September 15, 2014

What Is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need It?

pin it button What Is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need It?

Cholesterol chemical structure What Is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need It?

By Dr. Mercola

Back in 2011, I published a series of interviews with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior MIT research scientist who, more recently, rocked the world with her discovery of glyphosate’s mechanism of harm.

Three years ago, however, she was one of the first to point out the links between cholesterol and vitamin D, presenting a hypothesis that made me even more convinced that raising your vitamin D levels through sun exposure may be far more critical than previously thought.

Now, research published in the journal Menopause appears to offer support for Dr. Seneff’s theories on the cholesterol-vitamin D link. But first, a quick review of cholesterol, and why your body actually needs it.

What Is Cholesterol, and Why Do You Need It?

That’s right, you do need cholesterol. This soft, waxy substance is found not only in your bloodstream but also in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help you digest fat.

Cholesterol also helps in the formation of your memories and is vital for neurological function. Your liver makes about three-quarters or more of your body’s cholesterol, and according to conventional medicine, there are two types:

  1. High-density lipoprotein or HDL: This is the “good” cholesterol that helps keep cholesterol away from your arteries and remove any excess from arterial plaque, which may help to prevent heart disease.
  2. Low-density lipoprotein or LDL: This “bad” cholesterol circulates in your blood and, according to conventional thinking, may build up in your arteries, forming plaque that makes your arteries narrow and less flexible (a condition called atherosclerosis). If a clot forms in one of these narrowed arteries leading to your heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke may result.

Also making up your total cholesterol count are:

  • Triglycerides: Elevated levels of this dangerous fat have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. Triglyceride levels are known to rise from eating too many grains and sugars, being physically inactive, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol excessively, and being overweight or obese.
  • Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a): Lp(a) is a substance that is made up of an LDL “bad cholesterol” part plus a protein (apoprotein a). Elevated Lp(a) levels are a very strong risk factor for heart disease. This has been well established, yet very few physicians check for it in their patients. (Lp(a) also was not assessed in the featured study.)

Study Finds Vitamin D + Calcium Supplementation Improves Lipid Profiles

The featured study sought to evaluate whether increased serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25OHD3) concentrations are associated with improved lipid profiles in postmenopausal women.

The study had over one million people so it was a big deal. The test group received a daily dose of 1,000 mg of elemental calcium along with 400 IUs of vitamin D3. Please note that this dose of vitamin D is ridiculously low and will not provide help for most people. The control group received a placebo.

Blood levels of vitamin D, fasting plasma triglycerides, HDL, and LDL cholesterol levels were assessed at the beginning and end of the trial. After two years, women who received the vitamin D and calcium supplements had a 38 percent increased mean vitamin D level compared to the placebo group.

They also had a 4.46-mg/dL mean decrease in LDL. Furthermore, higher vitamin D concentrations were associated with higher HDL combined with lower LDL and triglyceride levels. According to the authors:

 “These results support the hypothesis that higher concentrations of 25OHD3, in response to [calcium/vitamin D3] supplementation, are associated with improved LDL cholesterol.”

After discussing the link between vitamin D and cholesterol with Dr. Seneff, I became convinced that raising your vitamin D levels through sun exposure may have far greater benefits than taking a supplement. I’ve even warned that vitamin D supplementation might not achieve optimal health results, the reason for which I’ll discuss in just a moment.

Remember that this study used a virtually insignificant dose of vitamin D that will not increase levels to optimum in anyone. Yet despite this nearly homeopathic dose, it still led to small, yet noticeable, improvements in lipid profile (i.e. increased HDL, in combination with reduced LDL and triglycerides).

Imagine what they would have found had they given doses 10 to 20 times higher that we know will put people into optimum ranges? In my view, this strengthens the hypothesis that naturally-acquired vitamin D, created by your skin in response to UV exposure, would likely have an even greater effect, and here’s why.

Cardiovascular Disease—A Compensatory Mechanism for Cholesterol Sulfate Deficiency?

Through her research, Dr. Seneff has developed a theory in which the mechanism we call “cardiovascular disease” (of which arterial plaque is a hallmark) is actually your body’s way to compensate for not having enough cholesterol sulfate. To understand how this works, you have to understand the interrelated workings of cholesterol, sulfur, and vitamin D from sun exposure.

Cholesterol sulfate is produced in large amounts in your skin when it is exposed to sunshine. When you are deficient in cholesterol sulfate from lack of sun exposure, your body employs another mechanism to increase it, as it is essential for optimal heart and brain function. It does this by taking damaged LDL and turning it into plaque.

Within the plaque, your blood platelets separate out the beneficial HDL cholesterol, and through a process involving homocysteine as a source of sulfate, the platelets go on to produce the cholesterol sulfate your heart and brain needs. However, this plaque also causes the unfortunate side effect of increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. So how do you get out of this detrimental cycle?

Dr. Seneff believes that high serum cholesterol and low serum cholesterol sulfate go hand-in-hand, and that the ideal way to bring down your LDL (so-called “bad” cholesterol, which is associated with cardiovascular disease) is to get appropriate amounts of sunlight exposure on your skin. She explains:

“In this way, your skin will produce cholesterol sulfate, which will then flow freely through the blood—not packaged up inside LDL—and therefore your liver doesn’t have to make so much LDL. So the LDL goes down. In fact… there is a complete inverse relationship between sunlight and cardiovascular disease – the more sunlight, the less cardiovascular disease.”

What this also means is that when you artificially lower your cholesterol with a statin drug, which effectively reduces the bioavailability of cholesterol to that plaque but doesn’t address the root problem, your body is not able to create the cholesterol sulfate your heart needs anymore, and as a result you end up with acute heart failure.

Heart Disease Is the Number One Killer Worldwide

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), heart disease was the leading cause of death, globally, in 2011 and 2012. Even children are becoming increasingly at risk. Recent research suggests as many as one-third of children have or are at risk for high cholesterol, which conventional medicine views as a risk factor for heart disease.

Bear in mind that, contrary to the conventional ideology, your total cholesterol level—which includes HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and Lp(a)—is just about worthless in determining your risk for heart disease, unless it is above 300. Still, high total cholesterol can in some instances indicate a problem, provided it’s your LDL and triglycerides that are elevated and you have a low HDL. I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who actually were at low heart disease risk due to their high HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 that were at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests:

  • HDL/Cholesterol ratio. This is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That ratio should ideally be above 24 percent
  • Triglyceride/HDL ratio. Here, you divide your triglyceride level by your HDL. This ratio should ideally be below 2

That said, these are still simply guidelines, and there’s a lot more that goes into your risk of heart disease than any one of these numbers. In fact, it was only after word got out that total cholesterol is a poor predictor of heart disease that HDL and LDL cholesterol were brought into the picture. They give you a closer idea of what’s going on, but they still do not show you everything. Additional risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Your fasting insulin level: Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbs promotes fat accumulation and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight. Excess fat, particularly around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease
  • Your fasting blood sugar level: Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl had a nearly 300 percent increase higher risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl
  • Your iron level: Iron can be a very potent cause of oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levels you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should monitor your ferritin levels and make sure they are not much above 80 ng/ml. The simplest way to lower them if they are elevated is to donate your blood. If that is not possible, you can have a therapeutic phlebotomy and that will effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body

Beware of Treating Elevated Cholesterol in Childhood with Drugs

Getting back to the study in question, a research team at Texas Children’s Hospital examined the medical records of more than 12,000 children between the ages of nine and 11, and found that 30 percent of them were at risk of elevated cholesterol levels. Elevated LDL and triglyceride levels were found to be more common among boys. Not surprisingly, obesity and lifestyle were deemed to be significant factors.

Universal cholesterol screening guidelines were issued in 2011, which strongly recommend all children be screened between the ages of nine and 11, and again between 17 and 21. The authors of the featured study say they hope their findings will give added weight to these guidelines. However, there are serious concerns that universal screening will simply place children on cholesterol-lowering medications, which do absolutely nothing to address the underlying problem… As reported by Eurekalert:

“‘There is concern by some in the medical community that children will be started on medication unnecessarily,’ [lead investigator, Dr. Thomas] Seery said, emphasizing that adopting a healthy diet and engaging in routine physical activity are first-line therapies for children with abnormal cholesterol levels.

He adds that cholesterol-lowering medications are typically needed in one to two percent of children with dyslipidemia, primarily in those with very high cholesterol resulting from a genetic lipoprotein disorder. Genetic lipoprotein disorders, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, result in very high cholesterol levels that can be detected in childhood but are felt to be underdiagnosed, he said. ‘Kids need to have their cholesterol panel checked at some point during this timeframe [9 to 11 years old],’ Seery said. ‘In doing so, it presents the perfect opportunity for clinicians and parents to discuss the importance of healthy lifestyle choices on cardiovascular health.’”

Read the Full Article Here.

 

0 commentsback to post

Other articlesgo to homepage

Are GMO Foods, Vaccines, and Big Pharma Producing an Infertile Generation?

Are GMO Foods, Vaccines, and Big Pharma Producing an Infertile Generation?

Pin It

The U.S. fertility rates are at all-time record lows. Are we watching the leading edge of a slowly moving tidal wave of infertility? I wasn’t sure what is really happening with human fertility until I took a hard look at the data and the science. I now believe that there is strong reason to be concerned about the emerging trend of infertility. What is causing the current generation of child-bearing aged adults to become infertile?

How the FDA Deceives You About Mercury Amalgams

How the FDA Deceives You About Mercury Amalgams

Pin It

57 Percent of Americans Do Not Know Amalgam Contains Mercury!

Why exactly is the FDA so opposed to informing the public about the true nature of amalgam? The answer is simple: because the agency has been penetrated through the revolving door that’s so common in other industries. Just like Monsanto has penetrated the federal government’s regulatory agencies, amalgam profit centers have penetrated and effectively lobbied the FDA to remain complacent on this issue.

Ebola: WHO Turns To Experimental Drugs, But Not Proven Natural Remedies

Ebola: WHO Turns To Experimental Drugs, But Not Proven Natural Remedies

Pin It

As the world starts looking to invest millions of dollars for ebola drugs, the Catch-22 of drug economics (no one will spend the exorbitant sums needed to run clinical trials if the product can’t be patented and turned into a huge money-maker) practically ensures that natural treatments will be ignored. But could some of our oldest natural antivirals be used at least to inhibit the transfer of the virus—or even cure it?

Silver has also showed great promise as an antiviral, in both attacking the virus and in inhibiting transmission. So far, silver has been tested on HIV and herpes. Silver has also been used to clear HPV warts; inhibit the replication of the hepatitis B virus; kill the H1N1 virus; fight ocular infection; and kill the tacaribe virus, which also causes hemorrhagic fever, as well as the bacteriophage viral strain. Since disinfecting contaminated environments is the most effective method of halting Ebola’s spread, silver could be a most potent weapon in the battle. But we don’t see the WHO getting behind anything natural, whether effective or not.

Essential Oils Support Physical and Emotional Well-Being

Essential Oils Support Physical and Emotional Well-Being

Pin It

Your sense of smell exerts surprising influence over your thoughts, emotions, moods, memories, and behaviors. Aromatherapy allows you to harness the olfactory power of plants, using their essential oils to enhance your physical and emotional health.

Essential oils have been scientifically shown to be particularly helpful in treating stress, mood, sleep, pain, nausea, memory, and energy. A recent study revealed that humans can distinguish more than one trillion sensory stimuli, instead of 10,000 as previously thought. Scents can actually change your nervous system biochemistry.

Toxic Fragrances and Scents are Destroying People’s Health: How One Boy Nearly Died from Airborne Anaphylaxis

Toxic Fragrances and Scents are Destroying People’s Health: How One Boy Nearly Died from Airborne Anaphylaxis

Pin It

When we published John Thomas’ article earlier this year, Is Your Health Being Destroyed by Other People’s Toxic Fragrances?, some people commented that this statement made by John was over-exaggerating: “Secondhand fragrance contamination should be the number one health problem being addressed by the public health system in America, but it doesn’t even show up on the list of current priorities.”

However, others emailed us and thanked us for giving exposure to this national health crisis, because they have experienced it firsthand. It is not a topic that gets much exposure in the media, not even in the alternative health media. But there are many thousands of people suffering debilitating illnesses due to airborne chemicals in fragrances and scented products, and most of the rest of us are probably affected without even realizing it.

Rosa Silk is one of the people who emailed us, and shared her son’s story of how his life and health has been ruined by other people’s fragrances. She asked us to publish his story, and the publishers at AllergicLiving.com have given us permission to bring you the story of her son’s battle with airborne anaphylaxis, and her fight to pass legislation that would offer some protection from the chemical industry.

read more


Get the news right in your inbox!