The terms cholesterol and heart disease seem to be permanently linked together, almost as if the former is the main cause of the latter. This is not true at all, however, as the majority of evidence links atherosclerosis as the primary cause of coronary heart disease, a condition caused when ruptured scar tissue appears within artery linings, as opposed to the actual buildup of plaque on the walls themselves. Certain scientists believe that as cholesterol moves within our bloodstream it invariably sticks to the artery walls, leading to a heart attack, even though a body of opinion provides contrary evidence. A great deal of publicity has been given to the circulation of cholesterol within our bloodstream, automatically linked to saturated fat content and we are told that these two “evils” inevitably provide a dangerous blockage as they cling to the artery linings.
As cholesterol is an important factor in the makeup and control of our bodily cells, it has an important role as a controller of nutrient transfer, the regulation of neuro transmitters and hormones as well as a precursor to the transportation of essential vitamin D. Too little cholesterol and hormonal problems will result, which in itself can lead to disease and major health problems. As cholesterol coats nerve fibers, it is essential to help protect our nervous system and scientists have revealed that lower levels of cholesterol can lead to such awful diseases as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
As we all know by now, cholesterol is measured three ways — total, LDL and HDL. We are educated in the difference between high cholesterol and low cholesterol and are told that LDL is “bad,” and HDL is “good.” HDL and LDL are lipoproteins, responsible for transporting cholesterol. The HDL, being high-density, moves the cholesterol to the liver for redistribution, while the low-density LDL carries it to the liver in the first place. In addition, fat is circulated through the bloodstream as well as the cholesterol, in the form of triglycerides. If you think about it for a moment, why would our bodies continue to move and recycle cholesterol in this way if it was so bad for us, as those scientists constantly preach?
It is far more likely that cellular damage and inflammation in the artery walls, leading to atherosclerosis, can be caused by high blood sugar, poor nutrition, stress, or high blood pressure, a sad consequence of our modern lifestyles. Going back to the 1950s, researchers have tried to tell us how heart disease is linked to the sheer amount of fat in our diets, but all the contradictory evidence has not received the same amount of exposure. Just look at the Eskimos as an example. Their diet is almost exclusively based on meat intake and yet their life spans are higher than average.
The Surgeon General advises us how to construct our diets. The Surgeon tells us not to eat saturated fats, but to focus on monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats, but the majority of vegetable oils are high in Omega-6 fatty acids; most of us don’t counterbalance this with Omega-3 fatty acids, the beneficial acids found in fish. We’re told to focus on a diet low in trans fat and even to focus on high carbohydrate diets, but this can cause elevated blood sugar, which we have already discussed as being a potentially major cause of atherosclerosis.
Far too often, medication is indicated for a cholesterol “imbalance,” which can often have side effects. The popular form of medication, statin, is believed by many to create more problems than it attempts to solve. It’s far more likely that significant changes in lifestyle will reap rewards.