Cholesterol, and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) in particular, has been closely associated with coronary artery disease. However, recent studies are showing that it is oxidized LDL that is the real culprit in coronary artery disease. In addition, oxidized LDL is so damaged that it can no longer deliver cholesterol to your brain. Cholesterol is essential to healthy brain function. When LDL is reduced too much, the brain suffers and brain function is diminished.
How does LDL become damaged? The most common way that this damage occurs is through physical changes to the LDL caused by glucose. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, sugar molecules attach themselves to the LDL and change the LDL molecule’s shape, which decreases its usefulness while also increasing free radicals – which we all know are definitely not good for the brain. Research during the past decade indicates that oxidized LDL is a key factor in the development of atherosclerosis. So, LDL that is damaged is bad for the brain and bad for heart.
Since oxidized LDL is bad, then shouldn’t lowering the LDL provide positive results? Not necessarily. Cholesterol is actually one of the “good” fats that our bodies crave and need. If we lower it too much we may actually impair the effectiveness of our brain function. Here is just some of the good that cholesterol does for us:
- Cholesterol forms membranes around cells which allows them to perform their designated functions.
- Cholesterol is necessary for the brain to grow new synapses, which are essential for proper brain functioning.
- Cholesterol in the brain is a powerful antioxidant.
- Vitamin D, which performs critical anti-inflammatory duties in the body, is directly formed from cholesterol.
- Cholesterol is necessary for the development of bile salts needed to digest fats.
- Testosterone, which is essential for both men and women, is made of cholesterol.
So I should stop taking my cholesterol-lowering statin medicine, right? NO!! But you should talk to your doctor about getting the right balance of cholesterol in your body. Having cholesterol that is too low can obviously have a negative impact on your long-term health. But don’t take my word for it, get a copy of Grain Brain and read chapter 3 for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Then take to your doctor.
I don’t want to leave you hanging, but the next post will add information about how carbohydrates, sugars and refined grains ties into all of this. But if you can’t wait until Monday, you can check out this article by Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of two NY Times Best Selling books.
To your health!