We have been told for decades now that if we have high cholesterol we are at higher risk for a heart attack. In order to be healthy, we have to have cholesterol below a specific number. This number keeps getting lower and lower and yet heart disease and heart attacks are still prevalent in our society. So is Cholesterol really the bad guy, or has it gotten a bad rap?
Well, let's first look at what cholesterol is… Cholesterol is a sterol (Modified steroid) lipid molecule and is made in the cells of all animals. It is an essential structural component of animal cell membranes that is required to maintain both membrane structural integrity and fluidity. It is vital to the composition of hormones and the protective coating of neurons. Doesn’t seem so scary when you look at it like this.
So how does an essential part of the body become so damaging? We have to look at how cholesterol responds to certain situations. First, let's realize that we only take in about 25% of our cholesterol in our diet. Our bodies produce the other 75%. Our bodies produce more cholesterol in certain situations. With our “Good Cholesterol,” we make hormones and help protect our nervous system. With our “Bad Cholesterol,” we protect our arteries and other areas of our body from damage and inflammation. So when we have an artery clogged full of cholesterol it did that in response to a high level of inflammation.
Cholesterol is the patch that repairs damage inside our cardiovascular system. Without that patch, we increase our risk of internal bleeding. So who is the real bad guy here? When we look at it like this, there’s really no such thing as “Bad Cholesterol.
We know our diet has something to do with it because it can drastically change our cholesterol levels, up or down depending on how we eat. Why is this? Let's look at a diet that is considered unhealthy. When I eat food that is overly processed, has a lot of preservatives, or has been treated with chemicals all of that creates massive amounts of inflammation in the arterial walls as it passes through the bloodstream. In response to this, the body sends in larger amounts of cholesterol to patch the areas of damage just like you would scab over an area on the skin after a cut.
So who is the real bad guy then? It’s the toxicity we get from a poor diet. And if we take medication to decrease the cholesterol then we are only creating more problems in hormone balances and in the nervous system.
We need to look to more natural methods of cleaning up the toxicity in the body if we truly want to have a healthy cardiovascular system. Doing a “Detox Cleanse” or Taking certain supplements can help with the problem, but it’s usually a lifestyle change that makes the biggest impact.
If you would like more information on how to have a healthier cardiovascular system, healthier heart, and decrease your risk of a heart attack without taking any drugs, contact our office. Dr. James would be happy to sit down with you and go over how to be as healthy as possible. Click here to request a time.
If you want more information on cholesterol checks out the book "The Cholesterol Myth" by. Cardiologist Stephen Sitatra M.D.