The Value of Balancing Your Cholesterol
Too often I hear the phrase I’ve got to get my cholesterol down. People saying this think that high cholesterol is something to fear. High cholesterol isn’t nearly as big of a problem as unbalanced cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a very important part of bodily functions and plays a major impact on your health.
To lower one’s cholesterol is to endanger one’s life.
“Low cholesterol has been connected to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and statistically higher frequency of violent behavior, suicide, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer mortality. Susceptibilities to tuberculosis and gastrointestinal infections are also associated with lower cholesterol levels. Most significantly, the death rate is doubled in older adults with lower total cholesterol and stroke and cataracts rates are higher.“ That was according to The Great Plains Laboratory, but you can find the same message from multiple websites, proclaiming the dangers of low cholesterol.
Dr. Mercola says;
“The Risks of Low Cholesterol
Impaired memory and dementia are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low cholesterol’s impact on your brain. Having too little of this beneficial compound also:
- Increases your risk of depression
- Can cause you to commit suicide
- May lead to violent behavior and aggression
- Increase your risk of cancer and Parkinson’s disease
“Unfortunately, in the United States lowering cholesterol levels has become so common that nearly everyone reading this either knows someone struggling to do so or has struggled to do so themselves.”
The Heart Association recognizes that higher HDL cholesterol levels protect against heart disease. I’ll explain how that happens later in this post. But understanding cholesterol and how it works makes it easier to understand why balancing is more important than just lowering cholesterol
“Since cholesterol is essential for all animal life, each cell synthesizes it through a complex process beginning with the mevalonate pathway and ending with a 19 step conversion of lanosterol to cholesterol. Increased dietary intake of industrial trans fats, but not ruminant saturated fats(including cholesterol), is associated with an increased risk in all-cause mortality, cardiovascular diseases or type 2 diabetes.”
“Most ingested cholesterol is esterified, and esterified cholesterol is poorly absorbed. The body also compensates for any absorption of additional cholesterol by reducing cholesterol synthesis ” “Biosynthesis of cholesterol is directly regulated by the cholesterol levels present, though the homeostatic mechanisms involved are only partly understood. A higher intake from food leads to a net decrease in endogenous production, whereas lower intake from food has the opposite effect.” Simply stated, the more you eat, the less you make. But because most ingested cholesterol is esterified, it’s important to know where these fats come from.
“In addition to its importance within cells, cholesterol also serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D.“ Cholesterol is crucial in the manufacture of hormones for the body’s function. As vitamin D is crucial for brain function, cholesterol is crucial in the manufacture of vitamins. This is why statin drugs that are made for lowering cholesterol, are so dangerous.
With a substance as vital as this is, why do people want to lower it? Maybe we should look at how it floats around in your blood as it’s transported to your cells and what role that plays in the cholesterol equation.
“Cholesterol is transported inside lipoproteins.”
Cholesterol comes in many forms of lipoproteins, HDL (High-Density Lipoproteins), LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins), and VLDL (Very-Low-Density Lipoproteins) just to name a few. It’s the HDL and LDL that we’re interested in for the sake of this post and your health. LDL and HDL are often referred to LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol because that’s the type of cholesterol that makes up the respective particles. The difference in the two types is in how the cholesterol is packed in each respective particle. That tells us what kind of particles they are. That, also, dictates how easy they are to glycate and start reeking havoc in your body. I’ll explain that after we learn the differences between these particles and it has to do with how the HDL and LDL particles are formed.
According to Wikipedia;
“Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is one of the five major groups of lipoproteins. These groups, from least dense to most dense, are: chylomicrons, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), all of them, particles far smaller than human cells. In nutrition, LDL is sometimes referred to as the “bad cholesterol”.”
“Lipoproteins transfer fats around the body in the extracellular fluid, can be sampled from blood and allow fats to be taken up by the cells of the body by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Lipoproteins are complex particles composed of multiple proteins which transport all fat molecules (lipids) around the body within the water outside cells. They are typically composed of 80-100 proteins/particle (organized by a single apolipoprotein B for LDL and the larger particles). A single LDL particle is about 260-300 nm in diameter (submicroscopic ) typically transporting 3,000 to 6,000 fat molecules/particle, varying in size according to the number and mix of fat molecules contained within. The fats carried include cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides; amounts of each vary considerably.”
“LDL particles vary in size and density, and studies have shown that a pattern that has more small dense LDL particles, called Pattern B, equates to a higher risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) than does a pattern with more of the larger and less-dense LDL particles (Pattern A).”
“LDL particles pose a risk for cardiovascular disease when they invade the endothelium and become oxidized, since the oxidized forms are more easily retained by the proteoglycans. A complex set of biochemical reactions regulates the oxidation of LDL particles, chiefly stimulated by presence of necrotic cell debris and free radicals in the endothelium. Increasing concentrations of LDL particles are strongly associated with increasing rates of accumulation of atherosclerosis within the walls of arteries over time, eventually resulting in sudden plaque ruptures and triggering clots within the artery opening, or a narrowing or closing of the opening, i.e. cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other vascular disease complications.“
It’s easy to see now, the importance of lowering LDL. This is what The National Library of medicine has to say about cholesterol ratios;
“Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration has been the prime index of cardiovascular disease risk and the main target for therapy. However, several lipoprotein ratios or “atherogenic indices” have been defined in an attempt to optimize the predictive capacity of the lipid profile. In this review, we summarize their pathophysiological aspects, and highlight the rationale for using these lipoprotein ratios as cardiovascular risk factors in clinical practice, specifying their cut-off risk levels and a target for lipid-lowering therapy. Total/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and LDL/HDL cholesterol ratios are risk indicators with greater predictive value than isolated parameters used independently, particularly LDL. Future recommendations regarding the diagnosis and treatment of dyslipidemia, including instruments for calculating cardiovascular risk or action guidelines, should include the lipoprotein ratios with greater predictive power which, in view of the evidence-based results, are none other than those which include HDL cholesterol.” With the advantages of HDL as opposed to the disadvantages of LDL, it’s become important to know the difference in HDL and LDL because a balance in the ratio seems to be more important than anything else.”
That says to me, what’s important to know is how to create HDL and how to not create LDL. This will go much farther than any medicine to balance HDL/LDL cholesterol.
Wikipedia goes on to say;
“HDL particles remove fats and cholesterol from cells, including within artery wall atheroma, and transport it back to the liver for excretion or re-utilization; thus the cholesterol carried within HDL particles (HDL-C) is sometimes called “good cholesterol” (despite being the same as cholesterol in LDL particles).”
“Increasing concentrations of HDL particles are strongly associated with decreasing accumulation of atherosclerosis within the walls of arteries. This is important because atherosclerosis eventually results in sudden plaque ruptures, cardiovascular disease, stroke and other vascular diseases. HDL particles are sometimes referred to as “good cholesterol” because they can transport fat molecules out of artery walls, reduce macrophage accumulation, and thus help prevent or even regress atherosclerosis.”
“High LDL with low HDL level is an additional risk factor for cardiovascular disease.” “In a large sample of middle-aged adults, low HDL cholesterol was associated with poor memory and decreasing levels over a five-year follow-up period were associated with decline in memory.“
With all that said from Wikipedia, it’s easy to see that not all cholesterol is equal. Some are good and some are bad. Thus, the “good cholesterol, bad cholesterol mantra”, which more than anything boasts the value of balancing your cholesterol, rather than lowering it. Knowing how to lower LDL particles while raising HDL particles would be much more beneficial than just lowering total cholesterol.
The paragraph above about HDL cholesterol says it all, increasing HDL cholesterol is a good thing, as it’s “associated with decreasing accumulation of atherosclerosis within the cell walls of the arteries”.
As you can see, HDL, the good cholesterol is something you want in your body, but the LDL, bad cholesterol is something to keep levels low in your body. Wikipedia goes on to say about HDL;
“HDL is the smallest of the lipoprotein particles. It is the densest because it contains the highest proportion of protein to lipids. Its most abundant apolipoproteins are apo A-I and apo A-II. (A rare genetic variant, ApoA-1 Milano, has been documented to be far more effecitive in both protecting against and regressing arterial disease; atherosclerosis). The liver synthesizes these lipoproteins as complexes of apolipoproteins and phospholipid, which resemble cholesterol-free flattened spherical lipoprotein particles; the complexes are capable of picking up cholesterol, carried internally, from cells by interaction with the ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1). A plasma enzyme called lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) converts the free cholesterol into cholesteryl ester (a more hydrophobic form of cholesterol), which is then sequestered into the core of the lipoprotein particle, eventually causing the newly synthesized HDL to assume a spherical shape. HDL particles increase in size as they circulate through the bloodstream and incorporate more cholesterol and phospholipid molecules from cells and other lipoproteins, for example by the interaction with the ABCG1 transporter and the phospholipid transport protein (PLTP).”
“HDL transports cholesterol mostly to the liver or steroidogenic organs such as adrenals, ovary, and testes by both direct and indirect pathways. HDL is removed by HDL receptors such as scavenger receptor BI (SR-BI), which mediate the selective uptake of cholesterol from HDL. In humans, probably the most relevant pathway is the indirect one, which is mediated by cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP). This protein exchanges triglycerides of VLDL against cholesteryl esters of HDL. As the result, VLDLs are processed to LDL, which are removed from the circulation by the LDL receptor pathway. The triglycerides are not stable in HDL, but are degraded by hepatic lipase so that, finally, small HDL particles are left, which restart the uptake of cholesterol from cells.”
“The cholesterol delivered to the liver is excreted into the bile and, hence, intestine either directly or indirectly after conversion into bile acids. Delivery of HDL cholesterol to adrenals, ovaries, and testes is important for the synthesis of steroid hormones.”
This is why it’s important to get your cholesterol into high-density lipoproteins to transfer fats from cells, where they can be used to do the most good. It seems the loose floating fats, the triglycerides, VLDL and LDL cholesterol are more open, for glycation by loose glucose in the system than the tighter more compact fats contained in the HDL packets, making them more likely to become glycated and turned into plaque.
With that said, balancing your cholesterol seems to be much more important than just lowering your cholesterol. You really don’t want to lower your good cholesterol, the HDL because of all the good it does, yet lowering the LDL with all the damage that it does, would be wise.So what is a good way to balance your cholesterol?
There are several ways to balance your cholesterol;
According to Wikipedia;
“Certain changes in diet and exercise may have a positive impact on raising HDL levels:
- Decreased intake of simple carbohydrates.
- Aerobic exercise
- Weight loss
- Magnesium supplements raise HDL-C.
- Addition of soluble fiber to diet (Curb the starchy carbs and trade them for fruits and vegetables)
- Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil or flax oil
- Increased intake of cis-unsaturated fats
- Consumption of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) such as caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid.
- Removal of trans fatty acids from the diet
Most saturated fats increase HDL cholesterol to varying degrees and also raise total and LDL cholesterol. A high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet may have similar response to taking niacin (vitamin B3) as described below (lowered LDL and increased HDL) through beta-hydroxybutyrate coupling the Niacin receptor 1.“
MCTs from coconut oil increase HDL cholesterol.
“MCTs passively diffuse from the GI tract to the portal system without requirement for modification like long-chain fatty acids or very-long-chain fatty acids(longer fatty acids are absorbed into the lymphatic system). In addition, MCTs do not require bile salts for digestion. Patients who have malnutrition, malabsorption or particular fatty-acid metabolism disorders are treated with MCTs because MCTs do not require energy for absorption, use, or storage.”
“Some studies have shown that MCTs can help in the process of excess calorie burning, thus weight loss. MCTs are also seen as promoting fat oxidation and reduced food intake.” look at all the numbers for reference, to take note all the studies done on the weight loss aspect of MCTs, there were 5 of them.
Medium Chain Triglycerides come from Coconut oil, Palm Kernel oil and dairy fats. That means that butter and cheese can actually help you lose weight and balance your cholesterol. How great is that? You can go back to eating butter with healthier consequences than eating margarine.
“Coconut milk is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which the body processes differently from other saturated fats. If MCFAs are used in a diet to replace long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) such as animal fats they may help promote weight maintenance without raising cholesterol levels.“
“Coconut milk contains a large proportion of lauric acid, a saturated fat that raises blood cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol” Like coconut milk, coconut oil is high in Lauric acid.
“Medium-chain triglycerides are generally considered a good biologically inert source of energy that the human body finds reasonably easy to metabolize. They have potentially beneficial attributes in protein metabolism, but may be contraindicated in some situations due to a reported tendency to induce ketogenesis and metabolic acidosis. However, there is other authority reporting no risk of ketoacidosis or ketonemia with MCTs at levels associated with normal consumption. ””
“Due to their ability to be absorbed rapidly by the body, medium-chain triglycerides have found use in the treatment of a variety of malabsorption ailments. MCT supplementation with a low-fat diet has been described as the cornerstone of treatment for Waldmann disease. MCTs are an ingredient in some specialised parenteral nutritional emulsions in some countries (not USA). Studies have also shown promising results for neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases) and epilepsy through the use of ketogenic dieting.“
“MCFA (chain lengths of 10 carbons or less are found in greatest concentrations in coconut oil, approximately 14% by weight but can also be found in butter ( approximately 9.2%) and palm kernel oil (approximately 7.2%)” “MCT oil has been taunted as a potential weight-lowering agent.”
According to the US National Library of Science, The“Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil2”
“Thirty-one subjects completed the study (body mass index: 29.8 ± 0.4, in kg/m2). MCT oil consumption resulted in lower endpoint body weight than did olive oil (−1.67 ± 0.67 kg, unadjusted P = 0.013). There was a trend toward greater loss of fat mass (P = 0.071) and trunk fat mass (P = 0.10) with MCT consumption than with olive oil. Endpoint trunk fat mass, total fat mass, and intra-abdominal adipose tissue were all lower with MCT consumption than with olive oil consumption (all unadjusted P values < 0.05).”
So the only remaining question, is how do we lower LDL?
In my attempt to find what fats cause LDL, I’ve found nothing to suggest that eating fat causes the formation of LDL. But, on the other hand, I’ve found plenty of data that suggests, where this kind of fat comes from. That’s is my newest post, about Apolipoprotein B. All that I’ve researched shows that it comes from glucose. Glucose comes from starchy carbohydrates. If you want to read about how that happens, check out Carbs! The Newly Discovered Death Sentence or Diabetes Control. It all has to do with the digestion of carbs. These fats are apportioned to the visceral fat around the belly instead of fats you can use for immediate fuel. and this is where it’s formed into LDL with the help of Ribosomes from your liver. This is also where it becomes so dangerous, but you’ll have to read about it in my next post.
Again, according to Wikipedia, “Lowering the blood lipid concentration of triglycerides helps lower the concentration of small LDL particles because fatty-acid rich VLDL particles convert in the bloodstream into small dense LDL particles.[vague]”
It makes sense then, if you want to stop the productions of LDL, you need to stop the production of triglycerides, the fuel that feeds it, and the best way is to stop that, is to curb the high starchy carbohydrates from the worst offenders, grain-based foods. The guiltiest of the group is wheat, followed closely by corn, then rice and oats. All grain-based foods are at the top of this list, along with starchy vegetables like potatoes, parsnips and carrots, although carrots do have some nutritional value, like beta-carotene. All the others just don’t carry enough nutrition to counterbalance the load of carbs you get, with it.
If you’re not ready to give up your carbs, there are alternatives, to help you lower your LDL, “Niacin (B3), lowers LDL by selectively inhibiting hepatic diacylglycerol acyltransferase 2, reducing triglyceride synthesis and VLDL secretion through a receptor HM74 and HM74A or GPR109A.“ “A ketogenic diet may have similar response to taking niacin (lowered LDL and increased HDL) through beta-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone body, coupling the niacin receptor (HM74A).“
Statin drugs are made to lower LDL also, but I can only recommend steering clear of those, as they cause too many problems in their action of lowering LDL. As a certified caregiver, I’ve seen, too often, the ravages this drug commits to the body. They are nothing short of devastating. In every case of a patient I took care of, the patient died prematurely from the side effects of these drugs. It seems to me that in our attempt to cure ourselves, we’re killing ourselves. Cholesterol is just too important to lower.
“Because LDL particles appear harmless until they are within the blood vessel walls and oxidized by free radicals, it has been postulated that ingesting antioxidants and minimizing free radical exposure may reduce LDL’s contribution to atherosclerosis, though results are not conclusive.“
I know of something far greater than ingesting antioxidants, to boost them in your system. Boosting them through calorie restriction gives you exponentially more antioxidants than eating or drinking them can ever do for you.
Because MCT ketogenic diets are made for calorie restriction and this next point deals with calorie restriction, I can see the benefits here, as well, for added BDNF for brain growth, increased Nrf2 for anti-oxidant production. If you don’t know about the brain growth or anti-oxidant boost of calorie restriction, check it out at the link above. I’m just beginning to understand the benefits of the MCT ketogenic diet and how much healthier it’s kept me. And if it can keep me that healthy, it can keep all those who venture to try it just as healthy.
Don’t you think it’s time for a cure?
I offer these to you, free!
- MCT ketogenic diet: it can not only help you balance your cholesterol but it can help you lose weight and keep it off forever. With the proper supplements, it will help you grow your brain. Who knew that coconut oil or coconut milk could be so healthy? Who knew that butter could be so healthy? I certainly didn’t. but I do now.
- Spices like Bay Leaf can help balance out your cholesterol as well, as described on Spices That Heal, “Research on humans showed that after one month, the bay leaf group had up to 26 % reductions in blood sugar! They also showed approximately 35 to 40% reductions in LDL cholesterol and a jump in the good HDL particles by about 25%!”
Just looking halfway through the list, I came across another half dozen spices that can all help balance cholesterol. What an excellent resource. I love free cures since I already have these spices in my cabinet.
I have to thank Wikipedia, from which much of this post comes and is marked by quotations marks and is in italics, where used. Parts are also quoted from the National Library of Medicine and a few other independent websites. It was necessary to copy and paste the information in order to express the argument for balancing one’s cholesterol, as I couldn’t have put the information in better words than it was already expressed. Again, if you find any information you feel is incorrect and have corroboration, to back up your claim, I welcome your correction to help me make this post better.