Marketed since the late 1980s, statins are among the top selling drugs in the world. Presented as THE anti-cholesterol solution, statins are supposed to protect us from cardiovascular diseases. Stop right there! Cholesterol is not necessarily harmful to our health. Explanation
Top Misconceptions about Cholesterol!
Most people tend to think that high cholesterol can cause heart disease and early death … so much that in the US, 36 million Americans are undergoing statin treatment to reduce their cholesterol. A recent study published in April 2015 in Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, shows that high cholesterol is useful when older. This research conducted in Japan shows that people who have high cholesterol levels have a low death rate from heart disease. So cholesterol levels above average is not necessarily harmful to health.
Cholesterol: What is it?
Cholesterol is a fat produced by the liver and is very important for the proper functioning of our body. This is a fat soluble nutrient. Part of this cholesterol comes from food (meat, eggs, dairy products, etc.). Some foods high in saturated fat can also promote the increase of cholesterol: vegetable and animal oils, etc. Cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis (lipid deposition on the walls of arteries causing a loss of elasticity).
Cholesterol: Essential to The Proper Functioning of the Body
Cholesterol is also responsible for many vital functions in our body. Our brain cannot function without cholesterol and plays an important role in the production of steroid hormones. It can reduce stress and plays an important role in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, because the body needs cholesterol to form the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells.
Statins: What are They?
Statins are drugs that belong to the class of lipid-lowering agents, for lowering the cholesterol levels of individuals exposed to cardiovascular disease because of their high cholesterol. This drug is dangerous; it causes harmful side effects on the health because it doesn’t unclog arteries …
Health Consequences of Cholesterol Deficiency
To function properly, the brain needs cholesterol. Cholesterol is a component of cell membranes: it plays an essential role in the functioning of cells. Cholesterol also helps in the production of vitamin D.
It promotes the connections between the different chemicals of the body and when the latter produces no cholesterol, it can’t produce bile acid, which leads to poor digestion. Estrogen and testosterone are also hormones produced by the cholesterol.
People with a genetic deficiency in cholesterol have a disease called Smith-Lemli-Opitz, also known as SLOS. This is a very rare recessive genetic disorder that causes numerous morphological abnormalities. This disease is hereditary: parents who are affected by this disease can pass it to their children. People who are born with this cholesterol deficiency (inability to produce this substance by the body) are born with physical deformities in the feet, hands or in the internal organs. They suffer from multiple congenital abnormalities, behavioral disorders and mental retardation.
People who have low cholesterol may have vision problems, autism, poor immunity and increased risk of developing infections, poor digestion …
Diabetes and Cholesterol
People with diabetes have a higher level of bad cholesterol than good cholesterol. In this case, the cholesterol can be a factor for cardiovascular disease: Diabetic Dyslipidemia.
People with diabetes are more prone to cardiovascular disease. They are therefore more prone to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by blocked arteries by a fat overload, which can damage the blood flow and block the blood vessels. Diabetics should be aware of their cholesterol levels and pay attention to their diet, because insulin resistance is also associated with Diabetic Dyslipidemia.
Why Cholesterol Plays an Important Role?
Red blood cells produce cholesterol sulfate, a protective molecule in the red blood cells. Due to its negative charge, the cholesterol sulfate protects the red blood cells and prevents fat cells to be stored. If a red blood cell can’t produce enough cholesterol sulfate the phenomenon of hemolysis will occur (destruction of red blood cells). Conclusion: red blood cells need cholesterol sulfate to stay healthy and to function properly.
Which Foods Contain Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is present in monounsaturated fatty acids, essential fats for proper functioning of the body: olive oil, nuts, avocado, pistachios, peanut oil, etc.
Foods that have trans fat will have a negative impact on your cardiovascular health: sweets, sausages, chips, fried foods, ready meals, etc.
Foods that contain healthy fats (TCM or Medium Chain Triglycerides) are vegetable oils such as olive oil, for example.