Cholesterol may be turning out not to be the baddie we all thought it was, and there is much controversy about it.
I get asked questions about it all the time, and it is a pretty complex reply, so I thought it best to produce a larger than average Cholesterol factsheet which you can download straight away here.
In it, I answer what cholesterol is, why we need some of it and why we may be being told to lower it too much, what the ideal level might be, what to look for on your test results – the ratio doesn’t give you enough to go on and a protocol to lower it if you need to.
Here’s quick bit of a section so you can see:
What should my cholesterol count be?
Most studies have been done on men.
Blood cholesterol tests can be shown in mg per decilitre or in mmol depending on where you have it done. Most people use the mmol measurement now. In general, total blood cholesterol level should be less than 5.5mmol or 300mg. LDL should be less than 3.37mmol or 130mg/dl, HDL should be between 1.2-1.9mmol or more than 35mg/dl and triglycerides less than 2.2mmol or 150mg/dl. Generally, in my opinion, if your blood cholesterol levels are below 5.5, don’t worry. If they’re over 6, take action.
Patrick Holford maintains that you can get your cholesterol down too low – don’t forget we need some for important functions in the body – and aims for a range between 4.9-5.4 as an ideal and that’s what I tend to use as my aim with patients.
In women, cholesterol levels are not seen as such an important risk factor as in men. Raised triglyceride levels and low HDL are more important. So, a low fat diet may not be the answer for women.
BUT, the most important thing is not whether you have high LDL levels, but how high your HDL level is relative to the LDL levels. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol and the ratio of LDL to HDL are the most important things to look for on test results as they indicate whether blood is being deposited into tissues or broken down and excreted. Total cholesterol to HDL ratio should be no higher than 4. LDL to HDL ratio should be no higher than 2.5.
If your test results don’t give you a ratio, calculate it by….
Aha – teasing you! Sorry. Download the new 10 page factsheet here. Hope it helps.
You might also want to read some of the blog posts I’ve written about cholesterol over the years. Use the search function on the blog to find them. This should start you off: