For conventional medicine, the cholesterol maze just got a whole lot harder to navigate. The entrance to the maze starts with LDL cholesterol, which scientists think they have figured out. They can control the so-called bad cholesterol with statins (conveniently ignoring the side effects). But HDL cholesterol has been harder to figure out. And now, it's even more difficult for them to control.
Most people in medicine think HDL cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol. But the human body is a lot more complex than the old good cop, bad cop routine. You see, LDL isn't really as bad as they make it out to be - at least not until it becomes oxidized. And HDL cholesterol really isn't as good as they make it out to be. And a breakthrough study out of Houston Methodist Research Institute shows why cholesterol is so confusing.
This study has massive implications. It suggests that the way conventional medicine has treated HDL cholesterol for the last 40 years is flat wrong. This study won't change anything about statin use. But it should make you reconsider using them. Here's what happened.
Medical biochemist Henry Pownall, PhD and his team wanted to prove that current beliefs about how the body eliminates cholesterol are accurate. But like so many things in science, they made an accidental discovery. They found out that their beliefs weren't quite right.
For years, science has believed that HDL cholesterol stayed in the body for several days before the liver pulled it from your system and disposed of it. But this team found that cholesterol "skips all these steps." It, in fact, goes to the liver where it can be eliminated in just two minutes. Pownall said, "This is a thousand times faster than what was formerly suspected."
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Why is this important? Pownall says this means HDL isn't as protective as we originally thought and could actually contribute to cardiovascular disease. The new model suggests that some patients with very high HDL numbers are actually at risk. Confused? I think everyone is.
Pownall tries to sum it up this way: "HDL, or the 'good cholesterol,' is a much trickier system. Not everything that raises it protects the heart and not everything that lowers it is bad for you."
In other words, forcing your HDL higher with drugs can cause heart problems. While seeing your numbers drop when you're eating a healthful diet, exercising, and taking high-quality nutrients is not a bad thing. Of course, Pownall wants to find drugs to force this balance in your body.
Scientists like complicated models. The more complicated it is, the more they can dissect it and find a pill to deal with one particular section of the issue.
This study tells me one thing: Your body needs to be nurtured, protected, and guided to health as a whole. It doesn't need to be driven or forced into health with drugs (except in dire circumstances). Doing so can cause good things to become bad. If your cholesterol is high, it probably didn't get there overnight. Driving it down with drugs is going to cause problems.
Instead, be patient and nourish your body so it can bring the cholesterol levels down naturally. This starts with a good diet and regular exercise. But the right nutrients, such as those in the Mediterranean Cholesterol Formula, can help bring your numbers into balance over time. Don't let the complicated maze of cholesterol research confuse you. You can stay healthy by keeping life simple and healthy.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.