In functional medicine, we view high cholesterol not as a disease but as a symptom and we explore the causes to determine and address whatever the root pathology is.
There at least six key underlying processes that can lead to hypercholesterolemia:
1. Metabolic dysfunction
2. Chronic infections like H. pylori or even latent viral infections
3. Gut dysbiosis permeability
4. Poor thyroid function
5. Environmental toxins, especially heavy metals
In a convectional paradigm, it’s really a lot more about symptom suppression.
Another factor to consider is that conventional lipid markers, which are total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol, are not accurate predictors of cardiovascular risk. The ratio of total-to-HDL cholesterol as well as non-HDL cholesterol are better predictors, but they are nowhere near as predictive as some of the newer markers like LDL particle number or lipoprotein(a). But lipid markers, even the good ones, are only part of the puzzle when it comes to quantifying overall risk. We need to look at things like family history, inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, Lp-PLA2, oxidized LDL, metabolic markers, so things like fasting insulin, fasting glucose, fasting leptin, post-meal blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C and a variety of other markers that tell us what’s happening with metabolic function; diet, lifestyle, stress, nutritional status, status of the gut, etc.
Dr. Nerette might recommend:
- Special blood work
- Fasting cardiovascular profile
- Adrenocortex Stress Profile
- Micronutrient testing
- Heavy metal testing
- Medical grade supplements