Many people come into the clinic with a diagnosis from their doctor concerning their cholesterol numbers. First of all, they just know that the doctor wants them to take a new Rx to keep the cholesterol under control. When I asked them specifically about their numbers, they rarely have any specifics to tell me, other than “my doctor said my cholesterol was too high.”
When your doctor sends you to the lab to have new blood work, he will normally ask for a lipid panel. This panel will show your overall cholesterol number, your LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Each of these components tells us a specific thing about your body.
Cholesterol is a necessary component of health. Your liver will make cholesterol. Each cell membrane is comprised of cholesterol. Your brain is composed of 20% cholesterol. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/diagnosis-diet/201709/low-brain-cholesterol-separating-fact-fiction#:~:text=Although%20the%20brain%20represents%20only,that%20cholesterol%20doing%20up%20there%3F All of your hormones are cleaved from the 28 atom molecule we call cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for health.
A healthy liver will produce and clear cholesterol. If your doctor has diagnosed you as having high cholesterol, it could be that your liver is congested. HDL is the so called ‘good’ cholesterol. If your HDL is low, it is an indication that your liver needs some attention.
LDL, the so called ‘bad’ cholesterol is the component of cholesterol that responds to inflammatory processes in the body. You could say that if your LDL is too high, then your body has too much chronic inflammation. The body makes LDL as a buffer against the inflammation. We have seen many people return to normal LDL numbers once their systemic inflammation has been addressed.
The other component of the total cholesterol number is triglycerides. If your triglycerides are too high, your doctor will start to focus on your cardiovascular health. According to the Mayo Clinic, high triglycerides may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls (arteriosclerosis) — which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. Extremely high triglycerides can also cause acute inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/triglycerides/art-20048186#:~:text=What’s%20the%20difference%20between%20triglycerides,build%20cells%20and%20certain%20hormones.
As you can see, it is very important to know and understand the different components of the normal lipid panel. Only then can you address each component correctly and return to health. For further information, please see this scholarly article from MIT. http://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/why_statins_dont_really_work.html
Until next time,