What did I choose for #3 in this video series?
Contrary to common myth, LDL is not “bad” cholesterol. LDL measures lipoproteins carrying cholesterol and triglycerides away from the liver for ALL vital functions…including hormone synthesis and cellular repair. Check out this clinical tip video to understand what can happen and why when LDL is pushed too low (especially with the use of statin drugs). This is an important concept to be able to explain to your clients, especially given the widespread prescription overuse of statin drugs today.
Functional medicine teaches that LDL below about 75 mg/dl is likely to impair hormone synthesis which can cause a huge array of symptoms including low libido, depression, anxiety, poor stress resiliency, infertility, cardiovascular dysfunction, and cancer risk. Making this type of connection across body symptoms for a client can be a powerful way to make them wildly satisfied in understanding their body more thoroughly and learning the true root causes of their symptoms.
Instead of LDL, one of the most useful markers to assess in conventional lipid labwork is the ratio of Triglycerides: HDL. This should ideally be 2.0 or less, but values of 4.0 or higher are definitely indicative of higher cardiovascular disease risk (and is validated as a better predictor than LDL!). You may enjoy reviewing some references to this dynamic here and here. If you want to learn more in a doc-penned write-up that explores this marker more in-depth consider this one. Or if you are passionate about helping your clients to heart disease from multiple vantage points, you might want to consider the SAFM Cardiovascular Myths and Truths course – one of our participants’ favorites!
Many of my clients have chosen to withdraw from their statin drugs, support their body with better habits for a few months during our work together (especially a lower-glycemic diet), and then get a much more useful assessment of their blood lipids using a “VAP” test. This profile (which is increasingly being offered by conventional docs AND being covered by insurance – yay!) is a much more detailed assessment of what type of particles a person produces naturally and whether they are actually beneficial or harmful.
Remember also from a prior clinical tip that it’s vital for our clients using statin drugs to be taking a CoQ10 supplement daily (typically 200-400mg/day in divided doses). Statins necessarily deplete this key nutrient in the body by way of their mechanism of action in the liver. However, every cell in the body (the 10,000,000,000,000s of them!) need CoQ10 in order to produce energy effectively in the mitochondria of each cell. Your clients over the age of 40 should ideally choose the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 to ensure good cellular absorption. This supplement should be taken with food to help with absorption from the GI tract.