The Startling Truth About Cholesterol

* Cholesterol is produced by almost every cell in the body.

* Cholesterol in cell membranes makes cells waterproof so there can be different chemistry on the inside and the outside of the cell.

Define “good” and “bad” cholesterol.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is known as “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of your arteries and form a thick, hard plaque that clogs your arteries and blocks the flow of blood to your heart and brain. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is called “good” cholesterol because it helps eliminate bad cholesterol from the body.

Where does cholesterol come from in the body?

Your body produces cholesterol naturally. Your liver makes cholesterol, as do other individual cells throughout your body. Once cholesterol is produced, it can make its way into your bloodstream.

What does this process mean to you?

Take the cholesterol your body makes and add it to the cholesterol you get from food. Now you can see how easily cholesterol can build up in your bloodstream and how your overall cholesterol level can increase.

* Cholesterol is nature’s repair substance, used to repair wounds, including tears and irritations in the arteries. Many important hormones are made of cholesterol, including hormones that regulate mineral metabolism and blood sugar, hormones that help us deal with stress, and all the sex hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.

* Cholesterol is vital to the function of the brain and nervous system. Cholesterol protects us against depression; it plays a role in the utilization of serotonin, the body’s “feel good” chemical. The bile salts, needed for the digestion of fats, are made from cholesterol.

* Cholesterol is the precursor of vitamin D, which is formed by the action of ultra-violet (UV-B) light on cholesterol in the skin.

* Cholesterol is a powerful antioxidant that protects us against free radicals and therefore against cancer. Cholesterol, especially LDL-cholesterol (the so-called bad cholesterol), helps fight infection.

Hyperlipidemia is a key factor associated with an increased risk of the development of cardiovascular disease. Also referred to as high cholesterol, dyslipidemia, and lipid disorder, hyperlipidemia is a

condition by which unhealthy levels of cholesterol circulate in the blood.

The human body obtains cholesterol in two ways:

up to 80% of the cholesterol is produced endogenously in the liver; the remainder is obtained from the diet in the form of animal products such as meats, fish, eggs, and dairy.

While there is not a readily accepted level of cholesterol in the human body that is considered ‘safe’, most clinical guidelines list Total Cholesterol levels under 200 mg/dl as desirable.

Eating healthy food is the first step toward health.

The next step is seeing to it that the body has optimal ability to digest and metabolize that food.

Fortunately, healthy food is much easier to digest and assimilate, especially when properly prepared so that the enzyme systems are intact. At Capture Your Health, we can identify supplements you might need to assist digestion, assimilation and absorption of food. You may benefit from beginning with a program to detox the body.

Myths & Truths about Cholesterol

Myth: People with high cholesterol are more prone to heart attacks.

Truth: Young and middle-aged men with cholesterol levels over 350 are slightly more at risk for heart attacks. Those who have cholesterol levels just below 350 are at no greater risk than those whose cholesterol is very low. For elderly men and women of all ages, high cholesterol is associated with a longer lifespan.

Myth: Cholesterol & saturated fat clog arteries.

Truth: There is very little cholesterol or saturated fat in the arterial plaque or clogs. Most of the material is a calcium deposit akin to lime and most of the fatty acids are

unsaturated.

Myth: Eating saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods will cause cholesterol levels to rise and make people more susceptible to heart disease.

Truth: Many studies show no relationship between diet and cholesterol levels; there is no evidence that saturated fat and cholesterol-rich food contribute to heart disease. As Americans have cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods, rates of heart disease have gone up.

Myth: Cholesterol-lowering drugs have saved many lives.

Truth: In the two most recent trials, involving over 10,000 subjects, cholesterol-lowering did not result in any improvement in outcome.

Myth: Countries that have a high consumption of animal fat and cholesterol have higher rates of heart disease.

Truth: There are many exceptions to this observation, such as France and Spain.

Furthermore, an association (called a “risk factor”) is not the same as a cause. In wealthy countries where people eat a lot of animal foods, many other factors exist that can contribute to heart disease.

Please contact your health care provider should you have any questions concerning cholesterol, and please know your numbers.

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