How much cholesterol do you 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 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 endothelium (the inner layer of blood vessels) which in turn contributes to a plaque build-up.
Does Pharma industry have a right answer?
Some researchers and doctors believe that Cholesterol levels have no relationship to heart disease
Some studies have revealed that cholesterol is NOT the main cause of arteriosclerosis. These conditions develope 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.”
So does a high concentration of LDL cholesterol still matter?
Indeed, the European Atherosclerosis Society stated that LDL particles don’t just passively move across blood vessel walls therefore a hight concentration of lowdensity lipoprotein in blood should be the ground for doctors ‘ concern in their assessment of patients’ health. However, relying on only on LDL cholesterol is an incomplete marker. There are different types of LDL particles while the focus should be on the specific one.
As Dr Brad Stanfield, Primary Care Physician, puts it: “ideally, if my patients have the resources, I encourage them to check their ApoB Lipoprotein levels. ApoB is a primary protein component of lipoproteins that cause issues with our blood vessel walls leading to blockages. it’ is the concentration of the ApoB containing lipoproteins that really matters. I aim for ApoB levels below 60mg/DL.
Furthermore, Dr Brad Stanfield continues: “we still have to address all of the other risk factors including: insulin resistance, blood sugar levels, inflammation, blood pressure, weight. All of those risk factors including lipoprotein concentrations do matter.