To say that concerns about cholesterol are rampant would be quite an understatement. In fact, from much of the news and advertising, one would think that cholesterol is a poison rather than the essential component that it is. Yes, cholesterol is not only necessary for almost every cell in the body, but our bodies produce (not ingest) most of the cholesterol we use. It is vital to the body and its life processes. The primary importance of cholesterol concerns three main functions:
- Tissues of the body: Cholesterol is part of the cells that make up your skin and intestines. It is part of the coating that covers your nerves and it is found in your brain.
- Bile: Approximately 80% of cholesterol in the body is used by the liver to form bile. Bile is very important for the digestion of fats in your diet. It functions much the same way dish detergent does in washing your dishes. Fats are an important part of your diet and bile is necessary to break down these fats.
- Hormones: Cholesterol is the basic building block for many hormones. It is also necessary for the absorption of Vitamin B-12.
Now, when you look at the drugs that are being used to lower cholesterol such as Lipitor, Crestor, etc it’s almost as though cholesterol is being treated as Public Enemy Number One. This is not a correct viewpoint to have especially considering the importance of cholesterol for the body. And, the side effects of the drugs to include Liver problems, chest pain, nausea, lung congestion, runny/congested nose, loss of sleep, dizziness, arthritis, leg cramps, urinary tract infection, water retention especially in the extremities, etc., make the treatment worse than the problem of high cholesterol.
So, what should you do? Well that is a good question. Here is a short list of things to do:
- Take fish oil. Ortho Mega or EPA/DHA 720, both available in Dr. Mattingly’s office.
- Take garlic—Super Garlic 6000 available in the office.
- Niacin—B-Vitamin. Available at the office.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise and lose weight.