By: Dr. Sten Ekberg
This morning I got an email titled. "Shocking truth - not all cholesterol is bad". Really I thought. So some cholesterol is bad? As it tumed out it was really a pretty good article in the end. It went on to say that cholesterol is not a bad word and that your body actually makes 80% of all the cholesterol in your body. Fantastic - right on.
So let me just re-emphasize some of the great key points and add a few that were not, in my opinion, clear enough. Think about it! If your body manufactures 80 % of all the cholesterol in your body, then it doesn't matter very much if the food you eat has cholesterol in it. And if your body has the capacity, that is to say, it has the DNA to code for the manufacture of cholesterol; maybe there is a reason for it. Maybe we need cholesterol. Maybe cholesterol is a good thing. Of course it is.
Your body is not stupid when it makes cholesterol; it just looks that way because it has to respond to a chronically stressed and toxic lifestyle.
So when your body is manufacturing HDL or what some call "good" cholesterol, it is being intelligent, and when your body is manufacturing LDL or "bad" cholesterol it is actually also being intelligent. How can this be?
Let's look at what LDL and HDL really are. LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein and HDL means High Density Lipoprotein. Lipo means lipid or fat, so a lipoprotein is a combination of fat and protein. These LDL's and HDL's are carrier particles. They transport cholesterol where it needs to go.
HDL is high density because it has a higher component of protein and LDL is low density because it has more fat and less protein. Cholesterol is related to fat so there will be more fat and cholesterol in the LDL and less in the HDL. Now think of these particles as sponges. If the sponge is full of fat (LDL),it will tend to "spill" rather than absorb more fat, and if the sponge is full of protein it will have the capacity to absorb fat and cholesterol.
So the body makes LDL to deliver cholesterol to tissues and HDL to pick up cholesterol from the tissues.
This is really cool stuff because the body is so smart. The body, primarily the liver will manufacture more HDL when it needs to reabsorb cholesterol from other body tissues, and it will manufacture more LDL when the body tissues need more of it. That's amazingly clever, just like everything the body does is in fact amazingly clever.
So if the liver manufactures cholesterol, and the body is not stupid, then why do we need cholesterol. Well, where do I start? Cholesterol is a precursor for hormones such as Testosterone, Estrogen, and Progesterone. Cholesterol is a component of the cell membrane itself and is crucial for giving the membrane many of its properties without which nothing in your body would work. Nothing. Cholesterol is a component of blood clotting and wound healing. It is important in issue repair on the inside of the body.
In short, cholesterol is needed in larger amounts any time there is damage or inflammation in the body. So if we are creating more damage on the tissues by stressing a lot or by eating processed foods, cholesterol will increase because there is more inflammation and oxidative damage. Interestingly, these responses are so important for our survival, that the body even starts mounting a response at the mere suspicion of impending damage. That means the stress response will occur to any threat; real or imagined.
There is growing evidence that there is very little correlation between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, and there is even evidence that too low cholesterol is found in conditions such as Depression, Cancer, Anxiety, or low birth weight.
So let's once and for all stop blaming the cholesterol for anything and realize that whether it is too low or too high it is only an indication of some underlying imbalance. So just get the body back into balance and don't worry about the cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol is a sign of chronic inflammation and chronic stress. Trying to lower the cholesterol with a drug is simply interfering with the body's healing responses, without addressing the problem. Interfering with the body may look good on paper if you're only looking at one variable, but will always cause more problems than it seeks to prevent.
So what can you do?
• Get adjusted - It interrupts the stress response
• Increase relaxation training and breath training
• Increase whole foods, vegetables and fruit
• Do regular detox cleanses - juicing for example
• Decrease processed foods, pesticides, toxins, smoke and alcohol
• Get some exercise. Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates - Lightly
• Reduce stinking thinking
• Practice a positive outlook on life - Practice, practice, practice
To recap. Understand that your body is wise. Cholesterol is not a mistake. Cholesterol is not to blame for anything. If your LDL cholesterol is high you are toxic, stressed and inflamed. Deal with the cause. Address the source of the problem. Drugs will always make it worse in the case of a functional problem.
Sten Ekberg D.C
Wellness For Life Chiropractic