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Cholesterol too low?

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 Posted 3/3/2013 5:18:54 AM
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I'm in my early thirties and have just received the results of my first test for cholesterol levels. After searching through the internet I initially thought that my levels are quite good, as they indicate a low risk of heart disease, but having read the interview with the author of "The great Cholesterol Myth" in the february issue of the LEF Magazine I have become sceptical whether low cholesterol is really such a good thing to have. In the book it is mentioned that low LDL-cholesterol levels are linked to a significantly higher risk of cancer and all-cause mortality. Is this really true? Should I be concerned of having too low cholesterol levels? I did smoke for several years but less than one pack per week. I eat a mediterranean-style diet with some added dairy and occasionally grass-fed beef. I take the Two-per-Day multis, fish oil and some additional magnesium, Q10 and gamma-tocopherol. I exercise regulary but not very strenuously.

My levels are:
Triglycerides: 87 mg/dl
LDL cholesterol: 100 mg/dl
HDL cholesterol: 56 mg/dl
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 Posted 3/3/2013 5:46:59 PM
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Those look like excellent test results to me.
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 Posted 3/8/2013 7:29:55 AM
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LDL 100mg/dL is not too low, it might be worth worrying about if it drops below 70 mg/dL without statins. Your HDL could stand to be a bit higher as its recommended for it to be above 60 mg/dL. I'm having trouble getting mine above 40 mg/dL though, my wife who eats similar food ranges between 60-80. Her last test was Trigs 51 LDL 85 HDL 62.
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 Posted 3/11/2013 4:18:19 AM
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Calc, I started taking raw extra virgin olive oil as a supplement after reading this LEF article on the impact of olive oil on the cardiovascular system. I also could never get my HDL over 40 after trying everything, but adding the olive oil brought my HDL from the upper 30s to the mid 50s. You need a good quality extra virgin olive oil - see this UC Davis study - and you need to eat the olive oil raw or unheated in some kind of way. 
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 Posted 3/12/2013 5:49:37 AM
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Thanks for reassuring me about my cholesterol! Satisfied

I suppose I would only have to worry if my cholesterol dropped suddenly and inexplicably, right? However, I guess guess my diet is pretty good cholesterol-wise. Indeed I'm a heavy user of oilve oil (which is easy to get in good quality here in Germany). I use at least one ounce a day for just about everything (dressing, cooking, sautéing - I use some pastured butter and organic canola oil as well). I also have a bowl of homemade, probiotic and inulin-enriched joghurt with apple, oats and flax seed each morning (my daily fiber bomb).

The information on cholesterol is quite confusing and seems to become more and more so with all those recently published books bearing titles like Cholesterol Myth or Cholesterol Con. Even the LEF doesn't seem to have a clear stance on this topic. One the one hand there is the protocol for cholesterol management, on the other there is this very affirmative interview with the author of The Great Cholesterol Myth - pretty contradictory!

However, as alluring as these cholesterol-conspiracy theories are (owing to that huge Statin business!), the more I have read about cholesterol in scientific literature the less convincing they seem to me. There is indeed an association between low total cholesterol and death from all causes, but, as we all know (expect for the authors of those books!?), correlation doesn't equal causation. There seem to be pretty good arguments that low cholesterol is the consequency and not the cause of severe illnesses like cancer:

The main finding of this study was that low plasma levels of LDL cholesterol were robustly associated with an increased risk of cancer, but that genetically reduced LDL cholesterol levels (due to polymorphisms that are associated with lifelong reduced plasma LDL cholesterol levels) were not. This finding suggests that low LDL cholesterol levels per se do not cause cancer.
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 Posted 3/12/2013 6:14:11 AM
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Medical and nutritional science are evolving.  Dr Sinatra and others raise important points which may be vaidated in time or may contribute to modification of pre-existing stances.  In my opinion, it's good to have access to an alternative view, whether or not it is eventually validated in whole or in part.  Life Extension might add that the opinions expressed by Dr Sinatra or other medical authorities interviewed by Life Extension(R) magazine do not necessarily represent Life Extension's stances on a suject. 

It would be premature to discount the importance of one's serum cholesterol values, in particular, high LDL.  As Bill Faloon has emphasized here http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/may2007_awsi_01.htm and elsewhere, cardiovascular disease is multifactorial in nature. 

In the case of very low cholesterol levels, you are correct that at this point in time, the relationship with mortality or some diseases has not proven to be causative. 


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 Posted 3/13/2013 10:08:53 AM
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Yes, you are right - my remark reflected my own frustration with the subject and wasn't meant as criticism. Of course one longs for an unambiguous and authorative advice but we can get this kind of counsel from the AHA or other official associations. If science however isn't clear about the subject and there is a plurality of qualified opinions than it is a good thing to allow those opinions and not to censor the dissenting (that's what the said organizations are good at Wink)
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 Posted 3/13/2013 10:15:23 AM
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Not to worry--your comments were not perceived as criticism.

Agreed, it is difficult to know what's real sometimes with things being what they are in the world.
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