WHAT WE HAVE NOT BEEN TOLD ABOUT CHOLESTEROL
We humans cannot live without Cholesterol
Taken from writings of Dr Natasha Campbelle-McBride
Our bodies are made up of billions of cells. Almost every cell produces cholesterol all the time during our lives because every cell in every organ has cholesterol as a part of its structure. Cholesterol is an integral part of our cell membranes; the membranes that make the cell wall and the wall of all the organelles inside the cell.
Saturated fats and cholesterol make the wall of the cells firm – without them the cells will become flabby and fluid. Different kinds of cells in the body need different amounts of cholesterol, depending on function and purpose. If a cell is part of a protective barrier, it will have a lot of cholesterol in it to make it strong and resistant to any invasion. If a cell or an organelle inside the cell needs to be soft or fluid, it will have less cholesterol in its walls. This ability of cholesterol and saturated fats to firm and reinforce the tissues in the body is used by our blood vessels, particularly those that have to withstand the high pressure and turbulence of the blood flow. These are usually large or medium arteries in places where they divide or bend. The flow of blood pounding through these arteries forces them to incorporate a later of cholesterol and saturated fat in the call, which makes it stronger, tougher and more rigid.
All the cell in our bodies have to communicate with each other by using proteins embedded into the wall of the cell. Cholesterol and stiff saturated fatty acids form lipid-rafts which make homes for every protein in the membrane and allow it to perform its functions. Without cholesterol and saturated fats our cells would not be able to communicate with each other nor transport various molecules into and out of the cell disabling our bodies to function as they should.
The human brain is particularly rich in cholesterol: around 25% of all body cholesterol is taken by the brain. Every cell and every structure in the brain and the rest of our nervous system needs cholesterol, not only to build but to accomplish its many functions. If the fetus doesn’t get enough cholesterol during development, the child may be born with a congenital abnormality called cyclopean. Human breast milk provides a lot of cholesterol. Not only that, mothers breast milk provides a specific enzyme to allow the baby’s digestive tract to absorb almost 100% of that cholesterol, because the developing brain and eyes of the fetus and a newborn infant require large amounts of it. Children deprived of cholesterol in infancy may end up with poor eyesight and brain function. Manufacturers of infant formulas are aware of it but following the anti-cholesterol dogma, they produce formulas with virtually no cholesterol in them.
One of the most abundant materials in the brain and the rest of our nervous system is a fatty substance called myelin. Twenty per cent of Myelin is made of cholesterol. Myelin coats every nerve cell and every nerve fiber like an insulating cover around electric wires. Apart from insulation, it provides nourishment and protection for every tiny structure in our brain and the rest of the nervous system. People who start losing their myelin develop a condition called multiple sclerosis. If you start interfering with the body’s ability to produce cholesterol, you put the very structure of the brain and the rest of the nervous system under threat. The synthesis of myelin in the brain is tightly connected with the synthesis of cholesterol. Foods with Cholesterol and a high animal fat content are an essential medicine for those with multiple sclerosis.
One of the most wonderful abilities of humans is their ability to remember things – their memory. Memories are formed by human cells establishing connections with each other, called synapses. The healthier the synapses a person’s brain can make, the more mentally able and intelligent that person is. Scientists have discovered that synapse formation is almost entirely dependent on cholesterol which is produced by the brain cells in the form of “apolipoprotein E”. Without the presence of this factor we cannot form synapses, and hence are unable to learn or remember anything. Memory loss is one of the side effects of cholesterol lowering drugs. To reverse memory loss it is advised to stop statin drugs and eat plenty of cholesterol-rich foods, like: caviar, cod liver oil, fresh egg yolks, natural butter, cold water fish and shellfish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and shrimps and animal fat. These foods give the body a hand in supplying cholesterol so that it does not have to work so hard to produce its own.
What most people don’t realize is that most cholesterol in the body does not come from food. The body produces cholesterol as it is needed. The body has very efficient mechanisms to keep blood cholesterol at a certain level. When we eat more cholesterol, the body produces less; and when we eat less cholesterol, the body produces more. As raw material for making cholesterol, the body can use carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It has been estimated that in an average person, about 85% of blood cholesterol is produced by the body, while only 15% comes from food. However, cholesterol – lowering drugs interfere with the body’s ability to produce cholesterol and hence they do reduce the amount of cholesterol available for the body to use. Those who take these pills are prone to emotional stability and behavioral problems. Reducing cholesterol in the population on a large scale could lead to a general shift to more violent patterns of behavior – more aggression at work and in the family. More child and wife abuse and generally more unhappiness. Those who are unable to produce enough cholesterol do need to have plenty of foods rich in cholesterol in order to provide their organs with this essential-to-life substance.After the brain, the organs most hungry for cholesterol are our endocrine glands: adrenals and sex glands. The endocrine glands produce steroid hormones which are made from cholesterol: testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, androsterone, estrone, estradiol, corticosterone, aldosterone and others. These hormones accomplish a myriad of functions in the body, from regulation of our metabolism, energy production, mineral assimilation, brain, muscle and bone formation behavior, emotions and reproduction. Our stressful modern lives consume a lot of these hormones, leading to a condition called “adrenal exhaustion”. The most important therapeutic measure is to provide your adrenal glands with plenty of dietary cholesterol.
Without cholesterol we would not be able to have children because every sex hormone in our bodies is made of cholesterol. A fair percentage of the infertility epidemic in the west is due to the fight against animal fats and cholesterol which brought about more problems with normal sexual development, fertility and reproduction. About a third of western men and women are infertile and an increasing number of the youth are growing. Up with abnormalities in their sex hormones. Recent research has discovered that eating full cream dairy products cures infertility in women. Researchers found that women who drink whole milk and eat high fat dairy products are more fertile than those who stick to low fat products.
The liver is one of the busiest organs in terms of cholesterol production. It regulates the level of our blood cholesterol and puts a lot of cholesterol into bile production. Bile is made of cholesterol without which we would not be able to digest and absorb fats and fat soluble vitamins. Bile emulsifies fat – it mixes them with water, so that digestive enzymes can get to them. After it completes its mission most of the bile gets. Reabsorbed in the digestive system and brought back to the liver for recycling, as the building blocks of bile, much of which is cholesterol, is too precious for the body to waste. Bile is essential to absorbing fat soluble Vitamins A, D, K and E. We cannot be without these vitamins. Cholesterol is a major building block of Vitamin D. This vitamin is made in our skin when exposed to sunlight. When there is no sunlight, our source is from cholesterol rich foods like: cod liver oil, fish, shellfish, butter, lard and egg yolk. The recent fear of sunlight and avoidance of cholesterol rich foods by westerners have created an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency.
When our bodies are deficient with Vitamin D, the following manifest:
- Diabetes (Vit. D is essential for blood sugar control)
- Heart disease
- Mental illness
- Auto-immune illness
- Rickets and osteomalacia
- Muscle weakness and poor neuro-mascular coordination
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
- Poor immunity and susceptibility to infections
- Hyperparathyroidism, which manifests itself as osteoporosis, kidney stones, depression, aches and pains, chronic fatigue, muscle weaknesses and digestive abnormalities
Unfortunately, apart from sunlight and cholesterol rich foods there is no appropriate way to get Vitamin D. Supplements sold as Vitamin D are more often than not, Vitamin D2 which is made from mushrooms but not the same as Vitamin D and may cause toxicity. Vitamin D has been designed to work as a team with another fat-soluble vitamin - Vitamin A. This is why foods rich in one are rich in the other such as cod liver oil. Older people’s ability to produce Vitamin D in the skin under the sun is considerably diminished. So eating foods rich in Vitamin D is important. Skin cancer, blamed on sunshine, is not caused by the sun. It is caused by trans fats from vegetable oils and margarine and other toxins stored in the skin. Also, some of the sunscreens that people use contain chemicals which have been proven to cause skin cancer.
Cholesterol is essential for our immune system to function properly. Immune cells rely on cholesterol in fighting infections and repairing themselves after the fight.
LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol or ‘‘bad” cholesterol directly binds and inactivates dangerous bacterial toxins, preventing them from doing any damage to the body. It has been recorded that people with high levels of cholesterol are protected from infections: they are 4 times less likely to contact AIDS, they rarely get common colds, and recover from infection more quickly than people with normal or low blood cholesterol. Also, people with low blood cholesterol are prone to infections. A diet rich in cholesterol has been demonstrated to improve people’s ability to recover from infection. Before the discovery of antibiotics, a common care for tuberculosis was a mixture of egg yolk and fresh cream.
The inside walls of blood vessels are covered by a layer of cells call endothelium. Any damaging agent we are exposed to ends up in our bloodstream. Whether it is a toxic chemical, an infectious organism, a free radical, or anything else, once it is in the blood it will first attack the endothelium. The endothelium immediately sends a message to the liver. When the liver receives the signal that a wound has been inflicted upon the endothelium in our vascular system, it gets into gear and sends cholesterol to the site of the damage in a shuttle, called low density lipoprotein (LDL). Because this cholesterol travels from the liver to the wound, western science calls it “bad cholesterol”.
When the wound heals, the cholesterol travels back to the liver in the form of high density lipoprotein (HDL), western science calls it “good” cholesterol.
Any healing involves the birth, growth and functioning of thousands of cells: immune cells, endothelial cells and many others. As these cells, to a considerable degree, are made up of cholesterol and fats, they cannot be born and grow without a good supply of these substances. When the cells are damaged, they require cholesterol and fats to repair themselves. Any scar tissue in the body contains good amounts of cholesterol.
Cholesterol also acts as an antioxidant in the body, dealing with free radical damage. Any wound in the body has plenty of free radicals because the immune cells use these highly reactive molecules for destroying microbes and toxins. Excess free radicals have to be neutralized, and cholesterol is one of the natural substances that accomplishes this function.
When we have surgery, our tissues are cut and many small arteries, veins, and capillaries get damaged. The liver receives a very strong signal from this damage and floods the body with LDL cholesterol to clean and heal every little wound in our blood vessels. Blood cholesterol goes high after any surgery. After a dental treatment, in addition to the damage to the tissues, a lot of cacteria from the tooth and the gums finish up in the blood, attacking the inside walls of our blood vessels. The liver gets a strong signal to deal with it so the blood cholesterol goes up. The same thing happens when we have an infection – LDL cholesterol goes up to deal with the bacterial or viral attack. Apart from endothelium, our immune cells need cholesterol to function and heal themselves after the fight with the infection. Our stress hormones are made out of cholesterol in the body. Stressful situations increase our blood cholesterol levels because cholesterol is being sent to the adrenal glands for stress hormone production.
Apart from that, when we are under stress there is a storm of free radicals and other damaging biochemistry in the blood. So the liver works hard to produce and send out as much cholesterol as possible to deal with the free radical attack. So, again the blood cholesterol will test high.
In short, when we have a high blood cholesterol level it means that the body is dealing with some damage. The last thing we should do is interfere with this process! When the damage has been dealt with, the blood cholesterol will naturally go down. If we have an ongoing disease in the body that constantly inflicts damage, then the blood cholesterol will be permanently high… so the doctor should look for the reason instead of attacking the cholesterol.
Many natural herbs, antioxidants and vitamins have an ability to reduce our blood cholesterol by helping the body to remove the damaging agents and heal the wound: be they free radicals, bacteria, viruses, toxins. As a result, the liver does not have to produce so much cholesterol to deal with the damage. When the wound is healed there is no need for the presence of cholesterol any more, so the body removes it in the form of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. That is why herbs, vitamins, antioxidants and other natural remedies increase the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood.