How Many Cholesterol Facts Do You Know? Distinguishing Myth from Fact
Learning to take care of our bodies is something that we often do not often place as a priority. Everything cannot be prevented because of genetic predispositions; early childhood exposure to less than desirable foods, being overly medicated for lifestyle caused health issues, et cetera. When reading about health and wellness there is an issue that commonly surfaces and that is cholesterol. Let’s dive into some cholesterol facts so that we can better understand myths from realities when deciding how to better care for our bodies and well-being.
Cholesterol Facts: An Essential Element
Every cell in the body needs cholesterol to function properly so there is no option to eliminate its presence. This is not a bad thing; our bodies even produce cholesterol that we don’t consume through foods. What are some cholesterol facts that we should be aware of? Cholesterol is a type of lipid, similar to fats, but it cannot be used for energy in the same way as fats. Also, it is a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones. These hormones created by cholesterol help to control metabolism, immune function, and inflammation. The majority of ingested cholesterol is known as esterified and thus it is very poorly absorbed. Because of this lack of absorption, the body compensates by reducing cholesterol synthesis. Up to fifty percent of cholesterol is recycled back into our systems when it is excreted from the liver and reabsorbed by the intestinal tract. It is known to be implicated in the process of cell signaling and assists in the formation of lipid rafts which bring proteins closer to second messenger molecules, also called relay molecules.
Types of Cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol. The first of these is known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and is considered the “bad” type. The second is high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and is generally considered “good” because of the role it plays in carrying excess cholesterol back to the liver via our blood. Because of this function, HDLs are vital to decreasing your risk of heart problems by lowering blood cholesterol levels. The majority of LDLs come from saturated fats that are present in common vegetable oil and processed foods. Lowering blood-cholesterol levels is possible with a diet high in polyunsaturated fats, as opposed to saturated fats. In contrast, this can also drop HDL levels and can be somewhat self-defeating. By cooking or preparing food with olive oil, for example, you can lower your LDL cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL levels to help maintain a healthy balance in your blood.
Cholesterol Facts and Genetics
There are over one hundred inherited genes which influence how cholesterol levels are managed in the body. Because of this, there are some people who consume large amounts of LDL cholesterol with no plaque buildup in their arteries. By contrast, there are people who consume relatively low LDL cholesterol who have a very high rate of buildup. However, if you are genetically predisposed to plaque accumulation, this is by no means a prognosis for guaranteed heart problems.
One of the most interesting cholesterol facts is that about one in four hundred people suffer from inherited high cholesterol known as hypercholesterolemia. If this heart problem runs in your family, you have about a fifty percent chance of passing it on to your children. It has been extensively chronicled that a plant based diet high in vegetables can substantially lower your cholesterol levels and thus your susceptibility to heart issues. When you consume excess amounts of cholesterol, it can build up in your arterial walls and this can limit blood flow or even cause blockages. These blockages can, and often do, lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Balancing with Vitamin D and Reducing Inflammation
It has been found that vitamin D has a direct connection to the prevention of cardiovascular problems. There is an interaction between the sun’s UVB rays and cholesterol, wherein the cholesterol actually helps to convert the UVB rays into vitamin D. This means that it is a good idea to get outside and enjoy some safe levels of sunshine.
There seems to be uproar in the medical community these days regarding inflammation. This is because it is linked to a vast array of different issues and also to immune system suppression. One of these issues happens to be cardiovascular. During inflammation, when your blood vessels constrict and your blood thickens – cholesterol actually aids in the process of repairing cells. Every cell requires cholesterol to form so it is essential and should not always be considered a bad thing. It is the opinion in a growing number of doctors that cholesterol is being blamed for something that is mainly caused by the inflammatory response. As with many trends in research and academia, there is not a single conclusive answer to many of the exact causes of certain conditions. The best that can be done is to take all of the information available, consult a professional, and decide which course of action will be most beneficial to you.
Break Free From Adrenal Fatigue
When providing an overview of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) relative to cholesterol facts, it is important to look at the known causes and symptoms of the disorder. AFS is a condition whereby the body’s response to stress is suppressed because of overuse and exhaustion. This causes many symptoms including lengthened infection periods, tendency for weight gain, lack of memory, lethargy and more. There are many ways that we have to take responsibility for in contributing to this condition and a starting point is diet. It is important to know about cholesterol facts in order to treat our brain, heart, and even gastrointestinal (GI) tracts properly.
A balanced diet can provide our bodies with everything that they need to thrive. It is extremely important to provide ourselves with essential fats (like cholesterol) so that we can maintain good cell regeneration. When you experience adrenal fatigue, it can feel as though you’re never able to regain your strength and stamina even when you get rest. One of your problems could very well be diet.
A well-known contributor to AFS is inflammation. Whenever tissues in the body are damaged by trauma, toxins, or bacteria, our bodies respond by releasing chemicals that help to heal whatever negative contributor is present. During the healing process, cholesterol is distributed to the damaged cells as a necessary element for their health. This type of cholesterol is good because it helps the cells build their cell membranes and other molecules. However, it should be noted that there is still a connection between HDL cholesterol and heart issues. Because of this, it is extremely important to monitor your consumption of vegetable oils, dairy fats, and other cholesterol increasing foods as these can have a negative overall effect on your likelihood of problems in the future.
Can a Healthy Diet Help You Respond Better to Stress?
There is a system in place that our bodies use to manage stress called the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. This system is perfectly suited to handle everything that comes at us in our daily lives when it is in proper working order. However, often times we find ourselves abusing our bodies because of the rigorous demands that life throws our way.
Our current focus of the NEM Stress Response will be on its metabolic aspect. A healthy metabolism is necessary to defend our bodies against oxidative damage caused by stress. This has been extensively researched and recorded by Dr. Michael Lam, who is an expert in the study of how stress affects our bodies. It is also important to ensure that our brains are afforded the proper levels of glucose for overall nutrient delivery. Because cells are continually regenerating, they need nutrients and compounds delivered constantly. Cholesterol is one of the building blocks that are carried to our cells during regeneration. If the metabolic system is weak, cells cannot regenerate with effectiveness and at proper rates of time. This will cause an increased risk of ongoing health issues which will contribute to added stress, a weakened immune system, and ultimately more adrenal fatigue symptoms.
Beyond reproach is the concept of a healthy diet affecting stress response. Just as with anything in nature, proper fuel is necessary for proper function. If our arterial walls are building up plaque, experiencing decreased blood flow, and neglecting to transport proper oxygen to our starved cells, then we are at risk. Suffering from confusion, crashes, and even depression can result. Though it’s a tired phrase for many; “garbage in, garbage out” seems like a fitting maxim for how we respond to negative stimuli.
Aspects to Consider
Linking cholesterol facts to dietary and metabolic aspects of health is important for understanding what changes need to be made. A pragmatic approach is usually the most intuitive method for adjusting one’s dietary behavior. Deciding to completely change what you’ve been consuming and start a new life, so to speak, is not necessarily the best choice for everyone. Most of the time it’s a much more realistic dietary practice to make slow adjustments that will be more easily maintained over a long period of time. The focus should be on sustainability rather than quick results.
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