Why Low Cholesterol is NOT Good For You

memory lossToo little of one type of cholesterol has been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists studied more than 3,500 civil servants to investigate how levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol were associated with memory. HDL cholesterol can influence the formation of the beta-amyloid "plaques" that are a distinctive feature in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Higher levels of HDL are also believed to protect against damage to blood supply caused by the narrowing of the arteries.

After the five-year study period, the researchers found that people with low levels of HDL were 53 percent more likely to suffer memory loss than people with the highest levels of HDL.

Those with impaired memory are at an increased risk of developing dementia later in life.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
There’s plenty of confusion on the issue of cholesterol. I was also caught up in the nonsense. When I finished med school 25 years ago I was convinced your cholesterol could not be low enough.

So with a low-fat diet and plenty of exercise and oat bran (no drugs) I was able to get my cholesterol to a ridiculous level of 75. Yes you read that correctly -- my TOTAL cholesterol was a measly and pathetic 75 points. Fortunately, I later realized that it should be nearly three times as high as that to stay healthy, certainly no lower than 150.

However, due to misinformation in the media and drug pushing by multinational corporations, the majority of people worry about their cholesterol being too high and are clueless about the dangers of low cholesterol, especially when done artificially with drugs.

What you need to know first and foremost is that cholesterol is good for you. It’s present in every single cell in your body where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids to help you digest fat.

Cholesterol also helps in the formation of your memories and is vital for neurological function, which is why the above finding that low cholesterol is linked to memory loss is not at all surprising.

In fact, when your cholesterol levels go too low, a host of negative things happen in your body.

The Risks of Low Cholesterol

Impaired memory and dementia are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low cholesterol’s impact on your brain. Having too little of this beneficial compound also:
Unfortunately, in the United States lowering cholesterol levels has become so common that nearly everyone reading this either knows someone struggling to do so, or has struggled to do so themselves.

Your Cholesterol Will Normalize When You Address its Cause

Contrary to popular belief, high cholesterol is not a disease in and of itself. It is actually a response to something gone awry in your body. You see, cholesterol is produced whenever your cells become damaged, as it’s a necessary component in making new, healthy cells.

So if you have a lot of damaged cells, you’re also going to have a lot of cholesterol in your bloodstream. This is a good thing, in a sense, because it means your cells are being repaired. Now, while most conventional doctors would see all that cholesterol and put you on toxic cholesterol-lowering drugs, a more knowledgeable doctor would search for what’s causing the damage in the first place.

And often it’s inflammation brought on by:
  • A diet too high in sugar and grains
  • Too many processed, overcooked foods
  • Not enough exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Smoking
The remedy involves, of course, addressing the items I’ve mentioned above by making simple lifestyle changes that are outlined in Take Control of Your Health.

Whatever you do, don’t fall for the mistaken belief that the lower your cholesterol goes, the better. If you lower your cholesterol through artificial means (statin drugs) without addressing the underlying causes, your body will continue to degenerate.

Leave the decision of how much cholesterol your body needs up to your body, and make the right lifestyle choices to keep your cells in their top condition. This way you get the best of both worlds: the right amount of cholesterol and a body in tip-top shape.