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Understanding Cholesterol: How to Stay Within the Healthy Range

High cholesterol has been associated with poor health and an increased risk of heart disease for the last two decades. This idea immediately spawned myths about saturated fats, which demonized certain categories of food, like eggs and healthy oils. Most physicians will advise you to keep your cholesterol levels as low as possible, or else suffer serious complications.

But did you know that high cholesterol is not necessarily a precursor to poor health nor is it an indicator of heart disease?

In my years of practice, I have seen people whose total cholesterol levels were over 250 but had a low risk of developing heart disease. I have also encountered patients who were highly at risk for heart disease despite low cholesterol levels (under 200).

Conventional doctors neglect to tell you the truth: your body NEEDS cholesterol. And there are far better indicators of your heart health than just your total cholesterol level.

Back to Basics: What is the Purpose of Cholesterol?

About 75 percent of the cholesterol in your body is produced in your liver, while the other 25 percent is obtained from the foods you eat. This soft, waxy substance is essential for the production of:

  • Cell membranes
  • Hormones
  • Bile acids (for fat metabolism)
  • Vitamin D

Cholesterol also contributes to the formation of your memories and is crucial for your neurological function. Cholesterol also affects the formation of serotonin, a hormone that is involved in your mood regulation.

Studies have found that people with insufficient levels of cholesterol have a higher chance of developing depression and suicidal thoughts, while others may experience an increased capacity for violence and aggression. In extreme cases, low cholesterol can raise your risk of cancer and Parkinson's disease.

A rise in cholesterol levels, on the other hand, occurs in response to damaged cells. A high amount of this substance in your bloodstream just proves that your body is working to repair or create new cells.

Statins: A Drug That's Actually Bad for You

Having elevated levels of cholesterol (unless you are suffering from a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia) is not a disease that requires statins, yet millions are taking them as we speak. It is unfortunate that Americans are led to believe that this class of cholesterol-lowering drugs is the answer to normalizing cholesterol levels, when there over 900 studies documenting their adverse effects.

For instance, statins also deplete your CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 or Coenzyme Q10 is a substance that plays a crucial role in the creation of your ATP molecules needed for cellular energy production. Other than the side effects brought by statins, CoQ10 deficiency can also yield to a number of complications, including heart failure.

Unfortunately, conventional doctors oftentimes immediately base judgment on numbers and prescribe dangerous statins, which ironically puts your heart health at risk.

Statins: A Drug That's Actually Bad for You

Cholesterol shouldn't be feared to the point that you need toxic drugs to suppress it. Rather, the key is to understand how cholesterol works to know how to stay within an optimal range. I urge you to read my infographic How to Make Sense of Your Cholesterol Levels to discover this and how you can "read" your cholesterol levels to help gauge  your risk of heart disease.

It's time to shatter the myths surrounding cholesterol and statins! Share this infographic with your friends and family, and help them take control of their health.

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