There is a huge amount of material regarding cholesterol lowering drugs I was tempted not to include it in these series of articles but in my opinion since our theme is selling sickness (a term I stole from the excellent book written by Ray Moynihan & Alan Cassels (Thank you gentlemen) the cholesterol lowering drug Statins is probably the biggest money spinner the pharmaceutical industry has. It is the perfect definition of selling sickness, especially when, as I pointed out in a previous article that the cholesterol standards committee made up of 9 people and 8 of them are being paid by the pharmaceutical industry so they are not going to give these drugs a negative review. In addition we know that acceptable cholesterol levels again, are decided by such committees that recommend lowering the acceptable cholesterol levels, not to protect more people but to sell more drugs and sell more sickness. Prescribing a cholesterol lowering drug, without diagnosis in some cases, just because you’re over 50 is completely unscientific..what is this based on..fantasy, that everybody over 50 is in the clutches of the evil cholesterol and must be liberated so we can all join Statintion,, or is it Satanation. Some scientists are pushing for these drugs to be added to the drinking water…anyway none of you should be drinking the municipal water anyway; has the world gone completely mad. I can tell you from first hand experience that my mother has been led to the ‘sheep pen’ and she has been taking these very destructive chemicals for 20 years or so and although she is 90 now she is a virtual cripple and it’s not OLD AGE. This article of cholesterol lowering drugs is in 2 parts (my apologies), but it is important that you understand how crucial and essential cholesterol is to the body and to appreciate the many functions it serves. In turn you will appreciate what potential damage can occur if you block the production of cholesterol.
The Purpose of Cholesterol in Body
Cholesterol is Essential for Cell Structure
The human body is made up of billions of mammalian cells that require structural integrity on their membranes that constitute the cell wall and the organelles provided by cholesterol and saturated fat in different quantities. Arterial walls and blood vessels that need to withstand varying blood pressure require structural integrity provided again by saturated fat and cholesterol. These cholesterol and saturated fat layers are referred to as Fatty streaks that are completely normal, which everybody on the planet, has even new born infants. Even cell signaling use proteins (Caveolae) that are embedded into the cholesterol/saturated fat walls and transported from cell to cell. Biologically, if a cell is deprived of cholesterol the membrane integrity weakens causing ion leaks and Sodium/Potassium (Na+/K+) pumps consume (waste) more ATP to keep potassium ions in and Sodium ions out to maintain efficient membrane potential. A continuous deprivation of cellular cholesterol forces to cell to make a choice, allow more ion leaks or reduce the number of caveolae*.
*Caveolae are tiny (50 nanometre) scaffolding protein pouches (or cavities) inside cell membranes that are used for endocytosis (nutrient movement in/out of the cell), transcytosis (movement of molecules across the interior of the cell like insulin **and transferrin (blood plasma proteins) and signal transduction (cell signaling within the cell that occurs for example in DNA transcription and other cell functions like autophagy (cell recycling) and getting rid of cell debris.
** Unnatural cholesterol lowering drugs are known to cause diabetes, because the cell is forced to reduce the number of insulin receptors which are part of the Caveolae.
Cholesterol is Essential for Brain Function and Health
Twenty five percent of the total cholesterol in the body is in the human brain acting as a protective cover (Myelin sheath) for the millions of neurons. Every cell and every cranial structure needs cholesterol (about 7% by weight). Synapse formation that we discussed in the last article for neurotransmission and efficient memory function is almost entirely dependent on Cholesterol which is made by our brain cells from a protein called Apolipoprotein E (APOE) which is used in chylomicron (Chylo = Greek for juice or milky fluid, and micron meaning small micron) which refer to lipoprotein particles (as discussed in previous articles such as LDL,HDL,VLDL) that consist of triglycerides (85-92%), Phospholipids (6-12%), cholesterol (1-3%) and protein (1-2%). In this, in the brain the chylomicrons are IDL (Intermediate density lipoprotein) that are principal cholesterol transports in the brain, carrying lipoproteins (hydrophobic lipid or fats ), fat soluble vitamins and cholesterol into the lymph system and then into the bloodstream. Astroglia and microglia (non-neuronal cells) are the prime producers of APOE so again cholesterol is crucial. Astroglia or Astrocyte cells are Glial cells (neuroglia) that are responsible for maintaining homeostasis (Physiological balance, e.g breathing support)), form Myelin.
Glial cells also provide positional integrity, supply oxygen and nutrients, insulate neurons, as well as destroy pathogens and remove dead neuron debris in the central and Autonomic nervous systems. As we mentioned before their homeostatic function includes regulation of the internal environment of the brain including neuronal fluid and their synapses supplying nutrients to the neurons. Glial cells of the Hippocampus and cerebellum (areas shown on diagram below) are also involved in synaptic transmission, like a telephone exchange, glial cells can make contact (Gliotransmission) to over 100,000 synapses,and neurotransmitter clearance from the synaptic cleft.
Microglia are part of the brain immune system that are made up of specialized macrophages protecting neurons of the central nervous system and are found in the brain and the spinal cord and it is thought that microglia deficiency is associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease which is a condition where neurons that are responsible for voluntary muscle control begin to die, causing the patient to have difficulty speaking, swallowing and eventually breathing-Stephen Hawkings the brilliant theoretical physicist and an expert on cosmology has this condition).
Cholesterol is Essential for Hormone Production
All the steroid hormones are made from cholesterol, the corticosteroids which are made by the adrenal cortex (Peripheral part of the adrenal gland that mediates stress response). There are 2 main classes Glucocorticoids affecting carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism, anti-inflammatory purposes like Cortisol that stimulate amino acid release, Lipolysis (fat metabolism), Gluconeogenesis (glucose production from lipids and amino acids), increase blood glucose levels in response to stress by inhibiting glucose uptake in the muscles and fat cells, strengthens cardiac muscle contractions, and increase water retention. Androgen production which includes Testosterone the primary male sex hormone and anabolic steroid. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which play an essential role in forming external male genitalia during embryogenesis and in the adult male acts as the primary hormone for the prostate, seminal vesicles, skin and hair follicles. Androstenedione is used to increase testosterone production, enhance athletic performance, increase energy, maintain the health of red blood cells, enhance growth and recovery from exercise and increase sexual desire and performance. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) ( not to be confused with DHEA omega 3 essential fatty acids) is a precursor for more potent androgens such as Testosterone.
The other subclass is Mineralocorticoids, the primary one of which is Aldosterone which is mostly responsible for blood pressure regulation.
The male and female gonads (reproductive glands) also produce hormones that are made from cholesterol. The female gonads (ovaries) produce Estrogen which is used for growth and maturation of the uterus, Vagina,breast, pelvis and uterine changes during menstruation. Progesterone which is used to prepare the uterus for conception, uterine changes during the menstrual cycle (in concert with Estrogen), increases sexual desire, ovulation support and milk production stimulation, Androstenedione used as a precursor for Testosterone and Estrogen. Activin that stimulates production and release of a follicle stimulating hormone (a hormone produced by the Pituitary gland to regulate the menstrual cycle and egg production from the ovaries, and in men FSH is the sperm policeman). Inhibin is the antagonist of FSH since it acts as a negative feedback loop to regulate the menstrual cycle and egg production from the ovaries (OBGYN’s use this hormone as part of a prenatal quad screen during a 16-18 week gestation stage to establish potential down’s syndrome (elevated Inhibin levels), and it is also a marker for ovarian cancer and male infertility.
Cholesterol is Essential for Bile production from the Liver
The liver produces bile from the liver’s Hepatocyte cells from cholesterol (over 50% of the body cholesterol is converted into bile) which is required for fat emulsification (breakdown) during the digestion process. Bile is actually made up of Phosphatidylcholine (Lecithin) and Bile salts (Conjugated bile acids). The bile salts (potassium and sodium derivatives) that are conjugated with amino acids Taurine and glycine are the primary bile acids (Secondary bile acids results from bacterial action in the colon. Bile serves not only as an emulsifier but it neutralizes acid from the stomach ( acidic chyme poured into the duodenum after the first stage digestion in preparation for the second digestion stage requiring enzymes who need a more alkaline environment). Bile also acts as bactericides destroying food microbes and serves as a route for Bilirubin. Most of the liver’s functions running the body is not associated with digestion, although bile continuously pours out of the liver’s duct system for digestive purposes it is also used as a form of garbage disposal (excretory function). Substances that are soluble in water can be excreted from the kidney but the rest have to be dealt with through the bile, with its distinctive green color that emanates from old worn out red blood cells (called Bilirubin, a job the liver shares with the spleen) it flows into the gut and what is not reabsorbed is evacuated along with feces which is a brown color. it gets from the bile.
The liver manufactures bile from cholesterol (which it also produces) and is used to produce Cholic acid and Chenodeoxycholic acid derivatives which make up approx 80% of the bile, while the rest is cholesterol and phospholipids. Since the release of bile in the duodenum is to break down fats this process is also crucial toward the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K. Between 400-600 mg of bile acid is produced daily and any excess is stored in the gall (Bile) bladder that releases some 12-18g into the intestine daily, generally after meals. Approximately 95% of the bile acids are recycled. Bile acids also serve as steroid hormones to synthesize a negative feedback loop back to the liver activating liver receptor (FXR) that shuts down bile production if bile production becomes too high.
**It might be noted here that gall stones are crystallized cholesterol which are caused by low concentrations of bile acids or phospholipids responsible for cholesterol solubility. If liver becomes congested it slows up bile production, so both adequate protein and the amino acid Taurine is essential for bile formation while methionine is the primary methylating agent in the liver. Betaine found in beets is one the most powerful liver detoxificants that can used used to help a congested liver.
Cholesterol is Essential for Vitamin D Synthesis
Michael and I have dedicated entire articles on Vitamin D synthesis so I don’t wish to repeat the same content. Cholesterol in the skin is essential for Vitamin D3 synthesis (approx 25% of the skin is cholesterol). Both Cholesterol and Vitamin D3 are almost identical in structure, since Vitamin D3 is actually a steroid hormone. Pre-vitamin D3 is produced in the skin as a result of skin exposure to sunlight and it is the Keratinocyte cells (Basal cells) in the epidermis that perform this function since they are the only cells that can access the entire Vitamin D metabolic pathway. However their primary function is to form a barrier to protect against pathogens, parasites, viruses, heat, water loss and UV radiation. Our skin manufactures a sulphated (7-Dehydrocholesterol) cholesterol precursor form of VitD3 ( *sulphate is also delivered to the tissues, Cerebroside sulphate is a major constituent of myelin sheaths for protecting brain neurons ) from UVB sunlight that has a wavelength of 280-320 nanometres which is the only wavelength that produces VitD3. The following diagram depicts the absorption and processing steps ( 2 conversions are necessary from the skin absorption precursor VitD3 (Calciferol) to the liver (Calcidiol) to the final conversion the active form of VitD3 (Calcitriol):
* Stephanie Seneff from MIT believes that lack of sunlight can contribute to the risk of strokes due to blood instability caused by insufficient sulphate in the blood. The idea is that cholesterol sulphate ( sulphation makes cholesterol water soluble so there is no need to transport cholesterol in lipid rafts (e.g LDL,HDL) that is delivered to the bloodstream from sun exposure collects around the exterior of red blood cells giving them a negative charge preventing the blood cells from sticking together or sticking to the capillary walls that could cause blood clot formation.
UVB sunlight is at its maximum between the hours of 10am-3pm. Before and after these daylight times UVA is at its maximum which has a wavelength of 320-400 nanometres and is capable of penetrating the skin that can cause harm and burn the skin, but just as important, the body does not manufacture Vitamin D3 with UVA, in fact it destroys Vitamin D3 precursor, and can cause oxidative stress and photo aging of the skin. UVA with its greater wavelength can penetrate glass, UVB cannot.
In this first part I have attempted to explain the multiple purposes of the body, and the next part we will look at how the body uses cholesterol as a repair medium, why it was originally implicated as a harmful substance and how the pharmaceutical industry constructed their story of rescue to save the planet from mass heart attacks.
Dwight Schrute: Through concentration, I can raise and lower my cholesterol at will.
Pam Beesly: Why would you want to raise your cholesterol?
Dwight Schrute: So I can lower it.
Quote from the TV series The Office 2005
- The cholesterol myth Book by George Mann MD
- The great cholesterol con Book 2008 by Dr Malcolm Kendrick
- Put your heart in your mouth Book 2014 by Natasha Campbell Mcbride MD
- Let the sunshine in Wise Traditions slide presentation March 2012 Stephanie Seneff MIT
- Gliotransmitters, Neuroglia, APOE, Adrenal Cortex, Caveolae, Bile acid, Farnesoid X receptor, Activin,Inhibin, ALS, Wikipedia
- Male & Female Gonads, ThoughtCo Website
- The second brain Book 1998 by Micheal Gershon
Author: Eric Malouin