Cholesterol is a double-edged sword. You need it to create many of the hormones in your body. For example, exposing your skin to the UVB rays of the sun converts cholesterol in your skin to previtamin D. That substance is then converted to vitamin D in your liver and kidneys. It’s a necessary steroid hormone that your body then uses for a variety of immune functions. So, as you can see, cholesterol is very important.
Many people, however, have become afraid of cholesterol thanks in large part to the work of Ancel Keys – the scientist who first proposed a link between heart problems and saturated fat. Oddly enough, it was Keys who tried to tell others that “cholesterol content of human diets is unimportant in human atherosclerosis.”
So, if dietary cholesterol is relatively unimportant in the development of health problems, why bother lowering it? Well, there are lipoproteins that carry cholesterol through the body, and here’s where the problem begins. If you have very low density lipoproteins (vLDL), that can be problematic.
You’ve probably heard of HDL and LDL being referred to as “cholesterol.” But, in reality, these are proteins that carry cholesterol, and keeping an eye on them is a very good idea.
There are no outward symptoms of high cholesterol, but elevated levels are speculated to cause some health issues, mainly heart problems. However, this is a very controversial subject, with many doctors now believing that the root cause of heart disease is actually an inflammatory condition. Here’s how to solve this underlying inflammatory problem.
Change Your Diet
Changing your diet is hard. But, it’s also necessary if you want to reduce inflammation system-wide. Ditch grain products like wheat and corn, which are highly inflammatory, and start eating more greens, more low sugar fruits, and more animal fat from pastured animals.
Fat? Yes, fat can help reduce inflammation if it comes from pasture-raised animals because those animals will have vitamin K2 rich fat stores. K2 is a vitamin that’s produced in the stomachs of ruminant animals, like cows. The fermentation of vitamin K1-rich foods, like grasses, produce the K2.
Pastured eggs are also rich in K2 – but you have to assuage your cholesterol fears and eat the yolk to get the benefits.
Don’t Drink Too Much
Drinking alcohol may help you lower cholesterol levels, but the evidence is mixed. Actually, the evidence favors moderate drinking. Those who periodically have alcohol tend to live longer than those who abstain completely. However, Excessive drinking tilts the scales in the other direction.
Most people who drink excessively seek help online and find AA chapters near them. The problem with AA is that it only advocates total abstinence. What many people need is to learn how to control their addiction and free themselves of all addictive behavior. Drinking can be done, even in previous alcoholics, in moderation. The key is cognitive psychotherapy.
Get tested for markers of inflammation, like c-reactive protein. Also test your electrolyte levels, especially RBC magnesium and potassium levels. Serum magnesium tests are practically worthless since most of the body’s magnesium resides in cells. That’s why an RBC, or “red blood cell” magnesium test is preferred.
A full metabolic panel should also be ordered, as well as a zinc tally test. If you’re deficient in anything, the doctor can help you restore key nutrients. You may also need to take supplements, like magnesium or curcumin, to help lower inflammation in the future.