Making Sense of Your Cholesterol Numbers

Cholesterol

What is your number? I bet you know your cell phone… PIN… Social Security…. But what about your cholesterol number—do you know it?

And what about the “other” numbers that accompany the cholesterol, like your HDL, LDL, VLDL, and Cholesterol/HDL ratio?

The Myth of Cholesterol

  • LDL is the protein carrier that moves cholesterol from the liver to other cells throughout the body in times of need. HDL has the reverse job, it brings the cholesterol from peripheral tissues back to the liver.

    Here’s an analogy: Think of the LDL and HDL as part of a road construction crew. Cholesterol is the raw material required for repair. The LDL is the truck that shuttles the cholesterol from the liver to the site that needs work. LDL is mobilized in response to inflammation. The HDL is the truck that shuttles used materials back to the liver when they’re no longer needed.

    As you can see, neither of these is “good” or “bad” They are both important and have critical roles in the maintenance and repair of the body. The question we should be asking ourselves is “Where is the injury coming from?”
     
  • Cholesterol and the quality fats we eat only increase blood cholesterol levels by half of 1%. So saying you should avoid fat and cholesterol in your diet isn’t applicable. So yes, you should eat the whole egg.
     
  • ·Simply decreasing total cholesterol numbers doesn't decrease your incidence of having a heart attack. There are more important variables along with your cholesterol numbers that show you are more at risk.

The Numbers That Matter

You may know that these numbers tell us something about your cardiovascular health.  But they paint an incomplete picture. Other markers that are important in completing the picture are:

  • Cardio Reactive Protein (CRP) – cardiovascular inflammation marker
  • Hemoglobin A1C – blood sugar marker
  • Homocysteine – amino acid present in the blood; used to assess the risk of vascular and neurological disease
  • Platelet count – type of blood cell involved in plaque formation
  • Fibrinogen – marker used to monitor risk for intravascular coagulation

As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I view these numbers from a slightly different perspective than the average medical professional. My goal is to help restore function and balance through dietary and lifestyle improvements and with supplements that support better function.

For instance, if your cholesterol is elevated above functional ranges, I look at your ability to metabolize fats, gallbladder function, and your stress levels, among other things. I would check to see if your diet is high in refined carbs, poor quality fats, and excessive sugar.

Cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D, necessary for numerous biochemical processes including mineral metabolism. 

Bile salts (which are required for the digestion of fat) are made of cholesterol. Those who suffer from low cholesterol often have trouble digesting fats. 

Cholesterol also functions as a powerful antioxidant, thus protecting us against cancer and aging.

Cholesterol is vital to proper neurological function. It plays a key role in the formation of memory and the uptake of hormones in the brain, including serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical. When cholesterol levels drop too low, the serotonin receptors cannot work.

Finally, cholesterol is the precursor to all the hormones produced in the adrenal cortex including glucocorticoids, which regulate blood sugar levels, and mineralocorticoids, which regulate mineral balance. Corticoids are the cholesterol-based adrenal hormones that the body uses in response to stress of various types; it promotes healing and balances the tendency to inflammation. The adrenal cortex also produces sex hormones (including testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone) out of cholesterol.

According to the American Heart Association:

“If you have high cholesterol, there’s a good chance it’s your fault. And that’s good news! It means you can do something about it. [Really, they say that on their site!]
Your body naturally produces all the LDL cholesterol it needs. An unhealthy lifestyle, such as eating unhealthy foods and being physically inactive, causes your body to have more LDL cholesterol in your blood than it needs. This is the cause of high cholesterol for most people.
If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle modifications is important to help lower your risk of heart disease. If they don’t lower your risk enough, you may need prescribed medications.
If that sounds bad, consider your options. It’s a lot better to change your lifestyle now, to prevent a heart attack or stroke, than to wait until a devastating event changes your life for you. Making minor changes now can help prevent major changes later." [Now THAT I agree with!]

If you have a stroke or heart failure from a serious heart attack, you may never fully recover.

Since these unhealthy lifestyle factors raise the risk of developing high cholesterol, it follows that reversing them by adopting a healthier lifestyle will help lower cholesterol. To learn how to make changes to reduce your risk, let’s schedule a Nutritional Consultation and Assessment.

We will examine your diet, lifestyle, and toxic load. If you have blood work done within the last 6 months, I can run the numbers through my nutritional evaluation. If you need a comprehensive panel ordered, I can do that.

Redeeming Wellness Comprehensive Blood Panel + Assessment
345.00

Blood chemistries remain the gold standard in healthcare. As an unlicensed practitioner, I do not diagnose or treat disease. Instead, I look at blood chemistries from a nutritional perspective. The numbers really do matter! Blood chemistries offer an opportunity to see imbalances before they become serious conditions.

WHAT YOU GET:

  • A complete blood panel profile, including a CBC, a complete thyroid panel, lipids, glucose, vitamin D, and much more.
  • 1-hour consultation in which we will do a deep dive on your numbers. I'll break down what it all means and make diet, supplement, and lifestyle suggestions based on your personalized results. 

HOW THIS WORKS:

  1. I'll email you your requisition form. Look out for that in your email inbox! 
  2. Take that to any Quest Diagnostics Lab in your area and have blood drawn. (Note that depending on your area, there may be a small additional fee for this.)
  3. I receive your results and will email you a link to my calendar so we can schedule our consult. (Note that it may take up to 5 business days for me to receive the results.) 
  4. We'll spend an hour going over your results in detail. When we meet, I will recommend diet, supplementation, and lifestyle changes based on what I discover in your blood panel results to help you optimize your health! 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me: leslie@redeemingwellness.com

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