You’ve probably been told a lot of bad things about cholesterol like it causes heart disease or clogged arteries. They may also tell you to eat more cholesterol-lowering foods or take cholesterol-lowering medications(Statins). A lot of these things people say are just going to be apart of the cholesterol myth.
The cholesterol myth is this: the more fat you consume, the more likely you are to develop heart disease. You will not find any literature or study that proves this theory, you will find studies that say we found higher levels of cholesterol in patients with heart disease. While this is true, cholesterol is not the enemy but might actually be the hero… Lets keep reading
Now, what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is the raw material that makes up hormones. In fact, 75% of the cholesterol in your body is made by your own body—only 25% comes from your diet.
Quick Fact: Your body makes up to 3000 mg of cholesterol every single day… Crazy right. Nearly every cell in your body creates cholesterol. When you consume less cholesterol, your body simply makes more of it to compensate. Cholesterol acts as a Band-Aid to heal arteries and blood cells when they become damaged. Your brain, cells, and hormones are largely made up of cholesterol. Without cholesterol, you wouldn’t be able to survive. The good 3rd of your skin believe it or not is made up of cholesterol.
About 70% of your brain is made up of Cholesterol. What happens when you lower your cholesterol? Well a lot of course(lol), but specifically referring to the brain, it affects your memory. This is why one of the higher and main side effects of statins(Medication to lower cholesterol) is brain fog or memory loss. CRAZY RIGHT!!!
You might ask what about good and bad cholesterol. When this question is asked people always refer to HDL and LDL. And if you go on any site from google including sites like WebMD or on the CDC you will always see them say that HDL(high-density lipoproteins) is the good cholesterol and LDL(low-density lipoproteins) is the bad and nasty one. Here’s the thing though… There is no such thing as good or bad cholesterol… Don’t believe me? If you can prove to me that lipoproteins are the same thing as cholesterol then ill delete this post, but in the mean time ill continue
Lets define what these lipoproteins actually do. Lipoproteins are like shuttlebuses that transport cholesterol. Why? Because Cholesterol does not mix well with water or blood, so to protect it you have to put it inside a protein capsule; hence HDL & LDL. LDL transports cholesterol from your gut and/or liver to your intestinal tract then to the blood then to the rest of your tissues. HDL takes excess cholesterol from wherever it thinks there is to much and brings it back to the liver where it can dismantle it and take care of it or put it where cholesterol is lacking inside the body.
To take this to practicality, when you go and get a lipid panel done from your doctor, he might tell you that your LDL is very high and that you might be at risk for heart disease. So he puts you on a statin to lower the cholesterol.
So according to doctor High LDL= Higher risk of Heart disease Hmmmm… From what we just went over that doesn’t seem right. It also wouldn’t make sense that many studies out there have shown and proven that people with higher cholesterol actually tend to live longer and are healthier… OOPS… I might have triggered some people with that last statement
Quick Fact: In 2004 a group of 15 doctors(State Board MD’s) across the US came together and changed the reference level of LDL from 130 to 100 and even as low as 70 for people with high risk factors… To put that into perspective, you can be a Minimalist, Vegetarian, 2 meals a day, and Intermittent Fasting type of guy, and still have at least a LDL Level of 90-110.
That simple little change in 2004 put 8 million people on Statins in just the US alone. Oh and I forgot to mention, all 15 of these doctors had money ties into BIG PHARMA(Big surprise). Follow the Money?!?
Ill stop rambling and get back to the elephant in the room. If Cholesterol is (According to what I’m saying) a good thing to have even in high amounts, what does it actually do or what is its purpose?
I’m so glad you asked
- Allows cell permeability - allowing electrolytes to travel in and out of the cell.
- Protects the cell against microbes
- Needed to make bile
- Needed to make fat soluble vitamins - A, D, E, K1, K2
- Needed to make adrenal hormones
- Needed to make sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone
- Your immune system needs cholesterol to function
- Needed to combat the negative effects of bacterial toxins
When you eat more cholesterol, your body makes less, when you eat less, your body makes more.
That is just to name a few.
Ill address one last issue that I even questioned when I came by this incredible knowledge. People with High LDL or Triglycerides typically have some form of inflammation, typically around the heart or in the arteries. So what causes the inflammation? I know what your thinking… Choles… NO NOT THAT!!!
What causes Inflammation is S-U-G-A-R(This includes whole grains, carbs, and hidden sugars in juice, alcohol, and cereal)… How? To answer this we first must define what triglycerides are.
Triglycerides to make it simple are blood fats. They are converted sugars. They are used to transport excess Carbohydrates. So if you have high triglycerides, I know for a fact that you have been eating a lot of those Krispy Kreme donuts at night while everyone else is asleep :D. You have to much sugar in your body if your triglycerides levels are high. Because the hormone “Insulin” is the converting hormone that makes triglycerides high.
So if Cholesterol acts like a band-aid but doesn’t clog the arteries, then what does? Fat
So your telling me that I should stay away from stuff with fat? To buy all the low fat products… Nope, You need fat and lots of it(Stay away from Trans Fat). And I get it, it sounds logical that if you eat more fat and then you get more fat on your body, but simply eating fat will not give you a beer belly. In the body there is a various hormones that tell certain types of calories what to convert into. The hormone that tells the body whether to clog or clean out the artery really is called(previously mentioned) insulin. Insulin is like the switch that converts fat into the body storage and also clogs arteries. Insulin is a very inflammatory hormone, if you have too much of it you could get a lot of inflammation which can set you up for a whole series of bad events. The bodies response to heal the inflammation in the arteries is using a combination of cholesterol, calcium and fibrous kind of a connective tissue to form a little clot. This clot will contain the excess Insulin and slowly attempt to grab it and get rid of it. What started that would be the high levels of insulin, not consuming cholesterol or fat. What makes increases production of to much Insulin? SUGAR. Conclusion: Cut out the Sugar, you will actually heal various parts of the body by simply doing that.
Last Quick Fact: 3,000mg of cholesterol(as mentioned in the beginning of how much your body make’s a day) is equal to 300 strips of bacon, about a pound of butter or 14 eggs. Your body makes a lot of cholesterol. When you consume more fat, your body just makes less. That’s how it works.
Any Questions, leave a comment below.