Question: Larry, What’s your take on stress and cholesterol levels? It is my belief that high cholesterol isn’t caused necessarily by food consumption, but by the stress in our lives. I’m curious to what your thought on this topic are.
I have found that cholesterol levels fluctuate in response to a multitude of internal and external factors.Anything that can cause inflammation, for example, can elicit changes in cholesterol levels. Stress, especially unresolved stress, has been shown to cause increased inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is seen as a threat and the body mobilizes defenses, one of which is increased cholesterol in the blood. The sad news is that modern medicine has decided to treat the symptom, cholesterol levels, instead of the cause, stress. Like most things, the symptoms are not the problem. That’s all modern medicine will test and treat.
ANECDOTE: I once thought about purchasing a device to measure cholesterol. One was being demonstrated at a seminar. I had my cholesterol level “measured” three times throughout the day and received three distinctly different values. The machine was costly and offered by a respected company.
Was it inaccurate or was there something about cholesterol that made it difficult to measure accurately?
The machine was accurate and the technicians at the booth demonstrated its reliability on known samples. It was clear to me that the time of day and the condition of my environment dictated my cholesterol level. I presume that the same thing happens to other people.
Stress can impact cholesterol levels. It is likely that there may be other factors that can cause our blood levels of cholesterol to change throughout the day. That begs a final question, “Is it possible that the stress of drawing blood samples is enough to alter the levels?” If so, how much credence should we be placing on the results of those tests?