Contrary to popular opinions, not all cholesterol is bad - 75% of cholesterol is produced by our bodies. However, an elevated level of cholesterol is bad for health and can lead to a series of health issues including death.
Often, high cholesterol is attributed to weight, conversely, research has proven that you can be genetically predisposed to a rapid increase in cholesterol level. So it is safe to say that cholesterol levels are independent of one’s weight.
The use of CBD has become quite popular over the years largely for its soothing effects in managing pain. Recently, other discoveries have been made concerning other health benefits of CBD. This article will explore the dangers of high cholesterol levels, causes, and the effect of CBD on increased cholesterol levels.
What is Cholesterol?
The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of cholesterol is “fat”. But cholesterol is so much more than that. Cholesterol is a lipid produced or synthesized by the body specifically in the liver. The liver produces all the cholesterol that the body needs.
The body cannot function effectively without cholesterol as it helps to build cell walls, synthesize bile, and primarily helps to digest fat. Cholesterol is transported to and from the blood vessels through lipoproteins. There are two major kinds of lipoproteins Cholesterol. They are:-
1. Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
It is known as "bad" cholesterol. This is because they clog the inner walls of the arteries thereby reducing blood flow. Consuming foods containing this kind of cholesterol is harmful and exposes one to the risk of heart failure.
You can find LDL in food substances like dairy products, red meat, processed foods, and other foods containing trans-fat. However, since these foods also contain the necessary nutrients needed by the body, they should be consumed in moderation.
2. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
It is referred to as "good" cholesterol in that it carries away harmful cholesterol from the arteries back to the liver to be flushed from the body. This kind of cholesterol is the safest to ingest because it reduces the risk of heart diseases.
HDL cholesterol cannot be taken directly from food but there are certain kinds of food that can increase the amount of HDL in the body. Foods like olive oil, tomatoes, flaxseed, almonds, berries, and avocados.
Causes of High Cholesterol
Hypercholesterolemia or simply put high cholesterol is caused by many things. Some of which may include:
High cholesterol levels can be passed down through genes from blood relatives. It is highly probable that if a close relative has high levels of cholesterol, one is more likely to have it too. It is referred to as familial hypercholesterolemia. People with this gene regardless of lifestyle may require medications to properly regulate their cholesterol levels.
2. High saturated fat consumption
Saturated fats come majorly from animal products and you can recognize them because they are usually solid at room temperature. Some of the examples of these kinds of fat are listed under LDL cholesterol food substances.
3. Insufficient physical activity
One of the things that limit the increase in the level of cholesterol is exercise. Intense body movement helps to burn or increase HDL cholesterol in the body. Lack of physical activity, therefore, does the exact opposite. It leaves LDL cholesterol unchecked.
4. Stress and hormones
Studies have shown that long-term stress causes the secretion of cortisol also known as stress hormones. Although there is no known physical link between stress and high cholesterol, studies have however revealed that, more than 90,000 people who reported being stressed at work were at higher risk of high cholesterol.
It is almost absurd to consider smoking among the causes of high cholesterol in the body. Yet, smoking plays a major role in the increase of LDL (bad cholesterol). Additionally, smoking and high cholesterol can result in heart problems.
Can CBD Reduce High Cholesterol?
Considering the many causes of high cholesterol, high cholesterol can be lowered through lifestyle change in most cases. But in cases involving familial hypercholesterolemia, where medications are required, can Cannabidiol (CBD) help?
CBD is a product extract from the Hemp Plant. It is milder and less psychoactive hence its legality in all 50 states in the US and 40 other countries of the world.
CBD-based research is still in its earliest stage. There are no studies to support the effectiveness of CBD in lowering cholesterol levels; however, studies have shown that CBD is quite beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
Additionally, an animal study conducted on obese mice models indicated that CBD increased HDL cholesterol by 55% and reduced LDL cholesterol by 25%. Another study was carried out to reduce blood pressure in humans using CBD. The blood pressure was increased by increasing the patient's stress level yet CBD worked by reducing blood pressure before and after the stress tests.
Why Should CBD be Considered for Cholesterol Management?
There is a wide range of high cholesterol medication one of which is Statin. Statin helps to lower the risk of heart failure by over 30%. It is that effective. But there are some severe side effects attached to the use of statins some of this includes; migraines, dizziness, nausea, and gastrointestinal issues.
As per any health issues, there is usually alternative treatment medication -though not scientifically tested- that has proven to work. Some of these alternatives include; Flax, garlic, and green tea. They are not widely accepted mainly because of their extremely mild effects.
CBD for cholesterol management is still in its earliest form and is yet to be approved by the FDA for high cholesterol treatment, for now, it falls under alternative treatment. As a result of the mild side effects of CBD, it should be considered if not as a sole medication but as a helpful adjunctive.
We now know that there is good and bad cholesterol and they are not usually weight-oriented so, it is important to ensure that we are on the right side of the lipoproteins. From this article, we should also understand that CBD while effective for stress relief is not yet a scientifically recognized method of lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
The human body is quite complicated and we cannot disregard the many benefits of CBD. Therefore, it is sensible to talk to your GP if you are considering using CBD for cholesterol, particularly if you are using other forms of medication.