Cholesterol

Overview

Nearly 30 million Americans now taking statin drugs for heart health do not understand that they are dangerously lowering a substance vital to the human body.

Cholesterol is a steroid molecule that plays a critical role in metabolism. It is a major component of cellular membranes and is particularly critical for the proper function of neuronal cells, allowing them to rapidly transmit electrical impulses over distances. Cholesterol is also the precursor to vitamin D and even provides the framework for the synthesis of bile salts, which are vital for digestion and absorption of dietary fat.

Cholesterol serves as a precursor to sex hormones (androgens and estrogens); mineralocorticoids which control the balance of water and minerals in the kidney; and glucocorticoids which control blood sugar and protein metabolism, immune suppression, and inflammation.

Knowing the importance of this substance, one must wonder why cholesterol has been labeled "Enemy Number One" in healthcare and the media. Low or cholesterol-free foods have dominated headlines for decades, yet there is no evidence that cholesterol-rich foods and saturated fat contribute to heart disease. Actually, as Americans have decreased consumption of cholesterol-rich foods and saturated fat, rates of heart disease have increased.

Many progressive medical scientists have put forth valid reasons for the epidemic of heart disease in western societies, concluding that the cause of heart disease is not cholesterol. Inflammation, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, consumption of synthetic trans fats, and increased stress levels have been undeniably linked to heart disease.

Unfortunately, most heart disease research is funded by institutions firmly committed to the flawed hypothesis that cholesterol and saturated fat cause heart disease.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Cholesterol causes no signs of observable sickness, and many are told that treatment is necessary due to diagnosis from a routine blood test or lipid panel.   

Medical Treatment

Rates of heart failure have doubled since the advent of statin drugs. Modern cholesterol-lowering drugs inhibit an enzyme necessary for the formation of cholesterol in the liver. Drugs like Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, and Pravachol carry serious side effects: destruction of muscle tissue, cognitive impairment, depression, liver and kidney damage, suppression of the immune system, and increased risk of cancer. Pain and tingling in the hands and feet as well as difficulty walking are often blamed on old age rather than on the statins themselves. Other statins like Baycol had to be pulled from the market due to multiple deaths.

How We Can Help

Cholesterol plays a pivotal role in human physiology, but many misunderstandings have been propagated in healthcare and the media to demonize a substance that is produced by nearly every cell in the body.

The brain and nervous system cannot function without cholesterol. It is used to repair wounds, including tears and irritations in the arteries. It protects us against depression and plays a role in the utilization of the body's "feel-good" chemical (serotonin). Digestion of fats cannot occur without cholesterol, the building block of bile salts.

Cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D, which is formed by the action of sunlight on cholesterol in the skin. Cholesterol helps fight infection and is a powerful antioxidant that protects us from cancer. All sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen and progesterone) as well as those that regulate mineral metabolism and blood sugar are made of cholesterol.

At Divine Design, patient education is vital - just like cholesterol. Our passion lies in helping our patients to envision a new paradigm of healthcare.