The Good Side of Cholesterol
Few words today can bring about more discussion and debate than the word “cholesterol.” The discussion generally centers around how high or how low one’s personal cholesterol levels are, while the debate generally addresses the best way to lower those numbers or even on how to eliminate cholesterol altogether. Such discussions and debates are based both upon misinformation and the lack of information about the value of cholesterol to the body.
Why do we have cholesterol in the first place if it is so bad? Surely the design of the human body, one that has thrived for tens of thousands of years, is not as flawed as we are led to believe. The brilliance of that design is being second-guessed by those in medicine who continually attempt a re-design.
Common sense should tell us that if cholesterol weren’t needed for human survival it would not have been part of the human design in the first place. Modern medicine’s concern is to lower cholesterol levels without understanding and treating the cause of why cholesterol might be high. This action often lowers cholesterol to levels below its ability to fulfill its various functions for the health of the body.
The liver produces cholesterol at a rate dictated by the body’s need. When toxins are present in the blood stream the liver manufactures Low Density Lipoproteins, LDLs, (often called “bad cholesterol”) and sends them out into the blood stream to attach to the toxins and bind to them so that the toxins will be unable to cause damage to the body. The HDL, High Density Proteins, known as “good cholesterol,” is then sent to sweep up the toxin-loaded LDL so it can be cleared out of the body by way of the liver and bowel. Toxins eliminated, LDL levels can then return to normal.
Thus, a high LDL level can be indicative of a high toxicity level in the body. This is a situation best alleviated by the natural clearing processes of the body.
Other valuable services performed by cholesterol include the patching of cracks in arterial walls. Arteries are lined with muscle that must remain flexible for proper circulatory function. When the body senses an arterial crack, the liver sends cholesterol, a waxy flexible substance, to plug the crack, which, in turn, enhances arterial flexibility and circulation.
Since sexual hormones are made in the cholesterol, lowering its levels often leads to impotency and infertility. Russian and Scandinavian studies have shown that men with low cholesterol have higher suicide rates and that severe depression is alleviated when low cholesterol returns to normal levels. Some forms of dementia have reportedly become reversed when low cholesterol levels return to normal, at which time brain function also often improves. This may be due to the fact that cholesterol-lowering programs include the avoidance of fat, a substance necessary for optimal brain function.
A final result of artificially lowering cholesterol levels is exemplified in studies from Canada, Europe and Japan. These studies show that people with total cholesterol levels below 150 or 160 have triple the chance of getting cancer.
The protective properties and functions of cholesterol are rarely, if ever, discussed or debated in the U.S. The statistics on the rate of damage from the side effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are also rarely discussed. Both the side effect rates and the detrimental effects of low cholesterol should be part of a patient’s informed choice equation.
All current statistics show that the rate of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes have not improved since the advent of statin use. In fact, the heart-health benefits being claimed for the use of statin drugs stipulate that those benefits are designated only for those at high-risk for heart disease. Drug commercials for statin drugs state as much in voice-over disclaimers. Yet, if asked, almost everyone who admits to taking cholesterol-lowering drugs will say they are doing so for their heart health.
Years from now, historians may look back at the current cholesterol-lowering trend as detrimental to the health of the human body as the once touted medical practice of blood-letting and tonsil, uterus and gall bladder removal. Acute care, replacing and repairing broken parts, maintaining body fluids and functions and organ transplants are where medicine excels. The prevention of disease and reversal of chronic disease by living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy food and using effective supplements is where self-responsible humans can excel. It is in the attempt to redesign natural processes that humans and medicine continually fail. The true debate over cholesterol should be whether to lower it at all and the discussion should be on how we can help cholesterol better fulfill its protective functions—naturally.
Dian Freeman, certified in clinical nutrition, has a private practice in Morristown, teaches a nutritional certification course and is certified in and practices frequency biofeedback. For more information, call 973-267-4816, email [email protected] or visit WellnessSimplified.com.