Wait did I just say benefits? But I thought that LDL was the “bad” cholesterol? Time to myth bust!
First trick is to ditch the carbs, you see it’s not the fat that is raising your triglycerides, it’s the carbs. When you cut carbs out (we really don’t need them folks) and increase the fat you will notice that your triglycerides will drop. The body is forced to burn fat in this scenario, this means you aren’t seeing fat just hanging out in the bloodstream. It clears it rather effectively.
But what about the “good” cholesterol (I’m talking about HDL here) – yes that will increase, but your blood sugar and insulin levels will drop, your inflammatory markers will drop, blood pressure may also decrease. Oh and you might find your losing weight.
Our brain signaling molecules (neurotransmitters) won’t work if we don’t have enough cholesterol. Our IQ will drop, our ability to process thoughts and problem solve will crash. CHolesterol doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier (most things don’t) so the brain makes its own. Most cholesterol is made in our lover (another reason to keep it healthy), but a small percentage (around 25%) is made in the brain, by the brain.
Back to LDL – that is going to rise as well, but before you panic realize that is not a bad thing provided you are on a low carb, carnivore or even ketogenic diet. Personally I prefer carnivore but that’s a whole other post. Did you know that LDL actually helps fight off infections? Certain bacteria release a protein that signal saying hey let’s establish an infection cause the host is a perfect fit. When our LDL is at adequate levels it will soak up this protein which neutralizes the bacteria. This means the bacteria (which release inflammation) won’t have a chance to take hold. This bacteria in most cases is pneumonia! Fun fact for those with elderly parents, what is one of the biggest fears of cold and flu season? That an elderly person will get a cold/flu and develop a possibly fatal case of pneumonia… logic dictates we would want to have enough LDL for them to fight it off before it gets a foot hold yes? Then why are we passing out statins like candy to our aging population and weakening their defences? It’s science folks. We need LDL, it’s part of our own natural defence system.
We need cholesterol, if you have been following me for any length of time you have heard me preach the values of adequate cholesterol, especially for women and definitely as we age. Every hormone in our body depends on cholesterol, every cell in our body has cholesterol. The structural integrity of our cells is cholesterol, it gives it flexibility and prevents anything bad from penetrating it. Mental clarity, our cognitive function – we need cholesterol. Did you know that lung infections and cancer are two of the most common causes of death as we get older? LDL and overall higher cholesterol protect us from both of those. Yup higher cholesterol levels actually showed lower risk of cancers over a 10 year study.
What about hormone balance? Our sex hormones all depend on cholesterol, our muscle mass, our male and female characteristics, all of it including our stress hormones they depend on cholesterol. Did you know that the enzyme CoQ10 acts like a spark plug for our muscles? If you don’t have enough cholesterol you won’t have enough of this enzyme. This is why patients taking statins need to supplement with it. Luckily for us carnivores we get it naturally since some of the best sources of CoQ10 are oily fish and organ meats, such as beef liver. As our body has lower levels of CoQ10 the side effects of the statins increase, in some cases dangerous muscle loss conditions such as rabdo (rhabdomyolysis) can occur. There is also a lowered amount of cholesterol in the brain – which means decreased neurotransmitter function (no thanks) oh and liver damage. That’s a hard pass from me thanks.
Our ovaries (estrogen) and our testicles (testosterone) can’t make their own cholesterol, unlike the brain they are dependent on LDL cholesterol to supply them with enough cholesterol to make our much needed sex hormones. Are you seeing a pattern here? We NEED cholesterol, we need LDL. Did you know that when you look at a healthy woman who is older in age, she will have higher levels of cholesterol. Yes that is right… I said HEALTHY. The unhealthy ones had many health issues like high blood pressure and low cholesterol. The highest risk of heart disease was LOW cholesterol groups, the highest risk of stroke was also the LOWEST cholesterol groups. This is especially true for women.
Population based studies clearly show that as cholesterol increases our incidence of stroke goes down, as does risk for heart disease…so where have we gotten all this bad information that lower cholesterol is better? These also show (as I mentioned previously) that IQ, memory, thought process and anything related to cognitive function is greatly improved with higher levels of cholesterol – those on statins or with low cholesterol will see a decline in all of this.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to stick to the higher end and health. Want me to properly assess your labs so you don’t fear cholesterol? Let me explain what your lab results ACTUALLY mean
Are you looking to try out Carnivore? Let’s get you in for a mini session so you start off on the right track. It can be a lot to navigate!