There is no doubt that diet has a large role to play in changing one’s serum cholesterol level. However, the efficacy of this has its limitations as the regulation of cholesterol synthesis is primarily centred in the liver and secondarily in the intestine. Read on to find out how you can control your blood cholesterol level in just 8 weeks.
Did you know that all tissues in your body can synthesize cholesterol from acetate? However, most of the cholesterol in your body is synthesised by your liver and then your intestine. The enzyme involved in the process is called HMG-CoA reductase.
The activity of HMG-CoA reductase can be powerfully lowered by well-known cholesterol lowering drug – Lipitor as well as a hormone in the body called glucagon. Conversely, HMG-CoA reductase can be powerfully stimulated by a hormone produced by your pancreas called insulin.
Metabolic syndrome is associated with insulin resistance or the ineffective use of insulin. This is linked to low grade inflammation in the body. Insulin resistance has a lot to answer for in the presentation of high serum cholesterol level.
High cholesterol levels can be powerfully reduced by adopting the following lifestyle changes:
1) losing excess body weight
2) choosing a low glycaemic index diet
3) increasing the percentage of lean body mass or muscles through exercise – specifically resistance training (this leads to reduction in HMG-CoA activity)
4) increasing consumption of omega-3 rich foods from fatty fishes and flaxseed
5) reducing intake of saturated fats from animal foods
6) increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols which are powerful anti-inflammatory agents
7) increasing consumption of nuts, seeds and legumes rich in micronutrients, fibre and vitamin E
8) increase consumption of plant sterols (plant sterols out compete dietary cholesterol for absorption and powerfully reduce overall cholesterol absorption)
9) increase fibre intake to 35-40g per day
Surprisingly, having a high cholesterol diet is not as deleterious to serum cholesterol levels as previously believed as high dietary cholesterol has the interesting effect of suppressing cholesterol synthesis by the liver. Also, assimilation or uptake of dietary cholesterol is relatively low as approximately 50% of dietary and biliary cholesterol is not absorbed from the intestine and excreted. This is good news indeed!
I hope the above highlights how a multi-prong approach can be adopted to powerfully reduce your cholesterol levels.
In conclusion, there is no single magic bullet for the reduction of serum cholesterol (the most commonly prescribed drug – Lipitor or statin, comes closest to the definition of a magic bullet but even this has its draw backs and significant side effects, a discussion fit for another article). For now, there does not appear to be one on the near future.