Many people worry about having cholesterol levels which are too high, but did you know that multiple studies indicate that low levels of cholesterol may make you sick?
While high levels of LDL cholesterol are linked to cardiovascular disease, what most people do not realize is that sub-normal levels of cholesterol may cause serious diseases and even death. I am not sure why this information is not readily available. It may be possible that drug manufactures and the medical industry as a whole do not have your best interests in mind. After all, cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) produce large profits for the medical industry.
Most people know that cholesterol is a type of fat. In fact, it is a fat which is similar in structure to wax. It belongs to a group of substances called sterols. A lot of people think that cholesterol comes from the fat-containing foods we eat. That is only partly true. Cholesterol comes from animal fats that we consume. It is not contained in plant-based fats and oils. However, the vast majority of our cholesterol is manufactured by our own bodies. Most of our human-manufactured cholesterol is made in our brain, liver and small intestines.
What good is cholesterol?
Take a moment to think about what waxes, in general, do. We polish cars with wax to protect them from damage due to the elements. We polish wood with wax to protect it from drying out and being destroyed. Even the wax in our ears protects the inner ear from debris which may damage our hearing. The commonality here is that one of the main functions of waxes is to provide protection. That is exactly what cholesterol does in our bodies — especially our brains.
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Cholesterol serves many functions. It is essential for healthy brain health. It protects nerve cells and aids in messages being processed throughout the body. We cannot survive without cholesterol. Cholesterol protects the cell membrane of each cell in our bodies.
Women who suffer from low levels of cholesterol may have a preterm delivery and low birth weight infant, both of which are fraught with complications.
Breast milk contains a large percentage of cholesterol which is essential for the healthy development of babies. Healthy nutrition is essential for general development and especially for brain development.
Cholesterol is involved in the manufacture of co-enzyme Q-10. If you take statin drugs, you may be aware that coenzyme Q-10 supplementation is necessary to compensate for the loss of co-enzyme Q-10 in your body. Co-enzyme Q-10 serves many purposes. It protects the brain and muscles. In fact, a low level of Co-enzyme Q-10 may damage the heart muscle.
The Mayo Clinic and other leading health care organizations say low cholesterol levels may be involved in the formation of cancer. Japanese researchers specifically link stomach cancer with low levels of cholesterol.
A large study conducted at the University of Minnesota documented that people who had low levels of cholesterol were at an increased risk of dying from gastrointestinal or respiratory infections.
Cholesterol and the brain
Cholesterol protects the cells which manufacture the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is implicated in our abilities to move, speak and think. Cholesterol may be implicated in the development of Parkinson’s disease, a devastating illness which results from dopamine impairment. In addition to limiting the production of dopamine, low levels of cholesterol interfere with the body’s ability to use 5-HTP, which is also needed for emotional health.
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Dopamine and 5-HTP have profound effects upon mood. People suffering from depression, anxiety and severe mental illnesses, such as psychosis, often have impaired levels of dopamine and 5-HTP. A lack of dopamine and 5-HTP may result in poor impulse control and violent behavior. It has been implicated in suicide attempts.
When should you be concerned about cholesterol?
This question is not as simple as it sounds. Most physicians and mainstream medical practitioners are much more concerned about high levels of cholesterol than low ones. Discuss your concerns with your health care provider for specific advice. High or low levels of cholesterol are unhealthy. Your health care practitioner should take other risk factors for developing illness into account when evaluating your cholesterol levels. If you are concerned about cardiovascular disease, there are other tests which are more valuable than cholesterol measurement for evaluating your risk.
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