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Volume II 3 by Frank M. Jordan
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Cholesterol – The Good, The Bad and The Evil!
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a molecule found in every cell in the body and present in large amounts in nerve tissues and in the brain. Cholesterol appears in the skin, the adrenal glands and the liver while being a main ingredient in the fatty sheath that insulates the nerves.
Cholesterol is additionally an important part of sex hormones and the major constituent of bile and the enzyme that helps to digest fat. Bottom line, Cholesterol is vital to the structure and function of all cells in your body and an essential component of cell membranes.
Because of Cholesterol’s importance, the body makes its own Cholesterol from the liver, producing about 1 gram of Cholesterol each day. 1 gram per day equals about 80% of the needed total body Cholesterol, with the remaining 20% obtained from dietary sources. However, excessive Cholesterol our bodies cannot utilize efficiently becomes a health risk which can become very dangerous.
Cholesterol and Triglycerides – How They Work in the Body
Cholesterol is only one of several lipids (fats) circulating in your blood stream. Triglycerides are an additional form of fat (3 fatty acids plus glycerol) circulating in the blood. Cholesterol and Triglycerides cannot dissolve in water due to being lipids, or fats.
Because your blood is comprised primarily of water, for Cholesterol and Triglycerides to circulate through your blood, the Cholesterol and Triglycerides must be carried by protein packages called Apoproteins.
LDL and HDL Lipoproteins
The combination of Lipids and Apoproteins is known as Lipoprotein. Lipoproteins in turn are divided into two types: the first being Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), which is a combination of 25% Apoproteins and 45% Cholesterol (also commonly called “bad Cholesterol”). LDL provides Cholesterol for necessary body functions, but in excess promotes potentially damaging Cholesterol accumulation in the artery walls.
The second Lipoprotein type is High-density Cholesterol (HDL), comprised of 50% Apoproteins and 20% Cholesterol (generally known as “good Cholesterol”). HDL tends to help remove excess Cholesterol from your blood. Therefore, a relatively low ratio of LDL to HDL is desirable for lowering your risk for development of coronary artery disease.
To calculate your Total Cholesterol Level, add HDL, plus LDL Cholesterol levels, plus 20% of the Triglycerides level. The chart in this report gives the ranges of the various Cholesterol components with desirable to dangerous ranges for each.
The Cholesterol Problem
Different mechanisms, not totally understood to date, appear to underlie the varying levels of blood Cholesterol in different persons. Doug Kaufmann, prominent Nutritional Scientist, is confident a fungal presence in the blood stream is the cause of excess Cholesterol based on the fact fungi make Triglycerides and in turn sterols – the last six letters in Cholesterol! This is the reason pravastatin and other statin drugs, which are anti-fungals, are usually prescribed in high Cholesterol situations by professional health providers.
Cholesterol at high levels is a primary cause of heart disease due to fatty deposits (atherosclerotic plaque) produced by Cholesterol in the arteries. This atherosclerotic plaque clogs arteries; thus impeding blood flow to the brain, heart, kidneys and other parts of the body.
Arterial blockages develop gradually over time, with increasing constriction until blood flow is almost completely impeded. In some cases the body can compensate for this narrowing by developing small branches known as Collaterals that bypass the narrowed sectors in blockages.
The Collateral's, while beneficial, are not always sufficient to restore normal circulation. At extremes, this impeding of blood flow when not corrected by Collaterals causes heart failure, high blood pressure and other maladies.
Why do high levels of Cholesterol in the blood lead to Heart disease? One possible explanation is the injury theory. Coronary disease is initiated when the thin protective layer of cells that line the arteries (endothelium) become damaged. Damage can result from high blood pressure which forces the blood against the artery walls with extraordinary power, excessive smoking, free radical or rogue molecule impact and Cholesterol.
Normally injury to a healthy artery lining is swiftly repaired, but too much Cholesterol, high blood pressure, free radical intake or smoking hinders the healing process. When damage occurs, small blood cells called platelets, normally associated with clotting, arrive at the damaged area.
The platelets emit chemical signals that cause additional cells to come to the damaged area where they often multiply rapidly; producing a mesh of elastic fibers and connective tissues often described as plaque.
Cholesterol in most instances is controllable through dietary reforms, exercise, supplements, stress reduction and other modifications in life style. Cholesterol, though needed metabolically, is not essential in diet. As previously stated, the human liver and intestine can produce one gram per day, or 80% of body needs. Cholesterol can be produced by the body from either carbohydrates or fat.
After being produced, Cholesterol leaves the liver and combines with bile to form bile salt. Dietary fiber helps to expel the bile salts, which include Cholesterol, from the intestine into feces. The livers conversion of Cholesterol into bile salt, with subsequent expulsion from the body through feces, reduces the total amount of Cholesterol and is the body’s natural method of lowering Cholesterol.
A portion of the Cholesterol from the liver enters the blood in its journey towards the body tissues. This combination of Cholesterol with protein and carbohydrates in the blood stream is called Lipoprotein, as previously discussed. Without the carbohydrate and protein content in the Lipoprotein complex, the Cholesterol does not dissolve in the blood.
The Lipoproteins in the blood are transported via the arteries to the body tissues - which then extract the Lipids, including Cholesterol. Lipids, including Cholesterol, are an essential source of energy to the body with the preponderance of Cholesterol in the body found in body cells. In these body cells the Cholesterol and Lipids perform their function of metabolism. However, the danger appears when the Lipids, including Cholesterol, have to cross the artery walls before reaching their goal of entering body tissues.
Arteries - Structure and Strength
To be more precise, every artery has three layers. The innermost layer is called Intima, which is in direct contact with the blood. Endothelial cells that line the Intima act as a barrier to prevent unnecessary substances from the blood from entering the arterial walls. The middle layer known as Media is comprised of smooth muscle cells intertwined with elastic collagen fibers that enable the artery to expand or constrict.
The outer layer of the artery is made up of connective tissue, which gives the arteries strength. It is the outer layer that contains the arteries own blood supply and autonomic nerves that cause the artery to contract. The process of atherosclerosis, which involves clogging of arteries, begins with an injury to the endothelial lining in the Intima layer of the artery.
A number of factors can cause injury to the lining of the arteries. First, if blood pressure is high the sheer force of blood flow can damage the arteries. Second, if Cholesterol constantly circulates in the blood at high levels, damage can result in the lining of the arteries by injury to the cell membrane and the layer beneath.
One of the leading causes of atherosclerosis (in which deposits consist of fatty substances vs arteriosclerosis in which deposits are due to calcium) is stress. A rise in stress hormones increases the level of fat and Cholesterol in the blood stream, which could damage the membranes of the cells lining the arteries.
The damage can attract
platelets, which in turn stick to the injured areas and speed up formation of
fibrous plaques. Relaxation and stress-reduction calm the nervous system,
lower blood pressure, reduce blood levels of stress hormones, Cholesterol and
reduce platelet stickiness.
Exercise, Diet and Supplements
Physical exercise has a significant effect in the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Exercise positively affects blood lipid and Cholesterol levels by raising the level of HDL (“good Cholesterol”) which is cardio protective and lowering LDL (“bad Cholesterol”), which contributes to building of plaque in the arteries.
Exercise lowers the level of Tryglycerides, the fraction of blood fat that is converted into LDL by the liver. The goal is to eventually have the blood, with lowered LDL and Tryglycerides, reach a point where it has dissolved the fat in plaques in the arteries and total Cholesterol returns to a safe and normal level.
Dietary considerations to lower Cholesterol include eating large volumes of fiber in the form of fruits and vegetables. Water-soluble dietary fiber is very important to reducing serum Cholesterol and is found in beans, fruits, oats, and barley. Fresh juices including carrot, celery and beet are beneficial by flushing out fat from the bile in the liver and thus lowering Cholesterol levels.
Use olive oil and reduce saturated fats (fats of animal origin in addition to coconut and palm kernol oils) and Cholesterol in the diet. Eliminate breads, pasta, margarine, lard, butter and avoid fried or fatty foods. Avoid alcohol, sugar, salt and processed or refined foods. Drink only water for 30 days; eliminating soft drinks including diet sodas.
Supplements that augment phagocytosis, or devouring and disposing of foreign substances in the body such as plaque, also could be of great benefit in reducing the potential damage of excessive Cholesterol. Cholesterol is not a disease or pathogen, but a product as previously described of the body needed in proper levels. As with air and water, excess of almost anything including cholesterol can be damaging to the body. Microparticulate (MG) Beta glucan (not a commercial product) is one such nutritional dietary ingredient. The MG glucan additionally aids in nutritionally normalizes the immune response through macrophage white cells to contribute to the ability of these immune cells to be activated to initiate when appropriate the elimination of mycotoxins, or toxins produced by fungus. Oral proteolytic enzymes are also reputed to nutritionally contribute to the breaking down of plaque comprised primarily of protein.
Policosanol has been demonstrated to contribute to reducing excessive cholesterol, while CoEnzyme Q10 aids in circulation and is present in every cell. Aged garlic and lecithin are beneficial, the latter being a fat emulsifier. Vitamin B complex plus Vitamin E, together with selenium, can also assist in reducing Cholesterol levels. Psyllium, chromium picolinate, L-carnitine, ginger, essential fatty acids and phytosterols are also nutritionally beneficial for many. A good multiple vitamin with minerals provides a degree of needed minerals and vitamins. Absolutely do not smoke.
For more severe situations, consult your health care provider for testing and probable prescriptions of statin drugs (Nyastatin, etc.). The statin drugs are generally preferred by physicians. When any statin anti-fungal drugs are prescribed, a supplement for CoEnzyme Q10 is suggested to offset the blockage of essential CoEnzyme Q10 natural production by the liver.
In summary, excessive Cholesterol levels can be dangerous, but in almost all instances they can be controlled through better understanding, moderate exercise, proper diet and selected dietary supplements. More serious levels may require physician attention with appropriate prescription drugs. Also be aware cholesterol levels below 150 can be harmful to your health and should be monitored by your professional health care provider.
About the Author
Frank M. Jordan is a noted author, lecturer, formulator and researcher on Beta-glucans with many U.S. patents, issued, in application or pending issuance. Jordan received a degree in post graduate studies from The University of Texas at Austin and serves as President of Carmel Research, Inc., the latter a pioneer for more than two decades in Beta glucan research with major medical schools and scientific research centers. Frank Jordan was heard nationally on radio as Host of Frank Jordan's “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise,”
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