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High Cholesterol

  • Hypercholesterolemia



  • Definition

    The chemical formula for cholesterol is C27H45OH. A monohydric alcohol. The most abundant steroid in animal tissues, especially in bile and gallstones; used as an emulsifying agent. Hypercholesterolemia is an excessive amount of cholesterol in the blood. About 80% of total body cholesterol is manufactured in the liver, the other 20% is from dietary sources. The body produces cholesterol because it is necessary in building cell membranes and sex hormones, and it aids in digestion. Cholesterol becomes a problem when excess of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) are present in the body. It is this excess of LDLs that can trigger the formation of placque on artery walls. High density lipoproteins (HDLs) are good because they sweep the body clean of excess cholesterol. If the body has too little HDL or too much LDL, there can be a problem. The levels of these substances are greatly influenced by diet.

    Vegetarians have low LDL, while exercise, vitamin C, and niacin elevate the good HDL.

    It is generally healthier to have a total cholesterol reading of less than 200 (combining both HDL and LDL), and the higher the HDL fraction the better. If the HDL level is 80 and the LDL level is 120, you are considered low risk for heart disease. As the HDL level decreases, your potential for heart problems intensifies, even if the total is on the low side. An HDL level under 35 is considered risky.

    Cholesterol is insoluble in water. It must be attached to a protein in order for it to be carried in the blood. This link to a protein is called a lipoprotein.


    Causes

    Overindulgence in cholesterol-containing foods is dangerous, causing elevated blood cholesterol and triglycerides. These fats produce placque-filled arteries that impede flow of blood to the brain, kidneys, genitals, extremities, and the heart. High cholesterol levels are the major cause of heart disease, fatty deposits in the arteries, and cerebrovascular and cardiac insufficiency. Also, high cholesterol is implicated in gallstones, impotence, mental impairment, and high blood pressure.

    Cholesterol, a yellowish, wax-like substance closely related to fat, is obtained from eating animal products. The body produces about 1000 mg. of cholesterol per day, while the average American diet supplies another 500-900 mg. This is 2 or 3 times more than should be eaten. Only 300 mg. per day should be eaten. Even if there were no cholesterol in our diet, the liver, and to a lesser degree the body cells, would produce enough cholesterol for all the normal body functions.

    Other factors that also play an important part in high blood cholesterol:
    Cigarette smoking
    Lack of proper exercise
    Emotional Stress
    Obesity
    A diet high in saturated fatty acids
    Heredity
    Coffee drinking
    Sugar - high intake of sucrose
    Age and sex - higher cholesterol levels are found in males and older people.
    High blood pressure


    Nutrients

    Coenzyme Q10, taken 60 mg. per day, improves heart function and improves circulation. Garlic capsules, 2 capsules 3 times per day, helps lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Vitamin C, 3,000-6,000 mg. in divided doses per day, improves adrenal function, lowers cholesterol levels and reduces blood-clotting tendencies. Lecithin, taken as directed on the label, emulsifies fat, improving liver function and lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Oat bran helps to lower cholesterol and supplies needed fiber. Vitamin E, 200-1,000 IU, increase dosage slowly, improves heart function and circulation. Kelp tablets, 5 tablets per day, is a good source of minerals and natural iodine. Vitamin B complex, 100 mg. twice daily, is important to circulatory function and for lowering blood pressure. Lipotropic factors, taken as directed on the label, prevents fat deposits. Niacin (B3), 500 mg. per day, lowers cholesterol (niacinamide is not effective).


    Herbs

  • TB
    • Almonds
    • Apple
    • Arnica
    • Artichoke
    • Calamus
    • Carrot
    • Centaury
    • Corn, oil or silk
    • Cucumber
    • Garlic
    • Gentian
    • Ginseng, American or Siberian
    • Goldenseal
    • Hawthorn, berry
    • Honysuckle, Japanese
    • Mugwort
    • Oat fiber
    • Olive oil
    • Oolong tea (Camellia sinensis)
    • Peanuts and oil
    • Plantain, narrow-leaved
    • Primrose, evening
    • Reishi mushrooms
    • Rice, brown
    • Safflower oil
    • Shitake mushrooms
    • Soybean oil
    • Sunflower oil
    • Sweetflag


    Recommendations

    Older people should take a walk daily outdoors, breathing the fresh air for the added oxygen as they exercise.

    Oat bran and brown rice bran are the best foods for lowering cholesterol. Since fiber absorbs the minerals from the food it is in, take extra minerals separate from the fiber.

    Meat and dairy products are the main offenders since they contain high levels of cholesterol. Coffee, stress, and sustained tension raise the serum cholesterol. Alcohol, steroids, oral contraceptives, Lasix and other diuretics, and L-Dopa (medication for Parkinson's disease) are a few of the many drugs that elevate blood cholesterol.

    No salt, heated fats, or supermarket oils should be eaten. Avoid red meats, animal products, white bread, coffee, tea, alcohol, or tobacco. Reduce the amount of fats in the diet. Make sure to take in plenty of fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A good exercise program is very important. Carrot juice helps flush fat from the bile in the liver and this helps lower cholesterol. Vegetables and fruits are free of cholesterol unless, in preparing for a meal, fats or other cholesterol substances are used. Sometimes people use margarine or vegetable oils because they contain no cholesterol, but once these are heated and ingested, the system is overwhelmed by deadly fats.

    Cream substitutes (nondairy cream), are poor alternatives to cholesterol heavy dairy products because many contain coconut oil, which is a highly saturated fat. Soy or almond milk is preferred.

    Pure virgin olive oil helps reduce serum cholesterol.

    Good fats are polyunsaturated fats. These are all vegetable fats that are liquid at room temperature. Examples of these are: olive oil, nuts, seeds, soybeans, black currant oil, and flaxseed.

    The fats that should be avoided are saturated fats, which are of animal origin: hydrogenated fats such as coconut oil and palm kernel oils; and hardened fats and oils such as margarine, lard, and butter.

    Some scientists claim that as the coffee consumed rises, the amount of cholesterol in the blood goes up dramatically.

    Saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature. These raise the blood cholesterol level and contributes to the "hardening of arteries".

    Monounsaturated fatty acids are found in peanuts, peanut butter and oil, avocados, olives and olive oil, most nuts including cashews, pecans, and Brazil nuts, regular margarine, and vegetable shortening. These reduce the total blood cholesterol (reduce the LDL level leaving the HDL nearly untouched.

    Polyunsaturated fatty acids are usually liquid at room temperature. These are found in plant oils such as corn, safflower, cotton seed, and sunflower oil, and in salad dressings made from these oils. Exceptions to this rule are coconut and palm oil, which are high in saturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids tend to lower the level of blood cholesterol, thus helping to prevent strokes, coronary artery disease, and atherosclerosis.


    Suggestions

    There are home diagnostics kits available with new finger-stick testing for cholesterol. Always check with the doctor when high cholesterol is suspected. A number of drugs lower blood cholesterol, but physicians have been warned by drug companies of their serious side effects. Only as a last resort should these drugs be used. Some cholesterol lowering drugs can provoke or worsen psoriasis.

    Many fast food restaurants use beef tallow (fat) in their hamburgers, fish, chicken, and French-fries producing highly toxic chemical substances in these foods.

    There are claims that charcoal lowers cholesterol levels. Do not consume activated charcoal daily because it also absorbs the good nutrients. Do not take charcoal with other medication.

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