What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol's health and healing properties
Symptoms of low cholesterol
Cholesterol food sources
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in all animals. It is an essential part of cell membranes, and is used in the body to make bile, steroid hormones, and fat-soluble vitamins including Vitamin A, D, E and K. It plays an essential part in most body processes. Three quarters of the cholesterol in a healthy adult is made by the liver, intestines, adrenal glands and other organs in the body. The remaining quarter of the cholesterol comes from food. If there is insufficient cholesterol in the food we eat, then the body makes more.
A large part of a normal healthy human body consists of fats and cholesterol. A quarter of the brain is cholesterol. Almost half of the walls of cells (cellular membranes) are made of cholesterol; saturated fats are another major component of all cells.
Cholesterol is one of the main healing agents in the body. When there is injury or inflammation, cholesterol is produced by the liver and sent to the site for repair work. LDL cholesterol is the form in which it is sent to do the healing at the point of inflammation. After the healing is completed, it travels back to the liver as HDL cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for the production of healthy new cells where they are needed for repair, replacement or growth. This is why cholesterol levels rise after any injury, surgery, dental work, any kind of inflammation, or a bacterial or viral attack. After the repair work is completed, the level of blood cholesterol will naturally go down again.
Most cholesterol is made by the liver. Short chain and medium chain saturated fats are converted to ketones in the liver, and some of these ketones are used to make cholesterol. Ketones (not glucose) are also the preferred source of energy for virtually all cells in the body, including the brain.
The medical and pharmaceutical industries push the myth that high levels of cholesterol are dangerous, and the cause of heart disease, arterial disease, strokes and other ailments. However, this is not correct, as plenty of research shows that high levels of cholesterol are not good predictors of heart disease, (1, 2, 3, 25) the situation is just the opposite. (24, 26, 27) Most heart attacks and strokes occur in people who do not have elevated cholesterol. High blood cholesterol levels above 6 or 7 mmol/L may sometimes indicate another health condition such as liver malfunction.
The motivation for this deception is to sell statin drugs such as Lipitor, Pravachol, Crestor and Zocor. These drugs have numerous serious nasty side-effects (4, 13) such as muscle wastage, memory loss and amnesia, decreased brain function and increased risk of diabetes, and the reason for taking statins in the first place is misguided. (25, 26)
Cholesterol is essential for good health and wellbeing. High levels of dietary cholesterol are NOT responsible for heart and arterial disease. A high level of cholesterol in the blood is not necessarily a problem, but a high level of triglycerides may be a problem. It is the oxidation of cholesterol which can cause the build-up of plaque and calcium deposition, atherosclerosis and inflammatory responses. Conventional medicine has tried to lower cholesterol for decades, yet heart disease is still the biggest killer. Doctors are slowly coming around to tackling the root causes of heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and other circulatory problems, by recommending patients cut out sugar and processed foods, limit their eating windows, and tackle systemic inflammation.
Cholesterol's health and healing properties
- Healing of injuries, reducing inflammation (17), and healing infections. Clearing many toxins.
- Immune system. Protection from infections. (6, 7, 8, 17, 18, 19, 20) Cholesterol is almost completely absent among prokaryotes (bacteria), and therefor acts as an antibiotic. For example, a traditional remedy for tuberculosis (TB) and many other serious bacterial and viral infections is a mixture of cream and raw egg yolk, a rich source of cholesterol and saturated animal fats.
- Protection against cancer. (11, 21)
- Babies and children. A quarter of the cholesterol in a healthy young body is found in the brain. Every cell in the brain and nervous system needs plenty of cholesterol, and if cholesterol is restricted the effects are catastrophic. The brain and eyes of a foetus will not develop properly without sufficient cholesterol.
Human breast milk is rich in cholesterol, and again the brain, eyes and developing nervous system of infants need it. A three decade study of 3,500 young adults in Brazil not only confirmed the short-term benefits of breastfeeding, but also confirmed the long-term consequences for human populations, showing that breastfed babies are more likely to turn into more intelligent (4 IQ points), well-educated and higher-earning adults. (23)
- Brain and nervous system. Cholesterol is the most abundant organic molecule in the brain and sufficient cholesterol is absolutely essential for proper brain function. (22) Low levels of cholesterol lead to depression, schizophrenia, emotional instability, excessive anger and numerous other neuropathies and psychological disorders. (24)
Cholesterol is a remedy for memory loss.
Low blood cholesterol is routinely recorded in criminals who have committed murder and other violent crimes. (5) Supplementing with cholesterol and saturated fats reduces violent behaviour, in addition to suicides, aggressive behaviour and depression. The massive campaign by pharmaceutical companies and industrial manufacturers of processed foods to reduce cholesterol may be responsible for much of the aggression in our society today. Oxford professor David Horrobin says: "reducing cholesterol on a large scale could lead to a general shift to more violent patterns of behaviour. Most of this increase in violence would not result in death but in more aggression at work and in the family, more child abuse, more wife-beating and generally more unhappiness." (9)
- Cholesterol is used by the liver to make bile. Bile is stored in the gallbladder. Sufficient bile and bile salts are essential for good digestion of fats and the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.
- The endocrine system (glands). Cholesterol and animal fats are needed to produce steroid hormones, particularly by the adrenal and sexual glands. Cholesterol is the precursor (building material) for pregnenolone which then becomes the precursor for testosterone, progesterone and various estrogen, androgen, aldosterone, DHEA and other corticosteroids. (24) When you have sufficient cholesterol, your body is able to make pregnenolone and all the other steroid hormones it needs. There is no danger of overdose, which is a big problem from taking hormone supplements. Hormonal imbalance is more likely when you take hormone supplements, causing a variety of horrible ailments (especially from excess estrogen). Progesterone is the safest and least problematic hormone to supplement, and the reason is that it is used as the precursor to make many other hormones.
These hormones are essential for many systems in the body - energy, digestion, brain and nervous function, growth, reproduction and immune system. Insufficient cholesterol leads to a wide range of ailments including infertility, aggression and other psychological problems, and so many other problems that a natural high-cholesterol diet should be used as a first treatment for most of today's diseases.
- Production of energy in cells; building material for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K; and production of bile acids for digestion.
- Healthy cell membranes contain a high proportion of cholesterol. Those who eat diets high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats damage the function of their cells and develop a range of modern degenerative diseases.
- Longevity. Cholesterol is strongly associated with having a long and healthy life. (14, 15, 16, 24, 26)
Symptoms of low cholesterol
Low levels of cholesterol lead to so many different ailments that it is difficult to connect the dots between the cause and the effect. One researcher whom I follow (28) defines low cholesterol as
less than 120 mg/DL or 3.1 mmol/L total cholesterol;
less than 50mg/DL or 1.3 mmol/L LDL cholesterol.
Low cholesterol, particularly when below these levels, significantly raises the risk of the following symptoms:
- Memory impairment, depression, emotional instability, excessive anger, schizophrenia and numerous other neuropathies and psychological disorders. (24)
- Multiple sclerosis and many other neurological conditions. Foods high in cholesterol and animal fat are both a prevention and remedy for mental and psychological ailments such as amyotropic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) and many others. (12)
- Children - impaired brain and nerve development, leading to a wide variety of developmental problems and intellectual disabilities.
- Adrenal exhaustion.
- Infertility, reproductive problems, menstrual problems, menopause problems. About one in three Western men and women are now infertile. Researchers have confirmed that women who eat high-fat dairy products and avoid low-fat diary products are significantly more fertile. (10)
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Digestive problems. Poor absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, K. Vitamin insufficiency, particularly vitamin D (leading to insulin resistance, heart disease, mental problems, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer and more).
- Gallstones, bile and gallbladder problems. Bile is made from cholesterol, and bile is required to emulsify and digest fats. The liver needs cholesterol to produce sufficient bile to digest fats properly and extract vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. The symptoms of insufficient or thick sluggish bile are:
Fatty stools, leaving a fatty ring in the toilet;
Vitamin A, D, E and K deficiency, and omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, causing a wide variety of serious illnesses.
Constipation, though this is not a reliable symptom as loose stools can still be caused by fructose malabsorption.
- Weak immune system. Cholesterol binds to toxins, particularly toxins produced by harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus. Those with low cholesterol are prone to bacterial and viral infections.
- Fatty liver disease.
- Cataracts in the eyes.
Cholesterol food sources
There is no cholesterol in plants, it is ONLY available from animal fats.
- Butter (particularly grass-fed butter), lard, tallow, duck fat and other animal fats. They are delicious and healthy.
- Caviar and other fish eggs.
- Egg yolks. Must be fresh, preferably raw (but cook egg white because in a raw state it contains anti-nutrients).
- Fish and seafood. Cold water fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and shrimps are the best.
- Fatty cheeses, thick cream.
- Cod liver oil (must be really fresh).
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