Cholesterol is a lipid that contributes to vitamin D production and to bile formation and is also a precursor to hormones like testosterone. However, excess cholesterol levels in the blood can lead to cardiovascular conditions such as thrombosis, heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol travels in the blood either free or bound to lipoproteins. Cholesterol can either be bound to low-density lipoproteins, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, because they coordinate its transport to deposits in peripheral tissues, including artery walls; or is bound to high-density lipoproteins, HDL or so-called “good” cholesterol, because they remove “bad” cholesterol from artery walls, transporting it to the liver for its elimination. Also triglycerides “travel” with cholesterol in the blood, which are formed by three lipid chains attached to a glycerol molecule and represent an important source of energy for our body.
Excess bad cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, namely the clogging of blood vessels through the formation of atheromatous plaques, i.e. fatty deposits. The artery thus loses its elasticity and resistance, facilitating the onset of cardiovascular conditions such as thrombosis, heart attack or stroke.
There are many causes of hypercholesterolaemia: they can be genetic or can be due to a diet that is too rich in calories, fats and sugars or to poor lifestyle choices. For this reason, it is fundamental for primary prevention purposes to pay special attention to what you eat and to adopt healthy habits, such as limiting alcohol consumption and smoking and practising regular physical activity.
The natural remedies that can contribute to normal cholesterol levels in the blood include Monacolin K. This substance is produced during the fermentation of red rice by Monascus purpureus, a special yeast. In addition, a diet that is rich in Omega 3s (EPA and DHA) has an important effect on the metabolism of fats, thus reducing triglycerides.
High cholesterol levels are particularly dangerous when they are combined with another pathology: hypertension, a clinical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is too high. Hawthorn is a remedy used to treat high blood pressure and has also natural anxiolytic and hypotensive effects.