Doctors have long warned about the health hazards of high cholesterol but a growing body of evidence indicates that very low cholesterol can be dangerous too. Low cholesterol levels have been associated with depression, anxiety, violent behavior, suicide and hemorrhagic stroke.
Fat absorption requires the presence of bile as an emulsifier. Both a very low fat diet and poor bile flow can work to keep cholesterol levels lower than they should be. Thinning the bile can help raise low cholesterol levels.
A study of 121 healthy young women found that those with low cholesterol levels – below 160mg/dl – were more likely to score high on measures of depression and anxiety than women with normal or high cholesterol levels. Normal cholesterol levels are considered to fall within the range of 180mg/dl to 200mg/dl.
There is now a compelling body of evidence in both men and women that low cholesterol is a potential predictor for depression and anxiety in certain individuals. [Psychosomatic Medicine, May 1999]
Data from more than 300 peer-reviewed medical reports showed that men with blood cholesterol levels below 160mg/dl tended to be the victims of homicide, suicide or fatal accidents 50-80% more often than those with the highest levels of cholesterol. The statistics for women showed a similar increase of 30%. The author of the review said that there may be a possible link between low cholesterol and a reduction in the brain chemical serotonin. Individuals with low serotonin levels are known to be more likely to commit suicide, especially by violent means, as well as homicide.
Conditions that suggest Low Total Cholesterol
Men with LDL cholesterol levels between 91 and 135 had 6 times the likelihood of having Parkinson’s as those with LDL levels above 135, and those with LDL levels below 91 had 4 times the likelihood.
One possibility is that cholesterol may help rid the body of environmental toxins that could trigger Parkinson’s. Another is that cholesterol could be a precursor for hormones involved in nervous system function.
It is unknown why the same association does not hold true for women. It may be connected with that fact that LDL cholesterol levels increase with age in men until they are 65 years old, but in women until they are 75. The lifetime risk of Parkinson’s disease is about twice as high for men as it is for women. [MSNBC September 29, 2005]
Researchers have found that as cholesterol levels drop, the risk of hemorrhagic stroke (accounting for 20% of strokes) increased significantly. A person with a cholesterol level below 180mg/dl had twice the risk of that type of stroke when compared with someone at a level of 230mg/dl.
Cholesterol is the raw material used to make progesterone, and is therefore its immediate precursor.
Risk factors for Low Total Cholesterol
What we are beginning to find increasingly is that people who have low cholesterol probably have some kind of low grade or subclinical inflammation. [Journal of the American Geriatrics Society April 1999;47: pp.402-406]
Low total cholesterol
(Mildly) high total cholesterol or normal total cholesterol
Recommendations for Low Total Cholesterol
Taurine and beet concentrate are very effective at thinning the bile in the gallbladder.
The liver/gallbladder flush helps to remove thickened bile by mobilizing it.
A chronically low serum cholesterol level can be an unsuspected problem. Since cholesterol is the precursor to the adrenal and sex steroids, low levels may mean an insufficient supply of raw material for hormone production. When there are indications of hormone insufficiency, appropriate lab testing should be conducted.
|Weak or unproven link|
|Strong or generally accepted link|
|Proven definite or direct link|
|Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative|
|May do some good|
|Likely to help|
A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
Apprehension of danger, or dread, accompanied by nervous restlessness, tension, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath unrelated to a clearly identifiable stimulus.
A sudden loss of brain function caused by a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel that supplies the brain, characterized by loss of muscular control, complete or partial loss of sensation or consciousness, dizziness, slurred speech, or other symptoms that vary with the extent and severity of the damage to the brain. The most common manifestation is some degree of paralysis, but small strokes may occur without symptoms. Usually caused by arteriosclerosis, it often results in brain damage.
A bitter, yellow-green secretion of the liver. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and is released when fat enters the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) in order to aid digestion.
(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.
A phenolic amine neurotransmitter (C10H12N2O) that is a powerful vasoconstrictor and is found especially in the brain, blood serum and gastric membranes of mammals. Considered essential for relaxation, sleep, and concentration.
A chronic, slowly-progressing disease of the nervous system characterized clinically by the combination of tremor, rigidity, extreme slowness of movement, and stooped posture. It is characterized pathologically by loss of dopamine in the substantia nigra.
(LDL): Also known as "bad" cholesterol, LDLs are large, dense, protein-fat particles composed of a moderate proportion of protein and a high proportion of cholesterol. Higher levels of LDLs are associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.
A system in the body that is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, ganglia and parts of the receptor organs that receive and interpret stimuli and transmit impulses to effector organs.
Not manifesting characteristic clinical symptoms. Pertaining to a disease or condition.