What is cholesterol?
Is it really the source of all heart health problems?
What do you actually know about cholesterol?
In this blog I hope to answer these questions. Give you a better understanding of what cholesterol is and how it effects you. I hope that after you read this piece you will be able to throw away some of the bullshit stories you have been fed for years.
I want to give you the facts on what cholesterol is and what it does within your body. The truth of the matter is that we cannot survive without it.
It is made by nearly every cell within the body for the entirety of our lives.
Cholesterol along with saturated fat has a vital role to play in maintaining the healthy structure of our cells. These two components keep the cell membrane firm and give them their structure.
Without a firm cell membrane the cell would be flabby and fluid like and we would resemble the humble slug. This ability of cholesterol and saturated fat to firm up the tissues within the body is also used by the blood vessels.
Especially in areas where the blood is under high pressure and the flow may be turbulent. The vessels that utilise this reinforcement are usually large to medium vessels or where a vessel bends. Cholesterol and saturated fat are then called in to duty so that the blood vessel can become stronger, tougher and more rigid. This is to protect against the continuous pounding of the blood flowing through that part of the vessel.
Cholesterol doesn’t stop at that though. It is also vital for the communication of cells within the body.
This communication occurs through proteins that are attached to the cell wall and held in place by cholesterol and saturated fats.
Brain and intelligence
It also has a vital role to play in the brain. 25% of the bodies total cholesterol count can be found. Every cell in the brain and the nervous system of the body needs cholesterol to function as well as building itself.
Why is cholesterol so important in the brain?
It is responsible for making up 20% of the structure of myelin. Myelin is responsible for coating every nerve cell and nerve fibre like insulation around electric cables. It is also responsible for providing nourishment and protection for the brain and nervous system.
Cholesterol is also vital for our intelligence.
We develop our memories and intelligence through synapses. The more synapses we can make the more mental ability we have. It has been found that these synapses are totally dependent on cholesterol. This cholesterol is produced by the brain cells in the form of Apo lipoprotein E.
Cholesterol has a job to play within our immune system also. The immune system is dependent upon it when it comes to fighting off infections and repairing itself after it has won the battle.
Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, commonly referred to as the bad cholesterol binds directly to dangerous bacterial toxins inactivating them. This binding process prevents them from doing and damage to the body.
The endocrine gland are second to the brain when it comes to total cholesterol count used. These are responsible for creating the steroid hormones within the body; testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone etc. They produce these hormones by synthesizing cholesterol.
These hormones are vital for our health. They are responsible for
- Regulation of our metabolism,
- Energy assimilation,
- Mineral assimilation,
- Our brain, muscle and bone formation,
- Controlling our behaviour and emotions.
- They are also vital for our reproduction.
As we try more and more to avoid cholesterol and animal fats we have had an increase in problems with normal sexual development, fertility and reproduction.
In 2007 Dr Jorge Chavarro found that women who ate full fat cream dairy products were cured from infertility. It was also discovered that women drinking whole milk and full fat dairy products are more fertile than women using the low fat options.
The liver is the organ in the body that is responsible for creating the largest percentage of cholesterol. It regulates the levels in the blood. It is also responsible for putting it into the production of bile.
Bile is so important to the healthy function of the body. It is responsible for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K and E. Without which we could not and would not survive.
It has also been scientifically proven that the level of cholesterol intake in our diet has no effect on the levels in circulation within our body. This is because the more cholesterol we take in the less the body will produce.
Our first meal
What was the first food in life for the vast majority of us? Breast milk, right! Well breast milk has a large percentage of cholesterol. Not only that it also provides us as babies with an enzyme that allows us to absorb 100% of this cholesterol.
What elevates cholesterol?
Now that we have looked at what cholesterol does within the body let’s now take a brief look at why it may become elevated.
As we have seen cholesterol is a major healer within the body. As soon as any area of the body is damaged it is sent straight to the scene. It senses there is a problem because the first thing that is attacked by any invading force is the blood and the endothelium system. The endothelium system then sends a signal to the liver who then kicks cholesterol into gear to go repair the damage caused by the invader.
Cholesterol is needed in the damaged area because cholesterol working with saturated fat help to grow new healthy immune and endothelium cells. These new cells replace the dead ones as well as helping the damaged cells to repair themselves.
Repair work within the body may be needed for a whole host of reasons. Including
- High intensity workout,
- Free-radical damage to the body from a poor diet,
- Environmental stressors or chemicals.
- Post surgery.
- Teeth falling out.
The fall guy
We can see that cholesterol is not really the cause of any damage. It is actually trying to repair any damage within the body.
What we should really be trying to find out is what is causing the damage in the first place. This is what is causing cholesterol levels to be so elevated and then fixing that problem and let cholesterol take care of itself. Think of cholesterol as an ambulance. It is always at the scene of an accident but we never blame the ambulance for the accident. In the same way, cholesterol is always at the scene of an accident but is never the cause of the accident.
“Besides real diseases we are all subject to many that are not only imaginary, for which the physicians have invented imaginary cures, these have then several names, and so have the drugs that are proper for them.”
“As much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed.”
David H. Freedman