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High Cholesterol: How to Understand It and Should You Worry About Having High Cholesterol?


  • High Cholesterol: How to Understand It and Should You Worry About Having High Cholesterol?

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    Why does the body need cholesterol if it's so bad?

    The word "Cholesterol" is still a scary totem in the world of health. Want to scare someone who is interested in health and nutrition?

    Then ominously say "Cholesterol!" in their presence. People will immediately have associations with death, heart attack, cancer, and any other horrors.

    And the phrase "High cholesterol" generally crushes a weak psyche.

    Its danger seems obvious. Everyone who was born on this planet after the 1950s from childhood absorbs fear of cholesterol as the norm.

    Therefore, you have no doubts about the recommendation of a standard doctor to lower blood cholesterol levels. Even if it requires taking questionable pills.

    Not to mention the fact that you will not be allowed to eat more than one egg in the morning. I keep quiet about bacon. They are catastrophically high in cholesterol, so they cause an acute allergic reaction in modern medicine.

    Today we have to deal with a difficult topic. We will answer many questions regarding cholesterol. For example, “If cholesterol is evil, why does it have so many different functions in the body?

    We will also try to objectively assess its role in the development of diseases of various kinds. I promise to keep it as simple as possible.

    High cholesterol as a cause of diseases

    In the 1950s, cholesterol, along with saturated fat, took center stage in the lipid hypothesis of the development of cardiovascular disease.

    According to it, diseases of the heart and blood vessels are due to cholesterol and saturated fats.

    Supposedly cholesterol and animal fats clog the blood vessels, so atherosclerosis and heart attack occur.

    At the moment, this theory no longer stands up to serious criticism for many reasons. For example, because the studies that supposedly support this theory are biased.

    They are also associative in nature and do not prove causation (that cholesterol and fat directly cause problems).

    And that's not to mention the fact that politics and economic interest are also involved in the adoption of this hypothesis.

    But the main thing is that since then we have accumulated enough data to question this dogma.

    First, let's look at the roles of cholesterol in our health.

    Important properties of cholesterol

    Cholesterol is an oily substance. In consistency, it also resembles something fat. But it does not apply to fats.

    However, cholesterol is closely associated with animal fats. This is because cholesterol can only be found in animal foods.

    And, as a rule, the fatter the food, the more cholesterol there is. Because it is stored in fats.

    Functions and roles of cholesterol

    In reality, cholesterol is critical to a healthy life. This is confirmed by many facts.

    For example, every cell in the body can produce it on its own. And the liver makes 75-80% of all cholesterol, which can be seen in a blood test. Therefore, the effect of cholesterol from food is minimal.

    The body creates 3000 mg (3 g) of cholesterol daily.

    The main consumer of cholesterol is the brain. It takes 25% of cholesterol quantity for its needs.

    If cholesterol is so bad, then these facts tell us that the body is deliberately hurting itself?

    To further emphasize its importance, here are some of the prominent roles of cholesterol in the body:

    1. Without it, the body will be a structureless mess. The membrane of any cell of an animal organism consists of cholesterol and fats.

    2. Without cholesterol, there will be no hormones. From it, sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen), glucocorticoids (cortisol), mineralocorticoids (aldosterone), and even cholecalciferol are created. The latter is called “Vitamin D” until today.

    3. It is essential for digestion. The liver makes bile from cholesterol.

    4. Without cholesterol, an adequate immune defense of the body against infections is impossible.

    Different types of cholesterol are actively involved in the fight against bacteria, viruses, and other infectious pathogens.

    Man, like all animals, actively uses cholesterol. This sets us apart from plants. In their physiology, cholesterol functions are performed by plant steroids.

    These are only a few functions, but they should be enough for intermediate output:

    Cholesterol is critical to life

    Cholesterol as an indicator of fat metabolism

    Let me remind you that cholesterol and fat are two different things. But due to their similar biophysical properties, they are always “neighbors” in our metabolism.

    The point is that both cholesterol and fat are insoluble in water. Therefore, they cannot move freely through the blood, unlike glucose.

    Also, the fat of the cooked broth floats on the surface of water and refuses to mix with water.

    For cholesterol and fat to travel through the blood to reach the cells that need them, there are special protein-carriers. They are called lipoproteins.

    Where do they come from?

    They are created mainly by the liver. It releases them into the bloodstream so that they cleanse it from the "dangling without much work" fats and cholesterol.

    Lipoproteins pick them up and carry them to the liver.

    On the way, they can give them to the cells that need them. All unclaimed residues of fat and cholesterol are returned by lipoproteins to the liver.

    And it, in turn, will use them in a huge number of biochemical reactions. For example, it will create hormones, bile, or burn for energy.

    You can imagine them in the form of cargo ships that transport all substances through the blood that are not capable of dissolving in it. Among them are not only cholesterol and fats but also fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).

    All of these substances have different functions. But everyone travels by blood in the same boat - lipoproteins.

    Therefore, by observing lipoproteins alone, it is possible to assess the metabolism of several important substances at once.

    Let's skip the fat-soluble vitamins for now and look at the relationship between fat and cholesterol metabolism.

    When fat metabolism increases in a particular person, cholesterol metabolism is also accelerated. Because the amount of common carrier proteins (lipoproteins) increases.

    When does this happen? There are two scenarios, healthy and pathological.

    Healthy causes of increased fat metabolism

    In this scenario, people change their lifestyle in such a way that their body starts burning more fat for energy. They either receive less energy from food, that is, they cut calories.

    Or they reduced carbohydrates in the diet. The fact is that the body prefers to feed on blood sugar under normal conditions.

    When there is enough sugar in the body and blood, most of the fats are left unchanged. And all the excess fat against this background is sent to reserves.

    Thus, blood sugar and fat always compete with each other for the right to be burned.

    The fewer carbohydrates are available for energy, the more the body begins to rely on fat. It starts to mobilize its reserves.

    When the liver notices that there is less sugar left in the body, it commands the adipose tissue to release fat into the bloodstream.

    Lipoproteins as home delivery

    Adipose tissue honestly obeys the order and begins to drain stores of fat and cholesterol into the blood. In response, the liver releases a lot of lipoproteins.

    They will deliver fat to every cell that needs energy. And also, to the liver itself, which, in principle, prefers to eat fats rather than sugar under any conditions.

    And what does cholesterol have to do with it if cells burn fat?

    Basically, cholesterol just rolls around with all these fats in the same boat. Everything, of course, is not so idle in reality.

    But, since cholesterol and fats

    1. have common protein carriers (lipoproteins)
    2. and they are stored in the same adipose tissue ...

    Then they simply have to be so tightly linked in metabolism.

    Of course, cholesterol isn't a slacker. And it's not just that it skates with fats. It is constantly needed by cells to repair their membranes and organelles.

    While lipoproteins travel through the blood, they come into contact with many cells. When a cell needs something from the body, it exposes a specific receptor on its surface.

    It seems to hold out its hand. A passing protein carrier touches the receptor arm and gives the cell what it needs if it has it.

    With the help of such “handshakes”, lipoproteins transfer fats and cholesterol along the way when they are needed by cells.

    This scenario is healthy because there is nothing stopping lipoproteins from doing their job. They quickly rush through the blood, collecting cholesterol and fats and donating them to cells or the liver.

    The body doesn't want free fats in the blood. This slows down blood flow and tissue nutrition. In this case, we can observe an increase in cholesterol in the blood test.

    But under these conditions, it speaks of the demand for fat metabolism and cholesterol. But not about harm!

    In this scenario, the body is adapted to a diet of fat. It is seen with low-carb eating styles, whether there is weight loss or not.

    Examples of such styles:

    1. The paleolithic diet (Paleo diet)

    2. The ketogenic diet (Keto diet)

    3. The carnivore diet (Plant-free, dairy-free eating style)

    Pathological causes of increased fat metabolism

    In this scenario, the demand for fat metabolism increases against the background of normal and even excess blood sugar.

    A little higher, we briefly said that the body always strives to burn carbohydrates (blood sugar) first, and against this background does not use fat metabolism.

    However, it often happens that the body is forced to activate fat metabolism when there are enough carbohydrates in the body and blood.

    Normally, it goes to fat only after depletion of sugar.

    Moreover, the body seeks to prevent by all means the simultaneous presence of sugar and fat in the blood, for these are two completely different fuels.

    This combination has a damaging effect on blood and blood vessels and predisposes to what we call atherosclerosis. But in what cases does the body activate fat metabolism when there is an abundance of carbohydrates?

    And also, when is it forced to put up with the simultaneous presence of excess sugar and fat in the blood?

    This disorder is caused by an overload of carbohydrate metabolism - insulin resistance.

    What happens when cells can't hear insulin

    Insulin resistance occurs due to a chronic excess of carbohydrates in the human diet. When sugar is constantly supplied to the body, its depots (liver and muscle glycogen) overflow.

    Therefore, more and more sugar remains floating in the blood. But the body doesn't like it because sugar damages blood vessels. For this reason, it tries to push it into the cages as quickly as possible.

    For this it uses insulin. If sugar continues to be supplied in excess, then over time, the receptors of the cells lose their sensitivity to insulin.

    They “get tired” of it and stop hearing its command to “take sugar on board!”.

    A vicious circle develops. More sugar => more insulin => more insulin resistance => more sugar and insulin remain in the blood, damaging blood vessels.

    This is type 2 diabetes as a last resort when even the liver is deceived by a vicious circle and ... begins to produce sugar itself. And what do fat and cholesterol have to do with it?

    Cell depletion, insulin, and fats

    Against the background of reduced insulin sensitivity, cells begin to starve in the literal sense. Paradoxical!

    There is a lot of sugar energy around, but cells can now use it very limitedly. Because less and less sugar gets into them because cells lose their insulin sensitivity.

    The icing on the cake is the activation of gluconeogenesis in the liver - it creates even more of its sugar.

    And here fats come to the rescue ... Or they try, at least. When the liver sees that there are too many carbohydrates, it begins to make fats from them. This process is called de novo lipogenesis.

    As if in the hope that cells will feed on them, while there is some problem with sugar. But insulin is becoming a problem again.

    We remember that it remains high all this time? So, the relationship between fats and insulin is not very friendly. The fact is that insulin not only hides sugar in cells well, but it does it even better with fats.

    When there is high insulin in the blood:

    1. Stored fats cannot be released from adipose tissue.

    2. And the new fats created by the liver are immediately sent to reserves, never reaching the hungry cells.

    When fat stores are also overflowing (although a person's fat mass can grow indefinitely), more and more fat remains in the blood.

    And cholesterol too, because the liver also begins to make more of it by itself, since it does not receive it from the body's reserves.

    It turns out a situation in which sugar, insulin, fats, and cholesterol are simultaneously “hanging around” in the blood.

    This scenario is pathological because this explosive mixture strongly damages blood vessels and provokes atherosclerosis.

    And so, in such conditions, cholesterol and fats are really dangerous!

    We will also see an increase in cholesterol in the blood tests, as in the healthy scenario. But this time it will speak of depressed fat metabolism due to overload of carbohydrate metabolism.

    Intermediate conclusions: when cholesterol is harmless, and when is harmful

    To understand the further, practical part of the article, we need to take a break and summarize the interim results.

    1. Cholesterol is an essential part of our metabolism. It has too many processes tied to it to be considered an isolated cause of all troubles. Context matters!

    2. If the body is not overloaded with carbohydrate metabolism, then the body is more adapted to a diet of fats.

    Against the background of moderate carbohydrate metabolism and low insulin, the body quietly switches between carbohydrates and fats.

    It turns out that fats, cholesterol, and sugar with insulin are very rarely present in the blood at the same time. The damaging potential of cholesterol on blood vessels is absent or minimal! And we will see this later in the article.

    This indicator is called atherogenic plasma index (AIP).

    3. If carbohydrate metabolism is overloaded, then fat metabolism is inhibited again. The body feeds on sugar, but it does not get enough sugar into the cells due to the increasing insulin resistance.

    The body tries to connect fats, but high insulin prevents them from burning. Gradually, body cells are depleted against this background. But we are interested in the fact that in this scenario there will be a maximum atherogenic plasma index.

    Due to the simultaneous presence of cholesterol, fat, and insulin with sugar. In such conditions, the risk of any disease increases many times.

    Because this already concerns the whole body, and not only the vessels and heart. Mortality from any cause is also increasing.

    I hope that for now, everything remains clear.

    Standard blood test for cholesterol

    We already know that cholesterol and fats cannot physically move through the blood on their own. For their transport, special protein carriers (lipoproteins) are used.

    And now it is important to keep in mind when we turn to the blood test for cholesterol. If there is no free cholesterol in the blood, then what do we see in the blood test?

    It is protein carriers that we see in the blood tests and not the cholesterol itself with fats! They are lipoproteins.

    One more time! What we see in blood tests is lipoproteins + fats + cholesterol. Therefore, further, when I say cholesterol, it means, firstly, a protein carrier and only secondly its load in the form of cholesterol, fats, and fat-soluble vitamins!

    At this point, we must "get rid" of cholesterol by itself. Because only protein carriers and blood fats are of clinical importance.

    Cholesterol all this time remains their companion and passenger. And for those who want to simplify the understanding of health to one word and sell a bunch of dubious pills, cholesterol has become the scapegoat.

    Although, in fact, everything is much more complicated and it is rather a forced witness of metabolic crimes.

    Now let's look at the standard indicators that can be found in the lipogram (blood test for cholesterol)

    1. Triglycerides (TG - Triglycerides)

    If cholesterol can't hang freely in the blood, then a small amount of fat can. Triglycerides are free fats in the blood. If everything is clear at this stage, then read on.

    If there is a fog in understanding the subject, then I advise you to re-read the section "Cholesterol as an indicator of fat metabolism".

    And every time you see the word "fats", replace it with the word "triglycerides".

    Usually, the body tries to keep free fats out of the bloodstream. But in the process of metabolism, normal errors occur, due to which a tiny fraction of triglycerides enters the bloodstream.

    This is not considered a problem if they are quickly picked up by protein carriers, which we will discuss later.

    For example, the number of triglycerides in the blood will be high if a blood test is taken after a meal. Especially the fat one. Therefore, a blood triglyceride test is taken no less than 12 hours after a meal!

    It is important to understand that a blood test is like a photograph. It captures one moment from the life of our body.

    If the photo (analysis) is taken at the wrong time, then you can make a big mistake in interpretation.

    Having a lot of triglycerides in your blood after eating is not a bad thing, especially if your body has a healthy metabolism.

    If we do a blood test at this time, we will simply witness how protein carriers delivered fats to feed cells.

    However, a serious problem is the excess of triglycerides in the blood after 12 hours without food. This is a very sensitive indicator of metabolic problems and an increased risk of death from any cause.

    This suggests that for some reason, the body cannot effectively feed on fat.

    I think that the reader has already guessed that this happens with an overload of carbohydrate metabolism (insulin resistance), which was discussed above.

    Therefore, based on high blood triglycerides, one can quite accurately assume the presence of insulin resistance.

    2. Total cholesterol (TC)

    This is the sum of all lipoproteins in the blood. That is all protein carriers that carry triglycerides, cholesterol, and fat-soluble vitamins through the blood like boats.

    It used to be thought that high total cholesterol is a big risk factor in the development of heart and vascular diseases.

    Fortunately, more recent research refutes this stereotype. Although it all looks like the gum that most scientists chew when doing research for research.


    Because back in 1936, scientists Sperry and Lande showed with autopsies that there was no link between high cholesterol and vascular damage.

    They found that aortic atherosclerosis was present in those with high total cholesterol of 8.6 mmol / L and in those with normal cholesterol at 4.7 mmol / L.

    According to the analysis of total cholesterol alone, nothing can be said about the state of human health, especially bad. Let me remind you that it can be used to indirectly judge the increased metabolism of fats.

    Whether this enhancement is healthy or pathological depends on the context.

    By the way, it is said that total cholesterol is associated with mortality. Allegedly, the larger it is, the higher the mortality rate. This is a very strong connection in epidemiological research, but there is a catch!

    We will talk about it further.

    3. What is "bad cholesterol" LDL (LDL-C | Low-Density Lipoprotein)?

    These are low-density lipoproteins - (LDL). The density of lipoproteins depends on their function. The lower the density, the higher the transportability.

    These proteins are large in volume, so they can be compared to large liners that can accommodate many passengers.

    Therefore, the most important function of LDL is to transport its passengers to their destination. 80% of the passenger seats on this ship belong to triglycerides.

    The rest of the seats are shared by cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins. Since LDL carries so much fat on itself, it means that by its amount one can judge the demand for fat metabolism.

    This type of cholesterol is considered harmful and remains the focus of medical attention at the moment. Therefore, for the general public, it began to be called “bad” cholesterol.

    Fighting "bad" cholesterol has become a very profitable business!

    All modern drugs that lower cholesterol are aimed specifically at lowering LDL cholesterol. Among them are statins. These are the most lucrative drugs in history to date.

    Many studies find a link between high LDL cholesterol, overall mortality, and the risk of heart and vascular disease.

    At first glance, this relationship is difficult to find fault with, but context is very important.

    We also need to remember that they do not establish a causal relationship, that it is LDL that causes these troubles.

    And there is the same trick here as with high cholesterol!

    Later in the article, we will reveal it, but for now, let's be patient.

    Depending on the conditions, “bad cholesterol” can be really dangerous. As we already know, one of these conditions is insulin resistance.

    When carbohydrate metabolism is extremely overloaded, the body tries to turn on fat metabolism out of desperation.

    This only makes it worse, because it leads to the simultaneous presence of cholesterol, triglycerides, sugar, and insulin in the blood. Let me remind you that this combination burns out the vessels from the inside.

    And under other conditions, LDL can be not only neutral but also very useful and necessary!

    Why does the body need LDL cholesterol when it's so bad?

    The main function of this protein carrier is to transport fats to cells. The liver releases LDL cholesterol when cells require nourishment.

    Therefore, when the demand for fat metabolism increases, then LDL-carrying proteins become more abundant in the blood.

    As a reminder, this is a healthy scenario that we see with low-carb eating styles (Paleo, Keto, Carnivore).

    This also happens when a person is losing weight. To lose fat stores, you need something to deliver those fats from the depot to where they are burned. This is what “bad” cholesterol does.

    Another notable role for bad cholesterol is that it transports antioxidants such as tocopherol and carotene through the blood.

    Here it can be compared to a firefighter running around with a bucket of water. Antioxidants dampen the excess metabolic oxidative fire that can damage blood and blood vessels.

    Another equally important function of bad LDL cholesterol is the transport of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K. I.

    Also, LDL plays a huge role in immunity. In fact, they are the first line of defense. With their help, the body can deal with pathogens without straining the immune system!

    There is always “watchful” LDL in the blood, which binds to “suspicious” objects before they come into contact with the cells of our body.

    In animal models, it is shown how LDL “sticks” to pathogenic bacteria in the blood and renders them harmless.

    Then they are easily found and destroyed by the white blood cells.

    Perhaps this partly explains why people who eat low-carb, high-fat diets (Keto, Paleo, Carnivore) are less likely to get typical infectious diseases.

    Last but not least, the function of bad cholesterol is its participation in regeneration.

    The same "duty" LDL, carrying a supply of cholesterol, are absorbed by those cells of the body that need building material.

    Triglycerides and cholesterol are essential building blocks of any cell. Therefore, when the body is actively recovering from any damage, an increase in LDL in the blood can be expected.

    Hopefully, these arguments are enough to make you forget the term "bad cholesterol".

    4. What is "good cholesterol" HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein)

    These are high-density lipoproteins - HDL. This lipoprotein has a high density, which means that it occupies a very small volume. It is also a transport. But due to its small size, it almost does not participate in the transport of fats to cells. Its role is more specific.

    Basically, it cleans the blood from excess triglycerides and cholesterol that are not useful to the cells now.

    It delivers all these surpluses to the liver, which will always find a use for them. It is believed that "good" HDL cholesterol draws cholesterol from the vessels damaged by atherosclerosis.

    Therefore, this protein carrier is considered to be very useful, as it can reverse vascular damage at high concentrations.

    It is associated with low mortality and cardiovascular risk. You always want to see it high in the analysis.

    Interestingly, HDL is typically increased during low-carb eating styles (Keto, Paleo, Carnivore). HDL can grow by 30-50% +.

    This is shown by world practice. At the same time, there are no direct medicinal ways to increase “good” cholesterol.

    Needless to say, modern higher medical education does not pay attention to therapeutic nutrition at all?

    Other types of cholesterol

    In fact, there are dozens of more indicators in studies of cholesterol and blood lipids. But we are interested in the 4 reasons mentioned above.

    Because they themselves and their proportions can already tell a lot about the metabolic health of 80% of people.

    In addition to them, to understand the article, we must touch:

    Damaged and oxidized "bad" LDL cholesterol (Oxidized LDL)

    This type of cholesterol is really dangerous, as it has significant damaging potential in relation to blood vessels.

    Sooner or later, all the LDL cholesterol has to go home, that is, to the liver. But not damaged cholesterol. Its structure is damaged, so the liver does not “recognize” it.

    Now it is forced to wander in blood until it finds peace in some secluded place.

    Since it is damaged and oxidized, it has an increased ability to react. Therefore, it enters into a reaction with the vessels in the first place, where it finds its rest.

    Accumulating in blood vessels, it damages them and attracts the attention of immune cells (macrophages).

    They come to absorb it and now we have a full-fledged process of inflammation in the vessels. Hence, there is atherosclerosis.

    This type of cholesterol is not visible on standard tests, but it can be guessed from the proportions of the remaining indicators.

    What cholesterol damages

    Primarily, cholesterol and fat protein carriers are damaged by oxidative stress. It can arise as a result of various reasons, but the most common in our modern world is insulin resistance.

    As we said above, the combination of high sugar and insulin has a damaging effect on many components of the blood and blood vessels.

    Excess sugar literally permeates everything and burns it out. This process is called glycation.

    It's not just LDL cholesterol that can be damaged. This applies to any cholesterol in the blood. In extreme cases, even the “good cholesterol” HDL can be damaged. And then it loses its protective properties.

    In addition to insulin resistance, oxidative stress occurs during infectious processes.

    Remnant Cholesterol (RC) includes all lipoprotein fractions that are not included in HDL and LDL.

    This mixture of lipoproteins is considered to be extremely atherogenic (i.e. vascular damage):

    1. Intermediate Density Lipoprotein (IDL)

    2. Then, Very Low-Density Lipoprotein (VLDL)

    3. Finally, Ultra Low-Density Lipoproteins or Chylomicron (ULDL)

    The lower the density of the listed protein carriers, the shorter their life span in the blood.

    Also, the lower the density of lipoproteins, the more triglycerides they can deliver to the cells in the shortest possible time.

    Therefore, their concentration in the blood is maximum immediately after a meal.

    And collectively, they leave the blood within 30 minutes - 2-3 hours. Therefore, when we take a blood test for cholesterol after 12 hours without food, remnant cholesterol should be as low as possible.

    The higher remnant cholesterol 12 hours after a meal, the more this suggests metabolic problems.

    The lower the density of lipoproteins, the more easily they are damaged

    Increased cholesterol and increased mortality

    I hope I have intrigued the reader enough to be looking forward to this section.

    As a reminder, in many studies, high total cholesterol and high “bad” LDL cholesterol are closely associated with increased mortality.

    If we say that cholesterol is not so bad, then what's the catch? Everything is very simple!

    The older a person is, the higher their cholesterol. It is normal that the rate of cholesterol in the blood increases with growth.

    The body is aging, therefore more and more regeneration and restoration are required. Therefore, the body creates more cholesterol and fat to repair cells.

    If we interpret research for all age groups at once, then we mix together cholesterol and age. Hopefully, the reader knows that age is a powerful risk factor for dying from any cause?

    It turns out that the older a person is, the higher the likelihood of their death. At the same time, the older the person, the higher their cholesterol.

    Obviously, the data needs to be interpreted differently.

    If you look at mortality rates within one age group and compare them with cholesterol levels, the results can be shocking:

    Within the same age group, the higher the total cholesterol, and the “bad” LDL cholesterol, the lower the mortality rate.

    LDL Number of people Mortality per year Average Age
    0-79 1611 3.1% 68
    80-99 2724 2.56% 68
    100-119 4123 2.07% 68
    120-139 4140 1.94% 68
    140-159 2999 1.8% 68
    160-1000 2869 2.05% 68

    The higher the cholesterol, the lower the mortality

    Yes, this is not a typo. The higher the “bad” cholesterol, the lower the death rate from any cause. And this is within the same age group!

    It cannot be said, of course, that high cholesterol is the reason for longevity, but the connection is visible quite strongly.

    Obviously, it plays a role in the repair of tissues, which tend to degrade with age.

    By the way, this data is taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This is one of the largest studies with hundreds of thousands of participants.

    There is also a link between low "bad" cholesterol and cancer. If you believe research, then even 18 years before the onset of cancer in humans, you can find a low LDL.

    And among women, the risk of hemorrhagic stroke is higher in those with low LDL cholesterol. But these are already other studies.

    When does cholesterol rise?

    Regeneration, growth, and restoration

    Cholesterol gives shape to all cells in the body. Therefore, when an organ grows or is renewed, recovers from damage (trauma, surgery), the need for it increases significantly.

    Physical and mental stress

    The stress response can help solve all kinds of problems. This requires the involvement of stress hormones (cortisol), which are made from cholesterol. Any acute and chronic illness should also be referred to stress.

    After the cessation of the inflammatory process, the foci of disease require material and resources to restore structure and function, among which there is also cholesterol.

    Everyone who exercises regularly has a higher need for cholesterol. Since it is involved in the recovery of muscles after stress and microdamage.

    Normal reproduction, sex drive

    Cholesterol is the progenitor of sex hormones. Therefore, when they are required in greater quantities, then the need for the former increases.

    I will supplement this fact with the fact that one of the side effects of statins is a decrease in libido and other manifestations of a low amount of sex hormones. For example, loss of muscle mass.

    With weight loss

    When fat is burned, additional cholesterol is released.

    With low-carb types of food (Paleo, Keto, Carnivore)

    On such diets, human metabolism uses more fat from its own body, therefore, the need for protein carriers increases. Therefore, you can see increased cholesterol in the analyzes.

    Especially if the person is increasing the amount of fat in their diet, which is normal for these eating styles.

    Do we have real reasons to be afraid of cholesterol?

    I hope that after this article, at least there will be no doubt that cholesterol is an important part of the metabolic life of our body.

    Whoever doubts, let them re-read the sections describing its functions. And even more information can be found in any serious physiology textbook.

    If the question of the importance of cholesterol is settled, what about safety? How did this integral part of physiology suddenly cause serious problems?

    Obviously, something else affects this story. There are many factors that make cholesterol dangerous. But we are already sure of one of them.

    This is high insulin due to an overload of carbohydrate metabolism. Against this background, high cholesterol is really bad. But this isn't a problem with cholesterol itself, is it?

    By the way, we have not yet studied the process of atherosclerosis development in a living person (in vivo). We still use animal models and cell cultures ...

    Cause or effect

    If we isolate cholesterol from the big picture, then we begin to think (cognitive distortion) that it is the cause of the problems. But in fact - it is just a consequence and indicator of the work of metabolism.

    The relative danger of cholesterol is the problem of impaired metabolism. Therefore, it is not cholesterol itself that is bad, but a broken metabolism.

    It follows that it is not just unfortunate cholesterol that needs to be treated, but the entire metabolism that has come into disarray.

    This task cannot be solved with just one pill. Here you need an integrated approach and you need to start with a change in the way you eat.

    Adequate food culture and at least some physical activity. That's the whole recipe for getting rid of 95% of diseases.


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