Cholesterol’s Bad Rap – Where’s The Good?

Cholesterol has been given a bad rap. We have been taught that cholesterol in our body is bad. But cholesterol is a substance critically needed by the body! The number of functions it has in the body is truly remarkable. As the cholesterol debate continues, and has been spurred on by the pharmaceutical industry, time is revealing the truth about cholesterol.

One truth is that the heart disease – high cholesterol levels connection has been weakening. In fact, it was never very strong to start with, at least from the standpoint of high cholesterol causing heart disease. What we are learning, is that high cholesterol in itself is not the real danger, but rather is an indicator that something may be going amiss in the cardiovascular system, such as vascular damage. Cholesterol is the healing serum that comes to the rescue when damage occurs to the arterial walls. So if cholesterol levels go up, we should be taking a look at what we may be doing that is setting the stage for damage to occur.

Too much acid in the diet (coffee, sugar, alcohol, etc), rancid/oxidized fats, high levels of omega 6 fatty acids/trans fats/polyunsaturated fats, elevated homocysteine levels in the blood, deficiencies of  Vitamins A, B, C, D and E, amino acids and minerals , many medications, including statins, hypothyroidism, hormone replacement therapy, sedentary lifestyle, and psychological factors such as hostility, stress, anger and depression can contribute to vascular damage, and/or weakening of the heart. If cholesterol levels are on the rise, we need to look at the reason why they are up.

Cholesterol isn’t the bad guy. We need cholesterol for fat metabolism, to develop cells, to maintain the strength and pliability of blood vessel walls, to make Vitamin D,  for mineral metabolism, is a component of brain cells, needed for brain function,  component of the myelin sheath that protects the nerves (and for nerve impulse propagation), used in seminal fluid and vaginal lubrication, the basic substance from which steroid hormones like DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are produced, needed for normal development of embryos, used to repair and protect tissues, digest fats, a powerful antioxidant, protects against cancer, plays a key role in the formation of memory, necessary to uptake hormones in the brain, especially serotonin – the body’s “feel good” hormones, needed also for the serotonin receptors to work, precursor to the adrenal corticoid hormones which regulate blood sugar and mineral balance.  These hormones also promote healing and help reduce inflammation. 

Artificially lowering cholesterol levels isn’t the answer for protecting the heart and vessels. It’s a warning flag that if we don’t address the real cause, we will be in big trouble. According to Sally Fallon, a well researched authority on cholesterol, “Blaming coronary heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder and theft in a high crime area.” We have to focus on the crime – the damage the cholesterol has come in to repair.

One truth is that the heart disease – high cholesterol levels connection has been weakening. In fact, it was never very strong to start with, at least from the standpoint of high cholesterol causing heart disease. What we are learning, is that high cholesterol in itself is not the real danger, but rather is an indicator that something may be going amiss in the cardiovascular system, such as vascular damage. Cholesterol is the healing serum that comes to the rescue when damage occurs to the arterial walls. So if cholesterol levels go up, we should be taking a look at what we may be doing that is setting the stage for damage to occur.

Too much acid in the diet (coffee, sugar, alcohol, etc), rancid/oxidized fats, high levels of omega 6 fatty acids/trans fats/polyunsaturated fats, elevated homocysteine levels in the blood, deficiencies of  Vitamins A, B, C, D and E, amino acids and minerals , many medications, including statins, hypothyroidism, hormone replacement therapy, sedentary lifestyle, and psychological factors such as hostility, stress, anger and depression can contribute to vascular damage, and/or weakening of the heart. If cholesterol levels are on the rise, we need to look at the reason why they are up.

Cholesterol isn’t the bad guy. We need cholesterol for fat metabolism, to develop cells, to maintain the strength and pliability of blood vessel walls, to make Vitamin D,  for mineral metabolism, is a component of brain cells, needed for brain function,  component of the myelin sheath that protects the nerves (and for nerve impulse propagation), used in seminal fluid and vaginal lubrication, the basic substance from which steroid hormones like DHEA, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are produced, needed for normal development of embryos, used to repair and protect tissues, digest fats, a powerful antioxidant, protects against cancer, plays a key role in the formation of memory, necessary to uptake hormones in the brain, especially serotonin – the body’s “feel good” hormones, needed also for the serotonin receptors to work, precursor to the adrenal corticoid hormones which regulate blood sugar and mineral balance.  These hormones also promote healing and help reduce inflammation. 

Artificially lowering cholesterol levels isn’t the answer for protecting the heart and vessels. It’s a warning flag that if we don’t address the real cause, we will be in big trouble. According to Sally Fallon, a well researched authority on cholesterol, “Blaming coronary heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder and theft in a high crime area.” We have to focus on the crime – the damage the cholesterol has come in to repair.

©2018 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic.

Medical/Health Disclaimer:

The information provided in this article or podcast should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this article or podcast. Readers/listeners should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the author, but readers/listeners who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

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