If you’ve been wanting to know if cholesterol is good for you, then you’ve come to the right place. Today it seems that everybody, from all walks of life are concerned with their cholesterol levels. We all worry if they might be too high, but what about if your cholesterol is too low? Is it possible? Could raising your cholesterol levels be good for you after all?
For the past 60 years, we have heard more and more about the evils of cholesterol and why we need to avoid it. But would you believe me if I told you that cholesterol is not a villain, but is an incredibly vital nutrient to every cell in the body?
The anti-cholesterol theory has been full of holes since its inception. The research paper that launched the anti-cholesterol campaign clearly showed that six countries with the highest cholesterol intakes had the most deaths from heart disease. Well, that’s if you only look at the data that supports the cholesterol-heart disease connection.
Ancel Keys, who wrote the paper, had researched data from 22 countries. Since the data from the remaining 16 countries showed absolutely no correlation between cholesterol levels and heart disease, they were left out of the final paper. Finland, for example, consumed almost half as much fat as the United States, but suffered the same amount of heart disease.
Here are some other facts about cholesterol that you may like to know so you can decide for yourself if cholesterol is good for you:
1. LDL and HDL are proteins that shuttle cholesterol to and from the sites where it is needed in the body. So to focus on whether or not the cholesterol you have is good or bad really makes no sense and any doctor that suggests one type of cholesterol is better than another obviously doesn’t know that all cholesterol is good for you and that HDL and LDL simply refer to little “vehicles” that carry cholesterol.
2. The sex hormones are made from cholesterol. Lowered cholesterol often results in decreased libido and increased infertility and miscarriage.
3. Sixty percent of the brain is made of cholesterol. Levels under 180 are associated with increases in depression, dementia and mental illness.
4. Cholesterol is not a fat, but is a type of steroid alcohol. It moves at lightening speed. In fact, there is more cholesterol in muscle meat than in fat!
5. If you don’t eat enough cholesterol, your body will make it. If your body has to make it, it is because it detects a famine. In turn the body will not be able to control the amount it makes. I have seen people who avoid animal foods altogether with cholesterol levels over a thousand!
6. Cholesterol is used to repair tissue throughout the body. Blaming cholesterol for clogging arteries is like blaming a policeman for a bank robbery just because he showed up after the crime has taken place. Cholesterol happens to be the last substance the body sends out to rescue the damaged artery.
7. High cholesterol levels are associated with longevity. Perhaps this is the real reason the French outlive us, not red wine.
8. Cholesterol only comes from animal foods: meat (beef, chicken, fish etc), eggs, and dairy. Vegetable oils that claim to be cholesterol free clearly don’t even know what cholesterol is or are counting on you not knowing what it is either.
In the What Your Baby Needs Before Conception class, students learned that cholesterol elevates as a defense mechanism in response to damaged tissue*. These women also discovered how misconceptions about both saturated and unsaturated fats have damaged fertility and children’s health in the industrialized world.
So keep in mind that cholesterol IS good for you. Your body and real foods particularly those that are rich sources of cholesterol, are on your side. Beware of slick advertising gimmicks that promise to synthetically reduce your cholesterol by peddling a highly processed (and expensive) food substitute, drug or even supplement. Instead, realize that your elevated cholesterol might be an indicator of an underlying illness that is stressing your body in other ways and strive to eliminate them. With those factors removed, your cholesterol levels should balance out in no time.
You may also like to listen to my podcast show with Uffe Ravnskov, author of The Cholesterol Myths.