CHOLESTEROL IS TOTALLY MISUNDERSTOOD
By Ann Marie DeGregoria, Balanced 4 Life Nutrition, www.balanced4lifenutrition.com
Cholesterol is totally MISUNDERSTOOD! Cholesterol is a very helpful, useful and necessary substance… it is not the villain that it has been portrayed to be, but a reliable friend instead. Despite the fear instilled in us regarding cholesterol, I want to convey its many vital roles:
Cholesterol is part of every single cell membrane in our body and helps to keep these cells fluid, stable and strong! Cholesterol is also a precursor to steroid hormones, bile salts and vitamin D. This is critical for: hormone production (the chemicals that regulate your body), fat digestion with regard to bile production, an optimal function of your immune system and allowing for the absorption of calcium. By suppressing your cholesterol through statin drugs, you may be compromising these critical functions.
When your cells and tissues are damaged by sugar, hydrogenated oils, genetically modified grains, toxins, preservatives, dyes and/or chemicals, your body becomes inflamed. Some of these substances can ultimately enter the bloodstream and cause abrasions to the inside of the arterial walls… ultimately causing small lesions. The body tries to defend itself by depositing cholesterol, among other substances, over these “lesions” to help heal them. You will show a rise in cholesterol as the body’s natural defense to invading, unrecognizable substances (Colbin, pg 154).
Culprits like sugar, wheat and hydrogenated fats cause serious damage to your circulatory system, including high cholesterol, high triglycerides, atherosclerotic plaque and heart disease. They can trigger fatty acid synthesis in the liver & flood the blood with triglycerides (creating visceral fat – belly fat – wear triglycerides are stored).
CHOLESTEROL & ITS MANY THEORIES:
The Cholesterol Theory that is adopted by today’s medical field… According to the cholesterol theory, high total cholesterol and high LDL predispose us to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).
This is a limited view, akin to the old beliefs that the world was flat and the earth was the center of the universe…
The Greenland Inuit folks eat a diet of meats & healthy fats, and have little atherosclerosis (as well as other degenerative diseases). Also, African tribes who eat meat and dairy are also free of CVD. However when you look at the American Diet, which consists of nutrient poor foods such as white sugar, white flour and processed oils, you notice that we are ridden with degenerative diseases and high cholesterol!
Here are some theories that all lend some credibility… according to Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus.
The Triglyceride and Sugar Theories show a “correlation between an increase in refined sugars, refined starches, excess calories and hard, non-essential fats,” which correlates with an increase in CVD since 1900.
Research shows “that our body turns sugars into fats to protect itself from the toxic effects of excess sugar… increases oxidation damage, cross-link proteins, inhibits immune functions and interferes with the transport of vitamin C”. Therefore, what influences our triglyceride (TG) levels influences CVD… and the culprit seems to be sugar (as well as toxins and drugs).
Oxidation Theory shows how oxidized cholesterol and fatty acids in TGs can damage the arterial walls due to a lack of antioxidants. (see Deficiency Theory).
The Deficiency Theory shows how our foods are refined, processed, and laden with pesticides, as well as foods that are lacking vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, fiber, enzymes and EFAs (necessary for metabolism of cholesterol and fats), are increasing cholesterol and TG levels in the blood.
Comprehensive Theory – Dr. Rath and Dr. Pauling suggest the primary cause of CVD is the deficiency of Vitamin C, which leads to weaker arteries, damaged tissue, oxidation of fats, increase of cholesterol and scurvy. This also leads to the body’s need to heal itself, which can thicken the area with scar tissue, and ultimately slow down blood flow. They suggest an increase in Vitamin C can actually reverse and prevent atherosclerosis!
This Comprehensive Theory lends credibility to all of the theories listed above, except the Cholesterol Theory!
Therefore any foods that interfere with vitamin C (such as sugar according to Dr. Pauling), “increases oxidation of both cholesterol and triglycerides.” Pauling further notes that the decrease in deaths due to CVD in North America since the 1970s was because of the increase in supplements, specifically Vitamin C.
So take your vitamin C, cut processed foods out and add healthy, natural whole foods!
Everyone knows by now that low density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol are considered “bad”; high density lipoproteins (HDL) are “good”. While it is true that HDL are considered “good,” you must understand that not ALL LDL particles are actually bad!!! This is a surprise to most… This misconception is one that helps to boost the sale of statin drugs!
Small LDL particles are the cause of heart disease – they are the ones that linger in the blood and wreak havoc on the circulatory system. Small LDL particles are formed when assailants (sugar, wheat, hydrogenated fats) flood the diet, increasing blood glucose, triglycerides, oxidation, inflammation and damages tissues.
Large LDL particles are not as dangerous, and are luckily picked up by the liver very quickly! NOTE: A poor diet can actually shrink the larger LDL particles making them more dangerous…
Furthermore, when VLDLs leave the liver, they “give birth” to LDLs. VLDL are packed with triglycerides (which can show up on blood panels as high triglycerides) and are also directly impacted by diet. The diet determines whether VLDL will be converted to big or small LDL particles, which might make all the difference!
According to Dr. Davis, author of Wheat Belly, CHOLESTEROL CALCULATIONS are skewed because the LDL numbers are calculated by making the following assumptions: HDL must be 40mg/dl or greater, AND triglycerides 100mg/dl or less.
Additional important info to keep in mind:
-If your LDL particles are small, it will underestimate the real LDL;
-If your LDL particles are large, it will overestimate the real LDL;
-If the LDL are on the larger side (which is a good thing), then the LDL value will go UP instead of down, which makes your cholesterol look worse, not better!
Therefore, a standard lipid panel is not an actual measured value of LDL and because of that today’s way of calculating cholesterol is actual giving “fictitious LDL” numbers. Unfortunately this causes confusion and at the same time gives statin drugs billions in revenue.
NOTE: Total Cholesterol, HDL and Triglycerides are in fact actual numbers.
NOTE: Those with diabetes, and even those with genetic variations, will also skew the numbers.
The standard lipid panel used today is: LDL cholesterol = total cholesterol – HDL cholesterol – (triglycerides / 5)
Dr. Davis specifies that true and actual LDL measurement may be obtained through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), lipoprotein analysis or apoprotein B (only 1 apoprotein B per LDL particle) (Davis, p152-153).
Lastly, although increased healthy fat does increase triglycerides, it also shuts down the body’s own production of triglycerides (the body produces a great deal on its own). Healthy fats such as EVOO, coconut oil, fish oil, nuts, etc – actually reduces inflammation, which is critical in this process since cholesterol is actually produced to help heal damaged tissue, as a result of a poor diet.REFERNECE: Wheat Belly, William Davis, M.D. (Davis, pg 149-55).
CHOLESTEROL REDUCTION SUGGESTIONS
Fruits and vegetables: Fall back in love with fruits and vegetables… there is so much out there to choose from. Maybe it takes longer to shop, wash, cut and cook, but at least you have more energy, a clearer mind, clear arteries and clear intestines!
Fiber: Fiber blocks cholesterol absorption by reducing the production of HMG CoA reductase, the principal regulator of cholesterol in the body, (same role that statins play). Fiber also feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut, which helps to reduce the production of cholesterol in liver. Fiber slows the rate of absorption in the small intestines, which lowers the glycemic load (Hyman, pg 94). Lastly, fiber is known to escort toxins and waste out of the body.
Healthy Fat: As stated earlier, the Greenland Eskimo Danish study shows a high fat diet, accompanied by high HDL cholesterol and low triglycerides. At the same time, there were little to no heart attacks! So what does this mean…? It means that the “good” fat actually keeps the blood vessels clear, reduces the LDL cholesterol, reduces inflammation and boosts your immune system. So eat the anti-inflammatory compounds and give your body the good fat it needs to produce healthy hormones! Healthy fat sources include: EVOO, fish / fish oil, avocado, and nuts!
Lastly, I am urging you to remove the baked goods – the crackers, snack foods, cakes and cookies – and obviously the rancid fried foods – all which will have an adverse effect on the body and ultimately raise your cholesterol.
References for this blog:
Food and Healing, Annemarie Colbin
Ultra-Metabolism, Mark Hyman, M.D.
Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus
Wheat Belly, William Davis, M.D. (Davis, 149-55)
~Eat for health!Ann Marie De Gregoria Holistic Health Coach & Reiki Master ~Food As Thy Medicine~ Balanced 4 Life Nutrition www.balanced4lifenutrition.com