Dispelling Health Myths: What you Need to Stop Believing
I am doing a series on health myths. These are questions that I get asked often or health myths that people are following and by doing so are actually hurting their health.
“Having Low cholesterol is good for me”
Why This Thinking is Harmful: Many people strive for and pride themselves on their low total cholesterol numbers. Research shows that low TC below 160 is associated with depression, suicidal ideation, anger, irritability, cognitive issues and outbursts. A healthier range is between 180-210 depending on your age. (older people, studies, show benefit from levels even higher).
It is harmful for you to think that low cholesterol is good. Here is why:
- We need cholesterol for hormone productivity and for vitamin D production
- We need it to produce bile acids, to improve absorption of vitamins A, D, K, and E.
- Cholesterol is vital for immune function and for neurological function. It is needed to make brain cells.
- Low cholesterol is associated with increase cancer risk (those with TC of 160 or below as compared to those with TC of 200)
- You may have cholesterol clogging your arteries so you may think that reducing cholesterol and fat in your diet will help reduce your risk of heart disease. But your clogged arteries are caused by inflammation in the arterial wall and your body protects itself by packing cholesterol there. So, while cholesterol may be at the scene of the crime, cholesterol did not cause the crime!
- For people, over 60, high cholesterol is associated with better health and greater longevity.
Cholesterol is not the enemy!
Do this Instead: Don’t just look at your TC. Look at your HDL and LDL numbers. But even LDL numbers can be misleading. More labs are breaking the LDL down. You can have high LDL but if it is the “good” kind, the large, fluffy LDL then this is a positive thing. But if you have more of the sticky, dense LDL this is not the case. This type of LDL is oxidized and contributes to systemic inflammation in your body.
If you want this type of testing, ask your doctor for a Vertical Auto Profile (VAP) test or the lipoprotein Particle Profile (LPP) test.
Bottom line: Don’t fear and avoid healthy foods such as grass fed butter, grass fed/organic meats, eggs, raw dairy (if tolerated), wild caught Alaskan salmon and “real” olive oil. Avoid instead low fat processed products!
Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition. CA: Bauman College
Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions. For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com
As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.