The Truth about Cholesterol
BY: DR. MELINA ROBERTS
Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease. We need cholesterol.
Cholesterol is an essential structural component of every cell membrane. Cholesterol is a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, including the adrenal gland and sex hormones; bile acids and vitamin D. Cholesterol is a vital component of the neurological system. The liver manufactures about 70% of the body’s cholesterol.
Vitamin D up-regulates your ability to fight infections and chronic inflammation. The best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to natural sunlight. The UVB rays in sunlight interact with cholesterol and convert it to vitamin D in the body. If cholesterol levels are too low then you will not be able to convert sunlight to vitamin D in the body.
Cholesterol is synthesized mainly in the liver as well as other tissues including the intestines, adrenal glands and reproductive organs.
High-density lipoproteins or HDL: transport cholesterol away from tissues to the liver.
Low-density lipoproteins or LDL: transport cholesterol from the liver to the tissues.
Conventional thinking is that HDL is the “good” cholesterol and LDL is the “bad” cholesterol, but the truth is you need both HDL and LDL because they are part of a dynamic function in the body. Really there is no good or bad cholesterol. They are both needed and necessary parts of biological processes in the body.
Cholesterol is essential in our body, not something to be feared or stopped.
There is a big connection between inflammation and cholesterol. First you need to understand what inflammation is. When you sprain your ankle and your ankle swells up, this is called inflammation. What is happening is that the body is flooding the area with healing factors to enable to body to heal itself. When the body is inflamed, you will see cholesterol levels increase because cholesterol is needed to replace damaged cells. This is a necessary process that takes place in order for your body to make new, healthy cells and repair the damage. Increased levels of cholesterol means that you have increased inflammation in the body. Therefore the best way to treat high cholesterol (and heart disease) is to find the source of the inflammation and remove what is causing the inflammation.
The analogy that I use is: if there is a fire (inflammation) and cholesterol is like the fire fighters putting out the fire, you don’t remove the fire fighters to solve the problem, you find the source of the fire to put out the fire. This is why cholesterol lowering drugs can be so dangerous for the body.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs inhibit an enzyme in the liver that is needed to make cholesterol. When you try to manipulate the delicate and precise biochemistry working within the body, you are bound to cause problems elsewhere.
To lower cholesterol we need to find the source of the inflammation (the fire), whether it is food intolerance, immune challenge, heavy metals, environmental toxins, structural imbalance or emotional conflict. It is only when we can remove the source of the inflammation that we can allow the body to heal and repair and then the cholesterol levels will come into normal range.