Low Cholesterol Linked to Depression

A study conducted by a Duke University researcher suggests that healthy women with very low cholesterol levels have higher depression and anxiety levels than women with higher cholesterol levels. Only about 10% to 15% of the US population has such low levels, defined as 160 micrograms per deciliter or below.

The research suggests that women in their early 20s or late teens seem to be prone to depression and anxiety if they have very low cholesterol levels. These cholesterol levels are extremely low and occur naturally, not as a result of diet or lifestyle.

Psychosomatic Medicine June1999;61.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Cholesterol is not the evil that traditional medicine would have us believe. It is the starting molecule for all of our steroid hormones, such as progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortsol. Low levels are clearly not good. It is highly likely that they contribute to an increased risk of cancer and neuroemotional impairments as this study documents.

Traditional medicine is fixed with the notion that cholesterol levels above 200 are abnormal. I participate in the Blue Cross insurance program in Illinois and I was reviewing their practice guidelines this week which actually penalizes physicians who are not treating or counseling patients to lower their cholesterol levels below 200.

This is quite sad, as with most things in life, there is an optimum level. There is clearly a bell curve distribution for cholesterol with levels below 180 being harmful as well as levels above 220.

However, elevated cholesterol levels are not the only part of the story. One needs to look at the HDL/Cholesterol ratio. If the ratio is above 30, that is considered excellent. The lower the level, the more risk for heart disease. Levels below 15 are highly risky, while levels below 20 also pose a risk, but less severe.

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