It’s all in the numbers!  At 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.