Cholesterol is a waxy steroid of fat which is an essential structural component of the outer membrane that surrounds every cell. Cholesterol is recycled. It is excreted by the liver via the bile into the digestive tract. Your body also uses it to insulate nerve fibres in order to make nerve signals travel properly. Cholesterol also plays a role in the production of hormones, which carry chemical signals around the body. Without cholesterol, your body would not work.
How much cholesterol does your body need?
Cholesterol is also a precursor for making steroids and hormones in your body. For example, Cholesterol takes part in the internal manufacturing of vitamin D which is also a hormone. Cholesterol has a lot of other functions therefore it can be more dangerous to have Cholesterol too low than too high – the increase of Cholesterol is a protective mechanism used by your body. It would be more appropriate for doctors to examine why it gets elevated rather than to try to reduce it by all means (i.e. prescribing cholesterol lowering medication or statins).
The so-called “200 mg/dL” which is considered by medical professionals to be the upper borderline for a desirable level of Cholesterol, is no more than a presumption. There is no exact science behind this figure which is merely associated with some selected statistics. The truth is that many studies showed, a Cholesterol level below 200 is not healthy at all. The key issue to deal with is oxidation of lipoproteins (examples would be the high-density (HDL) and low-density (LDL) lipoproteins) due to free radical activity (i.e. lipid peroxidation). Lipoproteins play a role in transporting Cholesterol. When oxidised, lipoproteins become sticky and can get easily stuck in the damaged parts of the endothelium (the inner layer of blood vessels) which in turn contributes to a plaque build-up.
There are some experts and doctors who believe that Cholesterol levels have no relationship to heart disease:
“I think that Statin Drugs should be outlawed. They are one of the most harmful drugs ever created and have no more effect than taking an aspirin a day as far as heart attacks. It’s a scam. Number one, cholesterol is NOT the cause of arteriosclerosis. These conditions are due to oxidation of every lipid in the vessel wall. All of the lipids are oxidized, not just cholesterol, and it is oxidation of these lipids that results in the atherosclerotic crud (plaque) we see in coronary arteries and blood vessels to the brain.”
“The most abundant oxidized oil in the wall of the atherosclerotic blood vessels is omega-6 oil and NOT CHOLESTEROL!”
Russel Blaylock, MD
A nationally recognised, board-certified neurosurgeon, health practitioner, author and lecturer. He has more than a quarter-century of medical experience. His credentials include 26 years of experience in neurosurgery, editorship of the respected Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons and Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association. Dr. Blaylock receives no funding from the pharmaceutical industry.
“Consider this, FDA approved drugs – used as prescribed – are killing over 125,000 people every year. Nationally, this makes prescription drugs the fourth leading cause of death after cancer, heart disease, and stroke. That does not count death by hospital medical error, which adds 98,000 deaths to this atrocity. Hypnotized by drug ads, the general public is oblivious to the deaths caused by prescription drug use. This is evidenced by their willingness to swallow whatever ‘the doctor ordered’. This is especially true for drugs targeting heart disease.”
Shane Ellison, M.Sc.
From his book in 2006: “How to Avoid Heart Disease Naturally – Hidden Truth about Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs”
High cholesterol diet helps mice with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease
A diet high in cholesterol may help people with a fatal genetic disease which damages the brain, according to early studies in mice.
Patients with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease struggle to produce a fatty sheath around their nerves, which is essential for function. A study, published in Nature Medicine, showed that a high-cholesterol diet could increase production. The authors said the mice “improved dramatically”. Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD) is one of many leukodystrophies in which patients struggle to produce the myelin sheath. It protects nerve fibres and helps messages pass along the nerves. Without the sheath, messages do not travel down the nerve – resulting in a range of problems including movement and cognition. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, in Germany, performed a trial on mice with the disease and fed them a high cholesterol diet.
The first tests were on mice when they were six weeks old, after signs of PMD had already emerged. Those fed a normal diet continued to get worse, while those fed a cholesterol-enriched diet stabilised.
“This six-week-long cholesterol treatment delayed the decline in motor co-ordination,” the scientists said.
Further tests showed that starting the diet early was more beneficial, leading the researchers to conclude that in mice “treatment should begin early in life and continue into adulthood”.
This study was only in mice, meaning it is not known if there would be a similar effect in people – or if there would, how early treatment would have to start. The report said: “Dietary cholesterol does not cure PMD, but has a striking potential to relieve defects.”
It is thought the cholesterol frees up a “traffic jam” inside cells in the brain. The disease is caused by producing too much of a protein needed in myelin, which then becomes stuck inside the cells. It is thought the extra cholesterol helps to free up the protein.