It’s all in the numbers! At OVitaminPro.com we go over so many blood tests with people and one of the big concerns is high cholesterol. People usually look at the cholesterol total on their blood test and freak out if that number is over two hundred. The thing is, that’s not the only important number or issue regarding cholesterol levels.
What do these numbers mean? And for that matter, what is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a sterol (steroid alcohol) found in animal oils and fats. It is an essential component of cell membrane development and bile acid production, adrenal steroids, and sex hormones. It is found throughout the body, especially in the blood, brain, kidneys, and nerve fiber myelin sheaths. Yes, it is pretty much everywhere!
The total cholesterol number is the big number on your test and should be between 150 and 200, although if everything else looks good it is sometimes okay to see higher numbers there. LDL is what we call the bad cholesterol. LDL stands for low density-lipoproteins. It is mainly manufactured in the liver. HDL is what we call the good cholesterol. HDL stands for high density lipoproteins. It plays a role in cholesterol transport from the peripheral tissues to the liver, and in the metabolism of the other lipoproteins.
There is a balance that should be maintained when LDL and HDL combine, working together with the mechanism of the LDL moving cholesterol into the arteries and the HDL moving it from the arteries. When the HDL is elevated, as it is supposed to be, it protects against arthrosclerosis, by doing just that, moving from the vessel walls and transporting it to the liver where it is removed from the body. The cholesterol ration or the Cholesterol /HDL Ration should be no higher than 4.8. This numerical value divides the total cholesterol by the total HDL. It you find that it is higher than the 4.8, it is time to take steps to improve your overall cholesterol picture!
Don’t forget the triglycerides, which are any combination of glycerol with three of five different fatty acids. In the blood, triglycerides are combined with proteins to form lipoproteins, which transport fats to be used for energy. High triglycerides are when you have a triglyceride level in the blood stream of over 150. It is a high level of fat that is in the system and it aids in blocking the arteries.
Okay, now that you know something about the numbers you need to know this: high total cholesterol does not necessarily mean you need cholesterol lowering medication. Sometimes you may have a high HDL (good cholesterol) number which will drive your total number up. Sometimes you may have low triglycerides and good HDL (good cholesterol), but your LDL is too high, driving the numbers up. If this is the case medications like Lipitor will not help. You may need something different to bring down the high HDL. I always recommend trying natural remedies. There are so many side effects to the medications and there has been no proof that those medications actually help a person have a longer life expectancy.
The bottom line is you must change your lifestyle and your diet if you want to keep your heart, brain and the rest of your body from risk. Low grain, low sugar and low carb diets work the best. That, along with 30 minutes of exercise daily, will make the most significant changes. Before you say yes to costly non-effective medications, consider natural products that contain red rice yeast, like Cholestar from Apex Energetics. If you have high LDL, I would consider the product Bilemin, also by Apex Energetics. L-Arginine has also been helpful with raising HDL levels and Throne makes an excellent product called Perfusia-SR.
Last but not least, you can always email us your lab tests and we can make some natural healthy suggestions to improve your cholesterol, as well as other health issues you may be having.
17 thoughts on “Cholesterol – the Good, the Bad & the Truth!”
Thanks for this informative piece. I have had high HDL levels for many years. At first the doctors are alarmed, until they read my LDL levels. Then they tell me, “You are fine. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.” I enjoy eating eggs, avocados, full-fat butter, occasional ice cream, full fat cream in my decaf on the weekends, coconut oil and butter, red meats (grass fed), liberal amounts of good organic olive oil and supplement with fish oil and ground flax and chia seeds. I’ve never felt better, and don’t have cravings for carbs and sugar like I used to. The egg definitely got a “bad rap” when I was about 10. (I’m 57 now). My Dad was instructed to go on a strict, low cholesterol diet, forbidding all the above “good” fats. He eventually died of congestive heart failure at 93 years old. I tend to believe one’s attitude makes the most difference in one’s health, but it pays to pay attention and do some due diligence when you hear “bad” news about certain foods.
i was surprised to find out that even “healthy” habits, like supplementing your diet with omega 3 fish oil, can increase one’s cholesterol!
My cholesterol levels have been high since my hysterectomy in 1988. Even though they left one ovary, it threw me into early menopause. I don’t like chemicals, so I went many years without medication. I finally submitted and began taking Zocor. It helped lower my cholesterol but I eventually began having stomach bloating and muscle discomfort. I again went without medication, using diet and exercise as a remedy. It didn’t work. I also discovered that I have a genetic history of high cholesterol. I currently control my cholesterol by taking Crestor. Thus far, it is the only thing that has help align my levels without side effects. I do subscribe to a healthy lifestyle and feel amazingly good as I prepare to celebrate my 73rd birthday.
Great article. Keep up the great job of informing us of “natural” products, and helping us
You didn’t provide “good numbers” for LDL or HDL — I would like to know what these are. Also, one of the comments says “supplementing your diet with omega 3 fish oil can increase one’s cholesterol”. Is that true?
Great article! I used to work with a homeopathic medical doctor who didn’t put much weight on the total cholesterol value in his patients’ lab work. He always said that the last chapter had not yet been written on the cholesterol saga. It’s my understanding that cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) also deplete the heart muscle of coenzyme Q-10, which can result in myocardial infarction, the very thing the medications are supposed to prevent. They can also affect the skeletal muscles adversely.
Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing.
My cholesterol has been steadily increasing which concerns my doctor. It’s still only 170 for total, but my ratio is 2.8 which is very low. My diet is excellent – organic, grass fed animal proteins, lots of veggies, some fruit, and plenty of good oils and avocados. I would like to know if there’s anything else I should be doing.
What is you HDL and LDL. A lot of times people have a higher total cholesterol because their good cholesterol HDL is high, which is a good thing! I would not worry about a total ate 170 regardless.
HDL should be between 55-100 mg/dl and LDL and les that 99 mg/dl. No that is not true about fish oil. The American Heart Association even recommends it. Fish oil will help lower Triglycerides and raise HDL levels. There is some talk out there on the Internet about this but in over 35 years in nutritional consulting I have not found this to be true.
I would be happy to take a look at your numbers for you and make some nutritional recommendations. Even with a genetic history we can often make a big shift!
I have not found this to be the case in over 35 years working with nutrition. In fact I have found the opposite. Usually fish oil will decrease triglycerides and raise HDL. In the case of something like hyperbetalipoproteinemia a genetic disorder resulting in high LDL due to the LDL receptors then perhaps fish oil might not make a difference. I know there is a buzz going on about how fish oil may raise total cholesterol but the American Heart Association still recommends it.
Thanks for sharing Alberta. You are doing an awesome job!
Thank you for the helpful information. I appreciate the suggestions or natural supplements to use if a person needs them.
Thanks for the info on triglycerides and fish oil. I began taking fish oil regularly two years ago and stopped recently due to dramatic cost increase in the liquid form I used. When tested 10 months ago, my cholesterol numbers increased slightly, but my triglycerides were very low. Your article gives me another good reason to resume a daily fish oil supplement!