Causes of high cholesterol can be numerous and include such things as diet, lifestyle choices, family history, gender, and more. Most people know these factors, as they are common sense, but what most people don’t realize is the importance of each factor.
Your Diet effect Cholesterol
For example, most people tend to think the most significant factor among the causes of high cholesterol is diet. Yet this is far from the truth.
Yes, diet is a factor, but it might come as a shock to you to know that your liver manufactures 75 % or more of your blood cholesterol! Indeed, this is how the statin prescription drugs for reducing cholesterol work by blocking an enzyme that the liver needs to manufacture cholesterol.
People are overly focussed on the causes of high cholesterol when they should be more focussed on the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol.
Some people do not realize that cholesterol itself is essential for good health. Cholesterol is a non-soluble waxy substance that your body needs for making hormones, cell walls, and nerve sheaths. As you may have heard, LDL is the “bad” cholesterol, and HDL is the “good” cholesterol.
Here’s why: LDL can clog up your arteries by adhering to arterial walls and creating plaque buildup. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, travels around in your bloodstream and picks up excess cholesterol, which includes bad LDL cholesterol, and takes it back to the liver for reprocessing.
In short, HDL is like a garbage collector getting rid of unhealthy “junk.”
Focussing on getting the best ratio between LDL and HDL is much more important than focussing on your total cholesterol number or even the causes of high cholesterol because high cholesterol itself doesn’t tell you much about the critical ratio you should be concerned about.
When it comes to diet as one of the causes of high cholesterol, it’s unfortunate that people have been misled by avoiding foods that contain cholesterol itself. For years, the establishment has been saying to avoid things like butter and eggs, but more and more studies are revealing that saturated fats are natural for the body to metabolize.
What you should avoid are so-called “trans-fats” which are human-made and cannot be metabolized by the body. These will wreack havoc on your health.
The best way to identify trans-fat in foods is by reading the labels on everything you buy. Look for the words “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated,” which means it’s trans-fat. Put these products right back on the shelf where they belong.
Generally speaking, being overweight is one of the causes of high cholesterol. However, this is not always the case. Many people who look very fit, or even trim and slim on the exterior, can be a ticking time bomb inside because they have very high LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels.
If you are overweight, speak with a nutritionist or dietician about getting on a sensible eating plan, but don’t think you’re off the hook just because you’re thin.
This is one of the biggest reasons for the causes of high cholesterol. This is why some people can be very thin and yet suffer from high cholesterol simply because it may run in their family history meaning it’s in their genes.
It’s essential that if you have relatives or parents and grandparents who have suffered heart attacks and cardiovascular disease that you take healthy preventative steps.
Causes of High Cholesterol Risk with age
Age is one of the causes of high cholesterol meaning, the older we get, especially in middle age, the more our bodies function less optimally, and things can go awry. One of these problems is the manufacture of more cholesterol by the liver, leading to high cholesterol.
Although living a healthy lifestyle should be a life long endeavor, once people hit their 50’s, they should pay closer attention to health risks like higher cholesterol.
What to do about the Causes of High Cholesterol?
Now that we know why it’s so important to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL let’s discuss some options. First, as alluded to above, statin medications are one of the most promoted methods of lowering LDL cholesterol.
However, most of them cannot help raise HDL cholesterol at all. Moreover, all statin drugs can create severe side effects that include muscle wasting and other bodily damage. For some people, these side effects can be life-threatening.
If you are thinking about taking a statin drug, talk to your physician very carefully about it so you can weigh the benefits vs. the risks.
Natural Options to Help Counter the Causes of High Cholesterol
There are natural and safe alternatives to statin drugs that can raise good HDL cholesterol while lowering bad LDL cholesterol. The best of these natural alternatives have been backed by extensive clinical studies that validate their efficacy.
Here are the best ones:
Policosanol: an extract from sugar cane and rice bran, and has been proven in numerous clinical trials to lower LDL (by up to 20%) and raise HDL cholesterol (by up to 10%)
Guggulipid: an ancient herb used traditionally in India’s Ayurveda medicine for thousands of years to treat high cholesterol. Its effectiveness is now being recognized by Western medicine.
Phytosterols (Beta-Sitosterol): Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol that can inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.
Theaflavins: These are bioflavonoid compounds that can be found in green and black tea. Most of you have probably heard by now that drinking green tea has a myriad of health benefits. But perhaps you didn’t know that Theaflavin can lower the level of LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
So, if you are worried about the causes of high cholesterol, you may want to look into a natural alternative. Sometimes, diet and exercise aren’t enough. Make sure you talk to your doctor before taking supplements, especially if you are currently seeking a prescription drug, are pregnant or nursing.