In this week's DIANE: DIRECT vlog, we're digging into the nitty gritty on cholesterol, specifically how it relates to the topics of inflammation, statins, and hormones. This stuff gets me fired up, you guys! And the information I'm giving you here is INVALUABLE.
This excerpt from my longer Clearing Up Cholesterol Confusion post (linked below), specifically targets the topics of inflammation, statins, and hormones.
The history and miscommunication around this topic is fascinating, yet infuriating! Popping a statin drug simply because your doctor prescribed it to you is, quite frankly, irresponsible. You should understand how biology & the body works (and if you did, you'd likely refuse the pills)
I have so much information for you in this week's vlog – check out the full video below to learn more!
Disclaimer: the information within this blog post and video are not to be considered a substitution for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Cholesterol is a waxy protective substance that is critical to countless body functions. It is a precursor to your hormones, it's needed to produce vitamin D, and is a critical substrate for the production of bile (which helps to break down and emulsify fats in the body).
Your body makes cholesterol to the level that you need in response to inflammation in the body.
The cholesterol that you eat doesn’t impact your cholesterol as much as you would think. According to Uffe Ravnskov, this impact is only about one half of one percent.
Let me repeat that: eating foods rich in cholesterol, will have little to no impact on your blood cholesterol numbers.
A lot of folks are attempting to lower their cholesterol through prescriptions or even supplementation with omega 3 fatty acids, but I want you to consider this extremely important analogy:
When you take a statin drug or fish oil in an attempt to lower your cholesterol numbers, it’s as if you are spraying water on a house that's on fire.
The problem is that there’s a party with a bunch of folks lighting matches. You can throw all the water you want on the fire, and maybe temporarily it will look contained from the outside, but there will still be matches being lit from the inside.
When taking a statin drug to lower cholesterol, the problem is not being addressed.
The inflammation (the matches and fire itself) are not being stopped, they're simply being masked from the outside.
When you don’t change your diet and lifestyle choices to improve your overall health, lowering cholesterol is pointless, and in fact, it can be dangerous.
Why? If you are continuing to live a life that caused your cholesterol to raise in the first place, taking a pill in an attempt to lower the number suppresses the body’s innate response to deal with inflammation: cholesterol!
That’s right, cholesterol is there to respond to the inflammation.
What you should be doing instead of lowering cholesterol, is lowering the inflammation in your body!
If you are reading this and you are eating a healthy real food diet and are an active, healthy individual, then most likely, you do not have high cholesterol for the wrong reasons.
It may look “high” from your doctor's standards, but that’s because doctors are required to prescribe a statin if your cholesterol is over 200. Additionally, and quite sadly, doctors benefit financially from prescribing these drugs to you. Unfortunately, that’s part of our “sick care” system. If you are a healthy person, then the doctor does not have answers for you. It is an unfortunate reality we all need to keep in mind, particularly with this topic.
Ladies, our cholesterol should be about 20-40 points higher than the average male because we have a ton more sex hormones to regulate in our body. I like to see our number between 180-240. Any lower and women start to struggle with infertility, PCOS, and other hormonal issues. Also, as we age, we need more cholesterol to support our brain health.
My point, we need cholesterol!
Many folks may have heard of HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol. LDL has been referred to as “bad” cholesterol and HDL has been referred to as “good” cholesterol, although this is not very accurate, they simply have different functions in the body.
HDL carries cholesterol to the liver in order to be processed (and removed), while LDL delivers cholesterol to the sites of inflammation/arteries.
An easy way to raise your HDL (or “good) cholesterol is to eat healthy, naturally occurring saturated fats, particularly from egg yolks and coconut oil.
If you get tested and discover your LDL levels are extremely high (over 200) after making diet and lifestyle changes as I note in this video and post, you may want to check for (and possibly be treated for) hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone and LDL receptor sites actually compete in the body, so there may be some dysfunction happening.
If your cholesterol level is motivating you to make a lifestyle change and focus on getting healthier, that’s great. But if your cholesterol level is giving you an excuse to simply take a prescription, then you need pause and reflect for a second.
That prescription is not solving the problem and you cannot just take a pill to absolve yourself of the responsibility of taking care of yourself.
It is irresponsible as a human to simply take a pill and not check yourself and the way you are handling your nutrition and lifestyle to better impact your health.
Pills have their place, but this truly isn't it for the vast majority of Americans.
If your triglycerides are high, your blood sugar is high, and your cholesterol is high… your cholesterol is most likely high because of each of those other problems.
A doctor prescribing a statin drug for you is not going to solve these problems.
While your doctor may not say it (though I wish he/she would), you need to take responsibility and change your dietary and lifestyle habits, not just pop a pill.
My full post on Cholesterol Confusion can be found here.
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