We definitely need cholesterol. Most people are worried about high cholesterol, but low cholesterol can also be a warning sign. An adequate cholesterol level is actually a sign of a healthy liver because the liver makes cholesterol.
The standard medical recommendation is for the LDL cholesterol - the "bad" cholesterol - to be less than 130 mg/dl and even below 100 mg/dl for people who have had a heart attack or are considered high risk for a heart attack.
I encourage people to look at the big picture and not just focus on a number. If your LDL is slightly elevated and you start taking a statin drug to lower your LDL cholesterol the benefits to your overall health are uncertain at best.
What should you do if you have elevated cholesterol?
First of all, I highly recommend the C-reactive-protein test for knowing whether your arteries are inflamed. Secondly, check out the Cardiovascular Profile test for knowing the elasticity of your arteries.
As reviewed in my other articles on heart disease, artery inflammation and elasticity are much better indicators of heart disease than cholesterol levels.
If you have significantly elevated cholesterol, you should pay attention to it and treat it.
Much depends on how elevated your cholesterol is, and if you're willing to do some work to improve your risk of heart disease instead of just starting on the statin drugs.
Statin drugs have significant risks: they cause decreased levels of Co Q10, they put strain on your liver and they frequently cause leg pain.
So it's much better to work on decreasing your cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease without taking statin drugs -- if you're willing to do what it takes.
The basic nutrients to support your arteries and reduce inflammation include:
- 100 ml of Co Q10 daily
- 4-6 gm of fish or cod liver oil daily (equivalent to at least 600mg EPA)
- 100mg of magnesium twice a day
Do not take magnesium oxide as it is not as easily absorbed as other forms of magnesium such as glycinate or malate.
Exercise and the amazing amino acid L-arginine can improve your blood pressure and the elasticity of your arteries.
Can you decrease your cholesterol levels by changing your diet?
The idea that eating cholesterol is what causes you to have high cholesterol is false.
If you don't eat cholesterol, your body will make it. The body knows how much cholesterol it wants and, for some reason or other, it might allow a high level of cholesterol. Only 15% of cholesterol in the body comes from the diet anyway. The liver makes the other 85%.
However, you certainly can affect cholesterol by your diet. A significant way to lower cholesterol is to include adequate amounts of healthy fiber in your diet.
Your body doesn't waste. Instead, your body is continually recycling; it even recycles cholesterol.
If we have enough fiber, then the fiber acts as a sponge. So the cholesterol that makes its way into the intestinal tract will not be reabsorbed but will attach to the fiber and be eliminated.
The America Heart Association recommends including up to 30g of fiber/day.
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