Sunday, July 22, 2012

Natural Cholesterol

With all the focus on low cholesterol, you would think it was THE key to a long health life.   At the same time it is as if LDL cholesterol is the evil inside.  Does it make sense to characterize an essential component the body as bad?  It must be there for a reason other than to clog our veins and make us die!  What if I told you, low cholesterol is associated with suicide and low serotonin?  It is estimated that one in four Americans over 45 are currently taking a cholesterol-lowering agent.  The sales in 2009 for this drug group was $14 billion dollars.

LDL cholesterol is not ‘bad”.  It is an essential component of every cell membrane in the body.  The cell membrane or wall is actually the brain of the cell as the gate way for communication.  Cholesterol is the starting material for our body to make all the steroid hormones.  This includes pregnenolone, progesterone, cortisol, DHEA, testosterone, and estrogen.  Try doing without those and our species becomes extinct.   The hormone aldosterone regulates electrolyte absorption in the kidneys and the production of glucose in the body.  Cholesterol is a major part of bile that is responsible for the digestion and absorption of fats including fat-soluble vitamins.  The brain contains more cholesterol than most other organs and is a component of the myelin sheath that covers nerves.  Low cholesterol can impact the release of neurotransmitters and lead to poor memory.  Cholesterol in the skin aids in the production of Vitamin D.  There are studies that suggest that higher cholesterol helps prevent infections, especially gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.

  Cholesterol lowering statin drugs work by interfering with enzyme systems in the endoplasmic reticulum, an organelle inside of the cell.  This part of the cell is responsible for making fats, oils, phospholipids (a brain fat) and steroids.  It also helps regulates calcium and aides in the detoxification of drugs.  This enzyme system is responsible for making coenzyme Q10 for energy, and dolichol for cell aging and brain function. 

Side effects of statin drugs include headache, liver damage, muscle weakness, and the potential to develop diabetes.  In some cases the muscle weakness is so severe it causes the breakdown of muscle fiber that is filtered thru and damages the kidneys.  There is also a link to problems with the nervous system that include periods of disorientation, forgetfulness, and confusion.  In rare cases short periods of amnesia. 

How does it make sense that we have one single component of a blood value that is out of range so we decide to interfere with the body’s ability to make it without regard for anything else?  Statins are effective in lowering cholesterol.  Pharmaceutical studies have also show that they save lives.  There are likely high-risk patients for which this drug may be appropriate.  However, given the essential need for cholesterol, its global use should be re-evaluated. 

If you take any cholesterol agent, consider taking Coenzyme Q10(Q-Gel Ultra).  Daily vitamin C and/or other antioxidants such as Natural Creations Antioxidant Complex may be helpful in preventing the oxidization of cholesterol and protecting blood vessels.  Red Rice Yeast is a favorite over the counter cholesterol-lowering agent.  However, it still acts as a weak statin and may have some of the same effects.  Some use Poli-Chol-Red that is a combination of policosanol and red rice yeast.  Improve the quality of the fats you consume.  Consider lecithin, coconut oil, and quality fish oil. 

I love my cholesterol!
Stay Well

This blog is written for informational purposes only.  This information should not be used for the diagnosis, as a recommendation for treatment, nor should it be considered a replacement for consultation with a healthcare professional.  If you have questions or concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider.

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