One benefit of the information age is that everyone is smarter than they used to be, or at least we would like to think so. With more information being shared, we have more tools to help keep us healthy and live longer. The drawback to the overload of information is that our world becomes filled with scary words.
A lot of these scary words are frightening simply because we have been taught to fear them. We may not completely understand what they mean, or why we should be frightened by the word. One of these is cholesterol. Cholesterol is the Lord Voldemort of Health reports. Some people get the shakes just hearing cholesterol mentioned, and will do everything they can to avoid it. Including some of the wrong things.
Cholesterol is not an evil wizard determined to rule the world. It is a lipid, or fat, that is produced in the liver, and has a number of functions in the body. The outer membrane of every cell in the body contains cholesterol in its structure. Cholesterol aids in determining what molecules and nutrients pass in and out of the cells, and are important in metabolizing fat soluble vitamins. In fact, cholesterol is very important in helping the body convert sunshine into vitamin D.
As we said previously, cholesterol is produced in the liver. It is carried in the bloodstream by three different types of molecules called lipoproteins. The first, and probably easiest to understand, are triglycerides. These are common fat molecules, like the kind commonly stored in the body’s fat cells. When we consume calories as part of our regular diet, if they are not used by the cells in the form of energy, are converted to triglycerides so they can be used later.
Two other types of molecules are designed simply to carry cholesterol in the bloodstream. These are the parts of cholesterol that turn into scary words. Low Density Lipoproteins (LDLs) carry cholesterol that is made in the liver to the cells that need it. High Density Lipoproteins (HDLs) carry cholesterol that the cells are done with to the liver. Problems may occur when the LDLs carry more cholesterol than the cells can use. The extra LDLs build up, and may have a damaging effect in the circulatory system. This is why LDLs are called “Bad Cholesterol”. HDLs are Good Cholesterol because they do the opposite of LDLs, and actually prevent arterial damage and heart disease.
If your doctor warns you that you should be careful about high cholesterol, be sure to follow his advice and directions. He may recommend the use of supplements to help control cholesterol levels. Supplements are based substances found in nature. Although there are some that show promise in treating high cholesterol, supplements are not as well studied as drugs, and for that reason some physicians are hesitant to prescribe them.
Niacin, or B Vitamins, show some promise in controlling cholesterol. Some physicians caution that high doses of B3 should not be taken with other cholesterol medication, unless under the supervision of a doctor.
A German double blind study comparing the effectiveness of artichoke leaf extract to placebo for treating high cholesterol shows promise. More studies are needed for full acceptance, but artichoke leaf extract has potential.
The FDA is allowing food products that are high in soluble fiber to be labeled as “Heart Healthy”. Apparently, the soluble fiber binds with LDLs in the digestive tract, and they are then excreted. Supplements containing soluble fiber, such as psyllium powder, are available.
Be sure to investigate BioSynergy’s full line of High Purity supplements