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From: john l (host-3-35-107-208-static.midco.net)
Subject:         Re: Help! I think my cholesterol is too low!
Date: March 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm PST

In Reply to: Re: Help! I think my cholesterol is too low! posted by Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN on March 7, 2008 at 6:11 am:

Hey thanks for responding. I realize that I'm not going to figure out everything I need to on this or any other discussion board. I'm just trying to gather as much information as I can.

Quoting Jeff N.:
"My answer to you is that I strongly recommend that you get yourself to a qualified health care practitioner who knows what they are doing as it seems you are not getting the best of advice and some of it is conflicting/confusing. And, some of it borders on quackery."

Well my health care practitioner is a teacher at a reputable school of naturopathy... If, in fact, my cholesterol level is a problem for me it doesn't seem like *anyone* necessarily knows what they're doing when it comes to this. I alluded to the fact that I'm wary of doing stuff that is indicated for lowering one's cholesterol. Then again perhaps my NP is right about the whole homeostasis thing... Was this the part that you think borders on quackery? I've also seen a regular doctor who was not concerned about my cholesterol level. I'm not sure what to believe.

I have, however, found a lot of evidence to support the theory that my cholesterol level may be playing a role in my depression and anxiety. Maybe both my cholesterol level and my mood may be affected by other factors. At this point I guess I'd like to assume that there is a relationship between them. With this assumption in mind I'd like to proceed by figuring out ways to raise my cholesterol and then see whether or not whatever I have to do to raise my cholesterol also helps my mood.

"While there have been many attempts to correlate a low cholesterol with many health problems (as you have pointed some of them out) a low cholesterol that occurs as a result of a healthy diet and lifestyle is not dangerous."

I wonder why you are so sure about this. There have been several studies, the overwhelming majority of which show a link between low cholesterol and depression and suicide (and some actually show a link to anxiety as well).

The one I reference in my original message was a random sample from a population of 30,300 men. The research was, in fact, published in a peer reviewed journal: the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine. Not everyone with low cholesterol experienced anxiety and depression -- it was just a much higher probability that they did. In this study, for example, men in the "low" cholesterol range of 176 mg/dL or below were 4 to 7 times more likely to experience severe depression than the control group!

Presumably at least some of the people in the low cholesterol group were in that group because their diet and lifestyle were 'healthy.' Maybe only the ones whose diet or lifestyle were unhealthy were the ones who were depressed? We have no real way of knowing because, of the studies that I've come across, not one has attempted to measure healthy low cholesterol versus unhealthy low cholesterol. I'm not sure that it would be possible to get universal agreement about this.

"Usually the low cholesterol is not the root of a problem, but a marker and/or symptom of other underlying health/medical issues."

Can you say more about this? Which other underlying health issues are associated with low cholesterol?

Thanks,
John

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