5 Reasons to Love Cholesterol

July 5, 2011 · 40 comments

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cholesterol, egg yolks

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

This post is linked to: Real Food Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, Turn the Table Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise platter, Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight back Friday, Fun With Food Friday, Friday Food, My Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac, Melt in Mouth Monday, Sweet Details, Sugar-Free Sunday, Meatless Monday, Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, Weekend Carnival, Tuesday at the Table, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Traditional Tuesday, Tuesday Tasty Tidbits, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori @ Laurel of Leaves July 6, 2011 at 1:51 am

Yes, yes, and yes! Cholesterol is not the enemy like Big Pharma wants the world to believe. Thanks for getting the truth out there.


2 Jill July 6, 2011 at 6:06 am

Hi Lori,
Thanks so much for your support. As more and more people suffer the consequences of taking statins, doctors may start to think twice before pushing them.


3 Judy@Savoring Today July 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

My husband had a heart attack last Sept so we can tell you doctors will not think twice about prescribing statins (which is only 1 of 5 drugs that are the protocol post-event) until malpractice insurance and personal responsibility is addressed. The protocols are what they follow, rather than address the individual needs of the patient, and the majority of patients have no interest in changing personal habits when they can take a pill. It is a symbiotic relationship.

For us, the heart attack was a wake up call, which we took seriously and became diligent about food and exercise choices we already knew just didn’t practice. If you’re curious, here’s our story: http://myowntwocents.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/confessions-of-denial/

We (I say “we” because it takes a combined effort) have focused on eliminating the drugs Lipitor, Plavix, Metroperol, and Asprin under the care of a Homeopathic (also an M.D.), and by Sept should reach our goal. Needless to say, we are the rare case, few even question doctors or do the research for their own health. The moment they wheeled my husband out of surgery for the stents, I was told he would be on 5-6 medication the rest of his life (hard to argue when your sweetheart is flat on a hospital bed, right?).

Anyway, thanks for your post, it is important to get the word out about the drug epidemic and its effects. Keep sounding the horn.


4 Jill July 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Hi Judy,
Thanks for sharing your harrowing experience. It takes a lot of guts and confidence to go against the conventional approach especially when it is something so serious. I applaud people who take their health into their own hands. I’ll be reading your post about it! Good luck and keep me posted!


5 Emily July 6, 2011 at 6:59 am

Refined grains and trans fats are the heart disease culprits – in other words, fake foods. If more Americans would spend an extended vacation in Europe to see the kinds of “unhealthy” foods they consume, yet have much better health than we do, Big Pharma might not be so successful in their brainwashing.


6 Jill July 6, 2011 at 8:22 am

Hi Emily,
So true. In this country corporate greed has taken over any attention to health. Thanks so much for your comments.


7 Grandma Bonnie July 6, 2011 at 8:05 am

Thank you for the information I am sending a link to all my children they really need to read this.
I am from Waltz on by Wednesday.
I did not see your follow button.


8 Jill July 6, 2011 at 8:24 am

Hi Bonnie,
Thanks so much for sharing this post. I’m not sure how to put a follow button in that blog hop… but I’m glad you stopped by here.


9 Katie July 6, 2011 at 8:30 am

So true! Spread the word!!!!


10 angie July 6, 2011 at 3:18 pm

your title subscribed me just a bit thanks for sharing with me


11 Jeanmarie July 7, 2011 at 12:44 am

Terrific summary of an important nutrient. Great job!


12 Pearl July 7, 2011 at 9:34 pm

We learned in school that there is such a thing called good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Now what we want to do is embrace the good cholesterol (rich source: eggs!) and ditch the bad cholesterol (solid pork fat) in our diets! :)

Please check my FTF entry for this week: Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
Much ♥,
Sassy Chef Recipes and Reviews


13 Miz Helen July 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Hi Jill,
This is a very interesting article. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon!
Miz Helen


14 Nicole Feliciano July 9, 2011 at 10:46 am

Here’s another reason–it is an integral part of so many delicious foods! Thanks so much for sharing on Momtrends.


15 Jill July 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Hi Nicole,
So true!


16 jami July 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I always enjoy seeing more articles helping to clear poor cholesterol’s name, especially since two of my favorite things on earth have been so villianized the past 2 decades or so: butter and eggs. I have always eaten them to my heart’s (or stomach’s) content, but its nice to be able to point out to people that I’m not harming myself. I posted this article on my facebook page and got some interesting feedback, and am not sure how to respond. I’m going to copy and paste one response below and would like some input, thanks!
“True, cholesterol does a lot but what the article conveniently omits is that the body synthesizes all the cholesterol it needs, that is, dietary intake of cholesterol is unnecessary. In regards to prescribing lipid lowering agents, it is standard practice to lower cholesterol through exercise and dietary measures BEFORE utilizing statins, another advantageous omission by the author. This type of radical and socially irresponsible journalism, unfortunately, only serves to undermine the scientific process and unnecessarily confuse people. Current best medical practice is to maintain a diet low in cholesterol as ONE measure to avoid coronary artery disease.”


17 Jill July 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Hi Jami,
Thanks for sharing your reader’s response. Here is how I would answer it:
1– Yes, 85% of the cholesterol we need is made by the body, but 15% is still needed through diet. While some people (those who are invested in the low fat low cholesterol machine) may feel dietary cholesterol is unnecessary, it is in some of the most nutrient dense foods we can eat such as eggs, cheese and beef. These foods also provide many other essential nutrients that are dangerous to omit from a healthy diet.
2– The “standard practice” of using diet to lower cholesterol before drug therapy may exist as a protocol, but many doctors give this approach little time to work before writing the prescription. It is not surprising to find out about the “perks” doctors get from drug companies that manufacture these cholesterol lowering drugs.
3– This article is hardly “radical” or “irresponsible”. It is actually a breath of fresh air for some people who can actually think for themselves and question “current best medical practice.” These current protocols are devised through the revolving door of politicians, corporate executives and lobbyists and are based on a “scientific process” that is plagued with poor science, greed and corruption.

Clearly this writer is invested in the medical establishment. As far as unnecessarily confusing people — people are not idiots and when they hear basic truths like eating real food that we have eaten for millennium is actually good for us — well I think they can decide for themselves where the truth lies “scientific process” notwithstanding.


18 cheerful July 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm

another great and interesting post, thanks for sharing…i learned a lot. visiting from FTF, have a great week! :)


19 Dan Scollan July 11, 2011 at 11:28 am

During my environmental health graduate studies I had a professor who had a 20 year career as a prominent New York, OBGYN. He was no champion for alternative health and in fact toed the line when it came to conventional medicine. However, I distinctly remember one lecture while studying the the anatomy of the heart. He said, even though there might be acceptance in (conventional) medical circles that cholesterol is present when atheromas (plaque on the wall of arteries) form, that there is no consensus when it comes to the mechanisms of their formations. In other words scientists don’t know! It’s like seeing blood at the site of a murder scene and assuming that blood is the culprit. The blood is present but has nothing to do with how the crime was committed.


20 Jill July 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Hi Dan,
Thanks for the comments — you wrote the perfect explanation — there are a lot of scientists that seriously question the whole cholesterol/heart disease equation. The main point, as you so aptly pointed out, cholesterol is there in the arteries but may be there as a “first responder” not as the culprit.

Cholesterol is used by the body to heal and it may be in the damaged arteries to do just that: to heal. It may be just an innocent bystander that is there to help.


21 Rachel July 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Great informative post Jill! I love how you just TELL the TRUTH! Thanks for linking up you great articles & the giveaway with Healthy 2day Wednesday, see ya this week!


22 Kimberly July 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Great information and so very true! Bring on the eggs! :)


23 Linda July 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I’ve been reading more about this lately and trying to pass the information on to my husband who has slightly high cholesterol. He is not on medication yet. Eating oatmeal has helped.

I never gave up on eggs. I just couldn’t believe they were unhealthy. Thanks for an informative post.


24 Jill July 13, 2011 at 6:43 am

Hi Linda,
Thanks for your comments.There is always two sides to a story.


25 Bibi July 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Some much great information.

I agree with Emily….I was born and raised in Central Europe and I never knew so many unhealthy people (high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure…etc) till I moved to North America.

Thank you for sharing this great post at Foodie Wednesday.


26 Jill July 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Hi Bibi,
It’s called the S.A.D. — Sad American Diet. So sad.


27 nicolette @ momnivores dilemma July 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm


I featured you at Creative Juice this week for this post. I hope more people learn the benefits as well…


28 Jill July 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm

HI Nicolettte,
Thanks so much! I can’t wait to see it!


29 Rachel July 15, 2011 at 10:54 am

This post was chosen for one of my top 3 entries from Healthy 2day Wednesdays last week! Keep up the good work in spreading the word!


30 Jill July 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Hi Rachel,
Thanks for your support!


31 christy July 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

great article and wonderful reminder of moderation! we happen to love our eggs around here :)
thank you for sharing with tuesday night supper club.


32 Nicole February 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Virtual hug. So needed this reminder, this wonderful truth – had learned about myelin sheaths and neural synapses in high school and was fascinated – almost majored in neuroscience. Now I’m a mommy to a picky toddler and I need good reminders so I don’t slip into a convenience food trap. Our culture does not make it easy. God help us! I’m subscribing tonight! Keep it up!


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