Steroids, Cholesterol and Blood Lipids

The following article was written by Teo from http://www.heart-health-guide.com

Introduction

What is the connection between steroids and cholesterol? I became interested in this question at a relatively young age, after I realized how big impact puberty had on my heart disease.

Since all hormones are produced from cholesterol, taking steroids would shut down natural hormonal production thereby leaving more cholesterol unused. However, the body can also reduce production of cholesterol, in order to balance it out.

On the other hand, it can’t control which kind and how much foods we eat. On top of all that, some hormones also have an effect on cholesterol levels.

Hormones with the Biggest Effect on Cholesterol

According to majority of the studies out there, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and DHT seem to have the greatest effect on cholesterol levels.

Estrogen in particular seems to be responsible for keeping good HDL cholesterol elevated. Although other hormones such as testosterone and particularly DHT may raise total and LDL cholesterol, it seems they do this by overpowering estrogen.

For instance, DHT or Dihydrotestosterone has anti-estrogenic properties. So, by reducing estrogen, HDL goes down which should cause raise in LDL and total cholesterol.

Steroids and Cholesterol – Dosage

Under the normal circumstances, the body limits how much hormones the endocrine glands secrete. However, by taking steroids you can add as much hormones as you want but it comes with a price.

Besides shutting down your own natural hormonal production, more steroids would also have greater effect on cholesterol levels and not in a good way.

This is one of the reason, why even people on hormonal replacement therapy or HRT need to take blood tests, in order to make sure that their values are in the right range.

Steroids and Cholesterol – Differences

Testosterone based steroids don’t seem to have such big effect on cholesterol levels, when used in doses proscribed by the doctor. Although testosterone by itself seems to have the ability to raise LDL cholesterol, its effect is primarily dependent on its metabolites estradiol and DHT.

Actually, DHT based steroids such as Winstrol, Anavar and Masteron have shown to have the biggest effect, when it comes to lowering HDL and increasing LDL cholesterol. Although, DHT has some great benefits, optimal cholesterol ratio is not one of them.

Progesterone based steroids such as Deca Durabolin don’t seem to have significant effect on cholesterol levels. In the studies that I have seen, the drug usually reduced HDL slightly, without affecting LDL or total cholesterol.

Also, drug similar to steroids, Human Growth Hormone seems to have the ability to improve blood lipids profile. HGH helps burn fat and raises energy levels.

Steroids and Cholesterol – Lipase Enzymes

Hepatic lipase (HL) and Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) are enzymes which have an affect on HDL and LDL cholesterol. Males usually have higher levels of HL, while women favour LPL.

Hepatic lipase is responsible for clearance of HDL cholesterol, while LPL takes care of cellular uptake of free fatty acids and glycerol. Male hormones, especially powerful androgens such as DHT stimulate hepatic lipase which causes reduction in HDL cholesterol.

Since HDL helps clear out excess LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, reduction in one causes the other one to rise.

Supplements

Fish oil supplements are the second most sold supplements in the world, right next to the multivitamin. They can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, stabilize blood clotting mechanisms, reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart attack.

While buying fish oil supplements, you have to take in a considiration the purity, potency and place of origin.

Coenzyme Q10 is fat-soluble, vitamin like substance found in mitochondria, where it is used for production of ATP. ATP is a molecule which carries energy for heart function. It has been proven connection between lack of coenzyme Q10 and heart disease.

Levels of this antioxidant diminish with age. It is also, one of the two best supplements for heart disease since it may improve ejection fraction of the heart muscle.

Acetyl l carnitine is an amino acid which is naturally produced in the body. It is more bioavailable and more useful than L-carnitine.

It is one of those heart health supplements which is also great for the brain function since it can cross the blood-brain barier. Heart muscle tends to be particularly vulnerable to carnitine deficiency because of its high energy requirements.

Alpha lipoic acid or ALA is fatty acid found inside every cell in our body. It is a powerful antioxidant that regenerates other antioxidants.

It is one of heart disease supplements which is also great for the liver and blood sugar control. However, its true power comes from the ability to regenerate other antioxidants, in the body.

ALA and carnitine supplements are more suited for people above the age of 40.

Lycopene is another great antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables but is mostly consumed via tomatoes and tomato based products. In one study, women with the highest concentrations of lycopene in their blood, had 50 % reduced risk of heart disease.

Because of this study, it has gained a lot of attention. It has become one of the most interesting heart health supplements.

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid like lycopene, something like lycopene’s big brother but it is much stonger antioxidant. Unlike some carotenoids, it is not converted to vitamin A which can be toxic, in high concentrations.

Astaxanthin reduces arterial plaque formation, protects cells from oxidative damage and the skin from UV light. It may even help increase endurance and reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.

Vitamin D is a special kind of vitamin which is actually a hormone. It is also the only kind of vitamin, you should take as a supplement. All other vitamins you can get from foods, even if your diet is not the most healthiest. Although it is found in some foods, the amount is very small.

Only real sources of vitamin D, are the sun and the supplements. That being said, the list of benefits is getting bigger every day, including vitamin D benefits for treating heart disease.

Salicin is natural compound found in higher quantities, in several herbs. It is metabolised into salicylic acid, in the stomach which is also found in aspirin.

Salicin is natural blood thinner and anti-inflammatory compound which can be used in treatment of heart disease. However, it is most effective for lowering the risk of heart attack, by reducing formation of blood clots.

Diindolylmethane or simply DIM is one of those supplements which can be extremly helpful, if heart disease was caused by unbalanced sex hormones. By improving testosterone to estrogen ratio, heart function also improves. However, diindolylmethane benefits don’t stop there.

Conclusion

Claims stated in this articles aren’t facts. They are more like speculations, based on limited amount of evidence.

The point is, make sure that your hormones are balanced since too much or too little of any chemical can have negative effect on your health.

Effect of hormones goes much further than steroids and cholesterol connection. They affect heart function, blood pressure, stroke volume and much more, not just blood lipids. Be smart, stay healthy.

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