(NaturalNews) Though many people still do not realize this, our bodies actually need cholesterol in order to survive, as the brain and central nervous system rely on this important fat to both protect the integrity of neurons and promote proper neural communication and function. But sometimes cholesterol fails to properly assimilate where it needs to go inside the body, or the size and density of cholesterol particles get out of whack due to an underlying health condition or poor diet and lifestyle, which is what commonly gets attributed to chronic health problems such as heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
The tendency among conventional practitioners, of course, is to address this chronic cholesterol imbalance by trying to artificially lower it, as "high cholesterol" has become a popular buzz phrase for ill health, and therefore it must be reduced by whatever means possible. But like all other drug-based approaches to disease, this focused, cholesterol-lowering approach fails to address the underlying causes of high cholesterol, which include things like insulin resistance and diabetes. In fact, high cholesterol itself is actually a symptom of another underlying health condition, rather than a condition in and of itself.
"The singular focus on treating cholesterol as a means to prevent heart attacks is leading to the deaths of millions of people because the real underlying cause of the majority of heart disease is not being diagnosed or treated by most physicians," wrote practicing physician Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., in a 2011 piece on cholesterol for The Huffington Post. "Abnormal cholesterol levels are just a downstream problem that is mostly a result of 'diabesity' or the continuum of blood sugar and insulin imbalances that range from pre-diabetes to full-blown end stage diabetes."
What this means is that simply popping the latest cholesterol drug will do little, if anything, to actually fix your cholesterol problems. In fact, Dr. Hyman explains that cholesterol drugs, even if they initially appear to bring cholesterol levels back into a healthy range, actually lead to more deaths from heart attack and heart disease in the long run because they treat the symptom rather than the disease, and create harmful side effects in the process. In the end, if dietary and lifestyle changes are not instigated, people with disease-induced high cholesterol will face the same ill outcomes of heart disease and death, regardless of whether or not they take cholesterol drugs.
"Drugs don't treat the underlying causes of chronic illness," added Dr. Hyman in his report. "It is not our genes which haven't changed much in 20,000 years, although they may predispose us to environmental and lifestyle triggers of illness. The causes of chronic disease are rooted in what we eat, how much we move, how we face stress, how connected we are to our communities and toxic chemicals and metals in our environment."
Addressing your cholesterol issues and their underlying causes naturally
So what can you do to practically address your cholesterol issues in such a way as to also address the underlying health conditions that are causing it? The first thing Dr. Hyman suggests is to 1) get properly tested for cholesterol, which includes testing for cholesterol particle size and density. Healthy circulating cholesterol should be "light and fluffy," he says, rather than small and dense. You can ask your doctor specifically for such a test, which Dr. Hyman says is available through popular testing companies like Labcorp and LipoScience.
If it is determined that your cholesterol particles are too small and dense, the next step is to 2) test for metabolic syndrome. Dr. Hyman has created a helpful list of five steps you can take to determine whether or not you have this under-diagnosed condition, and these steps can be found towards the bottom of the following article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
High cholesterol can also be indicative of a chronic inflammation problem, which means you may need to 3) make significant and potentially drastic dietary changes to correct it. Oddly enough, eating low-cholesterol and low-fat foods, including refined vegetables oils rather than saturated fats, is a common cause of chronic inflammation. Health and fitness expert Charles Poliquin explains in the following article more of the specifics as to how inflammation is actually the culprit in heart disease rather than high cholesterol: http://www.charlespoliquin.com
4) Reducing your carbohydrate intake and boosting your complex protein intake is another great way to not only quell any inflammation that might be linked to your high cholesterol, but also to feed your body the nutrients it needs to remedy metabolic syndrome and diabetic conditions. This means 5) eliminating processed flours and refined sugars, and 6) replacing them with proteins and healthy fats from grass-fed meats, nuts and other whole foods. Eating more coconut oil, grass-fed butter, raw milk, and trace mineral-rich sea and earth salt can also help address the underlying causes of high cholesterol.