Did you know that when your cholesterol is to low it is actually much more damaging to your health than high cholesterol? Yes it’s true. All this hype about lowering your cholesterol is really just a marketing scheme by the pharmaceutical companies to take your money. Most people with heart disease do not have high cholesterol.
Repeated warnings against the dangers of high total cholesterol are based on inconsistent and skewed data. Cholesterol-phobia has generated enormous profits for pharmaceutical companies. Lipitor itself produces revenue exceeding $10 billion each year.
Cholesterol is necessary for hormone production, including cortisol, dhea, testosterone, estrogen, pregnenalone, aldosterone and progesterone, as well as nutrient absorption, and a healthy brain.
Low cholesterol can lead to a variety of mental and physical health problems like hormone imbalance, adrenal disorders, hypoglycemia, depression, fatigue, anxiety, sexual disorders, obesity, type 2 diabetes, low blood pressure, cognitive decline and poor health overall.
So when is your cholesterol too low? Dr. Charles Gant, from the Academy of Functional Medicine and National Integrated Health Associates, tells us that if your cholesterol is below 160 you are in danger. Higher is actually better. The Framingham study, which has been ongoing since 1948, has found that brain function decreases with low cholesterol and increases with higher cholesterol levels. People with cholesterol levels below 200 perform worse in areas of attention, concentration, abstract reasoning, word fluency and executive functioning than people who have high or borderline high levels. The people who scored the best had the highest levels of cholesterol. Thus, this suggests we would be better off staying above 200.
Cholesterol Has Important Functions Throughout the Body
Cholesterol is a critical component of all cells. Brain and nerve cells have the highest concentrations of cholesterol, and it is essential for the formation of synapses; the small space between neurons that allows them to form connections. Without it, thought processes and memory can’t function properly.
Cholesterol is converted into vitamin D when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun, which most likely explains why much of the population is deficient in vitamin D. It repairs damage to tissue in the arteries, and is a precursor to the sex and stress hormones cortisol, testosterone, and estradiol.
The liver turns cholesterol into bile salts. This allows for the absorption of fats and fat soluble vitamins.
Conflicts of Interest and Distorted Data Surround Today’s Cholesterol Guidelines
Over 3,800 study subjects were followed over the course of seven to 10 years in The Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial. They hadn’t been treated for high cholesterol, and their cholesterol levels were 290 and above. For this study, one group took cholesterol-lowering drugs and the other group didn’t.
At the end of the trial, 96.4 percent of the treated group was still alive. Of the untreated group, 96.3 percent survived. The authors created a ratio of a ratio in order to come up with an exaggerated survival rate of 24 percent among the treated group.
The results of the study were released to the media eight days before they were available for peer review. Other scientists weren’t given the opportunity to examine the data themselves before this misinformation went public.
The authors set borderline-high cholesterol levels at 200 to 239. This added 20 million people to the list of those who “needed” statins. Although they claimed no conflict of interest, the authors generated millions of dollars of income from pharmaceutical companies in the forms of grants and stock shares.
Cholesterol Lowering Drugs and Low Cholesterol Generate Mental and Physical Health Problems
Doctors are often quick to tell their patients about the supposed dangers of elevated cholesterol levels, but few share the downside of low cholesterol. There are many side effects created by cholesterol-lowering drugs. Cognitive decline and muscle soreness are two of the most common complaints.
Those who have low cholesterol have higher rates of cancer, depression, suicide, and acts of violence. They also tend to have impaired cognitive function, reducing memory and lowering attention span. Studies show that elderly populations with higher cholesterol numbers actually live longer than those with low cholesterol.
Cholesterol performs many important functions throughout the body. There is insufficient evidence to prove that elevated cholesterol is a significant factor for heart disease. There is evidence, however, that points to the dangers of having cholesterol too low and statins.
Diamond, David. “How Bad Science and Big Business Created the Obesity Epidemic.” YouTube. USF, 20 May 2011. Web. 23 May 2012.
L’Abbe, Kristan A., and Et Al. “The Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial.” The JAMA Network. JAMA, 7 June 1985. Web. 23 May 2012.
Lenfant, C. “Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial Results.” AGRIS Repository Search Result. Nutrition Today, Mar.-Apr. 1984. Web. 23 May 2012.
American College of Cardiology. “Low LDL cholesterol is related to cancer risk.” ScienceDaily, 26 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 May 2012.
Partonen, T., J. Haukka, J. Virtamo, P. R. Taylor, and J. Lonnqvist. “Association of Low Serum Total Cholesterol with Major Depression and Suicide.” The British Journal of Psychiatry 175.3 (1999): 259-62. Print.
Golomb, Beatrice, and Et Al. “Low Cholesterol and Violent Crime.” Journal of Psychiatric Research 34.4 (2000): 301-09. Print.
Elias, P. K. “Serum Cholesterol and Cognitive Performance in the Framingham Heart Study.” Psychosomatic Medicine 67.1 (2005): 24-30. Print.
Kunugi, Hiroshi, Noriyoshi Takei, Hiroko Aoki, and Shinichiro Nanko. “Low Serum Cholesterol in Suicide Attempters.” Biological Psychiatry 41.2 (1997): 196-200. Print.
Dr. Charles Gant, Endocrine Stress Webinar. www.cegant.com