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Why High Cholesterol Might Be Good 14 April 2016

Modern medicine has made extraordinary technological breakthroughs in many areas but in some areas it remains rudimentary. Your level is high- we should bring it down. Your level is low- we should bring it up.
But if we don’t know why the levels are low or high, it might not be that simple.
When I worked in the Emegency Department of Goroka Hospital in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea in 1986, for my first few days there, I diagnosed everybody with haemodynamic shock and started them on IV fluid resuscitation.
That’s what I had been trained to do.
Blood pressure low- bring it up.
Blood pressure high- bring it down.

It took me about 2 days to start questioning why everyone appeared to be in shock. Then I realised that everyone in the Highlands had a blood pressure of 90/60. That was all the pressure they needed to supply their vital organs with blood through very healthy arteries.

It’s the same now with cholesterol.
We see high cholesterol, we are trained to bring it down.
Then we learnt that a high total cholesterol may not be bad.
Some of that total cholesterol (HDL) might be good for us. HDL cholesterol takes cholesterol from arteries to the liver.
So then we decided that it was just a high LDL that was bad.
See a high LDL- prescribe a dug to bring it down
Now we have leant that LDL is actually made up of several lipoprotein particles.
Some of those, the big fluffy ones, are good for us. They come from avocado and coconut oil. You could be riding aroung Crete on a Vespa eating avocado and olive oil salad and have high total cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol and have pristine coronary arteries.
On the other hand, the small dense LDL particles do appear to cause coronary heart disease. They come from bad fats or bad genetics
So you could be on that Vespa having the same salad, but with bad genetics or on that Vespa stopping at Fast Food outlets and have the beginnings of a heart attack.

The good news is that sub-particle testing can now be done that will give us a lot more information about the risk. This person I saw recently had high levels of the small dense particles (despite a good diet) and would benefit from reducing those levels naturally.
As Sherlock Holmes once said “The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

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Dr Emerson was recently interviewed on ‘Know the Cause’, the most popular health television programme in the US.

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