Low cholesterol, when found by blood work, should trigger a high degree of suspicion on the part of the physician that the person has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Low cholesterol is any level of total cholesterol below 4.14 mmol/L or 160 mg/dL.
Low cholesterol is dangerous because it is linked by numerous studies to depression, suicide, violent behaviour, and increased death rate from a violent episode such as accident or homicide!!!
The following studies have linked low cholesterol levels to an increased risk of developing depression:
1. A 1993 paper in Lancet reported, “Among men aged seventy years and older, depression was three times more common in the group with low total plasma cholesterol…than in those with higher concentrations.”
2. A 2000 paper in Psychosomatic Medicine, reported men with long-term, low total cholesterol levels “have a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms” compared to those with higher cholesterol levels.
3. In 1998, a Swedish research paper showed women with the lowest cholesterol group (the bottom tenth percentile) suffered from significantly more depressive symptoms than did the other healthy women.
4. A 2001 study in Psychiatry Research also found that low levels of cholesterol were linked to higher ratings on depression rating scales.
5. A 2008 meta-analyses found higher total cholesterol was associated with lower levels of depression.
6. Low levels of HDL were linked to “long-term depressive symptomatology”.
Numerous studies link the sad, fatal condition of suicide to low level of cholesterol.
And suicide is not the only type of violence associated with lower cholesterol levels.
Swedish researchers reported that “low cholesterol is associated with increased subsequent victimization by criminal violence.”
And low cholesterol is linked to higher risk of cancer.
A recent study published in Curr Med Res Opin. 2011 Sep 7. Epub 2011 Sep 7. PMID: 21899411confirmed the significant association between low cholesterol and cancer mortality in the general population. A Japanese study showed an inverse relationship between cholesterol and cancer Int J Cancer. 2009 Dec 1;125(11):2679-86. PMID: 19544528
And another 2009 Japanese study showed there is an inverse association between serum total cholesterol and cancer mortality, especially for liver cancer. Int J Cancer. 2009 Dec 1;125(11):2679-86. PMID: 19544528
How does low cholesterol cause so much brain dysfunction?
As is the case with so much of psychiatry, we don’t know exactly why a low cholesterol level is linked to depression or cancer. Canadian researchers were the first to examine this question in their 2007 study published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. Low cholesterol seems to affect the frontal cortex, a part of the brain that handles planning including inhibiting inappropriate actions and making good decisions.
Chronic low grade inflammation is theorized as the basis of many mental illnesses, cancer and chronic illness of the modern world.
Cholesterol, the mother of our hormones.
Cholesterol is a precursor to all steroid and sex hormones like progesterone, DHEA, estriol, testosterone, and cortisol ALL important for our functioning but ALL also anti-inflammatory.
Cholesterol is also theorized to be a part of the activation of many neurochemical, so without enough cholesterol some neurochemical can’t do their job for example serotonin.
Vitamin D is synthesized with the help of cholesterol and ultraviolet light.
What if you are on a cholesterol lowering drug and it is below 4.14?
I would recommend that you get celiac testing and talk to your doctor about the dose of the lipid lowering drug and adjusting the dose to allow the cholesterol levels to rise naturally to above 4.14mmol/L.
To Your Health