Is Cholesterol and Heart Disease a Concern for You?

Is Cholesterol and Heart Disease a Concern for You?

Author -  Good Health

Too much cholesterol in the body can lead to serious problems such as heart disease. Many factors can contribute to high cholesterol, but the good news is there are things you can do to control them…

Let’s start with explaining exactly what Cholesterol is…
This waxy like substance is manufactured by the liver and is used to make hormones, vitamin D, bile salts and strengthen our cell and nerve walls. It also has a vital function in the brain, cell membrane and nerves. Cholesterol is manufactured from dietary saturated fats and refined carbohydrates. As with anything it’s important to keep a balance in life including our cholesterol levels because elevated cholesterol increases the risk for heart attacks and strokes. Atherosclerosis (a condition that leads to hardening of the arteries) is higher in countries where diets are high in saturated fats from eating high amounts of animal, heated or fried fats, which increase the risk of clogging heart arteries. Not all cholesterol is bad however, a balance within the body is ideal for good health and if you have an excessive amount of LDLs or Low density lipids (commonly known as ‘bad cholesterol’) and a decreased amount of High Density lipids (HDLs) or so called ‘good cholesterol’, you may want to consider support from supplementation and dietary changes.


Cholesterol categories

You’ve probably heard the terms good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL and VLDL), but did you know that cholesterol is actually transported around by little taxis called lipoproteins? The main ones are:

  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL) the fat vacuums. They travel around the body absorbing excess cholesterol from the cells, our arterial walls, and take the fat back to the liver.
  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) take cholesterol from the liver to the body’s cells for cell wall repair and hormone production. Accumulation of cholesterol on arterial walls can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
  • Lipoprotein (a) is a cofactor involved in cholesterol transport. High levels can make LDL and VLDL stick to the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease ten times greater than just having elevated levels of LDL and VLDL. That’s why it’s important to have plenty of antioxidants in your diet and to use supplements.



  • Familial cholesterol is an inherited high cholesterol condition that’s not caused by eating too much cholesterol. There’s a problem with the body’s message system (LDL receptor) that normally signals the liver to stop making cholesterol. Studies show that although reducing dietary cholesterol doesn’t reduce cholesterol levels (familial cholesterol) it can make a difference with the body’s ability to eventually clear cholesterol from the bloodstream.
  • High cholesterol is more common in men over 45 and women over 55 years old. Additional factors are menopause, a family history of cholesterol, high blood pressure (above 140/90), smoking and low HDL.
  • Excessive intake of calories, cholesterol, saturated animal fats, lard, margarine (trans fatty acids or hydrogenated oils) and fried foods.
  • Excessive intake of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and low fibre.
  • Hypothyroidism, pregnancy, diabetes, pancreatic, kidney, liver dysfunction and gallbladder and bile obstruction.
  • Vitamin C, calcium, coenzyme Q10, chromium, copper, magnesium and dietary antioxidant deficiencies.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Fatty deposits in the whites of the eye or sitting around on the eyelid. The pupil may take on a hazy blue rim around the outside.
  • The liver may become painful if fat penetrates the liver’s cells.
  • High levels of total blood cholesterol, especially triglycerides, LDL and VLDL accompanied by low levels of HDL (less than 35mg/ dl)

           Total cholesterol
Increased risk  5.0-6.5 mmol or 200mg/ dl-239mg/ dl
            High risk   above 6.5mmol/L or above 240mg/ dl


Lifestyle and nutritional hints

  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise 4-5 times weekly.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Alcohol in moderation. One glass of wine (red is better) per day should be fine for most people, but alcohol increases triglycerides and cholesterol.
  • Stress hormones increase high blood pressure and cholesterol. Take up relaxing yoga, meditation and listen to classical music to reduce stress levels.
  • Avoid margarine – opt for butter and coconut oil.
  • Limit egg yolks to 2 per week, and choose mostly white meat or lean towards a vegetarian diet. Adding chickpeas to chicken dishes or legumes to mince can lessen saturated fat content in meals, whilst boosting your fibre intake. Eat more fish, vegetables and fruits and less refined carbohydrates. Acidophilus yoghurt (unsweetened), cayenne, rosemary, turmeric, ginger and garlic as well as drinking green tea, also lowers cholesterol.



Antioxidants - Coenzyme Q10 (75mg 2 x daily or 150mg 1x daily), Vitamin C (1500mg daily) and other antioxidants including Grape seed, Resveratrol, Green tea, Vitamins E and A, Zinc Manganese and Selenium reduce damage to artery walls and cholesterol adhesion stickiness.

Omega 3 and 6 oils from Fish oil (3g), flax oil (2 TBSP as salad dressing with lemon or apple cider vinegar) and EPO oil (3g) reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels and provide good fats to the diet.
Herbs - Dandelion root, Milk thistle, Globe artichoke, Taurine and Garlic can be found in supplement formulations that aid the liver, reduce LDL and VLDL, while increasing HDL cholesterol.

Good Health products to assist with cholesterol are: Opti CoQ10 150mg, Grapeseed 55,000, High Res Xtra, Krill Oil, Fish Oil, EPO Oil, Flaxomega


Not all products recommended may be available in South Africa at this time.

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Not all products recommended may be available in South Africa at this time