In Praise of Cholesterol

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    Cholesterol

    By Kennedy Shelley

    What does LDL cholesterol do?  Ask a doctor and they will tell you “it clogs your arteries and gives you a heart attack.”

    But that doesn’t tell you what LDL does and why it is in your blood.

    Every year, half of the 200,000 people who had a heart attack in Great Britain had normal cholesterol levels according to a story in The Daily Mirror.

    This goes along with a 2009 UCLA study that looked at over 136,000 people who were hospitalized for a heart attack.

    75% had normal or low cholesterol, but half had low HDL (the so-called “good” cholesterol).

    While this may leave doctors scratching their heads, but no one wants to say, “the Emperor isn’t wearing clothes.”

    In other words, what if cholesterol isn’t a good indicator of heart health?  What if cholesterol was actually good for you?

    You could not live without cholesterol.  It is in every cell of your body, it gives them form, it holds us together.

    And your brain is made up of it.  One of the signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is less fat in the brain.

    It is so vital that if you do not eat it, your body will make its own.  Nearly every cell in the body, but especially in the liver your body will make cholesterol.

    There are two important exceptions though:  the adrenal system and the gonads.

    This is why so many people on statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) complain of low energy and low sex drive.

    If cholesterol is so important, why is everyone so concerned about it?

    It really goes back to the 1950s when there was a sudden rise in heart disease in the US.  There were some profound shifts in the American lifestyle from 1900 to 1950.

    The amount of sugar in the US diet in 1800 was estimated to be 18 pounds a year, by 1900 it was 60 pounds, and 80 pounds by 1950.

    In 1911 industrial seed oils (otherwise known as vegetable oil) was introduced to the American diet as a cheaper “healthier” alternative to animal fats.

    No one knew then that these fats increased inflammatory linoleic acid in the blood.

    But by 1950 it was shown that reducing animal fat did decrease cholesterol levels and the makers of Crisco gave major donations to the American Heart Association, so they started pushing low cholesterol.

    And then the US government started putting a large amount of money into heart disease research and Ancel Keys, a researcher from the University of Minnesota said he had the answer to heart disease, reduce cholesterol.  And the war on cholesterol began.

    Then in the 1980s statin drugs were introduced which could reduce HDL, the so-called bad cholesterol.

    These drugs have produced nearly a trillion dollars in profits for big pharma, and they have been telling you and your doctor how important it is to reduce your cholesterol.

    But what do we lose when we reduce our HDL?  Does HDL do anything good?

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    HDL transports vitamins A & D.

    Vitamin D is really an important hormone vital to nearly every system of the body, yet we get less of it when we have low levels.

    It feeds your muscles.  It is an energy transporter because it is lighter and takes fat to parts of the body that needs it.

    It fights infections and disease.  The LDL molecules are vital in helping the body fight disease.

    It is vital in estrogen and testosterone production.

    Basically, all the dangerous side effects statin drugs are actually the result of artificially lowering your LDL levels.

    But the biggest reason for wanting high LDL and cholesterol is that you will live longer and smarter.  Study after study shows that people that have high cholesterol after 70 live longer and are better protected from dementia.

    Again, ask your doctor, “what does LDL do?” If you find one that lets you know that it is a vital part of your body and blood, you may have found a very good one.