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Cholesterol Basics
Maura Bright, MBAcC, MAR
A high blood cholesterol level, esp. elevated LDL (low density lipoproteins) is considered to be a contributor to plaque building up in the arteries and impeded blood flow to the brain, kidneys, genitals, extremities and heart. It is among the primary causes of heart disease because cholesterol produces deposits in arteries. High cholesterol levels may also be implicated in gall stones, impotence an high blood pressure.

Cholesterol is an essential part of every cell structure is needed for proper brain and nerve function. It is also the basis for the manufacture of sex hormones. It is manufactured by the liver and transported through the bloodstream to the sites where it is needed. It is a fatty substance, and, because blood is mainly water, it has to latch on to molecules called lipoproteins to travel around successfully. LDLs are the major transporters of cholesterol in the bloodstream and because LDLs seem to encourage the deposit of cholesterol in the arteries it is known as "bad cholesterol". High density lipoproteins (HDLs) on the other hand, are considered to be "good cholesterol" because they carry unneeded cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver.

Two types of cholesterol:
serum cholesterol is the cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Dietary cholesterol is present in food. Eating foods high in dietary cholesterol can increase serum cholesterol, but this is not the only source of serum cholesterol. The body produces its own cholesterol, and if you never ate any foods high in cholesterol, you would still have serum cholesterol in your blood stream.

What affects cholesterol levels?

  • Diet : consumption of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol increase cholesterol levels while
    vegetarian diet, regular exercise, and increased intake of Vitamin C and Niacin can lower it,

  • genetic make up

  • stress

    How is cholesterol measured?

    The total level of blood serum cholesterol should not exceed 200 mmls per decilitre of blood. 200 - 239 is borderline for
    heart problems. Over 240 is considered high risk.

    HDL - the average for men is 45-50 mg/dl and for women 50-60 mg/dl. It has been suggested that higher levels protect against heart disease. So the ratio of HDL/LDL is important, even if your cholesterol readings are average.

    Suggested supplementation to reduce high cholesterol:

  • ** Apple pectin - binds fats and lowers cholesterol
  • ** Calcium aspartate
  • ** Chromium picolinate - lowers cholesterol and improves HDL/LDL ratio
  • ** CoEnzyme Q10 and CoEnzyme A - work together to process fats, remove toxins and
    streamline metabolism
  • ** Garlic - lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • ** Oat bran
  • ** Lecithin granules - a fat emulsifier which helps to reduce levels
  • ** Vitamin A and carotenoids.
  • ** Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C with increased levels of B3 (niacin) and B2 (thiamine)

    Do not take niacin if you have a liver disorder, gout or high blood pressure.
  • ** Vitamin E - helps to emulsify fats
  • ** Essential fatty acids - such as starflower oil or evening primrose oil. - Reduce HDL


  • ** Include the following cholesterol lowering foods in your diet: apples, bananas, carrots, cold-water fish, dried beans, garlic, grapefruit and olive oil.
  • ** Make sure you have plenty of fibre: fruits, vegetables, whole grains. Water soluble dietary fibre is important for reducing serum cholesterol - found in barley, beans, brown rice, fruits, oats. Oat bran and
    brown rice and excellent for reducing cholesterol.
  • ** Drink freshly squeezed juices - apple, carrot, celery and raw beetroot.
  • ** Use only unrefined, cold pressed oils - olive oil, soybean oil.
  • ** Don't eat nuts except raw unsalted almonds and walnuts.
  • ** Reduce saturated fat - all fats or animal origin as well as coconut oil, palm oil. Cut out butter, margarine, lard. Cut out cakes, biscuits, coffee, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, tea and all dairy products.
  • ** You can have turkey, low fat cottage cheese, and skinless white poultry in moderation.
  • ** Cut out large amounts of coffee, cream substitutes,
  • ** Pure olive oil helps to reduce serum cholesterol
  • ** Fast food, hamburgers, chips, deep fried fish and chicken are out.


  • ** Exercise regularly
  • ** Learn stress management techniques

    Medication that affects cholesterol levels

  • ** Oral contraceptive
  • ** Steroids
  • ** Diuretics
  • ** Drugs used to treat Parkinsons's disease
  • ** Beta blockers for high blood pressure

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