"Focusing heart disease prevention efforts on lowering cholesterol is like trying to prevent rain with an umbrella." - Dr. Philip Miller

Cholesterol gets far more attention than it deserves. What is critically important is preventing oxidation of cholesterol. High triglyceride or LDL levels shouldn't be ignored, and even more importantly low HDL levels should be raised, but overall cholesterol levels are not as important as for example homocysteine levels.

Low cholesterol levels can be just as dangerous or worse than high levels. (Total cholesterol levels below 160 have been associated with brain hemorrages, depression, liver cancer and other health problems.)

"High" cholesterol is a sign of hormone imbalance. "To treat the symptom, the alleged high cholesterol in the blood, by poisoning the HMG-CoA system, is absolutely ludicrous." [Dr. Lichten "Textbook of Bio-Identical Hormones" page 228]

Optimal total cholesterol levels:

The most commonly run blood tests for cholesterol levels use an estimation system so they don't give accurate or reliable numbers. If you want accurate results the more expensive "VAP" test should be run.

HDL - the "good" cholesterol should be above 60.

LDL - the "bad" cholesterol should be kept below 110

Triglycerides - should be kept below 100

LDL doesn't actually become "bad" until it oxidizes and thus anti-oxidants can help keep you healthy. Get plenty of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and zinc.

Oils - avoid consuming "vegetable" oils (usually corn or safflower) and switch to healthier olive oil, coconut oil or even canola oil.

Eat plenty of garlic and onions to lower cholesterol levels.

Eggs are a good, healthy food.

Omega 3 fatty acids ("fish oils") are important to lower triglyceride levels.

Foods high in fiber like beans and oats are healthy.

Cut down on sources of unhealthy fats. Reduce your consumption of dairy and meats.

Nutrients known to be beneficial for cholesterol issues:

A common treatment for high cholesterol is very high niacin supplementation.