What’s Up with Cholesterol?
by Dr. John Kupper – Chiropractor in Encinitas, CA
As a Chiropractor in Encinitas, I have always understood that the greatest way to go about being healthy is to first and foremost properly maintain the human body in order to prevent possible disease and illness. As I have gone through nearly a decade of schooling covering health, wellness, disease, and treatment, it has occurred to me that “disease prevention” and “wellness” are difficult to practice. The reason being that healthy people STAYING healthy and avoiding disease is very different than diagnosing and treating disease. Almost all of both medical school and chiropractic school is based on diagnosis and treatment of the condition diagnosed. Nonetheless, although prevention and wellness is recognized across the board as being the “way to go”, it isn’t the easiest way to practice healthcare. It’s time-consuming, results are very hard to measure, and it take patience and perseverance – all things that modern day society don’t like to hear.
Therefore, unfortunately, a large majority of so called “healthcare” these days is geared toward diagnosing, treating, and curing versus wellness and prevention. Dr. Bernard Lown said in his blog, “Diligent prevention, unfortunately, plays second fiddle to heroic cures.” That is exactly what we are seeing in healthcare today. The money being spent on “healthcare” or “Sick-Care” rather, is based on the population actually being sick! If I was able to snap my fingers and magically make everyone perfectly healthy, what would that do the hospital industry? Pharmaceutical industry? The list could go on and on. If there isn’t a disease or a symptom that can be suppressed or cured, then essentially with the way things are done… THERE IS NO PROBLEM.
That is especially the case when it comes to cholesterol and cholesterol lowering medications. Now before I get into statin therapy and the risks vs. possible benefits lets first dive into the main issue of What is Cholesterol anyway?
Cholesterol is not inherently bad. It has been vilified as the major cause of heart disease. The claim that it clogs our arteries is known world-wide, despite no scientific evidence to validate the theory. I will no go too deep into what ACTUALLY causes heart disease but as a society we really need to retrain our doctors and clinicians to look at this cholesterol theory with a non-biased physiological eye. If were completely evil, your liver wouldn’t produce it (unbeknownst to many, your liver makes about three-quarters or more of your body’s cholesterol—that’s how important it is).
Cholesterol plays a key role in regulating protein pathways involved in cell signaling. It is well known that cholesterol makes up a large part of your cell membranes, and new research suggests cholesterol interacts with proteins inside your cells, making it even MORE important. Remember: your body is composed of trillions of cells that absolutely need to communicate with one another. Cortisol, your main anti-inflammatory hormone, is made of cholesterol! When there is stress (physical, chemical, or emotional) cortisol will be secreted in higher levels, thus demanding higher levels of cholesterol. Your brain contains roughly 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It is critical for synapse formation, i.e. the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things, and form memories.
One of the biggest myths surrounding cholesterol is that high levels are caused by what you eat. This is quite simply not true! The human liver is designed to remove excess cholesterol from your body. Also, LDL “bad cholesterol” carries re-building nutrients to sites of tissue damage and inflammation. Meaning, wherever there is inflammation in your body, there will be higher levels of cholesterol needed, especially LDL. Demands that will increase cholesterol requirements include stress, inflammation and elevated demands on insulin (high carbohydrate intake). The cholesterol levels in your body are determined by your environment, choose wisely.
Further, eating nutritious cholesterol-rich foods is not something you should feel overly guilty about. It is estimated that only 20 percent of your blood cholesterol levels come from your diet! So let’s get the REAL STORY…Cholesterol is one of the most powerful healing foods and molecules your body can ingest and produce. The problem occurs during times of high stress, oxidation, and inflammation. The real key to not only reversing heart disease but also staying healthy in general is to put out the inflammatory fires, especially those that are chronic and happening due to poor lifestyle choices.
So let’s just be honest and get to the real facts of the story. Cholesterol is NOT the enemy, chronic inflammation and tissue damage is the real enemy. High LDL levels are a response to stress- physical, chemical, and emotional STRESS. Stress causes a cascade of metabolic and cellular activity that REQUIRES there to be more cholesterol available. It really is as SIMPLE AS THAT. Now zoning in on what those physical, chemical, and emotional stresses are in your life will be the most difficult part of the puzzle. But just because it may be difficult DOES NOT mean that it isn’t worth it. Our bodies are not designed to have to require synthetic chemicals (drugs) to function optimally. High LDL cholesterol levels are not caused by a deficiency of statin drugs. WHAT DOES cause high LDL cholesterol? In basic terms, you now know.
This article is by no means a complete review of the topic, but hopefully gives you a peek into how the human body ACTUALLY works. Your body is not stupid, it is smart. It is capable of continuously adapting to the daily stresses that are put upon it. Your goal should be to identify and reduce the amount of negative stress put on your body. In doing so, your body can spend more time healing and regenerating instead of focusing on putting out inflammatory fires. Remember that when you’re in a stressed state (“fight or flight”) your immune system is slower and weaker. Reduce the STRESS and you will be a much healthier you! For more information visit us at http://k2healthcenter.com or call us at (760) 456-9470.
Yours in Health,
Dr. John Kupper
Dr. Kupper is an Encinitas Chiropractor. He grew up in Southern California and has always been fascinated with how the body works and functions. He enjoys beach volleyball, basketball, and being by the ocean. He pursued a degree in Exercise Science from BYU and furthered his education by obtaining his Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from the prestigious Life Chiropractic College West. He graduated with both academic and clinical honors. He is currently in the process of pursuing a masters in NeuroScience and becoming board certified in Functional Neurology and Neuro-behavioral Disorders of Childhood
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