The Truth About Cholesterol

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol is not a villain. Your body needs cholesterol to synthesize certain nutrients and hormones, construct the semi-permeable membranes around each of the 100 trillion cells that make up your body, and facilitate cell communication and memory in the brain.

Cholesterol moves through the body with the help of two proteins: LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, and HDL, or high-density lipoprotein. LDL carries ready-to-use cholesterol molecules that can be absorbed by cells that need it, and HDL picks up excess cholesterol and carries it back to the liver for recycling and excretion.

LDL, often referred to as the “bad cholesterol” only becomes unsafe when it interacts with molecular fragments called free radicals. The effect of such interaction is that the LDL becomes oxidized. Unlike normal LDL, oxidized LDL has toxic effects on the cells it attaches to. This is especially troublesome when oxidized LDL penetrates the endothelial cells lining the arteries because it contributes to—and accelerates—the inflammatory process.

When you get down to it, though, the real problem is not cholesterol—it’s whether your body’s antioxidant system can effectively neutralize the free radicals that damage LDL molecules.

In order to enjoy healthy cholesterol, it’s important to adhere to a cholesterol lowering diet, like my PAMM diet.  You’ll also want to exercise on a regular basis, which will also help to keep other cardiovascular problems away.

For more information on good cholesterol levels or reducing cholesterol, visit www.drsinatra.com.
 

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