High cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for stroke. But new research suggests that low levels of cholesterol in the blood may also increase stroke risk. The study linking low cholesterol to increased stroke risk was presented recently at the 24th American Heart Association Conference on Stroke and Cerebral Circulation which was discussed in last week’s newsletter. About 80% of all strokes are ischemic, and 20% are hemorrhagic.
The researchers compared the cholesterol levels of the stroke patients to 3,700 other people in the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound who had not had a stroke. They found that as an individual's cholesterol level rose above 230 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL), their risk of ischemic stroke increased. For example, a person with a cholesterol level of 280 mg/dL had twice the risk of ischemic stroke as a person with 230 mg/dL.
But the researchers also found that as cholesterol dropped, the risk of -hemorrhagic stroke increased significantly. A person with a cholesterol level below 180 mg/dL had twice the risk of that type of stroke compared with someone at 230 mg/dL.
About 10% of the population have cholesterol levels below 180 mg/dL. It is not clear if the cholesterol is indeed the cause of the stroke, or related to some other cardiovascular factor that is responsible. High cholesterol levels probably increase blockages.
The theory with low cholesterol is that it is necessary to maintain integrity of the vessel wall. Low levels of cholesterol might lead to "leaky vessels." The Japanese have typically low cholesterol levels and a higher than average rate of hemorrhagic stroke.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
It is encouraging to find some evidence (although not yet published) that shows that low cholesterol is a problem. I believe the optimum cholesterol is about 200. Levels below 180 appear to be a problem. Levels under 150 are a major dilemma. I am an expert in low cholesterol as my levels have been as low as 85.
I was trained in the "low fat" craze and I am sure I did some serious damage to my body trying to stay healthy. However, for the last seven years I had tried to raise it and was unable to get it above 135.Two weeks ago I was able to get it up to 175! For the last two months I have been using a supplement that has whole beet concentrate and Taurine.
These items are very effective at thinning the bile in the gallbladder. Once the bile is thinned it can flow out and not remain in the gallbladder as sludge so it can emulsify the fat so we can absorb it. Trying to absorb fat without bile is like trying to wash greasy dishes without soap. It does not work very well at all. I am fairly convinced that most people with low cholesterol levels are due to a dysfunctional gallbladder.
Folks it took me SEVEN years to find someone who could teach me that piece of information. It is one of the best things I learned last year. Traditional medicine has no clue about how to treat this problem. There solution is to remove ONE MILLION gallbladders a year. I believe this is criminal malpractice. If a person is treated early enough, this operation is RARELY needed.
To add insult to injury, the surgeon does not even suggest that these patients take bile salts to help them digest their fats. If you know anyone who has had their gallbladder removed, you could greatly benefit them by telling them they need bile salts with EVERY meal for the rest of their life.
This will contribute greatly to their long term health.