Even after all this time, cholesterol still gets a bad rap. Cholesterol is necessary and when it is out of a healthy range it is an indicator. What it indicates may surprise you. Let’s review three reasons that your cholesterol may be high that does not include eating fat.
HDL and LDL
High-density lipoproteins have anti-inflammatory properties and can carry LDL cholesterol away from the blood vessels to the liver where it can be processed. LDL cholesterol is important because they transport sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, and stress hormones through the body. Both LDLs and HDLs are necessary for optimal health.
The scene of the crime
LDLs get a bad rap because they are often found at areas of blood vessel damage. It’s high insulin and high blood sugar that are often the criminals causing the damage that is found in the vessels, not cholesterol. Because of this, cholesterol gets a reputation for causing heart disease. High cholesterol is an indicator. Let’s talk about what it can indicate.
Not so sweet stuff
High insulin and high blood sugar can drive up cholesterol. Cholesterol levels can come down significantly on a plant-based ketogenic diet which is moderate or high in fat but very low in sugar and other carbohydrates.
The Thyroid Connection
Adequate thyroid hormones are necessary to process and remove cholesterol. Low thyroid levels lead to high cholesterol levels. (Check out this article). Before any doctor puts you on a statin drug to lower your cholesterol make sure a complete thyroid panel is performed. This would include, TSH, Total T4, Free T4, Total T3, Free T3, Reverse T3, TPO, and TG. Low iodine levels are the main cause of low thyroid function in people worldwide but in North America, low thyroid function is most commonly caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This could be identified by an extended thyroid panel.
Don’t Stress Me Out!
Stress is the last factor I want to talk about that can cause high cholesterol levels. Stay with me for a minute. Something happens that stresses you out. Your adrenal glands release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in order to get more blood flow to your muscles so you can run away or fight whatever is stressing you out. How do you think those stress hormones get to where they are going? They need cholesterol to take them there. More stress hormones lead to more cholesterol.
Bottom line is don’t allow a doctor to put you on a cholesterol-lowering medication without first checking these three factors. Once identified you can do something to correct it and often watch your cholesterol return to a healthy range.