Tissue/Cell Cholesterol (TCh)
By: Lynne August MD
Lipids must be free, unbound, to be active. Cholesterol as measured in a blood test is the amount of cholesterol bound as esters within lipoprotein carriers. Although the cholesterol measured in a blood test is not active cholesterol, a small percent of cholesterol in cells and tissues is unbound and active. While it is not possible to measure unbound and active cholesterol in cells and tissues, it is possible to determine an excess or deficiency.
The LDL lipoprotein carriers delivers cholesterol to cells and tissues while the HDL lipoprotein carrier removes cholesterol from cells and tissues. The ratio of LDL to HDL is the ratio of delivery and removal. Tissue/cell cholesterol (TCh) can thus be calculated:
LDL/HDL x Total Cholesterol
When cholesterol binds fatty acids, fatty acids are inactivated. When TCh is low, fatty acids can run amok. Unbridled arachidonic acid metabolizes into inflammatory fatty acids, causing inflammation and setting the stage for chronic disease.
On the other hand, a high TCh is the result of fatty acids running amok. High TCh is an unsuccessful attempt to stop inflammation. Not only does inflammation persist, high TCh causes anaerobic metabolism.
Symptoms of chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease occur when TCh is low. Recurrent colds indicate low grade chronic inflammation. Hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease occur when TCh is high.