Is cholesterol good or bad for health?
The almost universally accepted belief is that cholesterol is bad for us. But this may not be right, latest Cholesterol findings are that the higher your cholesterol, the healthier you are and you will live a longer, healthy active life without losing your memory and not being bedridden. Many healthy active people in the 60 plus age group have high cholesterol. This is a clear contradiction of the cholesterol theory and here is one of many such reports to proove that the current Cholesterol guidelines is wrong.
A research report which is published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal), one of the world's most respected and oldest general medical journals, with a title "Lack of an association or an inverse association between low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review" concludes that
"Conclusions: High LDL-Cholesterol is inversely associated with mortality in most people over 60 years. This finding is inconsistent with the cholesterol hypothesis (ie, that cholesterol, particularly LDL-C, is inherently atherogenic). Since elderly people with high LDL-C live as long or longer than those with low LDL-C, our analysis provides reason to question the validity of the cholesterol hypothesis. Moreover, our study provides the rationale for a re-evaluation of guidelines recommending pharmacological reduction of LDL-C in the elderly as a component of cardiovascular disease prevention strategies."
BMJ (British Medical Journal) is a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal. It is one of the world's most respected and oldest general medical journals according to the Wikipedia article on 'The BMJ'
Nature provided us Cholesterol not to harm us, but for our good. Our brain, our cells, our hormones, etc. are all made using cholesterol. Cholesterol is required continuously to maintain and repair all our vital organs and functions. A lot of medical researchers are now saying that low cholesterol can be bad for our health. By intentionally lowering our Cholesterol, we may be harming our health. This fact does not get wide publicity. We can only guess as to why we only hear that high cholesterol is bad: may be because there is a lot of money involved in cholesterol lowering drugs - advertisements in the news, in TV commercials, political lobbying, donations to medical institutions, etc.
Cholesterol is one of the most essential nutrients for our human body to function. Health warnings regarding Cholesterol are changing slowly: first it was all Cholesterol is bad, then it became HDL Cholesterol is good and only LDL is bad, latest cholesterol warning is that not all LDL is bad, only the sdLDL (small dense LDL) is bad and the remaining big fluffy low density LDL is good for you. So the latest Cholesterol warnings will make something less than about 1 or 2% of our total Cholesterol bad for you and the remaining about 98% of Cholesterol is good for you! Who knows when they will officially change it.
Food like eggs, from which a living chicken can be made, cannot be bad for us. It provides everything required for life, maybe even yet to be discovered nutritional factors. Same with milk and butter made from milk. Watch this video from CBN News. It tells us that new research points to the fact that cholesterol is good and helps us to live longer.
How to read cholesterol test results
We are not reading our cholesterol test results correctly. The health warnings regarding Cholesterol has been changing over the years. When wrnings about cholesterol came out in the 1960s, all cholesterol was considered bad. Then during the late 1970s, the health warnings changed and it said that the HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) is good Cholesterol and LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) is the Bad Cholesterol.
Even though not yet a health warning, Medical researchers are saying that LDL can further be sub-divided by its particle size and it is only the small, dense LDL (sdLDL) which are harmful. So now tests for LDL-P (LDL Cholesterol Particle size) is being done in some laboratories in the US and few other advanced countries. From these tests the amount of sdLDL (small, dense LDL) in your blood is determined. The less sdLDL (small, dense LDL) in your blood the lower your risk of artery blockages and heart attacks.
The tests for LDL-P and determining sdLDL is expensive and is not widely available. But the amount of sdLDL in your blood can be calculated approximately by the ratio of Triglycerides:HDL or by dividing your Triglycerides numbers by HDL figures in your standard Cholesterol test. This is an easy and cheap solution to find out your health condition with regards to Cholesterol and risk of Heart and other problems. If the Triglycerides:HDL ratio or TriG/HDL number is less than 2, then you are at low risk. The lower this number, especially if it is below 1, then you are very healthy.
For your reference to the genuineness of what is being said here, please read the Research reports published by some of the world's leading, highly reputable sources for our health.
Here are the links
1. Research report in the Journal of Investigative Medicine (JIM): The official publication of the American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR) titled:
"Triglyceride–to–High-Density-Lipoprotein-Cholesterol Ratio Is an Index of Heart Disease Mortality and of Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes ..."
2. Research report on the website of The American Diabetes Association: titled:
"Ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol is an indicator of LDL particle size in patients with type 2 diabetes and normal HDL cholesterol ..."
3. Report on the website of BMC Medicine: BMC Medicine is an open access, open peer review medical journal publishing outstanding and influential research of broad interest to the biomedical... saying that Strokes caused by High triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio:
"High triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio is associated with silent brain infarcts in a healthy population ..."
4. US National Library of Medicine publication of research: Report titled
"High Ratio of Triglycerides to HDL-Cholesterol Predicts Extensive Coronary Disease ... "
5. The Cooper Institute: The institute started in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics" Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper MD, titled
"The Blood Triglyceride:HDL Ratio and LDL Particle Size: Critical Issues for Determining Risk of Coronary Heart Disease!"
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is in our blood circulating around the body. It is found in all cells of the body and is produced in our liver and intestines. Cholesterol in the right amount is essential for our health. Every single cell in our body uses Cholesterol to produce the cell membranes. Nearly half of the dry weight of our brain is fat, and a quarter of this is cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential to produce Vitamin D, sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen, bile acids, etc.E
Cholesterol and food we eat, Does our cholesterol levels depend on what we eat?
Even if we do not eat any fat, our own body can convert carbohydrates like sugar or starch from wheat, rice, etc. into fat. This fat then gets converted to cholesterol. So even if we are on a cholesterol free diet and eating only carbohydrates like wheat or rice, our bodies can still make enough and more cholesterol. Thus scientists have now come to the conclusion that cholesterol from food is not what makes high cholesterol levels in our blood. Our body produces its own cholesterol. Our liver and intestine makes Cholesterol by converting fats and carbohydrates.
What is the meaning of HDL and LDL Cholesterol?
What HDL and LDL Cholesterol means is explained as follows:
Since Cholesterol is a waxy solid, blood cannot carry it around our body as it is. So nature devised a way of wrapping the Cholesterol particles in a covering of proteins. The package of Cholesterol on the inside and coated with proteins is known as ‘Lipoproteins’. Two kinds of Lipoproteins carry the cholesterol through our body: Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL).
The package of Cholesterol with LDL is known as LDL cholesterol. The package of Cholesterol with HDL is known as HDL Cholesterol. So we have two different kinds of Cholesterol coatings, LDL and HDL, but the Cholesterol inside is the same. There is only one kind of Cholesterol that is packaged differently and called LDL and HDL Cholesterol.
Why HDL is good cholesterol and LDL is bad cholesterol?
HDL is considered good because it removes deposits of Cholesterol from our blood vessels and thus doing the good job of keeping our arteries unclogged without any deposits. LDL is bad because it deposits cholesterol in our arteries and blocks it.
LDL or Low Density Lipoproteins carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Our body extracts the required cholesterol from the LDL. The theory is that when there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these particles deposits on the walls of the arteries or main blood vessels throughout the body. These deposits are called ‘plaque’ or Atherosclerosis, the build-up of cholesterol inside arteries.
Plaque deposits in arteries makes it thinner and reduces the flow of blood. It also increases the pressure required by the heart to pump the blood. Sometimes this coating of plaque breaks apart, and travel in to our heart and cause the heart artery to get blocked leading to a heart attack. The plaque can also travel up to the brain where it can block blood vessels in the brain causing a stroke. It is because of these problems which LDL cholesterol can cause that it is often called bad Cholesterol.
HDL or High Density Lipoproteins removes excess cholesterol from the artery walls and takes it back to the liver to break it down. HDL cholesterol cleans our blood vessels of Plaque and hence HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol.
As explained in the beginning of this page, the old theory of bad and good cholesterol is changing. Soon we may hear that all cholesterol is good for us.
Is there any symptoms of high Cholesterol?
There is no way of telling if you have high cholesterol because there are no symptoms for high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a silent killer. Those with a history of high cholesterol running in their families, most likely will inherit high cholesterol. High blood sugar increases the chance of having high cholesterol. One sign that you may have high cholesterol is if you get pain in the calves of the leg when walking for some time. Plaque deposits in leg arteries due to high cholesterol, could be the cause of this problem.
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