i certainly didnt mean to upset you mate, i was merely trying to put someones mind at rest by stating that i too had similar cholesterol readings, but that i had been told it was nothing to worry about. yes, by someone i trust, but also my doctor said that reading wasnt too high.
FWIW, the chap who advised me has masters in physiology, biochemistry and neuroscience. not relevant perhaps, but i just wanted to make the point that hes not just 'a bloke down the gym with something to sell'. he also gives his time and advice for free.
below is a quote from him about cholesterol. im not clever enough to understand it but make of it what you will.
Firstly cholesterol is a very important substance, it has many uses but one of its primary uses is to repair damaged tissue, when you cut your finger cholesterol comes along to patch up and seal the wound (otherwise you'd bleed to death from even a tiny cut).
Damaged/injured tissues bind to the LDL molecule that's attached to LDL cholesterol, this is how cholesterol binds to the site of injury so that it can start working its magic. After the injury has healed HDL cholesterol comes along and binds to the cholesterol (which is no longer needed) so that it can be returned to the liver and excreted. So basically what I'm trying to say is that LDL sends cholesterol out to the site of injury while HDL returns cholesterol back to the liver after the injury has healed.
In regards to your LDL/HDL ratio it's a good indicator of overall systematic inflammation (damage/injury), if your LDL is elevated higher than usual it means that there's more systematic inflammation going on than there should be. Lowering your LDL cholesterol and increasing your HDL cholestrol is a sign that inflammation is decreasing (less cholesterol is leaving the liver while more is returning to the liver).
At this stage it's important to point out that cholesterol can't simply bind to tissues (for example your arteries) for no good reason, in fact it can't bind at all unless there is inflammation/injury present first. It's mostly VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) that's responsible for allowing cholesterol to bind to inflammed/injured tissues.
So high LDL cholesterol in and of itself doesn't cause your arteries to become blocked, high LDL cholesterol is simply a symptom of excessive systematic inflammation. If you can reduce the inflammation you'll reduce your LDL cholesterol.
Inflammation/injury is the root cause of heart disease, now the question becomes; what exactly is injuring our arteries? If we can prevent/reduce arterial injury/inflammation we can prevent heart disease from developing. I'll give you a list of things that could potentially cause arterial injury (and hence inflammation):
1. High blood glucose (especially spikes), sugar is an extremely destructive molecule, this is why your body tries to keep its blood sugar regulated within a very narrow range. Uncontrolled blood sugar (as seen in diabetics) will slowly destroy your arteries, it's no wonder that diabetics are much more likely to die of heart disease or stroke when compared to non-diabetics.
This is why high GI carbs aren't the best option (especially for people who don't exercise), they spike your blood glucose levels too high which damages your arteries (and the rest of your body too for that matter, especially your eyes).
So in order to keep your blood glucose levels (fasting and post meal) under control you need to reduce your overall carbohydrate intake (in order to lower your fasting blood glucose levels) and you also need to eat lower GI carbs rather than higher GI carbs (in order to reduce your post meal peak blood glucose levels).
If you've ever wondered why exercise reduces the risk of heart disease it's because it helps control your blood sugar, firstly it burns blood sugar directly, secondly it causes your muscles to absorb more glucose out of your blood (in order to replenish muscle glycogen). People who exercise regularly can eat more carbohydrate than sedentry people without it causing problems.
2. Vitamin/mineral deficiencies can prevent our arteries from maintaining their normal elasticity/strength, usually when we spike our blood pressure (after high sodium meals or during intense exercise) our arteries expand/stretch in order to accommodate for this. Collagen is extremely important for maintaining the strength/elasticity of our arteries, a vitamin C or copper deficiency will prevent proper collagen formation which in turn will reduce arterial strength/elasticity. What this means is that instead of expanding and contracting like healthy arteries normally would our arteries will only expand slightly (which drives blood pressure even higher than usual) and they will start to develop small cracks/tears because they're not flexible enough.
These cracks/tears are then patched up with cholesterol, if cholesterol didn't come along to patch up these cracks/tears our arteries would simply split and we'd die of internal bleeding.
3. High sodium and low potassium diets, this related to the above.
4. Omega 6/3 ratio, more specifically the arachidonic acid (AA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ratio. Arachidonic acid is around 10 times more potent than EPA when it comes to promoting inflammation, while a high AA/EPA ratio in and of itself won't cause heart disease it certainly will accelerate its development. What this means is that reducing your AA intake and increasing your EPA (from fish oil etc) will slow down the development of heart disease but it won't actually prevent it.
If you have a high AA/EPA ratio you might develop heart disease in only 20 years, if you have a lower AA/EPA ratio (or higher EPA/AA ratio) it might take 60 years for heart disease to develop.
5. Pollution, for example chemicals in cigarette smoke can directly damage your arteries and hence promote inflamamtion and cholesterol deposition.
If you want my practical advice for avoiding heart disease I suggest:
- Avoid excessive carbohydrate intake, especially high GI carbohydrates
- Avoid excess sugar intake (sucrose, HFCS etc), it increases triglycerides
- Exercise regularly in order to help keep your blood glucose levels under control
- Avoid high sodium foods, they cause transient increases in blood pressure which causes undue strain to our arteries
- Increase your potassium intake in order to help lower your blood pressure
- Avoid vegetable oils
- Avoid processed foods, they contain less vitamins and minerals and potentially contain substances that cause harm
- Supplement with vitamin C (at least 1500 mg per day divided throughout the day/night) and copper (2-3 mg per day divided throughout the day/night) to help ensure proper collagen formation which will keep your arteries strong and flexible.
- Reducing your linoleic acid (parent omega 6) and arachidonic acid (AA) and increasing your alpha-linolenic acid (parent omega 3) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) will slow down the development of heart disease (by reducing your rate of inflammation) but it won't prevent it from developing entirely.
Dietary cholesterol (unless it's oxidized) and saturated fat are both absolutely harmless, in fact saturated fat is very good for you, it helps protect your cells by stabilizing your cell membranes.
once again, apologies if ive caused offence, none is meant. i think the thread is a very important nudge for us to go get our health checked.