Over the course of the past year, I’ve hosted several cream- of- the- crop Physicians and Naturopaths on the ‘Magnificent Menopause and Beyond©’ radio show and I’ve noticed a trend that fills me with hope; each one of these stellar guests has stated two things emphatically and with unflinching clarity:
- Cholesterol is VITALLY important to overall health and vitality. Our bodies can’t and won’t function without it.
- Statin drugs are one of the most dangerous class of drugs on the market and are setting up a new -and much younger- generation of Alzheimer’s patients, more numerous and younger than we’ve ever known before…
HOLD THE PHONE! Say WHAT??!! -You heard me right.
As new studies come to light, it’s appearing more and more that we’ve been sold a bill of goods where this Cholesterol issue is concerned and as more and more folks succumb to the risks and dangers of low cholesterol and the rather horrific side effects of statins, the winds of change are starting to blow.
Low cholesterol is connected to some rather alarming issues and conditions, such as:
- Elevated risk of death
- Compromised immunity
- Increased cancer rates
- Increased heart attack and stroke risk (you heard me right)
- Increased infections and death rates post-surgery
- Increased mood disorder such as anxiety, pronounced mood swings and depression
- Kidney malfunction
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
- Increased tendency toward suicide
- Sexual dysfunction during midlife (for both women and men)
The numerous benefits of cholesterol have been known and documented for a very long time so how on earth did we stray so far afield?
It’s long been known that cultures having the highest cholesterol live the longest- and healthiest- lives.
It’s also long been known that cholesterol has MANY important roles to play in the body, from hormone production to Vitamin D synthesization, the creation of bile salts needed for proper digestion and liver function, and the proper functioning and protection of the human brain and the enhancement and support of the immune system. Cholesterol is so crucial to human health and the proper functioning of the human body that at least 10% is stored in the brain itself and a vast and rich supply of it coats our spine and nerve endings.
Simply put, without enough cholesterol, our hormones decline and our bodies lie unprotected from infection, disease stressors and stress as a whole.
It’s commonly known that low cholesterol precludes the development of Alzheimer’s, and that Parkinson’s disease worsens in proportion to the degree one’s cholesterol is low. Higher cholesterol means less Parkinson’s symptoms and also less hot flashes and menopause-related symptoms in women going through the Menopause process.
Too, overall cholesterol rates have been on the decline over the past years yet heart disease and Alzheimer’s cases have been steadily on the rise. Hmmm….
Add to that the fact that low levels of cholesterol in blood tests, coupled with other readings such as triglycerides, etc. can actually INDICATE disease processes, yet doctors continue to push for -and blindly praise- low cholesterol readings.
Not quite what you’ve been told all these years is it?! Makes one also question the wisdom of ‘low fat’ diets… Your body and your brain need high quality fats- and generous amounts of them. How’s that for happy news?
A jaw-dropping truth is: There is NO scientific baseline documenting what ‘healthy’ cholesterol levels really are. It’s predominantly some fancy guesswork that goes into each and every cholesterol test.
Another tidbit that will blow your mind: there really is no ‘GOOD’ cholesterol, or ‘BAD’. Studies are proving now that cholesterol is the building block from which all our hormones are made and carried throughout the body- and without it, or with too little of it- our nerve impulses misfire, our fat soluble vitamins don’t get absorbed and certain ‘crucial’ tissues don’t replenish. NOT a good scenario!
When one really stops to consider this, it becomes very clear that the primary side effects of statin drugs are actually warning signs generated by the body to get our attention before it’s too late: memory impairment/foggy thinking and slow cognitive reaction, depression, mood swings, sexual issues and loss of stamina and strength to name but a few.
While it’s true that oxidative processes in the body are to be feared and avoided at all costs, HDL and LDL cholesterol molecules are only a small portion of the picture. Even healthy fats can, and do, oxidize in the body- if and when- inflammation is present, so it becomes clear that cholesterol is not the Bad Guy. Inflammation is.
What triggers inflammation? First and foremost: SUGAR and simple carbohydrates, followed by: food allergies and infection, environmental toxicities, cigarette smoking, nutrient deficiencies, stress, lack of sleep, hormone imbalances and a sedentary lifestyle.
Seems easier to just take a pill huh?
Perhaps that’s how we got into this mess in the first place; no one seems to want to take responsibility for their lives and/or health anymore but until we do we will forever blow hither and yon, twisting in the wind- one step forward, 5 back… and staring a fresh generation of YOUNG Alzheimer’s patients right in the eye while we tell them their cholesterol levels need to be lower…
If you’re ready to buck the system and get concretely on the path to Wellness, especially as a Menopausal woman, here are a few articles that will help you better understand cholesterol and its vast importance:
Article originally published in KW Magazine May 2013
Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years. Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist. She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues. Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author, Public Speaker and served as co host of the syndicated radio show ‘Magnificent Menopause & Beyond©’. It’s her mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife