Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol is a modified steroid, fatty molecule that is a vital component of all cell membranes. Cholesterol is also involved in many key metabolic processes.

There is a major misconception that cholesterol is divided into bad LDL and good HDL. The reality is that cholesterol is typically transported around the body by varying types of proteins, the major groups being LDL and HDL. In regard to cardiovascular disease, it is important to realise that LDL cholesterol is divided into small and large components, as is HDL cholesterol.

It is, in fact, the small components of both LDL and HDL that contributes to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke, whereas large LDL and large HDL which make up most of the measured cholesterol are both vitally important for the normal functioning of the body. A standard blood test does not measure the sub components of both LDL and HDL.

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To make matters even more confusing, there are 2 relatively common genetic cholesterol abnormalities which are strongly associated with much higher risk for cardiovascular disease. These are familial hypercholesterolaemia and an elevated lipoprotein (a). Familial hypercholesterolaemia is a situation where a person’s cholesterol runs between 7–10 mmol/L regardless of diet and people with this condition have a 50% risk of a vascular event such as a heart attack or stroke by age 50. One in 5 people carry the gene for an elevated lipoprotein (a). People with this very common abnormality have a 70% high risk for vascular disease throughout their life time.

Another major misconception around the entire cholesterol issue is the excessive use of statin drugs. Statin drugs to lower cholesterol, such as Lipitor and Crestor, are the biggest selling drugs in the world. In my opinion, they are over-prescribed and should only be administered for people with proven heart disease such as those who have already suffered a heart attack, coronary artery bypass grafting or coronary stenting or some other coronary equivalent all for those people who, on a coronary calcium score, as shown to have a significant amount of coronary atherosclerosis.

Just because your cholesterol is elevated does not mean you should automatically commence a cholesterol lowering pill.

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As part of a wider heart health regime, you may also consider a supplement containing Ubiquinol, the bioactive form of CoQ10, which helps to support the heart by maintaining a healthy heart and vascular system, and supports cholesterol through helping to maintain healthy LDL cholesterol levels in healthy people. Studies have shown that Ubiquinol reduces levels of small LDL cholesterol.

Another supplement Bergamet Pro Plus, enhances the reduction of small LDL when taken with Ubiquinol.

The most important aspect of prevention and management of any common serious disease are my 5 points for healthy living:

  1. Quit all addictions
  2. Cultivate a healthy sleep habit
  3. Eat less and eat more naturally
  4. 3–5 hours every week of some form of exercise
  5. Happiness

Lowering a number in your blood stream with a pill is certainly not the key to good health!