Updated: Apr 5
Editor's Note: The American Heart Association reports that nearly 47 million U.S. adults are prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication for cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL to help prevent coronary artery disease. But are these drugs being overprescribed?
Are these drugs causing levels to plummet well below acceptable levels?
A 55-year-old psychotherapy client entered my office feeling extremely suicidal. After his initial assessment, I realized he did not have typical suicidal markers. His life seemed stable. He had a well-paying job, a supportive family, and a loving wife. He did not have much life trauma or suffer any significant loss. It didn't appear that he was abusing drugs or alcohol. So, I referred him to the naturopathic physician in my office to complete a metabolic workup to determine if an underlying medical issue contributed to his severe depression. A week later, the naturopath informed me that my client's total cholesterol was only 105, dangerously low. The prescribing physician had put him on statins six years ago but had never retested. His mood improved dramatically within a few weeks of getting off the medication and raising his cholesterol levels.
Did you know low cholesterol can be associated with severe depression and suicide? "Low cholesterol levels are related to mental health indicators.' The association between low cholesterol levels and depression has been consistently proven in laboratory studies. Many people experience depression in studies of animals with low cholesterol. Low cholesterol levels influence depression by altering the metabolism of serotonin. Low cholesterol can also cause low testosterone, dementia, Alzheimer's, anxiety, reduced energy, and cardiac arrhythmia. Many people are being prescribed statins. And often, when low cholesterol symptoms develop, doctors prescribe anti-inflammatories, hormone replacements, anti-arrhythmic drugs, and psychiatric medications without further investigation.
Most people are amazed to learn that they would die without cholesterol. Cholesterol is found in all animal cell membranes, and is why animals have cells without cell walls. The lack of cell walls is one of the primary reasons animals can move. Cholesterol supports the immune system. Cholesterol facilitates cell communication in the brain; in fact: the brain is 60% fat, with much of that being cholesterol. Without good cholesterol, our brain cells would die. Cholesterol is needed to make neurotransmitters and chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other. Cholesterol is also the basis of all animal steroid-based hormones. Cholesterol is the most common steroid in the body. It is a precursor to vitamin D and many steroid hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol – all of which affect mood.
So, when did fat and cholesterol become the bad guys? In the 1960s, the sugar industry quietly paid scientists and funded the research to blame fat for our health problems and downplay the devastating effects of sugar on the body. This low-fat diet narrative still exists today, reminding us there must be a significant shift from corporations leading public opinion. The sugar industry paying scientists is a perfect example of how manipulation, corruption, distortion, and suppression of scientific information have threatened science for years.
Although many pharma schooled Cardiologists may disagree, other physicians and more holistically minded health providers believe a healthy total cholesterol level falls between 170 and 230mg/dL – and believe that anything lower could be harmful. Also, feeling a cholesterol level between 200-230 may not be too high, especially if your good cholesterol (HDL) is up there, around 55, and your triglycerides and blood pressure are within normal limits. However, if your total bad cholesterol is over 230, here are some more beneficial ways to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels without allowing them to fall too low.
1. Eat Healthy Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated Fats
Eat healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in foods such as fish, avocados, dark chocolate, eggs, unheated olive oil, nuts, and seeds containing omega-3 fatty acids to help keep cholesterol levels in check healthily. They lower triglycerides while helping lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and having no adverse effect on good (HDL) cholesterol. Fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules determining our brain's integrity and performance ability. Omega-3 Fatty acids improve cognitive performance, mood, and ADHD symptoms.
2. Have A Daily Cardiovascular Exercise Routine
A daily cardiovascular exercise routine helps raise HDL cholesterol and helps maintain many bodily functions.
3. Eat Foods That Help The Body Produce Short-Chain Fatty Acids
Eat foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and oats which help the body produce short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate to help protect the microbiome. SCFAs are believed to reduce brain inflammation and help enhance cognition. According to J. BioMed Research International, "SCFA deficiency is associated with brain inflammation, considered a cardinal feature of neuropsychiatric disorders. Along with lowering cholesterol, statin drugs are also believed to have the adverse effect of causing profound changes in the microbial composition.
4. Avoid Highly Processed Saturated & Trans Fats
Avoid highly processed saturated and trans fats in fried, commercial baked goods and processed foods. These foods will raise your harmful cholesterol levels and lower your good cholesterol.
5. Maintain A Healthy Weight & Eat Healthy Snacks
Maintain a healthy weight and eat healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables instead of grabbing potato chips. Vegetables and fruit will provide the body with the necessary fiber and nutrients needed to help the body from absorbing LDL cholesterol.
6. Citrus Bergamot Extract
Search for citrus bergamot extract, which contains compounds that raise HDL and reduce LDL cholesterol while lowering blood sugar levels.
7. Green Tea + Polyphenols
Drink green tea containing polyphenols that help maintain healthy cholesterol.
8. Supplement With Fish Oil
Supplement with fish oil containing high levels of EPA/DHA sourced from smaller wild-caught fish with the least number of contaminants possible.
To learn more about how to help you or your family overcome ADHD, autism, and mental health conditions while at the same time improving your overall health purchase my book Healing Without Hurting on Amazon by clicking here.