There is no such thing as good and bad cholesterol. These terms are fictitious. In fact LDL the so called ‘bad’ cholesterol and HDL the so called ‘good’ cholesterol are not even cholesterol, they are lipo-proteins, transports for cholesterol.
LDL is what is called low density lipo protein. Its function is to transport cholesterol from the liver to the bloodstream so that cholesterol can do all of its vitally important functions in the body such as making steroidal hormones (DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, pregnenolone, progesterone), creating and repairing cells, synthesizing vitamin D and numerous other vital functions.
In fact, your body is incapable of functioning without LDL particles. Calling LDL ‘bad’ is extremely misleading and tends to induce a sense of irrational fear. It is true that LDL particles can oxidize in the bloodstream and can irritate blood vessels. But many things oxidize in the body, including omega 3 fats, which oxidize at an incredible speed. The essential sulfur rich amino acid methionine can oxidize and cause an elevation of homocysteine, a major indicator for cardiovascular inflammation. Yet you wouldn’t stop the body from synthesizing L-methionine because of elevated homocysteine. The body needs methionine in a major way, especially for liver detoxification. The same logic should apply to LDL.
The real question should be: “what is causing LDL to oxidize?” When there is a high level of oxidation present in the body, there also tends to be free radical activity in the tissues. Consuming adequate amounts of antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E prevents oxidative free radical damage.
Consuming artificial, partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) will not only cause LDL to oxidize, so will a diet high in refined sugars, alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Elevated levels of LDL also may be caused by chemical and heavy metal toxicity, liver toxicity and stress, hypothyroidism and kidney failure. Calling LDL ‘bad’ is very misleading, especially if you are not identifying causation.
HDL the so called ‘good’ cholesterol is the lipo-protein which transports cholesterol from the bloodstream back to the liver. Low levels of HDL reflect a sedentary lifestyle. Doctors and others who push the misinformation about raising HDL as being a good thing, fail to address that HDL levels greater than 75 are actually correlative with autoimmune processes. This is a strong possibility especially if triglyceride levels are low (less than 40). Excess consumption of alcohol, drug use, hypothyroidism, and excess estrogen can also cause HDL levels to become too high.
If you are really concerned about your cardiovascular disease risk factor, test and monitor these factors:
- Cardio CRP reference range: 1-3
- Homocysteine reference range 0-6
- Insulin reference range: 0-5
Since elevation of these factors is much more correlative of CVD risk than cholesterol values, it only makes sense to test them regularly. Unfortunately, these aren’t routinely tested by doctors. The reason may very well be due to the fact that there aren’t any drugs to treat these blood chemistry factors and they are specifically controlled through nutritional intervention.