Monday, August 16, 2010

Cholesterol is GOOD!

As many of you know, I am on a variation of the paleo diet.  My friend Diana has outlined it well here:


Someone on a paleo diet email list I subscribe to forwarded this Huffington Post article, that is actually quite good!  Here’s a highlight:


Cholesterol and Inflammation - What's the Connection?

Inflammation has become a bit of a buzzword in the medical field because it has been linked to so many different diseases. And one of those diseases is heart disease ... the same heart disease that cholesterol is often blamed for.

What am I getting at?

Well, first consider the role of inflammation in your body. In many respects, it's a good thing as it's your body's natural response to invaders it perceives as threats. If you get a cut for instance, the process of inflammation is what allows you to heal.

Specifically during inflammation:

-- Your blood vessels constrict to keep you from bleeding to death

-- Your blood becomes thicker so it can clot

-- Your immune system sends cells and chemicals to fight viruses, bacteria and other "bad guys" that could infect the area

-- Cells multiply to repair the damage

Ultimately, the cut is healed and a protective scar may form over the area.

If your arteries are damaged, a very similar process occurs inside of your body, except that a "scar" in your artery is known as plaque.

This plaque, along with the thickening of your blood and constricting of your blood vessels that normally occur during the inflammatory process, can indeed increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks.

Notice that cholesterol has yet to even enter the picture.

Cholesterol comes in because, in order to replace your damaged cells, it is necessary.

Remember that no cell can form without it.

So if you have damaged cells that need to be replaced, your liver will be notified to make more cholesterol and release it into your bloodstream. This is a deliberate process that takes place in order for your body to produce new, healthy cells.

It's also possible, and quite common, for damage to occur in your body on a regular basis. In this case, you will be in a dangerous state of chronic inflammation.

The test usually used to determine if you have chronic inflammation is a C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test. CRP level is used as a marker of inflammation in your arteries.

Generally speaking:

-- A CRP level under 1 milligrams per liter of blood means you have a low risk for cardiovascular disease

-- 1 to 3 milligrams means your risk is intermediate

-- More than 3 milligrams is high risk

Even conventional medicine is warming up to the idea that chronic inflammation can trigger heart attacks. But they stop short of seeing the big picture.

In the eyes of conventional medicine, when they see increased cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, they conclude that it -- not the underlying damage to your arteries -- is the cause of heart attacks.

I highly recommend the entire article.  It’s very important for any human that wishes to live a long, happy life.  ;-)


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