BY DR. PHIL WAGNER, M.D.
Cholesterol stabilizes every cell's membrane
How could you not be in love with cholesterol? It is in every cell of your body; it is the building block for steroids like testosterone, and even reduces muscle soreness. But you’ve probably also heard that high cholesterol can kill you, that a diet of meat and eggs will lead to heart attacks. The major research creating this concern over cholesterol was the Framingham Study, OBSERVING higher cholesterol with heart disease. However, this cholesterol was not causing the problem, merely trying to HEAL the infected tissue from the true culprits. This research was not a cause and effect conclusion, only an observation, as there are far more studies indicating heart disease is caused by infectious agents, like viruses or bacteria, from a more general unhealthy lifestyle.
Cholesterol is a fat, produced by the liver; in fact only about 25% comes from your diet in the form of fat, further easing any concerns over your cholesterol rich foods like eggs. Cholesterol is carried in the blood by lipoproteins, which are generally known by 2 types
1. LDL (low density lipoprotein) – the “bad cholesterol”, carries cholesterol from liver to cells
2. HDL (high density lipoprotein) – “good cholesterol” takes cholesterol away from cells back to the liver
Cholesterol exists in the outer layer of every cell in our body and has many functions, but we will focus on just a few relevant benefits to athletic performance
1. Anabolic Environment for more muscle STRENGTH
Cholesterol is critical in the metabolism and absorption of vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, even helping convert sunlight to vitamin D, the most crucial of the aforementioned vitamins for testosterone levels. Speaking of testosterone, cholesterol is a major building block for sex hormones like testosterone.
2. Cell signaling for the speed of your SKILL
Myelin, surrounds and insulates nerve cells, and is especially rich in cholesterol, transmitting signals faster and more efficiently (see Sparta Point 7/8/09)
3. Muscle soreness for REGENERATION
A 2009 Texas A & M study out of the Journal of Gerontology found that, the subjects who gained the most muscle mass were the ones with highest LDL cholesterol levels. The researchers’ findings illustrate that a certain amount of “bad” cholesterol is needed to build muscle. Makes sense since we know that LDL brings cholesterol from the liver to cells, which are damaged during exercise, particularly resistance training that causes soreness.
Still wary of 6 egg yolks every morning or a steak every night? Cholesterol expert and Swedish doctor Uffe Ravnskov presented a 2009 paper that LDL, participates in the immune system by binding and inactivating bacteria and viruses, the true causes of inflammation. And this inflammation has always been the main culprit for heart disease, any chronic disease or condition for that matter. The researchers go onto explain that when you inject bacterial toxins into rats they die almost immediately, but if you start by injecting them with purified human LDL, most of them survive!
So eat high quality protein and fat, vegetables, and exercise consistently. Anything else is inflammatory