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Is Your Cholesterol Too Low?

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.

Resources:

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

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Debbie March 13, 2011, 12:56 am

    I just read the article on cholesterol being too low and how is shouldn’t be below 160.

    I just had a blood test done – I’ve been feeling lousy since the end of December and the cholesterol numbers are: Cholesterol total 129
    HDL 60 HDL ratio 2.2

    Is this good? from the symptoms above I have fatigue, anxiety taking medication for depression, acid reflux, was diagnosed with celicas.

    I’ve been on 5 different antibiotics since January, first for a bacterial infection – sinus infection with nausea and dizziness – then for ear infection, then for UTI and yest infection. I still feel the same way. now they are running a test for lyme disease. and the ENT wants to to an MRI of my head to see if there is anything there.

    I just don’t know what to do next. I do take a pro biotic acidophiles, cranberry with vitamin c and e, aloe gel caps. but also been prescribed nexium for acid reflux and wellbruton for depression. I’m so tired of taking medication and not feeling any better.

    where does one put the breaks and get answers instead of medication?

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins March 20, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Hi Debbie,

    129 is entirely too low. No it is not good. As mentioned above, cholesterol is essential for making all the bodies steroid hormones.

    However, your symptoms can be related to a variety of other issues as well, like h pylori bacteria, neurotransmitter disruption of depletion, food sensitivities and adrenal fatigue to name a few.

    The acid reflux is often caused by h pylori. You should have a test called GI effects. Contact me if you’re interested.

    That many antibiotics is sure to cause Candida overgrowth.

    You need to find a physician who practices functional medicine. You can search the database at The Institute for Functional Medicine.

    You should read the following pages.

    Causes of Depression
    http://www.holistichelp.net/causes-of-depression.html

    Candida
    http://www.holistichelp.net/candida.html

    Adrenal Fatigue
    http://www.holistichelp.net/adrenal-fatigue.html

    Neurotransmitters
    http://www.holistichelp.net/neurotransmitters.html

    I offer consultations by phone, you can set up an appointment if you want to talk about these things in more depth.

    Best
    Cynthia

  • Penny March 25, 2011, 4:22 pm

    I just had my cholesterol tested and is was 123 – ratio is 1.8. I have also taken way too many antibiotics (like 6 rounds in the last year and a half) I have had so many terrible symptoms from depression/anxiety and terrible cystic acne, tinnitus, eye floaters, dermitis, etc. I have been thinking that I had candida overgrowth from all of the antibiotics and I have been on the candida diet for 2 months now. I just had my cholesterol checked last week and the results freaked me out. Do you think that the cause for all of my problems (including low cholesterol) is from candida?

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins March 28, 2011, 9:48 pm

    Hi Penny,

    Well most of your symptoms could certainly be caused by Candida, but probably not the cholesterol. Low cholesterol is probably from not eating enough fat and meat.

    Cynthia

  • Stephnie Schaap-Jones August 10, 2011, 10:32 pm

    I had no idea that low cholesterol could e such a problem! My doctors hounded me for ages to get my cholesterol down below 160, telling me that my cholesterol was too high. I guess its lucky for me that I like red meat!

  • Armand Uyematsu April 15, 2012, 11:11 am

    Hi! I just wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info you have got here on this post. I’ll be coming back to your site for more soon.

  • don June 26, 2012, 5:04 pm

    I have a serious sinos problem. The ENT said that is acid reflux. Is there a natural treatment for sinos.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins July 13, 2012, 9:19 pm

    The most common cause of ongoing sinusitis is candida overgrowth. This can be treated with an antifungal in the sinuses.
    Best
    Cynthia

  • Kelli October 23, 2016, 4:53 pm

    Hi there,
    Thank you for posting this information. I’ve been having a lot of neurological issues as well as a positive ana test. My cholesterol is 84 – my hdl is 58 and my ldl at a 20. My Dr doesn’t seem worried about it and say the lower the better! Any additional information would be great!

  • Tawnya October 28, 2016, 2:36 am

    Just had blood taken for the first time in about 10 yrs.
    Triglycerides 66
    Cholesteral 123
    HDL 57
    LDL 52
    Cholesterol/HDL 2.2
    LDL/HDL Ratio 0.93

    This is obviously very low. Your article explained a lot of simptoms I have had for a decade or two. Lower blood pressure and extremely poor memory. I also have occasional mini strokes.

    How do I bring these levels up and get healthy?
    I will not consume animal products. I’m a 16 yr vegan.
    My current age is 47, female.

    Thanks in advance! (((hugs)))

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins November 19, 2016, 1:31 pm

    Hi Tawnya,

    These numbers will normalize when one eats the proper diet. The proper diet is one that is low in carbs and rich in animal protein and fat.

    A vegetarian diet is the worse thing one can do for themselves. I encourage you to read the following page.

    http://www.holistichelp.net/why-you-shouldnt-be-vegetarian.html

    Best,

    Cynthia

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins November 19, 2016, 2:03 pm

    Hi Kelli,

    I would say it’s time to find a different doctor. Find a doctor who practices functional medicine.

    Read Dr. Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, to learn about the importance of cholesterol and the brain.

    Best,

    Cynthia

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