In the 1940s, a group of scientists discovered that cholesterol was actually good for you. In fact, it helped your body to fight off bacteria and viruses! This contradicts everything we’ve been told about cholesterol since then…
The “latest cholesterol research 2020” is a new study that has been released. The study has found that the popular knowledge about cholesterol is wrong and it actually helps to lower your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
When I released the findings of my testosterone-boosting experiment in 2013, several readers chastised me for advising a high-cholesterol, high-fat diet. Despite the fact that I also disclosed the results of my blood test, which revealed fantastic cholesterol values, they said I was preaching a risky diet that would lead to heart disease and obesity.
I don’t hold these folks responsible for their remarks. Most of them, like myself, grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was common knowledge that eating a high-cholesterol, high-fat diet would lead to heart disease and other health issues.
But almost everything we thought we understood about cholesterol turns out to be false. (This includes me and what I believed was a strong correlation between this lipid molecule and testosterone!)
Cholesterol, in reality, isn’t a terrible guy. He’s merely been misinterpreted. And now, we’re going to tell you all you need to know about Mr. Cholesterol and give you the inside scoop on this molecule.
You’d die if you didn’t have cholesterol.
It’s as simple as that.
This is due to the fact that cholesterol is the basic material that your body requires for a variety of tasks. Did you know that all of your cells’ membranes contain a significant quantity of cholesterol? We’d be jelly blobs if we didn’t have it since our cells wouldn’t have any structure.
Apart from preventing us from melting into pools of goop, cholesterol has the following advantages:
Cholesterol is used to make sex hormones. Cholesterol is used to generate testosterone, the hormone that gives you hair on your chest and makes you powerful like a bull. T isn’t the only one. Estrogen and the other sex hormones required for female sexual characteristics are also generated from cholesterol.
Because cholesterol is a precursor to testosterone, men who take statins (cholesterol-lowering medicines) often experience a decrease in libido and an increase in erectile dysfunction. Several investigations have proven the link between low testosterone levels and low cholesterol levels.
Is this also true in reverse? Is it true that increasing your cholesterol intake will raise your testosterone levels? I thought the answer was yes throughout my testosterone-boosting experiment, which is why I ate eggs and red meat for three months. However, after doing further research, I couldn’t locate a single study that showed whether or not increasing dietary cholesterol increases T levels, which is rather unexpected. Researchers have discovered that the Leydig cells in your testicles, which produce testosterone, have higher cholesterol needs than other cells. However, it’s unclear where they receive their additional cholesterol. When overall testosterone levels are low, Leydig cells may produce their own cholesterol for testosterone; but, when Leydig cells are compelled to do so, T levels decline. So, maybe dietary cholesterol fills in the blanks? (It’s worth noting that one research found that olive oil causes Leydig cells to absorb more cholesterol, resulting in higher T levels.) Don’t skimp on the olive oil on your salad!)
Tim Ferriss experimented with raising his T levels by taking enormous quantities of cholesterol immediately before bedtime, in the form of a smoothie prepared from whole milk and four raw eggs. His own experiment revealed that when he drank the shake the night before, his T levels were higher than when he didn’t. Yes, it’s an n+1 experiment that lacks the rigor of more rigorous investigations, but it’s still a fascinating outcome to explore.
In conclusion, increasing dietary cholesterol may or may not result in a rise in T levels. (If you know of a research that has looked at this topic, please let me know!) However, regardless of whether it works, eating a low-processed-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, which is also a common side effect of attempting to consume more cholesterol, may have additional health advantages. This includes weight reduction and muscle building, both of which have a definite influence on your T.
Cholesterol is used to make vitamin D. Vitamin D is a misnomer since it is essentially a hormone, not a vitamin. In the same way that cholesterol is required for the generation of sex hormones, it is also required for the production of Vitamin D. A chemical reaction happens when the cholesterol in your skin is exposed to sunlight, especially UV-B rays, resulting in the creation of Vitamin D3. You can achieve the same effect by taking an oral supplement, but if your body can do it without cholesterol and sunshine, you should take advantage of it.
Vitamin D is used by our bodies for a range of vital tasks, including immunological response, calcium and phosphate management, inflammation reduction, and even gene expression. Increased levels of it are linked to improved mental and emotional wellness, as well as higher testosterone levels.
So, what do you have to lose? By getting some rays, you can put that cholesterol to good use.
Cholesterol is used to make bile acids. Last night’s steak had to be broken down so that your body could utilise the nutrients. Bile acids play a critical function in the breakdown of fats and proteins. And, yes, bile acids are generated from Mr. Cholesterol, our helpful ally.
Cholesterol is necessary for brain function. Cholesterol is abundant in your brain. Not only does your noodle utilize it to generate new neural cells, but it also helps build the myelin sheaths that cover the cells, which helps preserve their integrity and promote cellular communication.
Low cholesterol levels (about 160 mg/dL or below) have been associated to memory loss, depression, and aggressiveness in studies. Cholesterol seems to have a part in the proper release of neurotransmitters; without it, your brain won’t be able to create all of the cellular connections it need to be bright and vibrant.
Eat the brains of other animals if you want to quickly increase your cholesterol consumption for a healthy brain. No, really. It seems that eating squirrel brains with scrambled eggs is a thing. That’s a colossal amount of cholesterol right there.
Cholesterol may aid in the battle against infections. According to studies, there is an inverse relationship between cholesterol levels and infection risk: the lower your cholesterol, the higher your risk of becoming ill. So, how can cholesterol protect us from infection? LDL (the so-called “bad” cholesterol — more on LDL below) seems to have a role in boosting our immune system to fight illness, according to studies. The synthesis of some antibodies decreases when cholesterol levels are low.
Why Has Cholesterol Received Such a Negative Reputation?
How did cholesterol earn such a poor name if it has so many health benefits?
As usual, it was a mash-up of lousy science and politics.
Ancel Keys, the scientist who developed the K-ration for WWII troops, noted in the 1950s that well-fed American business leaders had high rates of heart disease, but starving people in postwar Europe had lower rates. Keys speculated that the American diet, which was rich in fat and cholesterol, was to blame, and he devised a research to back up his theory.
One of the first longitudinal studies to assess the influence of nutrition on health was his renowned “Seven Countries” research. Keys looked studied saturated fat and cholesterol intake in seven different nations (thus the name) and discovered a nearly perfect correlation between heart disease rates and cholesterol and saturated fat consumption. His data proved to be precisely what he had projected.
Other scholars immediately questioned the study’s validity. John Yudkin, a British doctor, was especially suspicious. Yudkin has conducted similar study and discovered a number of nations with high saturated fat consumption but low incidence of heart disease. Keys was accused by Yudkin and other scientists of cherry-picking the nations in his research to support his claim. They claimed that it was rising sugar intake, not cholesterol and fat, that was the underlying cause of heart disease.
Keys, on the other hand, had enormous political power with politicians, agency officials, and the media as a result of his work in creating dietary guidelines for troops during WWII. Keys started lobbying hard for the US government to advocate low-fat, low-cholesterol diets after seeing the results of his research. Senator George McGovern, head of the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, presented dietary recommendations based on Keys’ study in 1977, which would drastically alter Americans’ eating habits. The recommendations recommended a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet that was heavy in carbs from vegetables and grains. Only 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day is recommended by the USDA. That’s not a lot of money. Three hundred and seventy-four milligrams of cholesterol are included in only two whole eggs.
Turn that frown on its head! Cholesterol is just OK!
As a consequence, there was a surge in “Low Fat” and “Heart Healthy” food items. Grocery shops were stocked with low-fat Snackwell cookies, cholesterol-free margarine, and fat-free potato chips. Natural foods that had been customary fare for generations were displaced by these lab-produced, factory-made items in the United States. They quit eating eggs and butter, switched to skim milk, and stopped eating bacon.
Furthermore, pharmaceutical firms got on board and developed statins, or cholesterol-lowering medications. Statins operate by preventing your body from producing cholesterol by inhibiting a chemical it requires. Doctors started giving these medicines by the boatload to any patient with cholesterol readings that were greater than normal.
But then something unexpected occurred.
Despite the fact that more people were consuming low-fat and cholesterol-free meals, heart disease and obesity rates continued to rise in the United States. What’s going on?
Yudkin and his colleagues were correct, as it turned out. Sugar and processed carbohydrates, not cholesterol or fat, were the culprits in individuals gaining weight and developing heart disease. Guess what food producers used to make up for the lack of fat in their “heart healthy foods”? Of course, there’s sugar and refined carbohydrates. And what about that low-cholesterol margarine? It was manufactured using hydrogenated vegetable oil, which produced trans fat, which has been associated to heart disease and stroke.
Those ostensibly heart-healthy 1970s dietary standards were wrecking tens of millions of Americans’ circulatory systems.
Also, what about all those statin prescriptions? They were effective in lowering cholesterol, but maybe a bit too effectively. Memory loss, sadness, increased infections, sexual dysfunction, and decreased testosterone levels were common complaints among patients. Researchers observed that statins decreased cholesterol levels to the point where the body didn’t obtain enough of the cholesterol it required for good functioning in many people.
Thankfully, when it comes to fat and cholesterol, we’ve recovered some rationality in recent years. Recent study has backed up what experts believed 60 years ago. Sugar, in combination with other lifestyle variables such as stress and being sedentary, is what causes heart disease, not dietary cholesterol or saturated fat.
As a result, government agencies and health groups are relaxing their dietary cholesterol restrictions. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released a draft statement earlier this year claiming that dietary cholesterol has little or no impact in heart disease and that most people shouldn’t be concerned about their cholesterol intake. While the group does not release formal rules, the agencies in charge of food guidelines normally follow them to the letter.
Many physicians are now employing a lot more judgment when prescribing statins. Doctors now exclusively prescribe statins to high-risk heart disease patients, rather than everybody with above-average cholesterol levels. What are the characteristics of a high-risk patient? Those who have already been diagnosed with heart disease.
Where Does Your Body Get the Cholesterol It Requires?
During the day, your body manufactures approximately 80% of the cholesterol it needs; the remaining 20% comes from meals.
Fatty acids are responsible for 20 to 25 percent of the cholesterol produced by your body, which is produced in the liver. Your intestines, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs are among the other areas in your body where cholesterol is produced.
Your body utilizes cholesterol when you eat foods that contain it. If you eat a lot of cholesterol, your body will reduce the amount it creates on its own. If you don’t eat a lot of cholesterol, your body will just create more of it on its own. So, even if you eat all the bacon and eggs you can handle (like I do), your total cholesterol levels are likely to remain stable (as mine have).
In terms of total cholesterol levels, genetics, not food, seems to have a bigger effect.
HDL and LDL Cholesterol: Beyond Good and Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is carried around in the bloodstream by carrier proteins. Lipoproteins are cholesterol-protein combinations. Lipoproteins are classified as high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or low-density lipoproteins (LDL) depending on their density (LDL).
Researchers and clinicians have referred to HDL as “good cholesterol” and LDL as “bad cholesterol” for years. While this is approximately correct, modern research has provided us with a far more sophisticated understanding of HDL and LDL cholesterol. Not all HDL is healthy, and not all LDL is harmful, for example. We’ve broken down all you need to know about these two groups in the sections below.
HDL cholesterol stands for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Because HDL eliminates the so-called harmful LDL cholesterol from the body, physicians refer to it as “good cholesterol.” HDL does this by transferring cholesterol from the body’s tissues to the liver, where it is converted to bile and expelled. HDL is responsible for removing excess cholesterol from your body and preventing plaque build-up in your arteries.
The more HDL you have, the better, since it is your body’s cholesterol trash truck. According to recent studies, your HDL should be more than 60 mg/dL.
While HDL as a whole is beneficial, current study has shown that not all HDL is created equal. There are two subtypes, one of which is beneficial to your health and the other which is not. HDL-2 particles are big, buoyant, and provide the best protection against LDL cholesterol buildup. These particles also have anti-inflammatory properties. HDL-3, on the other hand, is a tiny, dense lipid that has been linked to inflammation. While a high total HDL score is desirable, you should have more HDL-2 than HDL-3 in your system. Newer tests can tell the difference between the two, and researchers are working on medicines that focus just on reducing HDL-3. However, most people don’t need to be concerned with the two sub-types. Knowing your overall HDL will suffice.
Get lots of exercise, don’t smoke, and eat more healthy monosaturated fats like olive oil, avocados, seafood, and nuts to boost your HDL levels.
LDL Cholesterol is a kind of cholesterol that is found in the bloodstream. LDL cholesterol is referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it may clog arteries and prevent blood flow. Unlike HDL, which carries cholesterol from body tissue to the liver, LDL transfers cholesterol from the liver to the body.
While our bodies need the cholesterol that LDL provides, too much of it may cause health issues by clogging arteries. As a result, researchers and clinicians advise people to aim for an LDL level of less than 100 mg/dL.
Not all LDL is the same, just as not all HDL is the same. LDL particles are divided into two categories. One is harmful to your health, whereas the other only creates difficulties after it has oxidized. LDL-A is a huge, fluffy molecule that won’t affect your system as long as it isn’t oxidized, which happens when free radicals connect to the LDL. Cholesterol is converted to plaque when this occurs. LDL-A levels, according to researchers, have little or no impact in heart disease or other circulatory issues.
The nasty variety, on the other hand, is LDL-B. It’s a tiny, dense, and hard molecule that induces artery hardening. While you should strive to reduce your total LDL levels, having more LDL-A and less LDL-B is preferable. Both of these may be measured using blood testing.
With the lifestyle guidelines above, you can reduce your LDL levels, lose weight, and raise your HDL levels. Increased intake of saturated fat has been demonstrated in studies to help reduce the quantity of LDL-B particles in your system.
The Alpha Wolf Cholesterol Particle (LP(a)). While HDL and LDL levels get the most of the attention, there is a third kind of lipoprotein that has a greater impact on your risk of heart disease than either HDL or LDL. Lipoprotein(a), also known as Lp(a), is a tiny but highly inflammatory particle that causes blood clotting, which may lead to coronary heart disease and stroke. Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a cholesterol researcher, refers to Lp(a) as the “alpha wolf cholesterol particle” since it is so clearly terrible for you.
In little numbers, Lp(a) isn’t an issue. In fact, it is beneficial in that it aids in the healing and restoration of damaged blood vessels. When your body needs to employ Lp(a) regularly to execute this job, as it does when people have chronic inflammation, difficulties arise.
Most cholesterol blood tests do not measure Lp(a) levels, so if you want to know what yours are, you’ll need to request a test that does. Lp(a) levels should ideally be kept below 30 mg/dL. Because Lp(a) levels are mostly driven by heredity, you should get your Lp(a) levels evaluated if you have a family history of early arterial disorders.
Niacin, often known as Vitamin B3, is now suggested as a therapy for excessive levels of Lp(a). When you take niacin at such high doses, you’ll get a “niacin flush,” which is a harmless but unpleasant reddening and warming of your skin. To moderate the flush, start with 100 mg of niacin and gradually raise the dose.
Is It Okay to Eat Cholesterol? Give it to Me Straight, Doc: Is It Okay to Eat Cholesterol?
First and foremost, I am not a doctor; I just portray one on TV. And when I say “TV,” I’m referring to the internet.
With that stated, based on my study into the latest cholesterol studies, most people can consume Ron Swanson-levels of cholesterol without raising their cholesterol levels or putting themselves at risk for heart disease. When people consume high-cholesterol diets, a tiny fraction of the population possesses genes that cause their cholesterol levels to skyrocket. These people would have to keep an eye on their cholesterol consumption. You’ll need to undergo a test with your doctor to see whether you’re “hyper-responsive” to cholesterol, as scientists term it.
What applies to cholesterol also applies to fat. There is no link between heart disease and fat, both saturated and unsaturated, according to research. Trans fat, on the other hand, should be avoided. This is the synthetic fat that has been linked to heart disease and other circulation issues. Keep your meals as natural and complete as possible.
You realize you don’t have to keep Mr. Cholesterol at arm’s length any more. Invite him over for a bacon and egg breakfast and thank him for his brain-boosting, infection-fighting, and maybe T-raising abilities.
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The “is cholesterol bad in eggs” is a question that has been asked for years. There are many answers to this question, but the one thing you should know is that there are no definitive answers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the real truth about cholesterol?
A: The cholesterol debate has been going on for a long time. There are some who believe that there is no real truth to be found, and those who believe otherwise.
Are doctors wrong about cholesterol?
A: In the United States, doctors typically try to normalize a persons cholesterol levels with medication. However, there is no proof that this actually works and it can be dangerous for your health if you have high cholesterol levels without trying other methods too.
Is cholesterol Theory Debunked?
A: The theory that cholesterol causes heart disease has been debunked because the evidence for saying this is weak and not conclusive.
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