Cholesterol - demystified



Wurde Ihnen gesagt, dass Sie einen hohen Cholesterinspiegel haben (und Medikamente einnehmen müssen)? Oder vielleicht hat eines Ihrer Familienmitglieder einen Schlaganfall oder Herzinfarkt erlitten und Sie machen sich Sorgen um gesunde Ernährung und gesättigte Fette?


Seit vielen Jahren wird uns von Medien, Angehörigen der Gesundheitsberufe, sowie und Lebensmittelherstellern suggeriert, dass Cholesterin und gesättigte Fette schlecht sind und Ihre Arterien verstopfen, was zu Herzerkrankungen führen kann. Aber ist dem wirklich so? Und was kann man in dem Fall tun um sich gesund und bewusst zu ernähren? (Full article in english)

Cholesterol - is it bad or is it in fact essential for health?


Have you been told that you have high cholesterol and need to use medication? Or maybe one of your family members has had a stroke or heart attack and you are worried about saturated fats?


For many years we’ve been told by the media, health professionals and food manufacturers that cholesterol and saturated fats are bad, and can cause your arteries to clog up, leading to heart disease.

But is fat the real villain?


In fact, the current research dismisses the direct link between cholesterol and saturated fat intake with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Most experts agree that although high cholesterol levels can be a part of CVD development, it is not a direct cause and there are other, more important factors to consider. Cholesterol is essential to health; it is needed for the production of steroid hormones, CoQ10 and vitamin D, and is a component of our cells, so complete dietary exclusion is not healthy.


Different fats (often described as triglycerides) and cholesterol are carried in the bloodstream by lipoproteins. You may be mostly familiar with LDL (low density lipoprotein), which carries them from the liver to the rest of the body, and HDL (high density lipoprotein), which carries them from the tissues back to the liver. We generally want to encourage higher levels of HDL in relation to LDL.


Sugar is your enemy, not fat!


When we eat a lot of carbohydrates, and especially sugar, we stimulate the production of insulin. Insulin increases natural production of triglycerides, and so LDL. Fructose is another type of sugar, naturally found in fruit, which can have a negative impact on our blood lipid levels. While moderate intake of fruit shouldn’t be a problem, the highly processed form of fructose (high fructose corn syrup), commonly added to processed foods and fizzy drinks, should be avoided at all cost.


Liver – Key Organ for Lipid Balance


Your liver is the main organ which regulates the levels of lipids and cholesterol in the bloodstream. Therefore, liver dysfunction can lead to abnormal cholesterol metabolism. Bile, produced by the liver, is a crucial medium that helps to shunt cholesterol from the liver into the gut to be excreted. If we don’t produce enough bile, or if it’s too sticky and doesn’t flow freely, it can lead to reduced cholesterol clearance. This can be caused by lack of nutrients needed for bile production (e.g. choline, taurine), eating when stressed or in a rush, liver disease, gallstones, or if you’ve had your gallbladder removed.


Damaged Cholesterol


Fats are very fragile and can easily be damaged (oxidised) by free radicals, toxins, excess sugar, or if our bodies are inflamed. Oxidised cholesterol is much more harmful, while triglyceride-rich LDL tends to be very small, making it more likely to cause atherosclerosis (plaque within the arteries). This scenario can be exacerbated if we are low in antioxidants. Some fats are already damaged when consumed, in particular from processed milk, vegetable and animal fats, or fried potatoes.


Natural Support for High Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health

  • Don’t be scared of fats, as long as they are good quality, not damaged by excess heat or processing and in moderate quantities. Avoid all sources of trans- fats like margarine and baked, processed products.
  • Omega 3 fats can decrease triglycerides by up to 20.5% over 12 weeks at 1.24g/day, as well as LDL, while increasing HDL.
  • Low carbohydrate diet has been shown to increase HDL and reduce triglycerides. High intake of vegetables also provides plenty of fibre, which aids cholesterol elimination from the gut.
  • If you know your blood sugar levels are high or you’re struggling with sugar cravings, nutrients such as chromium, B3, manganese, magnesium, and alpha lipoic acid can be helpful.
  • Include plenty of antioxidants, including berries and green leafy vegetables, to prevent damage to fats in the blood. When looking for an antioxidant supplement, ideally look for one that provides a range of antioxidants such as vitamin E, C, green tea, turmeric.
  • Support liver function and bile flow with artichoke, dandelion, and turmeric.
  • Support the gut with dietary changes and supplemental probiotics. Lactobacillus plantarum can reduce LDL and potentially the risk of CVD. One study found that a daily dose of 1.2 billion L. plantarum significantly reduced total cholesterol over 12 weeks.

Heart disease often takes decades to develop, so take the important steps today to support healthy heart function and cholesterol levels!


For a full reference list with links to the article we refer you to our partners BioCare.

1 Siri-Tarino PW, et al. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(3):535-46.

2 Chowdhury R, et al. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(6):398-406.

3 Kersten S. Mechanisms of nutritional and hormonal regulation of lipogenesis. EMBO Reports. 2001;2(4):282-286.

4 Herman MA, Samuel VT. The sweet path to metabolic demise: fructose and lipid synthesis. Trends in endocrinology and metabolism: TEM. 2016;27(10):719-730.

5 Herman MA, Samuel VT. The sweet path to metabolic demise: fructose and lipid synthesis. Trends in endocrinology and metabolism: TEM. 2016;27(10):719-730.

6 Nemes K et al. Cholesterol metabolism in cholestatic liver disease and liver transplantation: From molecular mechanisms to clinical implications. World Journal of Hepatology. 2016;8(22):924-932.

7 Lobo V, et al. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2010;4(8):118-126.

8 Abdalla MSh, et al. Effects of smoking on the oxidant/antioxidant balance and the blood lipids in pesticide sprayers. Toxicol Ind Health. 2015 Feb;31(2):173-8.

9 Sharma B, Singh S, Siddiqi NJ. Biomedical Implications of Heavy Metals Induced Imbalances in Redox Systems. BioMed Research International. 2014;2014:640754.

10 Felber JP, et al. Role of lipid oxidation in pathogenesis of insulin resistance of obdiabetes. Diabetes. 1987 Nov;36(11):1341-50.esity and type II 

11 Ng CH et al. Oxidised cholesterol is more hypercholesterolaemic and atherogenic than non-oxidised cholesterol in hamsters. Br J Nutr. 2008;99(4):749-55.

12 Tribble D et al. ‘Enhanced oxidative susceptibility and reduced antioxidant content of metabolic precursors of small, dense low-density lipoproteins.’, Am J Med. 2001; 110(2):103–110.

13 Welty FK. How Do Elevated Triglycerides and Low HDL-Cholesterol Affect Inflammation and Atherothrombosis? Current cardiology reports. 2013;15(9):400.

14 Valenzuela A, Sanhueza J, Nieto S. Cholesterol oxidation: health hazard and the role of antioxidants in prevention. Biol Res. 2003;36(3-4):291-302.

15 Lee et al. Omega-3 fatty acids for cardioprotection. Mayo Clin Proc. 2008; 83 (3): 324-32.

16 Paniagua JA. A low-fat high-carbohydrate diet supplemented with long-chain n-3 PUFA reduces the risk of the metabolic syndrome. Atherosclerosis. 2011 Oct;218(2):443-50.

17 Nestel PJ. Fish oil and cardiovascular disease: lipids and arterial function. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan;71(1 Suppl):228S-31S.

18 Parin Parikh BA et al. Diets and Cardiovascular Disease: An Evidence-Based Assessment. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2005;45(9): 1379-1387.

19 Parin Parikh BA et al. Diets and Cardiovascular Disease: An Evidence-Based Assessment. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2005;45(9): 1379-1387.

20 Threapleton DE et al. Dietary fibre intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2013;347:f6879

21 Martin et al. Chromium picolinate supplementation attenuates body weight gain and increases insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006 Aug; 29(8): 1826-32.

22 Guoli et al. Chromium Activates Glucose Transporter 4 Trafficking and Enhances Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Transport in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes via a Cholesterol-Dependent Mechanism Molecular Endocrinology. 2006; 20(4):857–87.0.

23 Gaby, Wright. Nutritional regulation of blood glucose. J Advancement Med 1991; 4:57–71.

24 Stebbing et al. Reactive hypoglycemia and magnesium. Magnesium Bull 1982 ;2: 131–4.

25 Jacob S, Henriksen EJ, Schiemann AL, et al. Enhancement of glucose disposal in patients with type 2 diabetes by alpha-lipoic acid. Arzneim-Rorsch Drug Res 1995;45(2):872-74.

26 Traber; Atkinson, J (2007). "Vitamin E, Antioxidant and Nothing More". Free radical biology & medicine 43 (1): 4–15. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2007.03.024. PMC 2040110. PMID 17561088.

27 Herrera; Barbas, C (2001). "Vitamin E: action, metabolism and perspectives". Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry 57 (2): 43–56. doi:10.1007/BF03179812. PMID 11579997.

28 Samsam Shariat SZA, Mostafavi SA, Khakpour F. Antioxidant Effects of Vitamins C and E on the Low-Density Lipoprotein Oxidation Mediated by Myeloperoxidase. Iranian Biomedical Journal. 2013;17(1):22-28.

29 Suzuki-Sugihara N, et al. Green tea catechins prevent low-density lipoprotein oxidation via their accumulation in low-density lipoprotein particles in humans. Nutr Res. 2016 Jan;36(1):16-23.

30 Mahfouz MM, Zhou SQ, Kummerow FA. Curcumin prevents the oxidation and lipid modification of LDL and its inhibition of prostacyclin generation by endothelial cells in culture. Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2009 Nov;90(1-2):13-20.

31 Holtmann G et al. Efficacy of artichoke leaf extract in the treatment of patients with functional dyspepsia: a six-week placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicentre trial. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003;18(11-12):1099-105.

32 Vogel G. Natural substances with effects on the liver. In: Wagner H, Wolff P, eds. New Natural Products and Plant Drugs with Pharmacological, Biological or Therapeutic Activity. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 1977

33 Curcumin has a contractive effect on human gallbladder function. J Bras Pneumol. 2006 Jan-Feb;32(1):66-74.

34 J Bras Pneumol. 2006 Jan-Feb;32(1):66-74. PMID: 10102956

35 Bukowska et al. Decrease in fibrinogen and LDL-cholesterol levels upon supplementation of diet with Lactobacillus plantarum in subjects with moderately elevated cholesterol. Atherosclerosis. 1998; 137 (2): 437-8.

36 Naruszewicz et al. Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v on cardiovascular disease risk factors in smokers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002; 76 (6): 1249-55.

37 Arrieta F, et al. Phase IV prospective clinical study to evaluate the effect of taurine on liver function in postsurgical adult patients requiring parenteral nutrition. Nutr Clin Pract. 2014;29(5):672-80.

38 Militante J.D., Lombardini J.B. Dietary taurine supplementation: Hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic effects. Nutrition Research. 2004; 24 (10): 787 – 801.

Write a comment

Comments: 0