Cholesterol – the good, the bad and the not terrible…

For years now, if you’ve passed a certain age, you’ve been warned about high cholesterol levels. However, unlike in the past, where every type of cholesterol was declared a danger to health and an enemy that must be fought by all means, today, we already know that there is bad cholesterol, and in contrast – there is also good cholesterol.

What, exactly, is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is produced, for the most part, in the liver. It plays many important roles for the normal functioning of the body – it builds the cell envelope in the body, it is involved in the production of hormones, in the treatment of vitamin D and bile salts, and so on. Cholesterol is transported to the body’s cells through the blood circulation by the proteins called lipoproteins (Lipoprotein – lipo means “fat” and protein is, as you know, protein), which, like cholesterol, are also produced in the liver.

good cholesterol? Bad cholesterol?
Lipoproteins are divided into two types – the low-density lipoproteins (LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein) and the high-density lipoproteins (HDL – High Density Lipoprotein).
While the LDL-type lipoproteins transport cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body’s tissues for its use, the HDL-type lipoproteins transport cholesterol from the body’s tissues to the liver, for its breakdown and excretion from our body. However, this is not the only difference between the two types of cholesterol. The “bad” cholesterol, which is carried in the blood circulation on the lipoproteins of the LDL type, has a tendency to sink into the walls of the blood vessels through which it passes and to form the hardened deposit called “plaque”. This plaque, which accumulates in the blood vessels and narrows their diameter (and therefore – makes it difficult to the blood in them), is considered the real enemy, and this, because its accumulation can cause blockage of blood vessels, the appearance of arteriosclerosis, heart attacks or stroke / stroke. In contrast, the “good” cholesterol, which passes through the bloodstream via high-density lipoproteins (HDL), absorbs the remains of “bad” cholesterol, keeps it away from the blood vessel walls and carries it back to the liver, for its breakdown. This is the reason why High levels of HDL are considered to reduce the existing risks of various heart diseases and cerebrovascular events.

Is it possible to influence the levels of good and bad cholesterol?
As we mentioned at the beginning, about 70% of the cholesterol in the body is produced by it (by the liver, as mentioned) and about 30% of the cholesterol comes from an external source – our diet.
So, although high levels of bad cholesterol are, for the most part, a genetic matter, it is still possible, in different ways, to deal with them, balance them and reduce the risk of all those diseases and health conditions that are the result of the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels.

the conventional treatment
Diagnosing high cholesterol in the blood will usually be done with a blood test by taking blood from a vein, and it is recommended for men who have reached the age of 35 and women who have reached the age of 45, with a frequency of once every 5 years. Subjects who are at risk of various heart diseases, or subjects whose family has a history of hyperlipidemia (hyperlipidemia – chronically high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood), will be advised to perform this test from the age of 20, at a frequency of once a year.
After diagnosing high “bad” cholesterol levels, the patient will be prescribed an industrial drug (Ezetimibe, Ezetrol, Lipitor, Atorvastatin, Simvastatin and other drugs from the statin family). And here, apparently – the problem is solved – you take the medicine according to the instructions, and that’s it, you are “healthy” and you no longer have cholesterol!
But again, here too, it is only apparent, because most of the artificial commercial drugs are accompanied by a very long list of much less optimistic side effects – from “just” fatigue and weakness, through digestive problems (mostly – only stomach pains or those accompanied by diarrhea), to For inflammations in the respiratory tract and throat, obesity, and even – irreversible damage to liver functions.

Herbs used to relieve high cholesterol levels
There are approaches in alternative complementary medicine that advocate the use of various herbs for the treatment of high cholesterol levels:
Gymnema Silvestra
In studies, it seems that the plant cleans the excess blood lipids and enables their flexibility. In addition, it encourages weight loss
and lowers blood sugar levels.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
A well-known herb-herb known for its ability to treat diabetes and cholesterol in the blood and allows adequate blood flow to the body’s cells.
Curcumin (turmeric – Curcuma longa)
The commonly used spice is known for its ability to treat digestive problems, relieve pain and stimulate blood circulation, among a long list of different health conditions.
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
Although, nowadays, we meet it, mainly, in food, for its many virtues of treating stomachaches, improving the activity of the digestive system and… no less important – balancing glucose levels and lipid levels in the blood.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
To us, as Israelis, it seems obvious to incorporate this vegetable into almost every food, but did you know that it has properties for balancing and reducing blood sugars and fats?

In the bottom line
If you have a tendency to high cholesterol in your family or your diet over the years has been poor and as a result fats have accumulated on the walls of the blood vessels, it is very important to be aware of the risks.
But, before you run off the drugs (which are prone to side effects).
Stop for a moment and check – it is possible that the plants used in complementary medicine have solutions for this and other problems