March 5, 2011

019 Cholesterol – Essential for Life [6 July 2009]

Chances are that you or someone you know has been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Thirty years ago a total cholesterol level under 300 was considered normal; this has been lowered over the years to less than 100 today. Is this low level necessary or even safe?

While high cholesterol levels have been associated with heart disease, it is actually essential to your health.  Cholesterol is a vital component of all animal cell membranes and is the precursor to many hormones – including vitamin D. Low cholesterol has been linked to memory loss, depression, aggression, suicide, Parkinson’s, and cancer (possibly from reduced vitamin D?).

A more accurate heart disease risk factor is the % of HDL (the good lipoprotein) / Total Cholesterol. A healthy ratio is 25% or higher. Another is triglycerides to HDL ratio where a healthy ratio is below 2. These ratios may be improved safely and naturally by following these tips.
·        Reduce sugar and refined carbs. This is more effective than reducing cholesterol-containing foods because about 75% of your cholesterol is manufactured in the liver which is sensitive to blood insulin levels. Foods that increase insulin also increase cholesterol.
·        Strive for adequate exercise which helps control insulin levels as well as reduce cholesterol.
·        Eat more fish or take an omega 3 fish oil supplement.
·        Eat more healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, soft cooked whole eggs.
·        Reduce alcohol consumption and avoid smoking.
·        Reduce or manage the stress in your life (like stop worrying about your cholesterol).

If the above tips are not possible for you or prove insufficient, you may actually benefit from taking a statin drug. In that case you should be aware that they work by reducing a liver enzyme that not only produces cholesterol but also an essential enzyme called Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is essential for the production of mitochondrial ATP which is the only fuel our muscles (including the heart) and brain can use. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue and muscle pain and weakness. A knowledgable doctor or pharmacist will recommend a CoQ10 supplement along with a statin drug.

Cholesterol, in the correct balance, is essential to health and life.

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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