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The Cholesterol Myth

High cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart disease, rather Inflammation and oxidative stress. Cholesterol is in fact essential for good health, as it carries out essential functions within your cell membranes, and is critical for proper brain function and production of steroid hormones.
The real cause of heart disease is related to damage inflicted on the inside wall of your arteries, the primary culprit of which is sugar, which causes plaque formation and thickening of the artery wall. Two tests that are good indicators of your risk for heart disease are your HDL to total cholesterol ratio, and your triglyceride to HDL ratio.
Three additional risk factors for heart disease are your fasting insulin,  fasting blood sugar levels, and your iron level.

When people have a cholesterol panel done and the total number is over 200, they are often lead to believe that means "poor heart health." Yet half the people with elevated cholesterol have healthy hearts and half the people with heart disease have normal cholesterol......go figure?

Cholesterol is a basic raw material that your body uses to make vitamin D, sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, repair nerves and produce the bile for digesting fat. Every cell in the body needs cholesterol to function. Cholesterol is produced primarily in the liver. Chemically, the cholesterol in the blood and in foods are the same thing. But that doesn’t mean that most of the cholesterol inside your body is coming from the food you eat. If we eat a lot of cholesterol, our bodies produce less; if we eat less our bodies produce’s very tightly regulated.

Do you ever wonder what your cholesterol numbers actually mean. For years, popular wisdom has held that having elevated levels of cholesterol in your blood is extremely dangerous, leading to heart attack, stroke and even death.....what the HDL do these numbers mean???? 

Here's an anology for a total cholesterol number and how it relates to health: Johnny comes home from a baseball game and says, wow the total number of runs scored was 25! So what did that tell you about the game? Was the score 1 to 24 or 12 to13......two very different pictures. Total cholesterol in and of itself is not enough information and reduces health to a numbers game.

Heart disease is caused by inflammation in the circulatory system, not "high total cholesterol." Your triglyceride/HDL ratio is a better indicator of heart health. Take your triglyceride number and divide by your HDL number. If that number is 2.0 and ideally less than 1.0 your risk of heart disease is let's do the math on me:
triglycerides: 36
HDL: 97
Value: 0.37

Your brain is 2% of your body weight yet contains 25% of the cholesterol your body produces. 
Cholesterol is a crucial building block for your brain. Cholesterol-lowering drugs shrink the brain, leading to potentially serious issues like dementia.

A whopping 70% of women on cholesterol-lowering drugs for five years or more go on to develop Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes doubles the risk for heart attacks. It's out of my scope of practice to EVER recommend someone go on or off a drug; I don't make those recommendations. It is within my scope to educate a drug's side effects and potential alternatives to taking a drug.  

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