For a great number of years, people have been led to believe by medical authorities that the lower the total cholesterol and LDL levels, the better. As more and more research surfaces, it is apparent that this belief is terribly incorrect.
A very interesting correlation exists between many different types of autoimmune diseases and the incidence of low cholesterol values. It is very common that autoimmune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes Type I, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Sjogren’s and others typically feature low serum cholesterol and lipo-protein profiles. A large body of medical research studies support these findings.
Cholesterol: A Vital Anti-Inflammatory Lipid
Various studies demonstrate that cholesterol is a potent anti-inflammatory lipid, which serves to inhibit the formation of pro-inflammatory fatty acids such as Leukotriene and Thromboxane, via the 5-LOX and 5-COX inflammatory pathways.
LDL has been incorrectly labelled as “bad cholesterol” and HDL as “good cholesterol”. These terms are of course fictitious. In reality there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol. It is important to understand that LDL (low density lipo protein) is not cholesterol. It is the carrier mechanism for cholesterol to the tissues. HDL (high density lipo protein) removes cholesterol from the tissues and returns it to the liver. In order for cholesterol’s anti-inflammatory effects to be utilized in the tissues where inflammation exists, LDL is the essential transport.
The inflammatory, autoimmune bowel disease Crohn’s typically features low concentrations of serum cholesterol, LDL and HDL values. THIS study indicates Rheumatoid Arthritis patients tend to exhibit significant decreases in both LDL and total cholesterol measurements in the 5 years prior to RA diagnosis. Other studies such asTHIS indicates the tendency for decreased cholesterol synthesis in autoimmune Type I Diabetes. Sjrogren’s patients tend to exhibit low total cholesterol.
LDL Is Essential For Life Processes: Hormones, Reducing Infections
Besides functioning to transport cholesterol to the cells, LDL also carries powerful and essential antioxidant nutrients such as Vitamin E, CoQ10, A, D as well as phospholipids.
Additionally, LDL is required for the transport of cholesterol, which is used to synthesize steroidal hormones such as pregnenolone, cortisol, DHEA, estrogen and testosterone.
It is very common for certain autoimmune diseases (such as RA) to feature various types of infection. Studies such as THIS have shown that LDL has the capability of reducing pathogens and infectious bacteria. Endotoxins from gram negative bacteria bind to LDL particles. When bound to LDL, they are inactivated. Additionally, when endotoxins are bound to LDL, the toxins are unable to trigger the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-a. Therefore, if there is insignificant cholesterol and LDL, a person may be at an increased risk for infection.
What is essential to understand is that insufficient cholesterol in the tissues and low LDL levels can result in high levels of inflammation, decreased immunity, susceptibility to infections, decreased antioxidants and hormone insufficiencies. Due to the fact that roughly 80% of the cholesterol in the blood is made by the liver, a decreased production of cholesterol may be highly reflective of liver toxicity and/or bile insufficiency. The fact that cholesterol is an anabolic lipid (life building and supporting; anabolic processes inhibit inflammation and degeneration) suggests that low levels of cholesterol is reflective of catabolism, degeneration, and the cell and tissue destructive effects of free radical activity.
It is stated here that sufficient cholesterol available in human tissues possesses the capacity to inhibit the pro-inflammatory immune signalling cascades that are so strongly at the root of the auto-immune process. Furthermore, supported by literature, diminished cholesterol activity may be a primary factor in the development of certain autoimmune conditions.