Cholesterol is a type of fat that has been associated with heart disease for quite some time. High cholesterol will clog your arteries and put you at high risk for a stroke and eventually a heart attack. The result is that cholesterol testing has become a regular part of health physicals, and features on how to lower cholesterol are popular in the media. There is even a book called The 8-Week Cholesterol Cure
that suggests cholesterol is some type of disease that must be treated and cured. But does cholesterol deserve such a bad reputation?
Mark Schauss, MBA, DB, the author of Achieving Victory over a Toxic World
, has spent the last 28 years researching the effects of toxins on our lives. A regular contributor to the educational programs at Poliquin Performance, Dr. Schauss conducts seminars on lab testing and also recently completed an online, multimedia presentation that will soon be added to the continuing education section of our BioSignature program. One topic Dr. Schauss discusses in this presentation is the significance of cholesterol measurements in lab tests. Here are some highlights:
“Cholesterol has been implicated in heart disease, but it’s a misnomer to call it a marker for heart disease – actually, it’s not. When we start looking at reliable research, we find that cholesterol is NOT definitively linked to heart disease.
“Of course, we do see people with high levels of cholesterol having a propensity for heart attack, but it’s not from the cholesterol itself but from the blockages that it can cause in the arteries as a result of other factors such as inflammation. Further, low levels of cholesterol have been implicated in many different disorders. For example, in 1999 there was a study published in Circulation
magazine as an editorial that said those with low cholesterol, specifically levels under 160, had a higher propensity for depression, suicide, accidents and certain types of cancer and stroke.
“One normal condition in which you will find higher cholesterol is during pregnancy. The doctor of a pregnant woman I knew in her third trimester wanted to put her on statin drugs because her cholesterol levels were up – but the fact is this is what is supposed to happen! Cholesterol levels need to be higher as a women goes along with her pregnancy because cholesterol is helping to feed the baby and to get that brain going. Much of your brain is made up of cholesterol, so cholesterol is critical in brain health.
“The next point to consider is that there are basically two types of cholesterol: low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). High levels of LDL are typical a result of consuming diets that contain high levels of saturated fat, but especially trans fats such as margarine and hydrogenated oils. Trans fats also tend to boost inflammation. That being said, low levels of LDL are associated with anemias, hyperthyroidism, lung disease and several types of cellular diseases. LDL is also necessary for the body to remain healthy and to help detoxify itself. LDL takes toxins and moves them to the liver for removal; so if LDL levels are too low, then the body might not be able to remove the toxins. In other words, depressing LDL too much could lead to many different disorders, whereas having LDL levels that are too high could be indicative of toxic exposure.
“As for HDL, there are different types of this fat – but the one I’ll discuss here is the general type. HDL also has been implicated in many studies as being very heart protective. But in terms of lab testing interpretation, the important measurement is the HDL/cholesterol ratio. What is desirable in that ratio is having a higher number for HDL.
“Another measurement that I find very helpful is the triglycerides-to-HDL ratio. You want that ratio to be about 2 or less – in other words, you want your triglycerides much lower than your HDL. People who have high levels of triglycerides are much more prone to heart attack, far more so than people who have high LDL levels, because triglycerides are a very alkaline and as such can cause a lot of damage to the arteries. So the higher the ratio of triglycerides to HDL, the worse off you are.
“It’s also important to understand that triglycerides are where your body stores fat – and you do need fat in your system. That’s why triglyceride levels that are too low
pose a danger to your health, as does a poor intake of essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-9. High triglyceride levels are a major problem because they can damage the arteries. When lab test results indicate high triglycerides levels, you want to be aggressive in bringing those levels down quickly. And the best way I know of is by supplementing the diet with essential fatty acids from fish oil.”
Please consider that the above discussion is only a small representation of the quality of practical information contained in our upcoming BioSignature presentation. At Poliquin Performance we are fortunate to have quality researchers such as Dr. Mark Schauss on our team to help educate our trainers in the latest advancements in alternative medicine.