Bits & Bites #9 - Health: Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Sunday 4 August 2013

This post is part of a weekly series sharing Bits of mishmash on health, my business and life in general, which I find inspirational, enlightening or enriching.
And Bites of delicious food I have enjoyed.

Ravi Banana Leaf

Functions of Cholesterol:

1. It produces Hormones - cortisol hormones (the fight-or-flight hormones) and sex hormones (including estrogens, progestogens and testosterone). Low cholesterol is linked to sexual dysfunction.

2. It's used to synthesize bile acids, which is very important for the digestion of fat.

3. It's an essential component for membranes of your brain and nervous system. It facilitates nerve impulse transmission. Too little cholesterol can result in memory loss.

4. It's a weapon to fight infections. Studies found that people with low cholesterol have a higher risk of dying from respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.

5. It's used to make vitamin D. Deficiency in vitamin D is linked with heart disease, osteoporosis, depression and cancer.


Want a much better way to tell whether you're at risk of Heart Disease?
Don't just look at Cholesterol numbers alone.
These are better predictors of Heart Disease than cholesterol:
  • Hypertension
  • High levels of Triglycerides
  • High ratio of Triglycerides to HDL.

The Four Culprits of Aging are:
1. Oxidation
2. Inflammation
3. Sugar
4. Stress
All of them contribute heavily to Heart Disease.


Cholesterol's ability to fight toxins may be one reason why it's found at the site of arterial injuries caused by inflammation.
Blaming cholesterol for those injuries is like blaming firemen for fire.


Contrary to cholesterol's negative reputation, it is actually so essential to the health of your cells that your liver makes most of the cholesterol in your body. If you eat less cholesterol, your liver will simply take up the slack and make more.


The only time LDL (the so-called "bad") cholesterol is a problem is if it's Oxidized.
Oxidized LDL cholesterol sticks to the lining of arteries and begins the process of Inflammation.
It is this inflammation that is the true cause of heart disease.
Non-oxidized LDL is pretty much harmless.
Hence, the concept of "good" and "bad" cholesterol is outdated.


There are 2 types of LDL. Knowing you have a "high" LDL level is pretty much a useless piece of information unless you know how much of that LDL is the small, dense kind (harmful) and how much is the big, fluffy kind (not harmful at all).


A cholesterol level of 160 mg/dL or Less has been linked to:
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Cerebral hemorrhages
  • Loss of sex drive.

LDL cholesterol can be likened to trees in a forest.
A forest that has many trees but gets plenty of rain isn't likely to be the site of a wildfire.
But a forest with few trees but they are all dried up and there's little rainfall will more likely catch fire.
Meaning - what's more important is the overall condition rather than the presence of the trees.
Getting rid of the trees is one crude way to prevent forest fires (just like lowering cholesterol may decrease the risk of a "fire" in your artery walls), but it comes at a great sacrifice.
It is better to reduce the conditions under which a fire is likely to break out - that way we can have all the wonderful benefits of trees with none of the side effects of a compromised ecology.

(Source: The Great Cholesterol Myth, Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease - and the Statin-Free Plan that Will, Jonny Bowden & Stephen Sinatra)

Lapangan Tembak Senayan
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Have an awesome day!