06 Oct 2022

Healthy Living: Cholesterol -focus on the right digits!

Healthy Living:  Cholesterol -focus on the right digits!

For many years eggs were doomed due to their cholesterol content, until recent research pointed out that those who ate more eggs had lower cholesterol levels Picture: Pexels

MODERN medicine is great to tackle acute ailments, new medications can save lives and are necessary – in most cases.
Chronic disease is another matter altogether. Symptom treatment is a major cost to the economy and is not the answer. Plus, once you start taking medication long term, there is always the risk of having to deal with its side effects. A group of cholesterol-lowering medications called Statins are one of the best examples.
Two of the most well-known side effects of statins are muscle pain and muscle wasting. It is due to the fact that the drug stops an enzyme in the liver that makes cholesterol, but that same enzyme (called HMC-CoA reductase) is also responsible for producing Coenzyme Q10, which is crucial for energy production in each cell in our body - especially in muscle cells which need large amounts of energy – that includes our heart!
Cholesterol levels can be higher than normal for many reasons. Our liver makes up 80% of it and the rest we take in through our diet. Our genetic make-up also determines our normal levels. Hypothyroidism and menopause drive cholesterol levels, too, because cholesterol is the raw material for our hormones, and if we make less of them, the liver keeps making the raw material for a while.
It is completely natural, and our job is to assist the body in removing the excess - naturally. Finding and addressing the root cause and eliminating excesses is where nutritional therapy can be most helpful.
For many years eggs were doomed due to their cholesterol content, until recent research pointed out that those who ate more eggs had lower cholesterol levels, because the nutrients that are in eggs help the clearance of cholesterol and support your liver’s function. When it comes to dietary changes, the most important is reducing sugar and high refined carbohydrate intake. Excess blood glucose is turned into fat in your liver and all new fats need a “bus” to carry them to storage – and that bus is the low-density cholesterol! Dietary fats on the other hand help to eliminate cholesterol via bile production – we just need to make sure it doesn’t get re-absorbed. Fibre and probiotics are helpful here.
Having high cholesterol is just one of many factors that can contribute to cardiovascular disease. The main problem behind hardening and narrowing of the blood vessel is inflammation, a by-product called homocysteine and high blood-sugar levels.
Once the blood vessel is damaged, adhesion molecules are recruited, and cholesterol can build up on the scar tissue and eventually calcify. All this is not prevented by low cholesterol levels. On the other hand, too low cholesterol can cause its own problems.
Cholesterol is essential for life, as a vital component of cell membranes and hormones, transport for many essential nutrients including Omega oils and Selenium. Unsurprisingly then, low cholesterol damages cell membranes, affecting the nervous system and the ability to deal with stress.
Focus on the right number: not the total, but the ratios of the different cholesterol measurements.

To continue reading this article,
please subscribe and support local journalism!

Subscribing will allow you access to all of our premium content and archived articles.


To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.