“People with cholesterol lower than 200 suffer nearly 40% of all heart attacks” – Will Castillo M.D. – Former director of Framingham Heart Study
On average, we have between 1,100 and 1,700 milligrams of cholesterol in our body. Twenty- five percent of that Cholesterol comes from our diet, and seventy-five percent is produced internally by the liver. The body tightly regulates the amount of cholesterol in the blood by controlling internal production; when cholesterol intake in the diet goes down, the body makes more. When cholesterol intake in the diet goes up, the body makes less.
Some more important facts about Cholesterol:
- It is used to make hormones
- Every cell in the body is surrounded by a membrane containing cholesterol
- Cholesterol helps you absorb fat Soluble vitamins
- Your brain and even your nerves are made of cholesterol
- Cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D
“People over 70 years of age with total cholesterol levels below 160 mg/dL had twice the risk of death than those with cholesterol levels between 160-199 mg/dL” – Study published in American Journal of Medicine
It’s hard to overstate the impact that cardiovascular disease (CVD) has modern day living, it is estimated that at least one in three deaths in the United States is due to cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions in medicine today. Cardiovascular heart disease is a complex, multifactorial process. The likelihood that we’ll have a heart attack depends on a number of various factors, including diet, stress, genetics, lifestyle and environment.
Although we’ve learned a tremendous amount of new information about what causes heart disease over the past two decades, unfortunately, most medical establishments still operateusing outdated science from over 50 years ago.
The Lipid Hypothesis
In the early 1950’s Cholesterol was demonised by the Lipid Hypothesis, which was further reinforced bya University of Minnesota researcher by the name ofAncel Keys. After completing a number of highly influential experiments Ancel concluded that Cholesterol and Fat were dangerous to our heart health and one of the primary risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, it was the results of these now questionable experiments and theories that shaped the dietary recommendations of government health organisations and The American Heart Association. By the end of the 1980s, there were widespread academic statements that the lipid hypothesis was proven beyond reasonable doubt.
In fact, due to the momentum of these claims, virtually all us have been victimised by the anti-cholesterol propaganda campaign, so much so, that the world was taken by storm with the low fat craze that’s followed.
Satin and Cholesterol lowering medications
It is estimated that 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 45 are now taking Statin or other Cholesterol lowering medications despite the well-publicised list of severe and harmful side effects and questionable efficiency.
Statin drugs fundamentally work by blocking the enzyme HMG CoA reductase so that the liver can’t synthesise it’s own cholesterol. They are known to put a tremendous load on overall liver function, which is why it is recommended that once beginning them, the patient should have his liver enzymes checked every six months. Another common danger from taking Statin drugs is musculoskeletal pain that can be severe, and is very frequently misdiagnosed. Other common side effects include: cataracts, kidney failure, cognitive impairment, impotence and diabetes.
The traditional standard lipid profile is clinically important but the focus on total cholesterol and LDL may not necessarily be the most effective analysis.
According to health pioneers such as Dr Chris Kresser, risk assessment for cardiovascular disease relates more to the Triglycerides, LDL Particle number(LDL-P) and the comparative ratios than to the total cholesterol number alone. It is possible to have low or normal cholesterol levels but still have a high number of LDL particles.
The main causes of elevated LDL-P are not related to consumption of saturated fats but rather Insulin/Leptin resistance, poor Thyroid function, Genetics, Infections, Toxicity and Leaky Gut. The people who are at highest risk for an elevated LDL particle number are those suffering with Metabolic Syndrome, which can often be identified by Obesity of the abdomen, Hypertension, Insulin Resistance, Low HDL and High Triglycerides.
The gold standard recommended test to assess cardiovascular disease risk is True Health Diagnostics Custom Panel. This panel closely approximates a combination of two existing panels: Diabetes Prevention/Management Panel and The Traditional Lipid and Advanced Cardiovascular Monitoring Profile Panel.
The testing includes standard Cholesterol Markers and Triglycerides but also measures LDL and HDL Particle number, Oxidised LDL, LDL Particle size, Lipoprotein (a), Apolipoprotein B, and Apolipoprotein A-1. The custom panel also includes markers of inflammation and oxidation, markers of insulin resistance and glycemic control.
If LDL Particle testing isn’t yet available in your country of origin, then you can still benefit from requesting a traditional Lipid panel with the addition of a simple Apolipoprotein B test (90-95% of LDL particles are apoB).
For a functional approach to your cholesterol issues, I highly recommend seeking out an integrative medicine practitioner or Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist in your area.