It is important to understand that cholesterol itself is not a bad thing. Cholesterol is an important component of cell membranes, where it helps with permeability. It is also a precursor for several hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and vitamin D.
In the lining of the body’s larger arteries, excess cholesterol is deposited in pockets called plaques and later often replaced with calcium (leading to arteriosclerosis). This prevents the arteries from expanding and contracting normally, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the body. Consequently, blood does not flow efficiently, limiting the nutrition and oxygen available to tissues and leading to a stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure and circulation problems in the legs and arms.
Most of what accounts for the total cholesterol level seen in blood tests does not come from consumption of cholesterol itself, but rather from eating foods that your body uses to make cholesterol. Saturated fat and “trans” fatty acids (such as what is found in margarine and hydrogenated vegetable oils) both contribute to increased cholesterol production and should be avoided. Reduction in the overall intake of fats from red meat, dairy products and processed foods remain important in controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Refined sugar intake is also associated with elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.
Working with your doctor to naturally lower cholesterol is essential for wellness. Typical nutrients used to help lower cholesterol include niacin and essential fatty acids. Red Rice Yeast is sometimes used as a natural statin, but it carries with it all the risks of using pharmaceutical statins, therefore, Dr. Potter rarely recommends using it.
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