What Does Cholesterol Do Anyway?

What Does Cholesterol Do Anyway?

I took an informal survey of my patients this week and asked the question, what does cholesterol do in our bodies?

I got a variety of answers.  Most people simply had no idea why we have cholesterol in our bodies.  Almost all of the answers centered around the idea that cholesterol kills people because it causes heart disease.

Cholesterol Kills?

Dr. Anderson Original

This isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, you may be quite surprised how essential this long misunderstood substance actually is.

For starters, cholesterol is essential in every cell of our body. It is critical for the support of the cell walls.  It is a large portion of the myelin covering of nerves.  This covering allows for proper nerve transmission.  This is of great importance to chiropractors.  Proper nerve transmission is how the master system (the brain) gets everything done.  Without proper control from the brain, our body simply cannot be healthy.

Are you interested in digesting fat properly? Cholesterol is key to bile (the detergent in the colon used to digest fats).  What about building hormones like testosterone, estrogen and cortisol?   Again, cholesterol.  Do you want to create Vitamin D from the sun? You’re going to need some cholesterol.

Would you be interested in a strong antioxidant that can reduce inflammation?  You guessed it…cholesterol.

Cholesterol is not an enemy.  In February of 2015 the USDA reversed its decades long position, declaring cholesterol to no longer be a “nutrient of concern”.  In other words, your dietary intake of cholesterol is no longer the concern is was earlier thought to be.  (The real villain here is sugar).

So what does Cholesterol do?

  • It builds the body
  • It reduces inflammation
  • Aids in digestion
  • Makes the nervous system function
  • And a lot more.

Cholesterol does a lot.  In the coming weeks we will explore this fascinating topic. Stay tuned to this site and subscribe to my Wellness newsletter for the latest.

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Bi-Weekly Newsletter from Dr. Craig Anderson



Cholesterol: Can It Go Too Low?

Cholesterol: Can It Go Too Low?

You raise an interesting question. Back in 1994, the American Heart Association Task Force on Cholesterol Issues put out a statement entitled “Very Low Cholesterol and Cholesterol Lowering” which noted that there is an increase in deaths from trauma, cancer, hemorrhagic stroke and respiratory and infectious diseases among those with total cholesterol levels less than 160 mg/dl. However, a substantial portion of those deaths seemed to be due to poor health unrelated to low cholesterol. Since then, several s

Source: Cholesterol: Can It Go Too Low? – DrWeil.com

The U.S. government withdraws longstanding warnings about cholesterol

The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption. The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed the issue of excess cholesterol in the American diet a pub

Source: The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol – The Washington Post

High cholesterol level is essential for myelin membrane growth.

Abstract Cholesterol in the mammalian brain is a risk factor for certain neurodegenerative diseases, raising the question of its normal function. In the mature brain, the highest cholesterol content is found in myelin. We therefore created mice that lack the ability to synthesize cholesterol in myelin-forming oligodendrocytes. Mutant oligodendrocytes survived, but CNS myelination was severely perturbed, and mutant mice showed ataxia and tremor. CNS myelination continued at a reduced rate for many months, an

From Cholesterogenesis to Steroidogenesis: Role of Riboflavin and Flavoenzymes in the Biosynthesis of Vitamin D

Deficits in riboflavin availability, imbalances in the intracellular ratio of FAD to FMN, and mutations that affect flavin binding domains and/or interactions with client proteins result in marked structural alterations within the skeletal and central nervous systems similar to those of disorders (inborn errors) in the biosynthetic pathways that lead to cholesterol, steroid hormones, and vitamin D and their metabolites. Studies of riboflavin deficiency during embryonic development demonstrate congenital malformations similar to those associated with genetic alterations of the flavoenzymes in these pathways. Overall, a deeper understanding of the role of riboflavin in these pathways may prove essential to targeted therapeutic designs aimed at cholesterol and vitamin D metabolism.

Source: From Cholesterogenesis to Steroidogenesis: Role of Riboflavin and Flavoenzymes in the Biosynthesis of Vitamin D

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The Steroid Masqusarding as a Vitamin

By: Dr. Craig Anderson

Unlike any other vitamin, Vitamin D is produced when we are exposed to the sun. Just under your skin sits some cholesterol waiting to be converted to Vitamin D by UVB rays from the sun.  Cholesterol is a building-block for hormones, steroids and cell membranes.  On a sunny day you can produce up to 25,000 IU per day of Vitamins D.

You may be surprising to find out that Vitamin D is actually a steroid that works as a hormone activating our cells genetic potential.  In other words, Vitamin D turns on cells and makes them do what they were made to do.

It’s important for you to know your Vitamin D status, especially if you live in the more northern parts of the globe. If you have tested low on Vitamin D (25-HydroxyVitD) chances are you have some problems.  We do Vitamin D testing on our office at a very reasonable cost.  When I order Vitamin D I also like to see parathyroid levels (PTH). These two value…

It’s important to know your vitamin D status.  If it’s low we can help you get the levels where they need to be.



I’ve used AF-Betafood all my career to help aid cholesterol metabolism and liver function.  This is an awesome whole food supplement.  -Dr. A

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Americans Taking Prescription Drugs in Greater Numbers

Here’s an indication of our declining health as a country, Americans buy more medicine per person than any other county in the world. Why aren’t we the healthiest country in the world? – Dr. A

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — For the first time, it appears that more than half of all insured Americans are taking prescription medicines regularly for chronic health problems, a study shows.

The most widely used drugs are those to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol — problems often linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

The numbers were gathered last year by Medco Health Solutions Inc., which manages prescription benefits for about one in five Americans.

Experts say the data reflect not just worsening public health but better medicines for chronic conditions and more aggressive treatment by doctors. For example, more people are now taking blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medicines because they need them, said Dr. Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.

In addition, there is the pharmaceutical industry’s relentless advertising. With those factors unlikely to change, doctors say the proportion of Americans on chronic medications can only grow.

”Unless we do things to change the way we’re managing health in this country … things will get worse instead of getting better,” predicted Jones, a heart specialist and dean of the University of Mississippi’s medical school.

Americans buy much more medicine per person than any other country. But it was unclear how their prescriptions compare to those of insured people elsewhere. Comparable data were not available for Europe, for instance.

Read the whole article at the New York Times


Published: May 14, 2008
Dr. Craig Anderson