Functional Trainer: Holistic Health Series 6; Cholesterol Health 2
Mar 27 2010 by Jack Walton
The Cholesterol debate certainly divides opinions. The previous article briefly reviewed the concept of cholesterol health and how it relates to us in society.
Is cholesterol really that bad and should it be what we’re focussing on anyway?
Let’s look at the main points again:
:: Cholesterol is an integral part of the 1 Trillion cells in the body and without it cells cannot function.
:: Functions include making vitamin D and hormones, supporting the nervous system and helps tissue repair.
:: Cholesterol and saturated fat get a bad press, but why?
:: Research shows that as a population we are eating more sugars (not fat) and suffering increased incidence of heart disease.
:: When there is inflammation in the body, cholesterol has a role in supporting the body.
Where do we go from here?
The answer to this is whether we think we should treat symptoms or a root cause. If we take the symptomatic approach to pain or ill health in any form, we run the risk of chasing it around the body as it comes and goes in its many forms.
This can obviously provide relief on occasion, but is unlikely to provide long-term alleviation and increased vitality.
The basis for this is because the real reason why the pain or disease was there in the first place is still present. All we have done so far is treat a symptom and ignore the cause. We might have looked at our situation and seen that our knee hurts so we have put a bandage on to support the knee or taken a pain-killer to reduce the feeling of pain. Whilst useful, this could just be masking what is really going on.
Similarly if we measure our cholesterol and it falls into an apparent high category and we try to directly reduce it with a drug, for example, again we are merely affecting a symptom. Yes this application may be relevant for some, but it ignores the question as to why the cholesterol was ‘high’ in the first place. If this reason/cause is not removed then it could still have a significant negative impact on health.
Forget Cholesterol, Think Inflammation
Many health practitioners believe that cholesterol is far from being the villain. The fact that cholesterol is present at certain levels in different people is because we are individuals. If it is high that might be because the body is responding to something for which cholesterol is required.
Inflammation in the body is a major cause of increased cholesterol levels so if we want to reduce cholesterol then maybe we need to reduce inflammation. Some say that it is the level of inflammation we need to affect, not the level of cholesterol.
If we do dive straight in without assessing inflammation first, then we run the risk of getting rid of the one thing that’s trying to help us. Yes cholesterol levels may measure high, but why are they high?
Holistic Approach to Cholesterol Health / Inflammation
As with all the articles in this series we will look at the person as an individual and a whole. As always the goal is to establish foundation principles to enhancing health.
:: Breathing: Establishing and practicing good breathing technique is more important than you may think. We take around 20,000 breaths per day if we have a correct, full breathing pattern. If we shallow and chest breath, this may increase to 40,000 per day, which will significantly increase stress and decrease energy levels and repair in the body.
:: Mental and Emotional: A thought or emotion still produces a physical affect. Therefore the way we think or feel will have a considerable influence on the inflammatory state of the body.
:: Hydration: When dehydrated physical repair, mental clarity and a multitude of human functions suffer.
:: Nutrition: There are many dietary factors that will cause inflammation. Some are general principles such as avoid processed food, the white devils (refined sugar, table salt and white flour), fad/extreme diets and excess alcohol and caffeine. In addition there are individual specific guidelines such as eating right for your Metabolic Type and eating the correct amounts of carbohydrate, protein and fat for the body to build health.
:: Movement and Exercise: Too much or too little exercise is detrimental to health and may cause inflammation and changes in cholesterol levels. Too much or too little means different things to different people and must be relative to their life (job, social, diet, environment stress).
:: Toxicity: Any toxin in the body will cause an inflammatory response. If cholesterol was responding to this toxin in an effort to protect the body and eliminate it, would you want to get rid of the cholesterol or the toxin? Following healthy lifestyle such as those discussed here will aid your body’s natural detoxification methods.
:: Stress: In any form (emotional, mental, physical, nutrition, chemical) stress will undermine the body. Reducing stress can sound a bit easier said than done as some may feel unavoidable. What we can all do though is reduce it in certain areas initially and make further changes when the body is in a stronger/healthier condition in the future.
:: Network: Always work alongside your medical and other health professionals to make the correct and safe decisions for your health.