You need it to make every cell in your body, hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and DHEA , as well as, Vitamin D and bile acids. Wouldn’t you say that these are essential to life? Not having enough cholesterol to make these essential hormones, bile and vitamins can put you in danger. Many of the diseases that middle-aged persons begin experiencing including depression, abdominal weight gain, prostate, breast and heart disease are directly related to hormone imbalances.
The recommendations have been to keep cholesterol low to protect you from heart disease. It is questionable whether it has had the desired effect on heart disease since that has many factors besides cholesterol as its cause. There are at least 14 independent risk factors that cause arteries to narrow as we age. While high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and total cholesterol are two of these causes, the other 12 factors also have to be controlled to maintain lifelong healthy blood flow. What the medical community and media are finally recognizing is that levels that are too low can cause harm.
The most popular drug class that is used to lower it, statins, can have some harmful effects. While I don’t recommend stopping your medications completely, I do recommend finding the underlying cause, correcting it and using some lifestyle and natural means to get it to a reasonable level with or without the use of drugs. If you must take a drug, use the lowest dose to achieve the desired result.
Cholesterol can become elevated due to a variety of factors:
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Hormone imbalance
Correcting the underlying factors stated above, may allow you to stop or lower your dose. If you don’t have many risk factors for heart disease, your cholesterol levels may not need to be too low., If you have many risk factors for heart disease keep your LDL level around 100 but not less than 70 and a total cholesterol level between 200 and 180. Consult your doctor for the levels that are right for you.
Cholesterol levels that are too low can increase:
- Overall increased rate of death or mortality
- Suicidal behavior
- Stroke due to bleeding
- Brand names ending in “or” such as: Crestor, Lipitor, Zocor, etc
- Generic names ending in “statin” such as: rosuvastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin etc.
- Some not so well known side effects of statin drugs:
- Memory loss
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Depletion of coenzyme Q 10 (otherwise known as ubiquinone, ubiquinol, CoQ10)
- Fatigue, decreased exercise endurance
- Muscle pain, muscle breakdown, cramps
- Liver and kidney toxicity
- Low thyroid function
Lifestyle, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food and supplements, low saturated fat diet, increasing Omega 3 fatty acids,exercise and hormone replacement and balance can dramatically lower your cholesterol. It’s more work than just taking a pill, however the benefits are longevity with a quality of life that can keep you slim, sharp, sexy, strong and supercharged. Learn more from my blogs, newsletters, books and programs at www.vibranceforlife.com
Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier”. She is an expert in anti aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, weight loss, nutrition, supplements and executive health. She has a private practice in Anti Aging Medicine www.howtoliveyounger.com in Short Hills, NJ. You can live younger and healthier; Click Here to Get my Best 7 Tips on How to Live Younger and Healthier!