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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Understanding Cholesterol

The cholesterol scare started forty years ago in a bad experiment that ended in some research company telling everyone that cholesterol values over 200 would be harmful and potentially increase the risk of heart disease.

Every cell in the body has a double membrane made up of cholesterol and saturated and unsaturated fats.  In fact roughly half the membrane is cholesterol.  All of our hormones are made from cholesterol, and all of the steroids we use to control inflammation are made from cholesterol.  Aldosterone, which reclaims our minerals in the kidneys, is made from cholesterol, and cortisol, which controls our blood sugar level, is made from cholesterol.  Oh yes and of course vitamin D.

We often have a higher requirement for cholesterol as we age because of the oxidative damage to our tissues. Each time a free radical damages a cholesterol molecule, we need to remove the damaged cholesterol from our cells and generate a new cholesterol molecule to replace the damaged one.  LDL is not cholesterol but a protein carrier that carries fresh new cholesterol out to the tissues of the body. HDL is the garbage man of the cholesterol system, carrying the damaged cholesterol back to the liver where it is made into bile and used in the digestion of fats. This is where it should stay after it is released from the gallbladder—in the small and into the large intestine and then held by fiber in our bowels and removed as waste. A lack of soluble fiber in the diet often allows the oxidized cholesterol to be pulled out of the colon and brought back into the bloodstream in an attempt to reuse it. This damaged, oxidized cholesterol (not the new perfect cholesterol) is responsible for sticking to the coronary arteries that supply the heart. When we block the production of new fresh cholesterol in an attempt to lower our cholesterol number, we actually unknowingly can accelerate the damage to our coronary arteries because the body is left to try to reuse the damaged cholesterol in an attempt to stay alive.


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