Fact or Myth: Can Low Cholesterol Levels Be Just As Unhealthy as High Cholesterol?

This is a FACT.

Most health articles focus on how to keep cholesterol low to avoid heart disease. While there is overwhelming evidence for the benefits of lowering and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, the fact that low cholesterol levels can be just as dangerous isn’t as documented and may come as a surprise.

Studies of low cholesterol levels-lowering medications show a strong connection between low LDL levels and an increased risk of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

If your cholesterol consistently remains below 160 mg/dl you could be at risk for: premature births, anxiety and depression. If you have type 2 diabetes you have an increased cancer risk.

It is recommended that adults keep their low cholesterol level under 200 mg/dl.

Tufts Medical Center resident, Dr. Paul Michael Lavigne warns, “There is no evidence to indicate that lowering your cholesterol with a medication in any way predisposes to a risk for cancer. We suspect there may be some underlying mechanism affecting both cancer and low LDL-C, but we can only say definitively that the relationship between the two exists for many years prior to cancer diagnosis.”

He believes further studies will be necessary to find the link between the two.

Low Cholesterol Levels Increase Mental Health Problems

Your body uses cholesterol to create and protect every cell in your body – and that includes your brain cells. low cholesterol levels

In fact, your brain is made of water, fat and cholesterol – low cholesterol levels have been proven to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, increased depression, anxiety, and even stroke occurrences.

Researchers at Sveti Ivan Psychiatric Hospital conducted studies comparing patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and those with normal brain function. The Alzheimer’s patients had extremely low total cholesterol as well as low LDL cholesterol. Patients who had been diagnosed for a longer period had low cholesterol levels than those in the initial stages of the disease.

Spanish scientists involved in a study of the Youth Correctional Center – Barcelona, Spain, concluded, “It is shown that low cholesterol levels…are associated and related to different neuropsychiatric disorders. Lowered cholesterol levels seem likely to be linked to higher rates of early death, suicide, aggressive and violent behavior, personality disorders, and possibly depression, dementia and penal confinement among young males.”

Healthy Fats to Maintain Proper Cholesterol Balance

Ann Louis Gittelman, author of “Your Body Knows Best” had this to say, “Saturated fats play a positive role in the human body.” Including regulating cholesterol levels.

“They provide a good source of stored energy, they cushion the organs against shock, and they insulate vital tissues against the cold…there are problems associated with saturated fat in the diet, but they are related more to excessive consumption.”

“We tend to over-eat saturated fats not because we are eating too many fresh, thick steaks but because we unwittingly eat fats that are separated from the original food sources and used in a variety of ways in commercial food production.”

Try to incorporate a variety of these particular whole foods in your daily diet to get the right balance of healthy fats and essential fatty acids:

    • Olive, coconut, avocado or argan oil
    • Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or tuna
    • Crude rice bran, wheat germ or oat bran
    • Dried herbs and spices such as cloves, coriander, chives, dill or basil
    • Squash, pumpkin, flax, sunflower or sesame seeds
    • Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
    • Mussels, oysters and clams
    • Almonds, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts or Brazil nuts

Controlling your cholesterol is crucial for heart disease. It is important to avoid going too far in either direction.

As with most health issues concerning our bodies…balance and moderation is the key.