How many times have you heard this question? How many people do you know currently on cholesterol lowering medication? If you are between the ages of 45 and 65, there are probably a lot. Exactly what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is the fat-like substance that exists in every cell of the body. Life is not possible without adequate amounts of cholesterol. The integrity of each cell membrane is dependent on adequate cholesterol production in the body as well as adequate cholesterol intake in the diet.
Cholesterol is a precursor to the production of all adrenal hormones. A balanced hormonal system is necessary for achieving and maintaining optimal health. It is impossible to overcome many chronic health conditions including autoimmune disorders, fatigue, fibromyalgia, lowered libido, and even cancer, if the hormonal system is imbalanced. In addition, an imbalanced hormonal system can lead to allergies, asthma, blood sugar problems, inflammation, difficulty healing, and reproductive problems.
Adrenal hormones are considered our “stress” hormones and determine how we respond to things that happen in life; good or bad. If cholesterol levels are too low, the adrenal hormone production will be suboptimal. When that happens, the body increases the production of cholesterol to try and “prime” the adrenal pathway. In this case, the elevated cholesterol level is the body’s natural response to poor adrenal function, and the last thing you would want to do is block the production of cholesterol.
Rarely will you come across a medical doctor that will check your adrenal function when diagnosing cholesterol problems. Instead, it is best to find out why the adrenals are not functioning properly and get them re-balanced. When that is done, the production of cholesterol will fall naturally.
There are five major functions of cholesterol in our body:
- Vitamin D – Cholesterol is the precursor to Vitamin D production. Without adequate cholesterol levels, not enough Vitamin D is produced which is necessary for a well functioning immune system and strong bones.
- Fat and Mineral Absorption – Cholesterol is the main ingredient in bile salts which are stored in the gall bladder. Proper fat digestion is impossible without bile salts.
- Cell Structure – Cholesterol is the “glue” that hold the cell layers together. Without it, cells become ‘leaky’, which can lead to chronic illness and cancer/
- Nervous System – The myelin sheath that covers all of our nerve cells requires cholesterol. Cholesterol is important for optimal memory function. It is the primary organic molecule in the brain. Brain fog is common in those with low cholesterol levels.
- Immune System – Cholesterol is necessary for the immune system to fight infection. Lower cholesterol levels have been associated with significantly increased risk of being hospitalized.
Next week we will cover how cholesterol is made in the body, when you should be concerned about your cholesterol level, and how to control it naturally.
Jami Jones is a Natural Health Consultant and owner of Nature’s Cure in Albany and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org