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Cholesterol – Lowering Cholesterol Naturally

By
Lynne Brown
BSc Hons, HDE, Dip Clin Nutr

Have you ever tried to mix oil or fat in water? It does not work well. This is also true for fat that is in our blood. Almost all fat is carried around in transport vehicles called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are the transport vehicles that carry these fats from the liver to the other cells of the body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) picks up excess cholesterol and triglycerides that are in our blood stream and carries them to the liver to be metabolized further or excreted in the bile. So HDL cholesterol is essentially a blood-borne dump truck that carries excess fats out of our arteries back to the liver for disposal. This is why HDL is considered the good cholesterol because it is always trying to clean up this excess fat. LDL cholesterol is considered the bad cholesterol because this is the type of cholesterol that we find in the plaques in our arteries. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of developing hardening of the arteries, whereas high levels of HDL cholesterol have been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol tests

It is important to look at the bigger picture when reading your cholesterol test results. Firstly a simple Total Cholesterol reading does not tell you enough and if it tends to be on the high side this may get you panicking for no reason. This reading has to be looked at in terms of its HDL and LDL components to get a better assessment of your risk of developing heart disease. If the HDL component amounts to more than 24% of the total cholesterol reading then you can be sure there is sufficient mopping up of excess fat going on in your bloodstream. So divide your HDL reading by your total cholesterol reading and multiply by 100 to find out whether you are at risk or not. Another ratio that is probably more significant than individual cholesterol readings is that of Triglycerides to HDL. Divide your TG reading by your HDL reading and if it’s below 2 then this indicates insulin control and less likelihood of you becoming insulin resistant or developing diabetes.

Interesting review

So what do you do if you do have readings that are a cause for concern? Well the easiest solution would be to pop one of the cholesterol-lowering drugs also known as statins. However before you do, consider this:

In 2005 Swiss investigators reviewed 97 randomized, controlled clinical trials, which involved over 275,000 subjects. They looked at comparing the reduction in cardiovascular deaths between individuals who were taking statins and those who consumed high doses of omega-3 fatty acids. The statin group reduced cardiovascular deaths by 22%, while the omega-3 fatty acid group decreased cardiovascular disease by 32%. Statin drugs reduced overall mortality by 13%; however, the omega-3 fatty acid group reduced overall mortality by 23%. This means that supplementing your diet with high-quality omega-3 fatty acids from pharmaceutical-grade filtered fish oil can be more effective than the expensive statin drugs when it comes to cardiovascular death and overall mortality. Furthermore it is now widely recognized that heart disease is not a disease of cholesterol, but instead an inflammatory disease of the arteries. Statin drugs have been shown to decrease inflammation and part of their clinical effectiveness is due to this aspect. However, omega-3 fats are the building blocks of the body’s natural anti-inflammatories. In fact, supplemental intake of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in molecularly distilled fish oil has been shown to significantly decrease inflammation throughout the body, not only our arteries. They also do not have the adverse side effects that the statin drugs have. All statin drugs have the potential to cause liver damage and fatal muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis), this being the reason that Baycol was removed from the market a couple of years ago.

Prevent heart disease

So to take care of our hearts we really should all be supplementing our diets with DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids that are found in abundance in high-quality, molecularly distilled fish oil. In addition to this a healthy diet of good carbs, good fats and good proteins, along with a modest consistent exercise program, will give you the absolute best chance of improving your blood lipid levels naturally.

Disclaimer: All information here is for educational purposes only and is not meant to cure, heal, diagnose nor treat. This information must not be used as a replacement for medical advice, nor can the writer take any responsibility for anyone using the information instead of consulting a healthcare professional.  All serious disease needs a physician.

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