratio is 3-to-1. A higher ratio increases the risk of heart disease; a lower ratio results in a lower risk.
A review of the reference material reveals that lowering your total cholesterol number may not be the answer to lowering risk of heart disease. And it may have the opposite impact on your health by negating the benefits-of-high-cholesterol including heart and brain health. Some keys to managing the health of your heart, arteries and brain are maintaining a healthy cholesterol ratio, reducing LDL oxidation, raising beneficial HDL levels and lowering triglycerides. Add some lifestyle changes including nutrition and exercise.
While I believe that the benefits-of-high-cholesterol are real, there are some dangers. Each person’s evaluation of his or her level of cholesterol should include personal research, and the professional opinion of that person’s physician.
If you want to learn more about the benefits-of-high-cholesterol read the reference books listed and check out this web site by Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD.
Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated. Deut. 34:7
References and suggested reading:
"cholesterol." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011.
"membrane." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011.
Russell L. Blaylock, M.D., Health and Nutrition Secrets that can save your life, Health Press.
Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., The Sinatra Solution, Metabolic Cardiology, Basic Health Publications.
Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D. and Jonny Bowden, PH.D, C.N.S., The Great Cholesterol Myth, Why lowering your cholesterol won’t prevent heart disease and the statin free plan that will. Fair Winds Press, 2012.
Stephen T. Sinatra, MD et al., Heart sense for Women, Your plan for natural prevention and treatment, Penguin Putman Inc.
Mary G. Enig, Ph. D, Know Your Fats: The complete primer for understanding the nutrition of fats, oils, and cholesterol, Bethesda Press, 2000, 2013.
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