April 14, 2016
Cholesterol has gotten a pretty bad rap. I want to tell you today that cholesterol has been unfairly labeled as the "bad guy"!
Almost every single cell in our body creates cholesterol. In fact, only about 20% of our blood cholesterol comes directly from our diet, while 80% is manufactured by the body itself. Why? Because we need cholesterol for so many things. We need cholesterol to respond to any stress in the body. We need cholesterol for healing and immune system function, hormone production, healthy brain function, cell membrane integrity, vitamin D production, and so much more.
Some of the most common side effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are muscle spasms or pains, and memory loss. This is because without cholesterol, we cannot produce the protective covering around our nerves that maintain proper muscle function, and we cannot maintain brain health since most of the brain is made of fat!
The current cholesterol parameters set by the current medical field have also been lowered over the years, likely a combination of intention to boost drug sales and the general mentality and education of "the lower, the better". While the recommended upper cholesterol limit today is 200, in 1981, the recommended upper limit was 310.
So what are some good guidelines for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels? First of all, there are a few factors even more important than the total cholesterol number, such as the HDL and LDL levels. HDL is mostly known as "good cholesterol" and LDL is "bad cholesterol". We need both, but in an optimal ratio. To increase your HDL, eat healthier sources of cholesterol, including cold water fish and shellfish such as salmon, sardines, shrimp, etc. along with cod liver oil supplements, real butter, and lastly runny egg yolks. Yes, eat egg yolks! But eat them runny. Nature is so perfect that in the egg yolk there exists an enzyme that actually helps us to metabolize cholesterol, but if we cook the yolk, we destroy this enzyme, actually making it harder to metabolize and use cholesterol correctly.
Also, exercise regularly! Quit sugar, quit grains and corn, manage your stress levels, and more to naturally keep your cholesterol balanced and to keep your LDL cholesterol lowered. Commit to making a healthy lifestyle your priority.
Another important factor is LDL ("bad cholesterol") particle size. You want to be sure the the LDL particles are large and not small, as smaller LDL particles can clog arteries more. (By the way, sugar makes fat stickier, and actually helps cholesterol stick to artery walls, so again-avoid sugar!)
To increase your LDL particle size, again, increase your HDL through diet and aerobic exercise, consume less simple sugars and alcohol, and eat more fish, eat healthier oils such as olive oil or coconut oil.
While there is so much more to be said about one of my favorite misunderstood topics- cholesterol, I hope you find some of this basic info helpful on your path to optimal health!