What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance which is found in every cell of our body, but present in huge amount in brain, liver and spinal cord.

What does cholesterol do in blood?

Cholesterol does not get mixed with blood, just like oil and water. It is used mostly in the blood to wrap red blood cells so that the blood could flow freely.

Could you explain more about cholesterol?

Cholesterol is carried in the blood as small packages called lipoproteins and the lipid is in the middle and protein is in the outer side. There are two kinds of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol throughout our body:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) known as bad cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) known as good cholesterol

What are the uses of cholesterol in our body?

The important functions of cholesterol are as follows:

Stabilizes and protects the cell membrane
Protects the nerves
It is the starting substance of bile acid which we need for fat digestion
It is also the fundamental structure of all male and female sexual hormones, including estrogens.
It protects our skin
From cholesterol, our skin produces vitamin D with the help of sunlight.
It supports our immune system
Protects kidneys from diabetes
It gives the elasticity to the red blood cells
Important to brain’s growth
Cholesterol is a major constituent in many important organs including brain and liver in our body and it is simply everywhere.
It has got also antioxidant properties.

If it is so important, what is the amount of cholesterol present in our whole body?

There is approximately 100 g cholesterol in our body, moreover liver produces 1.5 to 2 g cholesterol every day in the liver. Therefore when compared to our body’s own production, intake of about 0.3 to 0.5g cholesterol from the food is nothing.

If there are so many positive things, why do we think cholesterol is dangerous to our health?

There are several reasons for that. Scientists spent several decades to find out all the facts about cholesterol. Nobel Prize was awarded 17 times to scientists who did research in cholesterol. There are two groups who had interest to make cholesterol as villain; they are the food industry and Pharmaceutical Industry. Trillions of were earned already in Western countries and this is continued by these industries in India now. It is such an aggressive advertisement so that many were afraid and bought the costly products without cholesterol or many bought unnecessarily the medicines which decrease the cholesterol amount in blood but these have also side effects.

Even today this market does very well because of the fear on cholesterol and their possible bad effects on health. The industry takes advantage of this fear and makes enormous profit.

What makes then the plaque formation that is responsible for heart attack or stroke?

Natural cholesterol is not only harmless but is very beneficial. When LDL cholesterol is damaged by oxygen free radicals and is oxidised, oxidised LDL is a factor in the development of atherosclerosis, which may lead to heart attack or stroke. Normally the HDL cholesterol protects the LDL cholesterol. It is important to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol because oxidised cholesterol is dangerous.

Oxidized cholesterol or LDL is dangerous, how is it formed?

It could be formed from the food whether cooked or processed. When a cholesterol containing food is dried with air or heat, oxidation of cholesterol takes place and it is absorbed exactly like normal cholesterol.

What are the side effects of medicines which decrease cholesterol in blood?

You can expect skin problems and the chance of loosing muscle strength and volume. To prevent your muscle loss you must do regular exercise.

Must I completely stop taking cholesterol rich foods?

The answer is very clear, no. Because if you strictly avoid cholesterol, your body will produce what it needs. If it gets more from food then the liver synthesizes less or gets very less, it produces more. This does not mean that you could eat any amount of food which contains cholesterol. You must know what to eat, what not and why. Your knowledge must be so good that you can decide without problem what to eat.

Can you tell me a concrete example?

There are several examples but I would like to give you one example. Egg contains much cholesterol and there were persons who ate several eggs a day, months together and even then their cholesterol values are normal in blood. Singular studies were also done with young men and the results were also the same, normal cholesterol values in blood.

What are the other risk factors for heart attack?

Over weight, high blood pressure, tension, high homocysteine level and cigarette smoking are the other risk factors. The hereditary factor is also very important and this is a known risk.

Where are the law makers when the industry manipulates things?

Democracy is very good but politics must get the information from the research institutes and the industry supports many of these projects to get favourable publications for them. Moreover the members of the parliament obtain their information from the lobbyists who work for this industry. Believe me, there are about 15,000 lobbyists in Brussels where the EU (European Union) has its headquarters and in Germany which is one of the 27 EU countries, there are about three thousand lobbyists in Berlin. The work of these people is to influence the politics to achieve the things which are advantageous to them. This is the same throughout our world.

Which milk contains more cholesterol, mother’s or cow milk?

Mother’s milk contains cholesterol double the amount of cow milk and our body knows exactly what is important to the infant. This is one of the evidences why natural cholesterol is very important for us.

Why do Eskimos have less coronary diseases and stroke, although they consume far more cholesterol than Europeans?

Eskimos eat raw fish, whale and other available animals. Their cholesterol values are less than the average Europeans although they take double the amount of cholesterol. They have seldom heart attack or stroke and this shows there are several other factors whose combined effects also play a role in heart attack or stroke. The aborigines from Australia or some clans in Africa also take a lot of cholesterol but have very less heart related diseases. Reduction of other risk factors is the best prevention factor to be healthy.

What about the French, the French paradox?

“French Paradox” was not well understood for a long time. It is cleared exactly now. The French eat the fattiest foods in the world but have lesser heart attack than the others who consume much less cholesterol. The French drink very rarely water alone but mix it always with red wine, half and half and drink. Here it is not the role played by alcohol but the chemical which gives the red colour to red wine, resveratrol, which reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Moreover alcohol in small quantity helps to widen the arteries and thus heart does not need to work hard. Small quantity means, one glass wine added to one more glass of water. Be careful, only because of resveratrol and other polyphenols as antioxidants, red wine has this quality.

In the preparation of Ghee from butter, what is the effect of heat?

In olden days we put the butter when the vessel is extremely hot and now because of our knowledge of oxy-cholesterol the vessels are heated mildly but not extreme. Thus the reaction between cholesterol and oxygen is reduced. We have become careful and that is good. Ask your neighbours, if somebody is heating extremely, explain them why it is not good.