We left off last month with an explanation of Ldl (leave da liver) cholesterol, its responsibilities and the idea that maybe it’s not so bad after all. That bad reputation really has more to do with chronic inflammation caused by a poor diet. To illustrate, imagine your tubing once again with highly acidic blood, corrosive, erosive and full of sugar shards of glass! It becomes red and inflamed, stiff and… cracks! As you can imagine, cracks in your tubing are not good! As a volunteer, Ldl sounds the alarm to initiate an immune response to help patch the crack. Plaque is nature’s band-aid and Ldl is a part of that patch. Over time, if we don’t change our internal environment we can incur multiple patches that can lead to blockage. Those blockages might contain Ldl cholesterol but are not necessarily caused by it.
What we call “good” cholesterol can also be thought of in terms of direction. Hdl: Home da Liver. Hdl is responsible for going through the bloodstream and collecting Ldl when it’s done with its other jobs and returning it to the liver to be recycled before it is eliminated in bile. That’s right, Ldl is so important to our bodies that it is recycled before it is eliminated! Beyond your total cholesterol number, it’s important to know and understand the ratio of Ldl /Hdl which should be 1.1 or less.
As the conversation continues between the Almighty Liver and King Pancreas, I want to introduce a 2nd hormone called Glucagon. Like insulin, glucagon is created in the pancreas but is released in response to proteins and healthy fats versus sugars or starches. It is the opposite of insulin in that insulin triggers fat storage while glucagon signals the body to burn fat as fuel. This is the science behind the high protein and ketogenic diets.
Note though, that protein molecules are big and complicated and harder to break down. Also, they are less efficient sources of fuel and not all proteins burn clean. As a result, evidence suggests diets high in animal protein can stress your liver and kidneys and lead to some unwanted side effects; gout for example. We need adequate amounts of protein for cellular repair and rebuilding but we do not need excessive amounts.
Now, in a perfect world, our liver is receiving all kinds of nutrients, giving it adequate time for its myriad of jobs and energy to fight off the toxic things in our environment. More commonly, our livers are over burdened by external toxins as well as those created internally. As a result, it can become inefficient at its job and we not only fail to get the nutrients we need, we can’t rid ourselves of these damaging toxins. In this scenario, our immune system is operating on low or no fuel and completely outnumbered. What do you imagine is the result of this combination?
And finally, from a holistic perspective, the liver is considered our biggest fat burning organ because when it is not working well WE GAIN WEIGHT! Your liver has a priorities list and at the top: toxins in any form or fashion (pollution, drugs, artificial ingredients/sweeteners, alcohol, etc.). If your liver is busy processing toxins, it is not converting fat into energy and thus, weight loss becomes difficult and weight gain becomes very easy. Further, excess body fat is not harmless. Your fat cells are not sitting idle doing nothing, far from it. Fat is a major producer of estrogen and when we combine high levels of insulin and high levels of estrogen we encourage cell proliferation (cancer).
Melanie Stewart has written 2 books for children (Yum Tum, Good Food is Fun! and Yum Tum, We Get it Done!) and one for adults (Yum Tum For Everyone!) all available on Amazon. All content is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech laws. It’s not meant to give individual medical advice or to make any health claims on the prevention or curing of diseases.