High blood Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a Greek word. "Chole" means bile, "stereos" means solid, and the chemical suffix "ol" means alcohol.
Cholesterol is first noted in the gallbladder in a solid state along with bile.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, whitish-yellow fat substance found in every cell in the body. The body needs cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D, and materials that help digest foods.
Cholesterol is an essential molecule; there will be no life without it. It is so important that everybody cell is capable of synthesizing it.
Cholesterol contributes to structural firmness to cell membranes. Somehow, if you can able to remove all the cholesterol from the body, then the body will melt down and disappear into dew.
Cholesterol is vital for the body, so the body can make cholesterol out of ANYTHING we eat—such as fats, carbohydrates, or proteins. Human doesn’t need to consume cholesterol to fulfill their cholesterol requirement. Even vegans, who eat a cholesterol-free diet (ZERO grams of cholesterol), still their body will make enough cholesterol.
9 Proven Importance of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is neither bad nor unhealthy. It is an essential compound for every cell structure. Additionally, it is a must for the proper functioning of brain and nerve.
Millions of years of evaluation of nature, design and provide us everything precisely with compassion.
That is why, nature providing egg yolk and milk with a lot of cholesterol? Because cholesterol is essential for the healthy development of the baby chick and calf. That is, for the development of a new life and growth of new born require cholesterol.
Vital organs Brain & Liver contain a lot of cholesterol. 25% of the cholesterol in your body found in your brain.
The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, which is everything without it there is no life. The liver is the largest gland that carries out over 500 essential tasks. So, the nature designed the most vital organs full of cholesterol.
Cholesterol does many essential functions in the body; they are:
- Cholesterol builds and maintains cell membranes.
- Cholesterol is essential for the cell membranes of the brain and the transmission of neurotransmitters. Without cholesterol the cellular communication gets impaired; additionally, cognition and memory function affected.
- Cholesterol insulates neurons (a specialized cell transmitting nerve impulses).
- Cholesterol regulates membrane fluidity over different physiological temperatures.
- Cholesterol does intracellular transportation, cell signals, and nerve conduction.
- The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile and stored in the gallbladder. Fat digestion requires bile acid that dissolves and helps intestinal absorption of fat.
- The liver uses cholesterol to produce fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K.
- Cholesterol is essential for the synthesis of steroidal hormones such us adrenal and sex hormones. The adrenal hormones are cortisol and aldosterone. The sex hormones are progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
- Some research indicates cholesterol may have some antioxidant properties.
Cholesterol does numerous vital functions in the body! So, no chance for it to be harmful? High cholesterol levels may be protective and in older people it extent their life expectancy, except in the case of familial hypercholesterolemia.
In the other hand, low cholesterol level is dangerous and may be a risk towards hemorrhagic stroke and cancer.
Why does the brain need cholesterol?
Although the brain contributes only 2% of total body weight, still it has 20 to 25% of the body’s total cholesterol. This way, nature proved without doubt the importance of cholesterol.
Low levels of cholesterol in the brain, prevent it from forming or functioning correctly, including problem with mood regulation, learning, memory, etc.
Does lowering blood cholesterol affect mental health?
Low blood cholesterol does not cause mental health problems because brain produce cholesterol on its own to fulfill its requirements, regardless of cholesterol levels in the blood.
How does the body make cholesterol?
Only about 33% of the blood cholesterol comes from the food, rest 67% produced by the body.
Fat metabolism is a complex process. The dietary cholesterol represents only about 1/3 of your total cholesterol requirement, and the remaining 2/3 produced by the liver and the body cells.
Almost all cells can make their own cholesterol and the liver produces cholesterol and releases into the bloodstream for other non-producing body cells.
Will eating cholesterol raise blood cholesterol?
Although it seems logical to think eating cholesterol would raise blood cholesterol levels; usually, it doesn't work that way. The amount of cholesterol in the food you eat and the amount of cholesterol in the blood are not directly related.
When dietary cholesterol goes down, the body makes it more otherwise less. So, consuming high cholesterol food have little or no impact on blood cholesterol level.
Reference: Dietary cholesterol feeding suppresses human cholesterol synthesis measured by deuterium incorporation and urinary mevalonic acid levels. Publisher in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 1996 Oct;16(10):1222-8.
The body absorbs dietary cholesterol and will make it into your bloodstream only when they need more cholesterol; otherwise, the cholesterol in the food eliminated from the body. So, dietary cholesterol can't cause high cholesterol.
However, in some 30% of the people, high-cholesterol foods may raise blood cholesterol levels, often referred to as "hyper-responders" it might be due to genetic.
What is high cholesterol?
High cholesterol also called as Hypercholesterolemia and Hyperlipidemia.
High cholesterol is not a disease, and it may be a sign of other health problems such as infection, inflammation, etc.
The medical community defines high cholesterol as a higher level of cholesterol in lipoprotein particles compared to average cholesterol levels absorbed among healthy individuals.
Is high cholesterol harmful? Why is it considered dangerous?
Researchers first found cholesterol deposits in the clogged arteries of the people who died with heart attacks. Thus, they conclude that heart attack is due to high cholesterol level in the blood.
You can't blame firefighters for their presence in the fire accident spot. Firemen's job is to put off the fire.
In the site of clogged arteries, along with cholesterol, the researchers also found macrophages, calcium, and T cells, which indicates inflammation in the blood vessel. So, to heal inflammation, cholesterol rushed to the spot to repair the damage, because cholesterol is healing compound required to build and repair cells.
Wrong calcium deposition and inflammation are the real culprits that form plaque in the arteries.
Research shows vitamin K2 deficiency causes calcium deposits in the wrong spot (arterial plaque).
Heart disease does not cause by high cholesterol, but it can be due to inflammation, oxidative stress, high blood pressure, wrong calcium deposition, and smoking.
Is there anything as Good Cholesterol & Bad Cholesterol?
The HLD particles carry unneeded excess cholesterol in the circulation back to the liver to eliminate it from the body. Thus, HDL is considering as good cholesterol, and high levels of it is a good sign.
On the other hand, the LDL particle deliver cholesterol produced by the liver to every cells through blood circulation. Thus, LDL is considering as bad cholesterol, and lowering it is a good sign.
It is not as simple as we think. All LDL are not created equal, and it exists in two different variants, they are:
- Big & fluffy and
- Small dense and oxidized (damaged).
Studies show that only small dense LDL is bad and associated with heart disease.
Studies also confirm that eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates tend to increase the number of harmful, small, dense, oxidized LDL particles.
Additionally, evidence suggests refined carbohydrates can cause inflammation and promote oxidation.
How are cholesterols transported?
Blood is watery, and cholesterol is fatty; thus, these two do not mix. So, cholesterol needs to carried with a protein cover. This combination of lipid and protein is called lipoproteins.
Cholesterol in the Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles are wrongly considering as bad cholesterol. LDL particle transports cholesterol and triglycerides from the liver to peripheral tissues.
Cholesterol in the High-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles are generally considering as good cholesterol. HDL particle carries out reverse cholesterol transport and hoping to prevent heart disease.
Triglycerides presented in the blood and stored in the fat cells. They are the primary sources of energy and common fat type present throughout the body.
Total cholesterol is a measurement of entire cholesterol present in all the lipoprotein particles.
What causes high cholesterol?
Infections, digestion problems (such as allergy and leaky gut), poor thyroid function, fatty liver, kidney disease, etc. can cause high cholesterol.
Why would the body produce excess cholesterol than its requirement? When people consume too much of sugar or refined carbohydrates, then the blood insulin level spikes after digestion. High insulin turns on HMG-CoA reductase, which instructs the body cells to produce more cholesterol, actually without any requirement. It is the reason, why some people have high cholesterol in their bloodstream.
When you lower the sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption then HMG-CoA reductase start turned on & off properly; thus, blood cholesterol level return to a healthy range.
The cause of high cholesterol might be by inflammation or infection, similar to an excess of mucus secretion during respiratory tract infection.
Know the causes of high cholesterol helps to bring-back cholesterol levels to a healthy range.
Cholesterol risk factors are certain factors affecting cholesterol levels. Some of these risk factors are controllable and others uncontrollable. Knowing this controllable risk factor and controlling them help realize good cholesterol numbers.
Why we should know the cholesterol symptoms?
There are over 40% of undiagnosed high cholesterol among adults aged 25 to 35 years.
Elevated cholesterol does cause high cholesterol symptoms, but they are harmless or challenging to recognize. So, many people have high blood cholesterol without their knowledge (undiagnosed).
Everyone aged 20 and older should undergo a cholesterol test at least once every five years.
When to undergo high cholesterol diagnosis?
High cholesterol symptoms are harmless or challenging to recognize. So routine cholesterol screening test is the only mean to diagnose it. You need to confirm the diagnosis by undergoing a high cholesterol test.
It is essential to know your cholesterol numbers (healthy lipid ranges of the total, LDL & HDL cholesterol and Triglyceride) because high cholesterol levels may be a sign of inflammation, infection, liver, or thyroid problems that need to be addressed.
Lipid Profile Test is an outdated one, an accurate prediction of Atherogenic risk with it is difficult. Besides, you can best use it by calculating cholesterol ratios.
For the better prediction of heart risk, you can calculate cholesterol ratios using lipid profile tests. Cholesterol ratios are the best cardiovascular risk assessment tool.
More specific Heart health predicting tests are CRP, Fibrinogen, Lp (a), Homocysteine, Il-6, and Calcium Scan.
Is it ok to lower the cholesterol level with medication?
The body’s adaptive response raised cholesterol levels to correct the inflammation, infection & oxidation.
Remember, cholesterol is a healing nutrient, so it should not be lowered forcefully with any drug. Alternatively, you can avoid eating sugar, refined carb, trans fats, and other toxic foods; it helps to reduce or eliminate inflammation and oxidation. Thus, the body naturally lowered the cholesterol level by itself.
Most doctors treat the symptoms and not the conditions.
Generally, doctors try to suppress the high cholesterol level by giving cholesterol-lowering medication.
It is similar to provide treatment during flu by suppressing mucus secretion, instead of clearing the respiratory infection.
Rarely, few smart conscience doctors investigate the underlying cause of high cholesterol levels. Identifying and treating the underlying high cholesterol cause can help lower cholesterol without medication.
Do Statins drugs lower brain cholesterol?
Statins drug are developed to lower the blood cholesterol level. Unfortunately, statins cross the blood-brain barrier, where they limit the brain’s ability to produce the cholesterol molecules it needs to work correctly. May be that is why, statins have memory and other co-ordination problems.
Is it possible to lower cholesterol levels with lifestyle modification?
High Cholesterol lifestyle changes are the safest way to lower cholesterol levels. Additionally, this healthy lifestyle provides wellness in all spheres.
These cholesterol-lowering lifestyle modifications are
- Eating healthy cholesterol normalizing diet,
- Knowing what is good & bad fats,
- Benefits of soluble & insoluble fiber,
- Improve health by ingesting omega 3 (cod liver oil & flaxseed oil),
- Knowing Weight loss benefits,
- Increased physical activity and exercise.
Does saturated fat linked with heart disease risk?
Eating saturated fat helps transfer the LDL particles from small, dense to a Large buoyance.
High saturated fat intake is associated with increased concentrations of the larger, buoyance LDL particle, which is innocent and harmless. Reference: Change in dietary saturated fat intake is correlated with change in mass of large low-density-lipoprotein particles in men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1998 May;67(5):828-36.
This does not means to take saturate fat limitlessly, but within limits.
Cardiologists also found refined carbohydrate (such as sugar and white flour), is the single most influential dietary risk factor for heart attacks.
Does carbohydrate play a role in heart disease?
Evidence shows a confirmed association of intake of refined carbohydrates with cardiovascular risk. Consumption of refined carbohydrate diet lower HDL levels and increases insulin levels, oxidation, and inflammation all over the body, including coronary arteries.
Refined carb raises blood sugar and insulin levels, which in-turn convert big, fluffy, LDL particles (innocent) into small, dense, oxidized LDL particles (dangerous) associated with heart disease.
The epidemiologic data suggest that a high dietary glycemic load from refined carbohydrates increases the risk of CHD, independent of known coronary disease risk factors. Reference: A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in US women. Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000 Jun;71(6):1455-61.
Generally, cholesterol is innocent, and it became dangerous only when we ingest refined carbohydrates or sugar.
Elevated cholesterol is not from a high-fat diet but from a high carb diet (sugar is dangerous).
Additionally, peoples in health forums shared their experience with low carb high-fat diet have lowered their cholesterol level. It just emphasis eating fat does not raise the blood cholesterol level; instead does the opposite.
Is there any alternative treatment for high cholesterol?
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine reported 38% of U.S. adults and 12% of children use alternative medicine.
Natural treatments for high cholesterol are an alternative approach to manage hyperlipidemia without any harmful side effects, and it addresses the root cause. Alternative therapies for elevated cholesterol covered by us are herbs, yoga, acupressure, & reflexology.
Are there any complications of high cholesterol?
High Cholesterol complications such as Atherosclerosis, Angina, Coronary heart disease, Heart attack, Heart failure, or Stroke are due to chronic inflammation and not by high cholesterol.
High risk towards these complication is for people with a preexisting heart condition or familial hypercholesterolemia.
You can avoid these complications with proper treatment that address the root cause such as inflammation, infection, liver problem, kidney problem, or vitamin k2 deficiency.
Is high cholesterol dangerous or protective?
The body uses cholesterol as a plaster over inflamed arteries to heal it. That is cholesterol is a healing compound.
However, if there is an excess of inflammation or infection, then to heal it, the body makes more cholesterol, and thus blood cholesterol level raises.
This raised cholesterol level indicates high levels of inflammation or infection that need proper treatment.
Inflammation is caused by ingesting sugar & refined carbohydrates, improperly managed stress, restless sleep, too much of chemicals, and pollution.
So, by reducing the inflammation and infection, the cholesterol level drops back to a healthy level automatically.
A Japan study found an inverse trend between all-cause mortality and total (or low-density lipoprotein LDL) cholesterol levels. That is, mortality is highest in the lowest cholesterol group without exception. Reference: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Cholesterol Treatment published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 2015;66(suppl 4):1–116.
Cholesterol is considering as a part of the defense mechanism due to its ability to fight toxins and infection.
If toxins from gut bacteria get into the bloodstream are neutralized and removed by the cholesterol. Numerous studies found a link between low cholesterol and an increased risk of infections.
So, Cholesterol is neither bad nor unhealthy. It is an essential compound for every cell structure. Additionally, it is a must for the proper functioning of brain and nerve.