Epidemiological data complied from 164 countries by the World Health Organization (WHO) and from BHF Heart Stats reveal something quite stunning: people with the lowest total cholesterol levels have the HIGHEST levels of mortality from all causes. Conversely, total cholesterol levels between 200-240 is associated with the LOWEST levels of mortality from all causes. People with the LOWEST total cholesterol also have the highest levels of infectious and parasitic diseases. Those with total cholesterol greater than 200 have very low levels of infection.
The epidemiological data also reveals that cardiovascular disease occurs with people who have low, normal and high total cholesterol. The implication from this is that total cholesterol is a very poor marker for the assessment of cardiovascular risk.
Cholesterol: What's Going On Here?
Despite what you have been led to believe, cholesterol is one of the most important substances inside of the human body. There is no such thing as "good" and "bad" cholesterol. These are bogus, fictitious terms. Cholesterol, LDL (low density lipo-protein) and HDL (high density lipo-protein) are so essential to life processes that your body is not capable of functioning without them.
LDL and HDL are not cholesterol, they are lipo-proteins, transport mechanisms for cholesterol. Cholesterol is either being transported to the tissues from the liver (LDL) or back to the liver from the tissues (HDL). LDL carries cholesterol to the peripheral tissues so that the cells can use cholesterol for all of the body's essential life processes such as: cell membrane integrity, hormone synthesis, anti-inflammatory activity, bile production and fat digestion.
More and more emerging medical research from around the world points to cholesterol as anti-inflammatory, and not pro-inflammatory as has been previously assumed. In fact, THIS important medical study reveals that cholesterol sulfate inhibits Leukotriene synthesis. Leukotrienes are one of the key, pro-inflammatory, immune-signaling lipids that initiates free radical destruction in the body.
Low Cholesterol & Autoimmune Disease
Numerous studies on various autoimmune diseases note the prevalence of low cholesterol values in autoimmune processes. THIS study reveals that total cholesterol and LDL were significantly decreased in the 5 years before RA diagnosis.
Other studies such as THIS one cites the prevalence of low cholesterol is Sjrogren's.THIS study identifies low cholesterol in type 1 diabetes. THIS study identifies low cholesterol, LDL and lipid values in Crohn's Disease.
The implication that I derive from these correlations is that because cholesterol is anti-inflammatory, decreases in cholesterol production is associated with a higher susceptibility to oxidative stress, infections, inflammation and free radical damage. To say that an autoimmune patient suffers from these is an understatement.
Click HERE to read more about autoimmune disease.
Low Cholesterol, Toxicity & Infections
Cholesterol is an essential component for bile synthesis. Bile contains conjugated toxins from the liver's detoxification pathways. Inadequate bile production is strongly associated with toxicity and liver distress.
Studies such as THIS have shown that LDL cholesterol 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 Do LOW Cholesterol Values Reflect?
Biliary stasis and liver toxicity can prevent cholesterol from being produced by the liver. In today's world of poor nutrition and with high levels of environmental toxicity, the liver's ability to function at an optimal level is certainly challenged, if not flat out inhibited.
Dietary sources of saturated fat have little influence on serum cholesterol values. The same is true for dietary sources of cholesterol.
Nutritional strategies that are tailored to the needs of the individual can be highly effective at improving the function of the liver and the body's metabolic processes.