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North Adams Chiropractor | North Adams chiropractic care | MA | Cholesterol

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Cholesterol
 

Cholesterol is a building block for healthy tissue and membranes. It enables cells to adapt to temperature changes; maintains membranes within the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves; and protects the myelin sheath that insulates nerves from surrounding. happy_healthy_woman.jpgOver the years you’ve heard about how cholesterol can negatively affect your health. But cholesterol actually plays an essential role in staying healthy—it is an essential building block of your good health. It enables cells to adapt to temperature changes; maintains membranes within the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves; and protects the myelin sheath  that insulates nerves from surrounding tissue. It is also part of what makes up bile acids your body uses in digestion and is needed for manufacturing sex hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is carried through your blood combined with protein in substances called  lipoproteins. These include low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, and high-density lipoprotein, or HDL.

 HDL’s and LDL’s are “NOT” Cholesterol 

You hear a great deal about HDL and LDL referred to as “Good” and “Bad” but they each serve the body in important ways. And don’t confuse them with cholesterol as neither HDL or LDL are cholesterol, they are merely “carriers of cholesterol” transporting it though your body. Each differ significantly in their function and travel to different places in the body carrying cholesterol around to do different things (as noted above: to support tissue development, cell growth, for LDL/HDL production more…).

LDL’s contain large amounts of cholesterol and move through the bloodstream to carry this essential fat to your cells. However, if your LDL level is too high, it can release cholesterol in your arteries where these deposits called “plaque” can form. Plaque stiffens arterial walls, narrows the vessels and can form clots, raising your risk of heart disease and stroke. This is why LDL’s are often referred to as “bad cholesterol” though what is more important here are the levels of LDL’s. Your body needs healthy levels of LDL’s to support important bodily functions. Without these LDL’s your health would quickly decline.

HDL’s - Because blood has a watery composition and cholesterol is fatty, the two don’t mix well. High levels of cholesterol tend to accumulate in the blood vessels and cause damage. HDL molecules travel the blood stream vacuuming up excess cholesterol. HDLs then carry this cholesterol to the liver, where they are broken down and reprocessed. This helps the body maintain a healthy level of cholesterol. By chemically scrubbing away cholesterol in the blood stream, the body is able to achieve better heart health. As a result, HDL is often referred to as “good cholesterol,” though as mentioned before, HDL is NOT Cholesterol. High HDL levels in the blood significantly lower the risk of heart and blood vessel problems due to their function as cholesterol collectors. Also, an increase in HDL simultaneously lowers LDL levels—thereby lowering the overall amount of artery-clogging cholesterol in your bloodstream.

Understanding Cholesterol and Cholesterol Levels

The total LDL and HDL in your blood comes from both cholesterol that your cells make, and food that you consume. This food includes both cholesterol-containing, animal-based foods and other, cholesterol-free foods. Some components of all these foods are broken down into fatty acids, the building blocks for cholesterol. When you eat fats, carbohydrates and proteins, enzymes in your stomach and small intestine act on them to produce different kinds of smaller molecules, including fatty acids. Fatty acids are then packaged with other components into compounds called chylomicrons that travel in your blood. Some chylomicrons are used by cells for energy, but others are taken up by your liver for production of LDL and HDL. 

Blood cholesterol level is expressed in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Healthcare professionals consider an HDL level above 40 in males and 50 in females and an LDL level below 100 as desirable. Total cholesterol should be less than 200 and triglycerides should be less than 150.

Maintaining good Cholesterol Levels “IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE”

Maintaining a healthy level of HDL and LDL in the body is the goal you want to achieve. The best way to do this is to manage cholesterol by establishing a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. Working with your doctor and Nutrition Response Testing practitioner this goal is very achievable.  Your Nutrition Response Testing practitioner can offer guidance on developing a personalized diet that includes sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids and other wholefoods along with specific nutrition supplementation your body has identified it needs for proper support. All combined this can have a very positive effect on you achieving healthy HDL, LDL and Cholesterol levels.

 

About my talk on Understanding Cholesterol and Fats for Life. Just one of the Free talks I can do for your social or comunity group.

 

 
 
 
North Adams Chiropractor | Cholesterol. Dr. Francine Lajoie is a North Adams Chiropractor.