Cholesterol has gotten a bad reputation over the last couple decades, and today it is still viewed like a dirty word. It has been portrayed as something to be feared and avoided at all costs.
However, cholesterol is a very important molecule that is crucial for building cells, and for producing sex hormones and vitamin D. In a nutshell, that means all this talk of low-fat and low-cholesterol is more harmful in the long run than good.
Here are a few reasons to rethink your fears about cholesterol.
Cholesterol research has been flawed
The defining research study that led to our current fear of cholesterol was the Seven Countries Study, directed by Dr. Ancel Keys back in 1953. Dr. Keys gathered data from 22 countries, but in his final report, he only used selective information from seven countries that happened to correlate with his preconceived hypothesis.
Cholesterol plays a role in good health
Cholesterol is found in your bloodstream and in every cell of your body. It is important to producing sex hormones, cell membranes, and bile acids that you need for digesting fat. It is also a key part of the production of vitamin D. Sunlight exposure on your skin triggers the conversion of cholesterol into vitamin D. Cholesterol also plays a role in maintaining the health of your brain and memory formation.
Total cholesterol is misleading
You need to understand that simply looking at a total cholesterol number on a label will not give you a true measurement of your health risk. There are two types of cholesterol in the body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is a “good” cholesterol and can be helpful in preventing heart disease.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a “bad” cholesterol that can potentially be problematic. Large particles of LDL are usually harmless. However, when they are small and dense they could squeeze through the artery lining and cause inflammation and damage.
Be cautious regarding pro-statin studies
Keep in mind that most studies that are pro-statin are sponsored by the drug manufacturing companies themselves. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to realize that the results may typically be skewed in favor of the medications.
Look at all your options besides cholesterol lowering medication
For many people, cholesterol lowering medications are not the best method of treatment. Consider a holistic approach to reduce your numbers into a normal zone based on all your risk factors.
To get a picture of your real risk factors, request that your doctor orders an NMR LipoProfile. Also consider requesting tests for HDL/cholesterol ratio, triglyceride/HDL ratio, fasting insulin level, fasting blood sugar level, and iron count. These tests can help you and your doctor determine what methods of treatment may be beneficial besides cholesterol lowering drugs.
So, when it comes to fear of cholesterol, consider the factors mentioned here and do a little research of your own. In the end, make a health conscious choice that is best for you based on knowledge, not on a popular stigma.
-The Alternative Daily