Cholesterol is not what we have been led to believe it is. Cholesterol is neither bad, nor is it the enemy! In truth, cholesterol is the most generous and most important substance we have in the human body.
Cholesterol has many, many functions and is a necessary building-block of just about every system in our body. To build and maintain a healthy human being we need a lot of this magnificent substance. Without cholesterol life cannot go on! We need cholesterol for the body to function at optimum – this wonderful, life-giving substance that nature has given us.
A few things you need to know about Cholesterol
- Cholesterol is found in all cells of the body, and all cells need cholesterol in their membrane, without it they would not survive, they would just disintegrate
- Cholesterol is important for the brain, nervous system, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves
- 25% of it is localised in the brain, most of it being present in the myelin
- Cholesterol is the production plant of steroid hormones – hormones that we need to help us thrive and survive – including the sex hormones, oestrogens, progesterone and testosterone
- Cholesterol is the basic raw material that is needed to make vitamin D. We cannot make vitamin D without cholesterol
- Cholesterol is the key component of bile and helps with digestion in the intestines
- Cholesterol is a basic raw material that is made in the liver so it can be transported all around the body when needed – that’s how important it is. I call it a ‘committed transport system’
- Cholesterol has an important link to the immune system and is an important weapon in fighting infections.
Cholesterol is the substance of life!
Why do Cholesterol levels rise?
Blood cholesterol levels rise every ten years until we reach the age of 70, thereafter, they stabilise then start to decline. By the time we reach 80, there is a significant drop.
Hormones decline with age and is the primary mechanism which leads to hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol); when there are low levels of steroid hormones, cholesterol levels rise because the body desperately wants/needs to bring hormone levels back up to adequate or optimal levels to enable it to function correctly – it is a feedback loop mechanism. The body has now gone into a kind of ‘code red’. The body needs more hormones, so to produce more hormones, more cholesterol (production plant of steroid hormones) is needed, this is when hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) can become apparent.
Hypercholesterolemia is due to an age-related, enzyme-dependent down regulation (a decrease in cellular components – enzymes). Meaning, cholesterol is unable to manufacture adequate hormones because the ‘middleman’ (the enzymes that convert cholesterol into hormones) down grades and dysfunctions.
If hormones are restored, with the use of bioidentical hormones, to optimal or youthful levels, there will be no need for the over production of cholesterol, and therefore, no more high cholesterol! And, very importantly, no more need for cholesterol lowering drugs, more commonly known as statins, that cause more harm than good. Beware, statins offer some deleterious side effects. Do we really need these toxic drugs when there is a safe solution?
Other useful sources
Jill D Davey’s book The Cholesterol Puzzle – The Hormone Connection explains things in much more detail to help you understand the positive benefits of Cholesterol.