Hypercholesterolemia or High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a soft waxy lipid (fat) which is produced primarily by the liver. The body needs cholesterol to:
- Build healthy cell membranes.
- Make Vitamin D.
- Metabolize fat soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- Make sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
- Aid adrenal glands to produce hormones like cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone and others.
- Produce bile acids that aid in food digestion.
- Insulate nerve fibers.

The body packages cholesterol and other oil-based fats into minuscule protein-covered particles called lipoproteins (lipid + protein) so that they can be easily mix with water-based blood, to be transported through different parts of the body. The two main types of lipoproteins are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) - more fat and less protein - and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) - high-protein and low-fat.

While the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) carries cholesterol to the body from the liver, your liver bundles cholesterol into HDLs to reclaim unused LDLs. HDLs maintain a healthy harmony of cholesterol within your body by collecting stray LDLs which would otherwise bind to cells and can lead to disease. Therefore it is important for these lipoproteins to return to the liver which recycles them or uses them to build bile acids required for proper digestion. This is why HDLs are considered "good" as they rid your blood vessels of excess LDLs which are considered "bad".

While a total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL is considered healthy, an optimal LDL to HDL ratio is considered less than 130 mg/dL of LDL and more than 50 mg/dL of HDL. A high level overall cholesterol, which is more than 240 mg/dL, is considered to have twice the risk of cardiovascular disease than a healthy level.

Cholesterol Level Chart 
Blood Cholesterol Level Chart
Desirable
Borderline (high)
High Risk
Total Cholesterol
< 200
200-240
> 240
Triglycerides
< 150
150-500
> 500
Low Density Cholesterol
< 130
130-160
> 240
High Density Cholesterol
> 50
50-35
< 35
Hypercholesterolemia is a disorder characterized by high levels of blood cholesterol. It is not a disease but a metabolic derangement that can be secondary to many diseases and can contribute to many forms of diseases such as:
* Atherosclerosis - narrowing of the arteries.
* Angina - chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle does not get enough blood.
* Coronary heart disease - abnormality of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.
* Other cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack and stroke.

Symptoms & Diagnose
High cholesterol is a risk factor for other illnesses and by itself does not cause symptoms. It is adviced that after the age of 20, one should have blood cholesterol level measured at least once every 5 years. A blood test called lipoprotein profile is used to find the cholesterol numbers.

Cause Of Hypercholesterolemia 
* Heredity - Genes may influence the metabolism of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
* Obesity - High levels of triglycerides (Calories we consume but are not used immediately by our tissues are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.)
* Eating a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats.
* Lack of exercise - Exercise and physical activity can positively affect your lipid profile.
* Drinking alcohol - Reduced alcohol consumption can improve your HDL levels.
* Smoking - Quitting smoking can improve your HDL levels by 20 percent.
* Medical Conditions that can cause LDL to rise are diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, liver diseases and hypothyroidism.

Diet for Hypercholesterolemia 
* Eighty-percent of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver, and the rest comes from foods like meat, eggs, poultry and dairy products, therefore, excluding these items from your diet will help lower your cholesterol levels.
* Consuming a diet high in sodium can increase your blood pressure, so keeping your daily intake of sodium below the daily suggested intake of 2,000 mg can be helpful for avoiding high cholesterol.
* A diet rich in water-soluble fiber also tends to lower blood cholesterol. Soluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber found in psyllium husk, guar gum, flax seed, oats, barley, bran, peas, and citrus fruits.
* Reduce the consumption of carbohydrates and sugars from your daily diet to the largest extent possible.
* The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) has created a dietary guideline with total fat consumption of less than 30% of daily caloric intake to control high cholesterol with saturated fat < 7%, polyunsaturated fat (found in vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, leafy greens) < 10% and monounsaturated fat < 10%-15%  of the daily caloric intake.
Related Articles: Good Fats vs Bad Fats / Sodium, Processed Foods & Disease

Exercise for Hypercholesterolemia 
If your cholesterol levels are anywhere close to 200 mg/dL, you should urgently start a 15 to 30 minutes cardiovascular exercise regimen - 4 times a week.
Related Article: Easiest & Best Way to Loose Belly Fat

Initially the diet and exercise patterns are to be changed to check cholesterol levels but if cholesterol levels still remain high then you should look for natural alternatives because pharmacuitical drugs like Statins can includes inflammation of the muscles, joint pain, stomach upset, and liver damage.

Before you begin to take Herbs or Supplements medicinally, seek the advice of a Naturopath doctor.

Herbs for Hypercholesterolemia 
Hawthorn - Both animal and human studies suggest hawthorn increases coronary artery blood flow, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol.
Korean Ginseng - It contains saponins that stimulate cholesterol transport and enzymes relating to cholesterol metabolism. In the process of doing so, saponins have the miraculous ability to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the body, while retaining that essential good cholesterol in the body.
Artichoke leaf extract - In 2000, German researchers performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using nearly 150 adults with total cholesterol over 280. The participants who took an artichoke supplement for six weeks saw an average fall of 23% in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) compared to just 6 percent in the placebo group.
Fenugreek - Several studies have reported that, in high doses, various fenugreek seed preparations can lower total cholesterol and LDL, in some cases as much as 38%.
Celery seed oil - It has a significant effect on lowering blood lipids and raising levels of HDL.
Green Tea - Research shows that population that drink green tea has lowered total cholesterol and raised HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. Polyphenols in green tea block cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine and also help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.
Garlic & Ginger - Both of them cause a measurable drop in both LDL and total cholesterol, therefore including them in your diet will help.

Supplements for Hypercholesterolemia
Vitamin C - Many studies show that Vitamin C can lower cholesterol levels.
Coenzyme Q10 - People with high cholesterol tend to have lower levels of CoQ10. Taking CoQ10 supplements can bring cholesterol levels back to normal.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) bound Chromium - This is increasingly being used in vitamin-mineral formulas designed to lower cholesterol.
Resveratrol & Grape Seed Extract - Both of them have been found to decrease LDL cholesterol and prevent the formation of blood clots. In addition, these supplements have other protective effects on the heart, such as inhibiting the formation of fat deposits on the wall of the arteries, relaxing blood vessels and helping maintain optimal rhythm of the heart beats.
Omega-3 fatty acids - They increase HDL cholesterol and decreased triglycerides (fats in the blood).
L-carnitine - It can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and other health problems associated to high cholesterol.
Calcium - Studies have found that calcium may lower cholesterol levels in the body and that high cholesterol may impair calcium-related activity in the body. As calcium may improve the body's ability to excrete bile, the liver produces more bile to replace it from the cholesterol it contains.