Cholesterol 101..

So Cholesterol… Bad right??

Well thats what the Pharmaceutical and Margarine Industries would like you to think..

Of the total cholesterol in our bodies – 80% is made by our liver.

Only 20% comes from food we eat. Our body NEEDS ‘good’ cholesterol to function as cholesterol roams around the body picking up deposited fat and taking it to the liver to be digested and expelled, as well as assisting with Vitamin D & Hormone production, and Cell membrane protection. Bad cholesterol on the other hand does the opposite. It deposits fat into the organs. So when you get your cholesterol tested, make sure you ask for the breakdown of LDL and HDL – normally they will just give you the total which is not really an indication of anything…

Now I mentioned Statin drugs yesterday and how they inhibit the production of Coenzyme Q10 – which is essential for energy production in the cells mitrochondria, but how do they actually lower cholesterol? Well in simple terms they stop the production of good cholesterol – so you can see why they are effective in 2 weeks – your liver stops that 80% production line and your numbers drop quickly.. but we need that 80%! With diet and lifestyle changes it can be slower but it will be much more effective and healthy in the long term… Increased fibre intake, especially with regards to oats, and psyllium are a good idea, as well as eating lots of foods rich in plant sterol (the veggie version of cholesterol!). Plant Sterol competes for absorption with cholesterol and if there is more good plant sterol available it will be triumphant – reducing cholesterol naturally just by eating well!

There was a myth going around recently that avocado would raise your cholesterol levels – this is so far from the truth its not funny. Cholesterol is only found in animal foods so how could this possibly happen?

So what should i be eating i hear you say? Wholegrains, legumes, veggies, fruits, berries, as well as good nut oils.. (You’re probably starting to see a trend here)

Now the phytosterol path is where the margarine industry sucks you in – and the promised rant is coming – but whilst they do contain plant oils I would never in a million years recommend that as a solution :)

Had you been brought up to believe that all cholesterol is bad?

M xx

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11 thoughts on “Cholesterol 101..

  1. Caitlyn says:

    I was told growing up that having a high cholesterol is bad, but not the general consumption of it being bad.

    Could you possible answer this, Is cholesterol relative to your weight more so then what you eat?

    So a fit person with bad cholesterol eats badly, or has something off in the body production, and an overweight person with a low total cholesterol eats reasonably healthy?

    Is is more based on breakdown of LDL and HDL, or does the total mean much?

    I’m not sure how to explain what I mean…. Sorry!

    • Peppermint tea thyme says:

      Hi Caitlyn,
      I’m not sure if it get what you mean! Total Cholesterol just gives you a figure of good (HDL) and bad (LDL). If you have lots of good HDL this number will be high, but is nothing to be concerned about, however if you have low HDL and high LDL then dietary changes are needed..
      Weight does play a part but isn’t in itself a good enough indication – as you said someone who is overweight might be eating a healthy diet. Everyone is different and unless we have the proper breakdown its hard to say sorry!
      Let me know if you want further clarification :)
      Thanks..

      • Caitlyn says:

        I was just always curious about how occasionally you hear someone who is really overweight having a good cholesterol level (assuming the total number given) and sometimes you hear about fit people having high cholesterol.

        Maybe next time I get mine back from the doctor you can give me a little more insight. Doctors occasionally don’t explain things very well!

        Thanks :D

      • Peppermint tea thyme says:

        Haha no they don’t – and you have to request the breakdown prior to the test being done, so just ask them to add it to the form :)
        Its hard to know whether these fit people just have a high total because of the good food they eat, or high ‘bad’ level, but if i find out any more on it i’ll let you know :)

  2. panorkle says:

    I’m still a little bemused about cholesterol. I did one of those free work health checks a few months ago and the only thing that got flagged was that my cholesterol was a bit high. However, this was because my ‘good’ cholesterol was reasonably above the normal range (Don’t ask me to quote numbers here). The ‘bad’ cholesterol was well within the ideal range but the total was higher than the recommended total.

    I get that these workplace tests are just indicators and every bit of advice they seem to offer is ‘see your doctor if you’d like to know more’ but is high(er) cholesterol then necessarily a bad thing if a bigger than normal wodge of it is good?

    • Peppermint tea thyme says:

      See that’s why the total isn’t very useful.. If your bad cholesterol is in range then it’s fine. As for too much good? Hmmm unless there was another reason you were needing to make extra it shouldn’t be a problem.. Our HDL should be above 60mg/dL – they don’t give an upper range.

      • panorkle says:

        Yeah they couldn’t really explain WHY it was bad that my total was over x limit (Not sure how the mg/dL relates to the score I got though. I’m pretty sure it was something like ‘No more than 5.5* total’ although it didn’t specify what it was 5.5 of.). Or were they measuring something completely different and I have my random numbers crossed?

        *Disclaimer – number may be made up.

  3. Suzie Jones says:

    Hi Miranda

    Have you read Suzanne Somers, Breakthrough (Eight Steps to Wellness) she covers Statins and Cholestrol indepth? She also agrees that cholestrol is not necessarily a bad thing, and statins not only do not stop heart disease but can alter the immune system; inhibit Co-Q10 production (our most important nutrient); cause inflammation of the muscles; lead to breakdowns in muscle fibre and release of myoglobin, which blocks the kidneys; cause brain damage, dementia and “memory lapses” and depletes testosterone levels essential for a sex drive in men and women – just to name a few!

    As you have said there are many alternative ways of dealing with high cholestrol by making healthy lifestyle choices rather than supporting the multibillion-dollar statin industry.

    Thanks for your blog – great read!

    • Peppermint tea thyme says:

      I haven’t read it but that sounds very in line with everything we are learning in clinical nutrition so i’m glad someone of high profile is letting the masses know what is happening. It makes me so angry that doctors can get away with this.. :)

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