Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) found in cell membranes and transported in the blood of all animals. Cholesterol is an essential component of cell membranes in mammals where it is necessary in order to have proper membrane permeability and fluidity. Cholesterol is classified as a sterol (a contraction of steroid and alcohol). Cholesterol is the principal sterol synthesized by animals.
Cholesterol is not fully understood by the public because of misinformation perpetuated by the medical and pharmaceutical community.
Cholesterol is necessary in the human body and the body produces about 85% of its daily needs…regardless of the amount of foods eaten containing cholesterol. The controversy exists with regard to whether or not dietary ingestion of foods with high cholesterol levels or high fat levels contributes to the overall cholesterol found in the blood. The answer is it does not…sort of.
High cholesterol is considered to be a level over 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter) with moderate risk between 200-240 and high risk to be above 240 mg/dl. Cholesterol is transported in the blood by lipoproteins. Total cholesterol levels including high cholesterol is an addition of VLDL (very low density lipoproteins), LDL (low density lipoproteins) and HDL (high density lipoproteins).
Low cholesterol is considered to be anything under 200 mg/dl. But is low cholesterol really necessary? Maybe.
Lowering cholesterol and how to do it also helps explain the controversy.
First, it’s helpful to understand:
- Dietary cholesterol intake has nothing to do with blood levels of cholesterol.
- Cholesterol and fat intake do not raise cholesterol levels if they are eaten in the presence of a low carbohydrate diet.
- Total cholesterol levels above what traditional doctors consider a high risk may be meaningless and not a risk at all.
- It’s the ratios of Total Cholesterol to HDL (total divided by HDL) and LDL to HDL (LDL divided by LDL) that are far more illustrative of cardiovascular risk.
For more information about these ratios and why they determine a more accurate picture of risk with examples, please click “Good Cholesterol “.
For more information about the 2 best diets to lower cholesterol, please click “Cholesterol Diet”.
For more information about the risk of common cholesterol medications, please click “Cholesterol Medications”.