Expand your Knowledge about Lowering your Cholesterol Levels
Aug 01, 2016 10:45AM
by Dian Freeman, M.A. Certified in Clinical Nutrition
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he American Medical Association (AMA) position statement on Informed Consent begins: “The patient’s right of self-decision can be effectively exercised only if the patient possesses enough information to enable an informed choice.” Most patients, however, are not given any information about possible negative effects that could result from today’s common medical practice of drastically lowering cholesterol and fat levels by diet and drugs.
The average American has come to accept their lack of medical uniqueness. The medical argument is that every person should be kept within a narrow cholesterol range despite obvious differences in physical, nutritional, gender, age, body size and medical status. Americans now believe in the one- size-fits-all theory of cholesterol.
Low levels of cholesterol have been associated with potentially deadly conditions and diseases, and this information should be shared with the patient by the doctor. Several studies associate unnaturally low cholesterol with high rates of cancer, infertility, erectile dysfunction, skin disorders, permanent muscular deterioration, cellular energy depletion, vitamin D deficiency and severe depression. The lower the total cholesterol, the greater the likely incidence of these and other damaging conditions.
Lowering cholesterol has been linked to lowering fat intake, the result of which is also an abundance of health problems related to fat-deficiency. All fat soluble vitamins and nutrients require sufficient dietary fat for their absorption. Survival as humans has been due to early peoples wisely prizing natural animal and plant fat above all other nutrients. Deficiencies of dietary fat include cognitive dysfunction, depression, diminished brain development in fetuses, dementia and many other mental and neurological disorders.
Since two thirds of the brain is comprised of fats, it can be cannibalized by the body when there is a lack of essential dietary fat in the diet. Without natural dietary fat, the protective coating on our nerves, the myelin sheath, which is 70% fat, can become brittle and deteriorate. This can cause nerve damage (neuropathy) and can worsen diseases like MS and Parkinson’s.
In 1987, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) printed a 30-year follow up of the original study linking cholesterol to heart disease showing no correlation between high cholesterol and mortality. Significantly, it did show a correlation between low cholesterol and mortality. Death rates from coronary heart disease increased 14% for every 1mg/dl drop in total cholesterol per year.
There are many types of fats with different functions in the body. Besides unhealthy trans fats and artificially hydrogenated fats, there are healthy dietary fats like Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential to brain health, and plant and animal fats which are needed for joint lubrication, skin exibility and numerous other functions.
Although there are those in medicine who seem to be awakening to the benefits of essential fatty acids, such enlightenment is not ubiquitous among medical doctors (thus, less so among their patients). Unfortunately, even though all independent studies support the consumption of high doses of dietary fat, there is no medical support for eating these healthy fats. Other than those with many risk factors for heart disease, lowering all fats does not serve anyone well.
Moreover, lowering LDL without addressing one probable cause of its increase can reduce our natural protection from neurotoxins, mercury and heavy metals. Since a function of LDL, considered the “bad” cholesterol, is to help engulf environmental toxins for elimination from the body, keeping LDL artificially low can expose the body to more toxic inflammation leading to a greater chance of acquiring heart disease. Aiding cholesterol in its detoxification effort would make more sense so that the body could naturally return levels back to normal.
There are other negative health ramifications to artificially lowering cholesterol. Common sense dictates that health professionals evaluate people as individuals to determine why, in each incidence, their cholesterol is high before artificially lowering it. By using such a holistic approach, we can aid cholesterol in accomplishing the function that triggered the need for higher levels. Patient’s rights demand that informed choices be made clear before medical intervention is instituted, but rarely are the detrimental effects of lowering fat and cholesterol a matter of discussion between the medical doctor and patient.
Dian Freeman has a private practice in Morristown, teaches a nutritional certification course, is certified in and practices Ondamed biofeedback, and lectures widely. She is currently enrolled at Drew University to obtain a doctorate in Medical Humanities.