Possibly the most demonized substance in our body, cholesterol is entirely misunderstood. We need cholesterol in order to be healthy and we now have a health crisis created by the pharmaceutical companies and their desire to sell billions of dollars worth of statin drugs to unsuspecting people. And your children are targeted next.
Just by virtue of the fact that 85% of the cholesterol in our body is made by the liver — not ingested through foods — should tell us that it is something that we need. In fact, dietary cholesterol has nothing to do with serum cholesterol numbers. Therefore, limiting cholesterol from the diet will have little effect upon the blood results.
Speaking of blood tests, the government’s National Cholesterol Education Program periodically asks experts to help set cholesterol guidelines. In 2001 they started to advocate using statins. These health officials are constantly lowering the acceptable limits of total and LDL cholesterol. Ten years ago a total cholesterol levels of 250 was considered “healthy.” Then it went to 225. Now it’s 200 and there is talk about lowering it to 180. In spite of constantly lowering the “healthy” standards, and giving more and more people statins to lower their cholesterol, cardiovascular disease is still rising.
As usual, these “standards of care” come from the pharmaceutical companies and the research they present to the FDA. That’s right. The pharmaceutical companies themselves do the research that shows their drug is necessary to “fix” a problem. That’s a conflict of interest right there. But what if the problem doesn’t even exist?
I’m not denying that heart disease doesn’t exist, I’m just questioning that cholesterol is the culprit. And I’m not the only one. There is essentially a “movement” of concerned doctors and scientists that recognize that there are many other factors that can influence the cardiovascular system and contribute to heart disease. But I digress. Here are 5 reasons to love and cherish your cholesterol.
- Cholesterol is an essential part of the cell membrane. It makes up part of the bi-layer phospholipid membrane that keeps nutrients in the cell and toxins out. This cell membrane has a certain fluidity to it. When it is made up of the wrong fats (from trans fats and polyunsaturated fats) the membrane may be too fluid or too stiff and lose it’s protective quality by allowing small molecules into the cell that otherwise should not be there.
- Glial cells, which are part of neurons, secrete a substance that is responsible for the ability of neurons to form synapses, or connections between each other. That substance is a carrier for cholesterol which is complexed to apolipoprotein E–containing lipoproteins. This is really important. This means that the availability of cholesterol is responsible for the ability of nerve cells to communicate with each other. This happens in the brain and in the peripheral nervous system. The implications of this is tremendous especially because so many “older” people are being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Isn’t it curious that at the same time the use of cholesterol lowing drugs has increased?
- The cholesterol molecule is the basic building block for all the steroid hormones in the body. I’ll repeat that. All the steroid hormones in the body. It shouldn’t be surprising than, that in the U.S. infertility affects 7.3 million individuals. All the sex hormones (progesterone, estrogen, testosterone) are derived from cholesterol. I’m not saying that is the only reason for infertility. However, hormone problems make up a significant portion of the infertility cases.
- In order to digest and assimilate fats, the body makes a substance called bile. Bile acids are crucial to the breakdown and absorption of fats. To make bile, the liver uses cholesterol. Therefore, you need cholesterol to digest fats.
- In the presence of sunlight, the body converts cholesterol into vitamin D. It should come as no surprise that Americans are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. Again, the low fat low low cholesterol mantra is creating more health problems.
It is now common knowledge that “high” cholesterol is bad. However, the standards created are not based on good science, but rather they are based on the lobbying efforts of Big Pharma and their desire to create a paradigm which forces doctors to prescribe unnecessary drugs and patients to worry about an imagined health problem.
The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease by Uffe Ravnskov
Photo Credit: Wilkeshe
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