Cholesterol Is Not the Bad Guy
There are few words today that 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 get rid of cholesterol altogether. Such discussions and debates are based both upon misinformation and the lack of information about the value of cholesterol to the body.
The human body, which has thrived for tens of thousands of years, is not as flawed as we are led to believe. Common sense should tell us that if cholesterol were not needed for human survival, it would not have evolved as 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 functions in the health of the body.
The liver produces cholesterol at a rate dictated by the body’s need. When toxins are present in the bloodstream, the liver manufactures low-density lipoproteins, (LDL), often called “bad cholesterol”, and sends them out into the bloodstream to attach to the toxins and bind to them so that they will be unable to cause damage to the body. The high-density proteins (HDL), 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 bowel. Then LDL levels can return to normal.
Therefore, 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 (i.e., temporarily elevated LDL levels combined with adequate HDL clearing ability and optimal bowel function).
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 flexible, waxy substance, to plug the crack, which in turn enhances arterial flexibility and circulation.
Because 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.
Another result of artificially lowering cholesterol levels is exemplified in studies from Canada, Europe and Japan that show people with total cholesterol levels below 150 or 160 have triple the chance of getting cancer. Both the side effect rates and the detrimental effects of low cholesterol should be part of a patient’s informed choice equation.
Years from now, historians will probably look back at the current cholesterol-lowering trend as detrimental to the health of the human body as the once touted medical practice of bloodletting and tonsil, uterus and gall bladder removal. Man has yet to improve upon the designs of nature in any scientific field by interfering and interrupting the natural balance of nature. Replacing and repairing broken parts and the prevention of disease by living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy food and using effective supplements is where humans can excel. It is in the attempt to redesign natural processes that humans continually fail. The true debate over cholesterol should be whether to lower it at all, and the discussion should be about how we can help cholesterol better fulfill its protective functions naturally.
Dian Freeman, MA, is certified in clinical nutrition with a private practice in Morristown, teaches a nutritional certification course, is certified in and practices frequency biofeedback, holds health-based seminar and lectures widely. For more information, call 973 267-4816, email [email protected] or visit WellnessSimplified.com.