In fact, one expert on the topic goes as far as to say that the disease of “high cholesterol” came about only after the medical field figured out how to measure cholesterol at all.
Cholesterol is one of several indicators of inflammation in the body.
Cholesterol is vital for many functions: cell membrane construction, major hormone production such as estrogen and testosterone…the list goes on.
Life would not be possible without cholesterol, and lowering cholesterol levels should not be a primary goal.
Blindly lowering this vital substance based on a simple test does NOT look at the reasons cholesterol is elevated in the first place.
Meaning: You don’t just go in and lower cholesterol…you need to find out the reason the level is elevated in the first place.
And, this is usually the result of inflammation in the body.
Here are some more facts:
- Total cholesterol measurement by itself is largely useless.
- You need to know HDL/Total Cholesterol ratio: which should be above 24%
- You also should know your triglyceride/HDL ration which should be below 2
- Cholesterol is vital for the production of vitamin D in your skin
When I say there is no such thing as “bad” cholesterol, here’s what I mean.
Cholesterol is cholesterol. As mentioned, we need it.
There are two types of LDL (the supposed bad stuff).
One is made up of larger “fluffy” particles, and is not bad for you. The other can cause problems because the particles are small and dense, which can allow them to pass through cell membranes. Think of them as little bb pellets.
The point here is that inflammation is the issue, and poor cholesterol profiles are a symptom of something else.
Should we be treating the symptom or the cause? He asked rhetorically…
I recently had my annual physical.
I specifically asked for a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) test.
The test is an excellent indicator of the amount of inflammation in your body.
My primary care physician looked at me strangely and said, “This is not something we generally ask for all the time. Why do you want it?”
I explained that tracking my inflammation levels is important to me. And it should be to you…
Don’t be bullied into NOT getting this test! It’s pretty standard, and will NOT cost you any more money.
Here’s what this means:
- CRP level under 1 milligram per liter of blood means you have a low risk for cardiovascular disease
- 1 to 3 milligrams means your risk is intermediate
- More than 3 milligrams is high risk
If I have elevated inflammation, you can bet I’m making changes to my lifestyle and diet to fix that ASAP!
One major cause of inflammation in the body is an excess of grains and sugar, as well as alcohol.
Should you track your cholesterol? Sure. Just like CRP, there’s no harm in doing that either, but know you RATIOS, and never just blindly treat a number.
The higher your inflammation levels, the higher your cholesterol is likely to be.
Therefore…treat the source.
If you want a REALLY good summary of the whole topic, read this article below.
It’s written in easy to understand language, and you will get a better understanding of the changing views on the topic of cholesterol and even on the use of statins.