Mainstream medical doctors and the media constantly demonize cholesterol; however, it is actually one of the most important molecules in the body. Consider its many functions which are crucial to health:
- Cell membrane integrity and function
- Vitamin D production
- Digestion (key factor in bile production)
- Hormone precursor to testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol
The liver manufactures cholesterol and 25% of the cholesterol found in your body is in your brain. This study showed elderly people with higher cholesterol levels had better memory function than people with lower levels.
My point is cholesterol has very little to do with living or dying. It is a convenient “villain” that Big Pharma created that has been extremely lucrative. For a more detailed explanation on cholesterol (as well as a host of information on reversing disease), check out my book The Paleo Cardiologist. Get your FREE copy today.
Now that you have the backstory on cholesterol, let’s return to how it impacts cancer risks.
Cholesterol and Cancer
Cancer has many causes, including a poor functioning immune system. Ideally, the cells of the immune system would destroy cancerous cells before they could multiply and spread. When it comes to total cholesterol, multiple studies have found that the higher the cholesterol, the lower your risk of infectious disease. If the immune system is working to prevent infection, it is working to prevent cancer. The following data shows that higher cholesterol confers a lower risk of cancer.
Patients undergoing radiation and prostatectomy fare better with higher levels of LDL. Those with the highest LDL had a 33% less cancer recurrence compared to those with the lowest LDL levels.
A recent study found those with lung cancer and the highest cholesterol levels had a 67% lower risk of dying.
Women with the highest cholesterol levels had the lowest risk of breast cancer. In fact, the number was 30% lower. The same study found women had a 39% lower risk of melanoma and a 39% lower risk of lymphoma/leukemia when their cholesterol levels were the highest.
Men with the highest cholesterol had a 48% lower risk of pancreatic cancer along with a 33% lower risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, 86% lower risk of liver/gallbladder cancer, and a 32% lower risk of lymphoma and leukemia.
Studies suggest that those with higher cholesterol levels are more protected from colorectal cancer than those with lower levels.
Find YOUR Perfect Cholesterol (and lower your Cancer risk)
If your doctor is measuring your total cholesterol level, you need more information. I recommend requesting advanced testing, which includes LDL particles and HDL particles. Knowing the number of particles and their size is much more relevant than total cholesterol, total LDL, and total HDL. In fact, the ratio of LDL particles to HDL particles is the best predictor of all lipid parameters.
If you worry about your cholesterol and overall health, start taking steps toward changing your lifestyle and nutrition. You are in more control of your health than you think. Contact one of our health coaches to learn about how you can change your life and regain your vitality and wellbeing.