I am not afraid of cholesterol.
If you’ve been following this blog for even just a little while, this probably doesn’t surprise you a whole lot. I’m not exactly too keen on following the advice of the USDA or other government agencies, nor most doctors who are absolutely clueless when it comes to nutrition.
I believe that food heals, not drugs — and when it’s real, natural food in its unadulterated form, it won’t harm you. Like that delicious platter pictured above. So, the only doctors I really listen to are those who believe and know this to be true themselves.
Recently, I discovered that one of the most trustworthy of such doctors had a few choice words to say about the cholesterol myth, that once I read, I wanted to shout from the rooftops, I so fully agreed with her. Consider this my “shout.”
You may already be familiar with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who developed the GAPS nutritional protocol and wrote Gut and Psychology Syndrome, but she actually has written another book about heart health issues, called Put Your Heart in Your Mouth.
Now, obviously since Dr. Natasha advocates a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol, she doesn’t believe the politically-correct nutritional myth that dietary cholesterol causes heart disease.
But what about blood cholesterol levels? Shouldn’t we still be concerned with that? Are they indicative of poor heart health, or other concerns we should have?
What should my cholesterol levels be?
Dr. Natasha has an answer. She wrote an article on her website to set the record straight about monitoring blood cholesterol levels.
From the article:
“Many people ask me a question:
WHEN I TEST MY BLOOD CHOLESTEROL, WHAT SHOULD IT BE?
My answer is:
DON’T TEST YOUR BLOOD CHOLESTEROL!
IT IS A POINTLESS EXERCISE AND A POTENTIALLY HARMFUL ONE!”
*GASP!* Don’t check your cholesterol?! Now that’s enough to give a Diet Dictocrat a heart attack!
Why Tested Blood Cholesterol Levels Don’t Mean Anything
First and foremost, a blood cholesterol test is highly inconclusive. Blood cholesterol levels go up and down throughout the day — what they might be at your 10 AM appointment can be drastically different from your levels by dinner time, or through the night, or any other part of the day. They also fluctuate with the time of year, and with the level of stress your body is under.
A doctor’s reaction to these tests can be very problematic for your health. If your number that the lab pulls up just so happens to be at a level considered “too high,” then you might end up getting a prescription for statin drugs, which dangerously deplete the body of critical cholesterol, and your doctor will have you stressing over your diet and the possibility of developing heart disease — for absolutely no reason!
Consuming natural dietary cholesterol has no effect on blood cholesterol levels
Blood cholesterol levels are regulated by the liver. If you don’t consume enough cholesterol in your diet, your body makes it for you! When we consume sufficient amounts of cholesterol, the body produces less. Eating a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet will not lower your blood cholesterol levels, for this reason.
Actually, if you’re eating low-fat dairy products, there’s oxidized cholesterol in the powdered milk that’s added to them (which isn’t on the label), that can harden the arteries and cause inflammation which the body responds to by creating more cholesterol to come over and do damage control. Cholesterol is an antioxidant.
High blood cholesterol levels do not contribute to the development of heart disease
This is one of the most absurd myths of the medical establishment — that high blood cholesterol levels cause heart disease. They don’t.
People with high cholesterol levels (above 270) live longer and have lower rates of heart disease than those with low cholesterol levels! Or, let me put it this way, there are more heart attacks in those with low cholesterol levels than in those with high cholesterol levels.
I’m happy to have high cholesterol!
Someone who is misinformed might take one look at me and say, “Well duh — like you’ve got anything to worry about. Someone your size would never even have questionable cholesterol levels.” I’m not exactly the picture of someone who’s looking at heart disease or atherosclerosis. I am very slim and very petite. And I’ve always been that way.
But guess what? I have high cholesterol! Even as a child, when I weighed 35 pounds in the second grade – my doctors were very concerned with my blood cholesterol levels and were sure that I would need to be put on statin drugs when I was old enough to take them. Drug companies today are actually working quite hard to make sure children who test high for cholesterol like I did, are prescribed statins. This really ought to make you want to vomit. Statin drugs are one of the most dangerous scams of the medical and pharmaceutical industries to ever plague our society. Cholesterol is necessary and should never be artificially reduced!
I will probably always have “high” cholesterol according to the mainstream medical establishment. And I’m very glad that my body is getting more than sufficient amounts of this critical substance from my diet, so it doesn’t have to work harder than it has to in producing cholesterol itself.
The brain and body are hungry for cholesterol!
Our bodies are literally made of cholesterol. It’s what supports the structure of every cell membrane, and is responsible for intercellular communication — brain and nerve function. But that’s not all. Cholesterol is absolutely essential for many bodily functions and systems, including:
- Immune system: Immunity from disease is directly related to cholesterol levels. People with high cholesterol are four times less likely to contract AIDS, rarely get common colds and flus, and they recover from infections more quickly than people with “normal” or low blood cholesterol.
- Endocrine system: Every steroid hormone in the body is made of cholesterol. The adrenal glands need cholesterol to produce hormones necessary for good health.
- Reproductive system: The sex hormones especially are reliant on cholesterol. Without it, infertility problems crop up. Additionally, a pregnant or nursing mother needs adequate cholesterol for her baby’s developing nervous system.
- Vitamin D production: This is also a steroid hormone, and a very important one. Vitamin D deficiency leads to the development of many diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Vitamin D is made of cholesterol.
- Tissue repair/healing: Any wound or damaged tissue, large or small, can’t be healed without cholesterol, because the new cell tissues are made of cholesterol and saturated fat, mostly. This is why people with low levels of cholesterol are at higher risk of developing cancer, because their bodies can’t heal damaged tissue. Same thing goes for heart disease.
But what about LDL and HDL?
Even conventional medicine admits that not all cholesterol is bad for you. It’s true that LDL cholesterol is the “bad” kind. Sorta. High amounts of oxidized LDL cholesterol are associated with certain types of stroke. But you don’t have to worry about your body producing LDL that becomes oxidized unless you are consuming high amounts of polyunsaturated fats — like the rancid, toxic vegetable oils found in modern processed foods which make LDL in the blood vulnerable to oxidation– or cholesterol which has been oxidized through high-heat processing, such as that found in processed, low-fat dairy as mentioned earlier.
I don’t eat these kinds of things. So, I really do not have to worry about my cholesterol levels indicating a risk for heart disease or stroke. And as we know, the blood tests are so inconclusive that even if you were to discover a high level of LDL cholesterol at risk for dangerous oxidation from a poor diet, it wouldn’t be a reliable measure of your risk.
What should you be checking then, if you’re at risk for heart disease?
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride offers the following advice for testing and determining heart disease risk:
If you really want to know about your risk of heart disease, then these are the tests to do:
- C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation in the body. Heart disease is an inflammatory condition.
- Insulin levels in your blood. The insulin profile will show if you suffer from a metabolic syndrome, which is the underlying condition for heart disease.