Cholesterol is Not a Bad Thing

If you’ve followed my blog posts about Mike’s diabetes and our mission to heal him naturally from this disease, you’ll know that he is living a high fat low carb lifestyle, in an effort to heal his liver and pancreas, and reverse his diabetes. And we think it’s working. He found out he was diabetic in July 2014. His HbA1c was 10.2. He has monitored his HbA1c every three months since then. He got his HbA1c down to 5.0 in just three months (Oct 2014) and has kept the subsequent HbA1c tests at 5.2 with one reading dipping to 5.1 _ essentially a healthy person’s blood sugar reading!

Mike’s most recent lipid panel (blood test that records cholesterol and trigycerides) showed his LDL was elevated and cause for concern. He got a call from his doctor’s nurse wanting him to come in because he “needs to be put on statins immediately”. To cut to the chase, Mike is not on statins, will not be put on statins, (statins will be a future post here) and no longer thinks his high LDL is cause for concern. Here is some of what we learned and links to where you can read it yourself.

Cholesterol is not a bad thing. Your body needs cholesterol. It even makes it! That’s right, your own liver manufactures a full 75% of the cholesterol in your body.

In the United States, the idea that cholesterol is evil is very much engrained in most people’s minds. But this is a very harmful myth that needs to be put to rest right now. Cholesterol is a vital component of every cell membrane. There is no life on earth that can live without cholesterol.

Consider the roll of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Essentially, HDL takes cholesterol from your body’s tissues and arteries, and brings it back to your liver, where most of your cholesterol is produced. If the purpose of this was to eliminate cholesterol from your body, it would make sense that the cholesterol would be shuttled back to your kidneys or intestines so your body could remove it. Instead, it goes back to your liver. Why? Because your liver is going to reuse it.

Cholesterol is important for digestion, making hormones, synthesizing vitamin D, maintaining cell membranes, learning, memory and sleep. If your levels are too low, you can’t maintain some of the most critical functions. Plus, studies have shown your risk of cancer and chronic disease dramatically increases.

Low cholesterol in the brain has been linked to alzheimers and dimentia.

HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad cholesterol. But we found out there are two types of LDL cholesterol. Large buoyant LDL (is not bad) and small LDL cholesterol (is bad).

But for crying out loud, if you’re going to get your lipids tested at least pay attention to the right numbers. And the most important number on a conventional lipid panel is the relationship between triglycerides and HDL. (Divide triglyercides by HDL to get it.) If that number is less than 2, this suggests you have mostly large, buoyant LDL – which is not a risk factor for heart disease. If that number is higher than 3, it suggests you have mostly small, dense LDL – which most certainly is a risk factor for heart disease.

Mike’s low trigycerides (61) divided by his HDL (48) equals (1.27) suggesting he has mostly large buoyant LDL, most likely being produced by his defatted liver in an effort to heal his body.

A quote from Chris Kresser – Medicine for the 21st Century
Finally, I often get emails from people who’ve switched to a high-fat / Paleo-type diet expressing concern that their LDL and total cholesterol levels have gone up. My response usually has three parts: 1) don’t worry about it, because high total and LDL cholesterol do not cause heart disease; 2) the increase is usually temporary, and may be the result of the body curing itself of fatty liver (a good thing!); 3) don’t worry about it. Doesn’t hurt to remind them.

We figure Mike’s newly defatted liver is curing itself and also sending cholesterol to other areas of his body that have been affected by diabetes including the neuropathy he experiences in his feet. In fact, he has said for sometime that his feet are feeling different; better.


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