What do we know of cholesterol?
The majority of doctors today believe that there is such as a “healthy cholesterol level” but they are totally wrong. This is not “me” saying this but all the studies for the past 100 years that have been swept under the rug in order to sell statins. I am dead serious! So let’s talk about cholesterol.
Cholesterol is NOT MADE OF FAT
Cholesterol is made of a chemical our body produces in its conversion of animal meats to Acetyl CoA and Acetoacetyl CoA. Acetyl CoA and I quote “…is an important biochemical molecule in cellular respiration. It is produced in the second step of aerobic respiration after glycolysis and carries the carbon atoms of the acetyl group to the TCA cycle to be oxidized for energy production” (source) and “Acetoacetyl CoA is the precursor of HMG-CoA in the mevalonate pathway, which is essential for cholesterol biosynthesis. It also takes a similar role in the ketone bodies synthesis (ketogenesis) pathway of the liver” (source). Note the term “ketone bodies” so those on the ketogenic diet have this readily available. Those on carbs burning diet do not and have to make it.
So the facts so far
Cholesterol is not made from fat of any kind but it made as part of the cellular respiration, which is what allows you to live.
The second myth is that there is such as an ideal cholesterol level. Ideal to whom? For what? What actually does cholesterol do to decide if its production is ideal? So let me take the answer to this step by step.
1) Is there an ideal cholesterol level? – you bet except that no two persons have identical cholesterol ideal levels. Why? Because cholesterol has major functions in our body and depending on who you are and what you need your body to do to stay healthy, your level of cholesterol will vary. I explain below what cholesterol does.
2) Ideal to whom? Can we say that a male Marathon runner at age 30 needs the same cholesterol as a little old lady at age 95? No? Interesting. As per current today’s doctors they are the same. I think you can see that there is something wrong with that. Why that is I explain in the next point.
3) For what? Why does the body need cholesterol and how does it make it? We can use cholesterol when it is given (egg yolks, for example) or make our own from cellular respiration as noted above. Cellular respiration is VERY important because it actually does not mean “breathing” but energy production, which we call ATP.
A healthy cellular respiration produces exactly as much ATP as your body needs.
If you produce less you feel tired or sick and if you produce more you feel energized but if you don’t use that energy you may end up with a bunch of free radicals and get sick. So this is cellular respiration (not you taking a breath). Thus cholesterol is produced based on the activity level of your cellular respiration. So the 30-year old male Marathon runner will “make” more cholesterol but that says nothing about how much he needs! The little old lady at age 95 who sits in the wheelchair all day is not making so much cholesterol but is what she makes enough? Frankly: WE HAVE NO CLUE. Why? No one ever studied what a good cholesterol level is so we just don’t know.
Since Ancel Keys it has been assumed that we do not need cholesterol (and that cholesterol is made of fat!) and any research along the lines of its importance was trashed, not published, not funded, researchers fired as they always became the black sheep of the research community. Does this make sense? No, but it sure made and continues to make a lot of money for a few!
4) “But we know that high levels of cholesterol cause heart failures!” False. In autopsies of people with cardiac failures, the majority have low cholesterol (yes, exactly the opposite of what we have been told). That’s because even today doctors only look at total cholesterol and that is totally meaningless. People who show cholesterol deposits in their arteries and die as a result of heart issues have triglycerides in their arteries.
Guess how you get triglycerides into your arteries? 2 ways:
1) eating a bunch of sugar and refines carbs like flour and
2) having high BP caused by such triglycerides and too much sugary stuff, diabetes (diabetes and heart trouble are linked!).
High BP means the blood speeds at very high pressure and sugar makes the blood more acidic than it should be (blood is the only alkaline part of our body); it damages the lining of the artery and little tears appear. Triglycerides’ have a job in the blood: fix the tear! So yeah…. People who die of cardiac arrest will show atherosclerosis (cholesterol in the arteries) but they all will be triglycerides, caused by high BP that is caused by eating too much refined carbs and sugar.
Does THIS have anything to do with EVERYONE’S cholesterol?
No! Especially not if you don’t eat refined carbs and also complex carbs without fiber–like if you eat an apple with the skin on that is great. Drink the apple as a juice or smoothie or shake or eat it as a sauce and you are building triglycerides! Not so great!
5) What does cholesterol do so we can evaluate if it is ideal or not in its levels? So finally, in case you want to know why we even have cholesterol: cholesterol is THE most important thing in the human body. First of all, all of the cholesterol in our body has a healing function. 25% of all cholesterol we have is in our brain in the “white matter” where it is myelinating our brain cells so we can fire voltages without leaks—leaks cause seizures and plaques that lead to brain damage. We also know that this myelination process allows smooth voltage firing and helps in migraine management.
The other functions of cholesterol are as follows:
a) cholesterol creates what is called Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is the base of mitochondrial energy creation. As I noted earlier, cholesterol’s basic material is created by cellular respiration: CoQ10 is the 1st through 3rd steps of this cellular respiration. If you take statins, you cannot make CoQ10 and your cellular respiration is shot, mitochondria damaged. This is why the FDA put warning label on statins about muscle damage, brain damage, etc. One of the pharmaceutical companies actually patented statins with CoQ10 to prevent this but they realized that adding CoQ10 back would be admission to how damaging statins are and so they decided not to add it!
b) cholesterol creates DHEA—it is aldosterone. Guess what aldosterone controls: your entire hydration system and electrolyte homeostasis. So if you have not enough cholesterol, your aldosterone system may not function well and hence you may have too much of one mineral or the other that are retained in your kidneys and you cannot come to electrolyte homeostasis. This can cause a ton of severe problems, including heart damage.
c) cholesterol makes progesterone! Yep, the female steroid hormone. Females need more cholesterol than man do actually. Progesterone turns into cortisol, a very important hormone of arousal. It is what gets your out of bed in the morning and also controls your stress. So
d) cholesterol makes cortisone, a glucocortisol secreted from the adrenal cortex (atop your kidneys)
e) cholesterol creates testosterone! As you can tell, some men have a ton of testosterone and others not so much. Thus here is just one instance where you can see that cholesterol level MUST be different for everyone.
f) cholesterol makes estrogen – yep… so your femininity is dependent upon your cholesterol level. The more fertile you are implies that the higher level of cholesterol you make. Thus reducing cholesterol reduces your femininity as well.
There are many complicated charts out there but I found this simple one from Wikipedia that can help you see some of the steps but not all in simple terms.
Comments are welcome, as always!