So we had a bit of a look at saturated fat – what about its partner in crime, cholesterol? Well, that isn’t a simple case either! Cholesterol is something that we both get from our diet and make in our body. It is totally essential for many functions. We need cholesterol to make vitamin D from sunshine, for example.
Vitamin D is available as a supplement or in our diets but by far the most effective way to get it is to get 20 or so minutes of sun a day (that is for a slightly warmer than temperate climate) and no you shouldn’t get skin cancer from this. If you have adequate cholesterol levels the sun will trigger your body to make vitamin D and then store it for the winter months. Wonderful.
Low vitamin D is proven to cause depression, impaired immune function including auto immune diseases and what is really relevant to our discussion – an inability to fight off opportunistic invaders such as yeast over growth. Every body has candida albicans in their digestive tracts but what makes certain people suffer an overgrowth? An impaired immune system can be a key player.
Mothers need good vitamin D levels to pass on to their babies – children born in winter or cold climates are known to have higher levels of immune disfunction. And all this good vitamin D needs is cholesterol. Cholesterol is also used in our body to make hormones and to help repair damage such as that caused by trans fats. High levels of serum cholesterol therefore can mean lots of repair is going on.
Serum (blood) cholesterol levels do drop if people eat less sat fats, but that could well be because if the body cannot get enough sat fat to ensure the integrity of its cell walls it will use cholesterol – so serum levels would drop as all the cholesterol is being used to prop up your cell walls.