Some Benefits of Cholesterol
A few years ago I wrote about a little encounter I had with a doctor who was really trying to push statin drugs onto me to lower my cholesterol levels. In that article I wrote as a reply to why I didn't want to take a statin, “well, I have read that they only help 1% of the population, mainly middle aged men who have already had a heart attack. They lower CoQ10 which is an important antioxidant for heart health, among others. It’s a 30 billion dollar a year industry which I believe means there is probably other reasons behind why we are told to take them considering the lack of results the drugs produce, and finally I said to the doctor, I don’t believe total cholesterol means all that much”.
In an article I read this morning they listed some of the critical things that cholesterol does which are as follows:
Essential structural component of the myelin sheath, which insulates and protects neurons and facilitates communication between them
Essential structural component for cell membranes
Required for synthesis of all steroid hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and more
Serves as a raw material for endogenous (internal) production of vitamin D, via the interaction of sunlight with your skin
Required for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain
Essential component of bile salts, which are required for the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins
Repair substance, needed for repair and regeneration of damaged tissue
The article then goes on to explain how cholesterol can be beneficial for multiple sclerosis, ALS, and mental health.
In regards to ALS:
"In ALS patients, “an abnormally elevated LDL/HDL ratio significantly increased survival by more than 12 months.” Maybe it’s not really abnormal, then, but the body actually trying to protect and sustain itself. It only seems “abnormal” when we operate under the premise that LDL is unquestionably harmful and should always be kept low."
Talking about mental health:
"Low cholesterol is also associated with violent behavior and substantially increased risk for suicide. In a cohort of Canadian subjects, individuals with the lowest total cholesterol had more than six times the risk of committing suicide compared to subjects with the highest cholesterol. By itself, this doesn’t mean that low cholesterol causes people to attempt suicide, but the association between low cholesterol and increased risk for violence and suicide has been found numerous times, and it bears more detailed investigation, especially when you consider that cholesterol is essential for hormone production, cognitive function, healthy moods, and just about anything else you can think of that affects physical and mental health."
Now this doesn't mean you should go and blow your cholesterol levels way out of range and everything will be fine. It is just saying that it is not the villain it has been made out to be and does actually serve some beneficial purposes within the body. Having low cholesterol is just as bad as having very high cholesterol.