The importance of maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol is, thankfully, common knowledge nowadays.
However, there is some ambiguity surrounding the topic.
For instance, is it better to increase one’s levels of so-called ‘good’ cholesterol – or reduce our levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol?
Good and Bad Cholesterol
First, it’s worth explaining just what constitutes good and bad cholesterol. And in order to do so, perhaps we should start by defining the broader term.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all cells throughout the body. Produced in the liver, and used to make hormones and vitamin D, cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in fat-filled, protein-coated packages known as lipoproteins.
These lipoproteins are divided into two categories: low-density and high-density. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are often referred to as bad cholesterol, while high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are largely considered good.
While having healthy levels of both lipoproteins is vital, a high LDL cholesterol level leads to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, and has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is notable for carrying cholesterol from other parts of the body back to the liver, which works to remove cholesterol from the body.
In essence, then, bad cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and good cholesterol is seen to lower that same risk.
Raising HDL vs Lowering LDL
Although it would seem, on the surface, that LDL and HDL have a similar weight, each balancing the other on the health seesaw, new research by the American College of Cardiology reveals that high levels of good cholesterol are not, in and of themselves, sufficient protection against disease.
The study analysed data from 631,000 individuals, dividing the subjects into groups based on HDL levels. By doing so, the relationship between good cholesterol and rates of mortality could be thoroughly examined.
The results revealed that people from poorer backgrounds had less healthy lifestyles and thus low levels of HDL. However, even when adjusting for lifestyle factors, lower levels of HDL were still linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular related death.
Moreover, individuals with very high HDL levels had an increased risk of non-cardiovascular related death.
The study is one of the first to illuminate a link between HDL and causes of death such as cancer and heart disease. The take-home lesson seems to be that raising HDL is not as beneficial as first thought.
How to Reduce Bad Cholesterol
Lowering levels of low-density lipoproteins, however, remains an indubitably good way of reducing one’s chances of heart disease and coronary conditions.
“Multiple trials have shown cardiovascular benefit from lowering cholesterol, especially low-density lipoprotein cholesterol,” says Christopher P. Cannon, MD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “Lower is better.”
LDL reduction can be achieved in a number of ways, including by adhering to a programme of diet and exercise.
Limiting your intake of trans fats, and incorporating more fibre-rich foods into your diet, are among the staples of traditional approaches.
Protein-packed plant foods and omega-3s are also encouraged as part of a cholesterol-lowering, heart-healthy diet. Nuts, seeds and legumes are particularly beneficial.
However, recent experience by experts in natural medicine indicates that the major contributor is excess consumption of carbohydrates, and that certain saturated fats such as medium chain triglycerides may not negatively impact cholesterol levels.
Unsurprisingly, losing excess weight is likely to vastly improve your cholesterol profile.
The Might of Monacolin K
One natural ingredient which has repeatedly been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol is Monacolin K, which is found in red yeast rice, a centuries-old mainstay of Chinese medicine.
What’s more, Monacolin K does not increase liver or muscle enzyme levels – unlike statins.
The CholeRice + ChoLive supplement, which integrates red yeast rice and olive fruit extract, is thus a wonderful weapon to use against dreaded LDL.
Not only will it help you reduce bad cholesterol, and maintain healthy cholesterol levels in general, but it contains one of nature’s most potent antioxidants – astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin has a host of remarkable health benefits, supporting immune function, protecting cells and blood lipids from oxidative stress and even improving skin moisture levels. Just one vegetable capsule per day is required to provide benefits.
CholeRice + ChoLive comes in packs of 60 vegetarian capsules, with each capsule providing 500mg of red yeast rice (15mg monacolin K), 190mg olive fruit extract, 3mg astaxanthin and 10mg vitamin E.
Capsules are free of citrinin, with no added flavours and 100% suitable for vegetarians.
If you’re keen to lower your levels of bad cholesterol naturally – after all, traditional lipid-lowering drug treatments can bring unwanted side effects – dietary supplements provide a welcome alternative.
CholeRice + ChoLive is perfect for augmenting your existing diet and exercise regime. Why not give it a try?