What You Need to Know About Cholesterol

Cholesterol plays a vital role in your health, so it’s important to understand the different types of cholesterol and how to influence their levels, a heart specialist says.

‘Good cholesterol – high density lipoprotein (HDL) – recycles cholesterol and fat in the body,” said Dr. Alex Garton. He’s a noninvasive cardiologist from Pinnacle Health Cardiovascular Institute, based in central Pennsylvania.

“What we call bad cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), is ‘bad’ because any leftover LDL is deposited into the blood vessels, increasing the risk of vascular disease. HDL can help prevent this by ‘recycling’ excess amounts of bad cholesterol,” Garton explained in an institute news release.

Total cholesterol can be deceiving, so it’s important to know the levels of both your bad cholesterol and good cholesterol.

LDL levels should generally be kept below 130 mg/dL of blood. But a level of 100 mg/dL is considered “optimal.” The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says.

HDL levels should be above 40 mg/dL, the NHLBI says. And, levels above 60 mg/dL are even better.

But cholesterol levels are only part of the overall picture, Garton said.

“Smoking cigarettes, having high blood pressure or having a family history of early heart disease can also increase a patient’s cholesterol-related risks. These factors actually lower the LDL cholesterol number that signifies a patient is at risk for heart disease,” he said.

Other factors can increase the risk from lower LDL levels. These include diabetes, obesity and a family history of unhealthy cholesterol levels, Garton said.

My Take:
There is so much misleading information here I don’t have room to take it point-by-point. Let me give you real facts rather than ‘alternative’ facts.

LDL cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and released into the blood stream as a building block to form hormones. All animal life forms, including humans need cholesterol. LDL is taken into the cells of the body where additional chemicals are added. This changes the LDL into an HDL (yes, the ‘bad’ cholesterol becomes the ‘good’ cholesterol). Some of the HDL remains in the cells and the remainder is released into the blood stream, returns to the liver and is converted back into LDL. It is a cycle with neither form being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but both are necessary.

Excess LDL is secreted from liver in response to inflammation in the body. If that inflammation is in the arterial wall, homocysteine will attach to the LDL and create a thin patch over the site of inflammation. We measure that inflammation with a blood test called C-reactive protein (CRP). If this process is exaggerated, then atherosclerosis ensues creating cardiovascular disease.

The Bottom Line:
Lowering LDL cholesterol is just a side effect of statin drug therapy. Reducing inflammation is the key. It’s not enough to measure the LDL and HDL levels. You should also have your CRP and homocysteine levels checked. If there is a family history of heart disease also check the L(p)a to see if a genetic factor exists.

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About the Author

Dr. William Longstreth B.S., D.C., DACBN is a licensed chiropractor and has been actively practicing clinical nutrition and chiropractic medicine in Deerfield Beach, Florida since 1976. He holds a level II certification in Quintessential Application (QA) and follows this proven clinical protocol to define and address the root cause of a patient’s condition by sequentially evaluating neurological status, inflammation, immune response, endocrine balance, liver function, pancreas function, and ultimately structural integrity. He takes a holistic viewpoint on wellness and believes that nutrition plays a integral role in overall health and disease prevention.

Healthy Formulations is sharing this content with permission from Dr. Longstreth. He is not affiliated with our products and services. For more great content from Dr. Longstreth, please visit his blog at http://www.drlongstreth.com



May 31, 2018 National Institutes of Health

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