High cholesterol and how to lower it
What is cholesterol?
You have probably heard sometimes that high cholesterol is bad for the health, but what does that actually mean? And what is cholesterol exactly? You may have heard as well of LDL and HDL protein parts, but which are good and which are bad?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found in all cells in the body. The body needs cholesterol to produce hormones (like estrogen and testosterone), bile acids (for digesting fats) and vitamin D. It is also an essential part of the structure and protection of every cell in the body.
Less than 20% of the cholesterol is taken from the food we eat. The other 80% is produced by the liver, of the standard building blocks of fats, sugars and proteins. Like everyone who has followed a chemistry class knows, water doesn’t mix with fat; the water cells reject the fat cells.
Cholesterol is a fat, so to travel through the bloodstream, cholesterol is encapsulated in packages called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins contain cholesterol and triglycerides on the inside, and are coated with a protein layer, that isn’t rejected by water.
There are five types of lipoproteins; chylomicrons, very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), and the best known duo; low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Here, we focus on the HDL and LDL.
• LDLs: the ‘bad’ cholesterol. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry the cholesterol through the bloodstream and deliver it at the tissues that need it. They are formed in the blood when the VLDLs and IDLs have given up their fatty acids. Even though they have an important function, studies have showed that high levels of LDL, can cause a buildup of cholesterol in the blood vessels – a process known as atherosclerosis, a precursor to coronary heart disease.
• HDLs: the ‘good’ cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are made by the liver. Their job is to travel around the body and pick up stray cholesterol and bring that back to the liver for processing and excretion.
Imagine this; there are two types of trucks driving on the highway. The first one (LDL) dumps mud all over the road. The second one (HDL) is a street sweeper, that cleans up all the mud. If there are too many trucks that dump mud and too few trucks that clean it up, a problem arises – the highway gets clogged up (atherosclerosis) and the traffic flow (the blood) is slowed down.
The body naturally produces all the LDL it needs. An unhealthy lifestyle causes the body to produce more LDL than it needs.
There are a few factors that increases the chance of getting high cholesterol. The primary causes of high cholesterol are:
• Diet: the cholesterol levels in the blood will be higher when a lot of saturated fats are eaten.
• Physical exercise: physical exercise can also affect the cholesterol levels. Lack of physical exercise causes high cholesterol
• Heredity: genes can have an influence on how the body consumes the LDL (bad). Hypercholesterolemia, for example, is an inheritable form of high cholesterol that can lead to early cardiovascular diseases.
• Weight: overweight can lead to an increase of the LDL levels.
• Age and sex: before the menopause, women normally have a lower cholesterol level than men of the same age. When men and women age, their cholesterol levels rise until age 60-65.
• Alcohol use: moderate alcohol use (1-2 drinks a day) increases the HDL (good) but doesn’t lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol. Doctors don’t know yet whether alcohol also decreases the risk at heart diseases. Drinking too much alcohol can cause damage to the liver and heart muscle and can lead to a high blood pressure. That is why it is not recommended to consume alcoholic beverages as a way to prevent heart diseases.
• Mental stress: several studies have showed that stress increases the cholesterol levels on the long term. A way stress can cause this is by affecting habits. For example, when some people experience stress, they comfort themselves by eating unhealthy food. The saturated fats and cholesterol in this food contribute to higher cholesterol levels in the blood.
There are no symptoms that indicate if someone has high cholesterol, but a high cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis and several cardiovascular diseases. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of cholesterol and fat in the artery walls. The arteries can because of this become narrow and hard, the elasticity disappears and it becomes difficult for blood to flow through.
These buildups can rupture, which could cause a blood clot. If the blood can’t flow to a part of the body, the tissues in that part will die.
Natriche Cholesterol helps lowering the cholesterol, but also helps in maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Natriche Cholesterol contains red yeast rice, which contains Monacolin K. Monacolin K is praised worldwide for its role in getting or keeping a healthy cholesterol level, as is showed in many scientific studies.
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