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“I want you to be aware of the dangers of low cholesterol.” - Dr. Berg
The topic of cholesterol is tricky.
One health provider will tell you a cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL is normal, while another will insist you’re at risk for heart disease unless you get that level down to 150. Or even lower.
Why is that?
Well, one reason is what constitutes high cholesterol has changed with time and the advent of drugs called statins that are meant to lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and decrease the risk of heart disease.
However, we may have gone overboard in our zeal for low levels of cholesterol.
How Low Is Too Low?
There has been a huge push to put everyone on cholesterol medication to drive down cholesterol levels to ones I think are too low.
A normal cholesterol level nowadays is considered to be 200 mg/dL. 20 years ago the norm was 225 mg/dL. And the mainstream medical community keeps trying to lower the acceptable norm to 150, or even 100.
Even when they have normal cholesterol levels, people tend to stay on their drugs as preventive because they’re concerned about cholesterol clogging their arteries.
But there are low LDL cholesterol dangers you don’t usually hear about. They get lost in the focus on the reputed artery-clogging nature of cholesterol in your body, but they are significant and include increased risk of cancer, chronic liver disease, and depression.
And did you know your body actually needs cholesterol for optimal health?
Let’s take a look.
You Need Cholesterol For Optimal Health
Cholesterol plays a crucial role in your overall health. Here’s how:
It’s a precursor - or building block - for all your sex hormones. Testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol should be found in sufficient levels in your body to maintain healthy sexual development and libido.
When you cut your cholesterol down too low, you essentially starve these hormones and create a deficiency. For example, men who take cholesterol-lowering drugs can end up with low testosterone, resulting in depression, fatigue, irritability, and loss of sex drive.
Cholesterol provides a bandaid-like function to lesions in the arteries. The reason cholesterol goes to your arteries is in response to inflammation or because a wound in the artery wall needs to be healed. And what causes the inflammation? A diet chronically high in sugar and carbs.
Your cells and many organs require cholesterol. Cholesterol plays a critical role in your health. Each one of the trillions of cells in your body needs cholesterol to help produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of your memories and is vital for neurological function.
But if you truly feel you need to lower your cholesterol levels, it’s your diet that needs to be modified to sharply limit sugars and refined carbs, instead of using a drug to lower the cholesterol that’s naturally produced and required by your body.
Your Body Recycles Cholesterol To Maintain Adequate Levels
Interestingly, about 90 percent of the cholesterol in your body ends up being recycled by the gallbladder, liver, and intestines. For example, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) shuttle cholesterol back to your liver to be recycled and then to be taken to tissues and cells that need it.
You see how, instead of being bad for you, your body is trying to make and conserve cholesterol because it’s so vital for your health.
Do This If You’re Deficient In Bile Necessary To Break Down Cholesterol
The organ in your body that’s responsible for storing the bile you need to help break down cholesterol is your gallbladder.
If you don’t have a gallbladder, or you have a liver problem that prevents bile production, you may end up with what’s called a fatty liver. Fatty liver can occur when cholesterol accumulates in your body because you don’t have enough bile to break it down.
But rather than try to drastically reduce cholesterol by taking statins - with their trivial benefits and significant risks - you could take bile salts to help break it down and keep your cholesterol levels healthy.
Alternatives To Statins
I’ve laid out a number of reasons why there are dangers of having low cholesterol. These are facts I want you to know before you decide to take medications such as statins so that you’re able to have an informed discussion with your doctor when they recommend you go onto cholesterol-lowering drugs.
You’ll know there are natural alternatives available to you that don’t come with the risks of statin drugs.
First, sharply reduce or eliminate sugars and refined carbohydrates from your diet. This will reduce inflammation in your body that causes wounds to form in your arterial walls, which then require cholesterol as part of the healing process. The wounds, or lesions, can become a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Second, use bile salts to support the production of bile and the breakdown of fats in your body, including cholesterol.
If you do these two things and your cholesterol level comes back to normal, there’s no need to take medication that comes with significant side effects, which can offset their benefits.
Keep Your Cholesterol Levels Optimized For Health
For decades, cholesterol was demonized as an evil substance that would increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, leading people to take drastic measures to drive their cholesterol levels even lower.
You may have believed this too. It’s not your fault; there was a sustained campaign by the mainstream medical community to paint cholesterol as a villain out to rob you of your longevity.
But as you’ve discovered, there are dangers of low cholesterol that pose unacceptable risks to your health. Now that you’re aware of them, you can have an informed discussion with your doctor about how to keep your cholesterol levels optimal instead of driving them down dangerously low.
When you’re informed, you’re powerful. You can take charge of your health with confidence and certainty.
Time to take charge!