For decades people have been brain washed into thinking cholesterol is strictly bad and the lower your cholesterol levels, the healthier you will be. This dogma has worked out great for the pharmaceutical companies and their push to get everybody on statins. What you may not know is that low cholesterol is also very problematic and greatly increases your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain degenerative diseases. This is quite interesting considering that brain degenerative diseases only seem to be on the rise.
In case you don’t know, statins are drugs that work to lower the body’s cholesterol levels by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, an important substance used in the production of cholesterol. Cholesterol is an unsaturated steroid found in almost all tissues of the body and about 25 percent of total cholesterol in the body is found in the brain. It carries out many important functions in the body that are vital to our health and well-being. It is an important constituent to cell membranes and a precursor to several vital hormones, including Vitamin D, Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone, Aldosterone and Cortisol. The liver can also convert cholesterol into bile salts or into bile to assist in the digestion of lipids. Interestingly, we can excrete a certain amount of cholesterol out of our body through our feces in the form of bile acids. Therefore, the liver plays an important role in the regulation and homeostasis of cholesterol levels.
Will high cholesterol levels lead to heart disease? It was originally thought that high cholesterol levels were a sole, incontrovertible predictor of heart disease. More recent evidence suggests that this may not necessarily be true and while high cholesterol levels may play a role in heart disease, there are many other variables that need to be accounted for such as: insulin resistance/ chronically elevated blood sugar levels and inflammation. Indeed, studies have indicated insulin resistance as a major underlying factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.
You can read more about that here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC380256/
What about the good and the bad cholesterol? I’m sure you’ve probably heard at some point, “There’s good and there’s bad cholesterol.” According to mainstream medicine and media propaganda: the LDL are “the bad guys and we
want to eradicate them because they are the enemy.” and the HDL “those are the good guys, and we want them to be higher.” ‘LDL’ stands for low density lipoproteins and ‘HDL’ stands for high density lipoproteins. What you may not realize is that both forms of cholesterol are necessary and vital for normal function of the body and labeling LDL as bad is ridiculous. The LDL complex is the principal vehicle for delivering cholesterol to the different tissues of the body via the blood. Sure, high levels of LDL may play a role in heart disease but as was previously mentioned, this topic has become quite controversial in recent years.
On to the evidence!
A recent study published in the Journal of Frontiers in Aging and Neuroscience revealed that low cholesterol levels are linked to reduced semantic fluency performance and reduced gray matter in the medial temporal lobe. To translate in simpler terms, semantic fluency is a sixty second verbal fluency test where participants generate as many words as possible from a given category.
They are scored based upon the number of unique correct words from each category. Thus, low cholesterol levels are linked to reduced cognitive performance and mental clarity. The medial temporal lobe is part of the brain that includes the hippocampus, amygdala and parahippocampal regions and is essential for declarative memory or the conscious memory of facts and events, as well as spatial memory. Spatial memory is the information used to plan a route to a desired location and to recall where an object is located or to remember where an event took place. These symptoms are very closely related to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
You can check that article out here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2020.00057/full
A 2009 study by Iowa State University found that cholesterol reducing drugs may lessen brain function. Yeon-Kyun Shin, a biophysics professor in the department of biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology, stated that drugs that prevent the liver from producing cholesterol may also prevent the brain from producing cholesterol that is vital to normal brain function. He was quoted saying, "If you deprive cholesterol from the brain, then you directly aﬀect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters," said Shin. "Neurotransmitters aﬀect the data-processing and memory functions. In other words -- how smart you are and how well you remember things.” He sounds like a smart guy; I wonder what his cholesterol levels are…
A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry concluded better memory function in elderly persons with higher levels of cholesterol and reduced or poor memory function in elderly persons with lower levels of cholesterol. Something to note was that the subjects with the highest cholesterol levels had the best memory function and that low cholesterol levels were associated with a greater risk for depression, reduced cognitive function and even d eath!
You can check that article out here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18757771/
The purpose of this article is to inform the reader about common misconceptions associated with cholesterol so they can make an educated decision about their own health and well-being. We are not pretending to oﬀer medical advice, nor are we giving recommendations about prescription medications. Our hope is that the reader will have enough information to feel comfortable in making their own choices.
Research has also concluded that foods high in dietary cholesterol do not cause heart disease and will only moderately impact serum cholesterol levels…. but that info is for another post!
Written By: John Laznovsky - “The Wolf of Wellness”
John Laznovsky, LMT
John has over ten years of experience in the field of corrective exercise and rehabilitation as a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Manual Therapist. He holds advanced certifications in Kettlebells, Functional Movement Screening, Posture Analysis, Sciatica Treatment, Neck and Scapula Pain, Back Pain and CPR and AED.)
Mary Laznovsky, M.S., L.Ac
Mary is a Licensed Acupuncturist and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach who has been busy in private and clinical practice since graduating from New York College in April 2010. Mary values Eastern Medicine because she believes it is a truly holistic healing practice which incorporates a synchronicity between the body and the mind. She works with her patients building a positive and healthy environment for an optimal healing process.
Mary's methods work to treat the body as a whole, seeking out the root of a disease in addition to alleviating the symptoms.