Just how high is too high? And…just how low is too low?
Ok…the first question to be answered would be…exactly what is cholesterol and is it the evil villain that it is made out to be? Well…to name but a few, cholesterol is a vital material in the human body that is a part of bile acids that digest fats, a major component for brain and nerve tissue, and a forerunner of many hormones, particularly the sex hormones. Our bodies manufacture significant amounts of it every day, regardless of dietary intake. Yet Americans are being saturated with anti-cholesterol propaganda!
The cholesterol level in the human body may vary greatly at any given time. Cholesterol is a healing agent in the body and will, therefore, increase during times of healing. When the body has healing to do, it produces more cholesterol and sends it to the site of the damage. With the example of high cholesterol in the blood vessels (the endothelium), referred to as atherosclerosis, the body is responding to some form of toxins in the blood. Whether from an infection, toxic chemical or some type of free radical damage, excess cholesterol is going to be sent to that site in the form of LDL. After healing, the cholesterol is removed and travels back to the liver in the form of HDL. All healing requires fat and cholesterol!
Contrary to what you may have read or been told, normal cholesterol is between 150-250, although this depends on who defines normal. Cancer patients often die with a serum cholesterol between 100 and 150. The same holds true for many other chronic illnesses, especially those associated with bodily wasting (cachexia). It is as though, in the wasting process, as all the fat is “burned,” so too is the cholesterol. This phenomenon is well described in medical literature where we are told that low serum cholesterol is a consequence of the wasting, not the cause. The curious thing about this conclusion that low serum cholesterol is the consequence, not the cause, of the patient’s illness is that, when it comes to heart disease, doctors say just the opposite. In this case we are told that the high cholesterol is not the result of whatever is causing the damage to the blood vessels, but is the actual cause of this damage. This, to put it mildly, is a headscratcher.
In any case, the latest twist in the modern cholesterol tale is that current recommendations for treating heart disease by lowering the serum cholesterol advise doctors to reduce the total cholesterol to the range of 80130, exactly the levels one sees right before the person succumbs to chronic wasting disease.
So what should you do if you find that, without obvious underlying illness such as cancer, AIDS or a chronic autoimmune or “infectious” condition, you turn up with a cholesterol below 150? The first and most important thing is to try to take an unbiased assessment of how you are feeling. Try to find a source of some imbalance that perhaps you have been overlooking. For instance, do you feel run down, fatigued, achy most of the time? Does something hurt that you are trying to ignore? In other words, a low serum cholesterol often means your body is struggling with something and you are using up your reserves. As you are on the lookout for the source of the struggle, you should as soon as possible adopt a traditional diet, including the liberal use of good fats (butter, egg yolks, cod liver oil, etc.), lactofermented foods, bone broth and all the other healing elements of a traditional nourishing diet found the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon, the president of the Weston A. Price organization.
And…on the other hand…what if you find your cholesterol levels above 250?
The first recommendation is to read and Put Your Heart In Your Mouth by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD and The Cholesterol Myths by Dr. Uffe Ravnskov. The latter describes all the recent studies on the connection between heart disease and cholesterol. His basic conclusion is that there is no connection between cholesterol, lipid levels, coronary artery disease and intake of traditional fats. Interestingly, even in orthodox medical circles one hears a lot of moaning about how “nonspecific” these numbers are in predicting coronary artery disease. What that means is that the various cholesterol levels measured in the blood do not tell us whether or not the patient is prone to heart disease. Those with low total levels of cholesterol are just as likely to have a heart attack as those with high total cholesterol.