Cholesterol Myths Busted

Cholesterol Myths Busted: Part 3

Probably one of the biggest cholesterol myths is that since cholesterol is found in arterial plaque, that it must be to blame for the plaque’s formation.

[featured-image single_newwindow=”false” alt=”Cholesterol Myths Busted”]Image from Dollar Photo Club Created in Canva[/featured-image]

We don’t blame the firemen for the fire. Neither do we blame the police for the crime. To do so, would sort of be like blaming cholesterol for the damage we see in the arteries of heart disease victims. Let me explain….


[callout]This is part 3 in the series: Cholesterol Myths Busted. if you haven’t read the previous posts, click on these links: Part 1 Part 2[/callout]

Firemen and Police

The firemen and the police haven’t cause the problems we find them at. They’re there to address the problem. The same is likely true with cholesterol. Do we see cholesterol present in the plaque that forms in heart disease patients? Sure we do. The question before us is this: “Why is it there?”

In the first post in this series we talked about how cholesterol is a protein molecule that is necessary for the formation of healthy cell membranes. Without the presence of cholesterol, our cells cannot do their jobs, neither can new cells be formed. As such, it is required by the body in relatively high amounts when the body is repairing damaged tissue.

If you were to measure someone’s cholesterol in their normal healthy state, and then again after a serious laceration or wound had been experienced, their cholesterol would naturally rise. Why? because the body would signal the liver to increase cholesterol production in order to meet the demands of creating all the new cells needed to repair the damaged tissue.

Systemic Inflammation

Systemic inflammation has been shown to cause countless health issues including heart disease. Through internal and external environmental influences, the walls of our arteries can become inflamed. This damages the tissue.

The body responds appropriately by dispatching cholesterol to the site in order to repair tissue by making new cells. Cholesterol didn’t cause the problem, it is the result of the problem. The problem is arterial inflammation.

Better Markers for Assessing Heart Disease Risk

Doctors rely almost exclusively on measuring cholesterol as the sole lab test to assess heart disease risks. This is sad because there are far better markers than cholesterol available.

These include: homocysteine levels, C-reactive protein, which incidentally is an excellent measure of systemic inflammation, and triglyceride to HDL ratio.

If this is true,… and it is, then why don’t doctors test for these? Could it be because they don’t have a drug they can prescribe, or a procedure to order that does anything about them? Statins do lower cholesterol. This is why doctors are so focused on it.

Lifestyle Choices Reduce Inflammation

So, now we’re getting down to the heart of the matter. (Yes, the pun was intended) If systemic inflammation is the problem, then how do we avoid or reduce inflammation? By practicing a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Practice my Top Ten Tips For Healthy Eating  You can find them in my ebook by the same title. You can’t buy this book, but you can download if for free by subscribing to receive these blog posts. Just go to: davidsandstrom.com and fill out the box on the right. The ideal would be to eat according to your Metabolic Type®. I will be offering an online course in the near future.
  • Dramatically reduce your consumption of omega six fatty acids. Omega six fats are found in vegetable oils such as: canola, soy, safflower and corn oil. These are all found in large percentages in processed foods, and they have been shown to be very pro-inflammatory.
  • Reduce stress Anything that triggers our stress response or our fight-or-flight reflex is also pro-inflammatory. Practice margin in our daily living. Focus on people, not tasks. Practice the art of forgiving others. Enjoy the moment. Meditate regularly. I suggest meditating on a favorite piece of scripture. Take one day off in seven, and give yourself permission to enjoy being unproductive. If possible, take a swim in the ocean or a lake. Set some realistic goals and go after them. All of this will serve to reduce stress and build health.
  • Exercise Body movement, especially that which we enjoy at a mental/emotional level will serve to reduce inflammation.
  • Optimize Sleep Getting a good night’s sleep as regular as possible will go a long way toward keeping inflammation in check.

I hope this information has been helpful.

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About the Author David Sandstrom

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