Good Cholesterol, Bad Cholesterol: No Such Thing
Did you know that HDL and LDL are NOT cholesterol? Did you know that there are no biochemical entities called good cholesterol or bad cholesterol? And, did you know that cholesterol is an incredibly important biological chemical, maybe the most important in the body and to this day, there has been no definitive link established between cholesterol in the blood and heart disease?
Given that there were 174 million prescriptions written for statin drugs in 2010 and tens of millions of Americans are currently on or have been on these cholesterol-lowering medications, it may be important to delve into some of these ideas a bit further. HDL and LDL are abbreviations for High Density Lipoprotein and Low Density Lipoprotein. They are transport molecules that carry cholesterol (among other substances) throughout the body. Although the cholesterol contained in both of these substances is exactly the same, HDL is said to be “good” because it delivers cholesterol to the liver and LDL is said to be “bad” because it carries cholesterol from the liver to the arteries where it is used as a precursor to dozens of critical biochemical substances including cortisol, Vitamin D, DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone and many other reproductive hormones.
It also serves as a parent compound to numerous skin moisture factors. And it is a critical component of the membrane that surrounds each of the estimated 100 trillion cells in the body.
Given the utter lack of evidence that cholesterol in its non-oxidized form has any causal link to heart disease and that the guidelines for supposedly healthy blood cholesterol levels are determined to a large degree by the drug companies that make billions of dollars by selling cholesterol-lowering medications, it may make sense to think long and hard before filling or refilling your next statin drug prescription.