Debunking the Myth: Why Low Cholesterol Might Not Be as Healthy as You Think

by Mike Mutzel


The cholesterol paradox refers to the intriguing and sometimes counterintuitive findings in research that challenge conventional beliefs about cholesterol and its impact on health. While high levels of cholesterol are often associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the paradox arises when studies reveal unexpected relationships between low cholesterol levels and certain health issues.



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Studies Mentioned:

WANG, S.-S. et al. Cholesterol paradox in the community-living old adults: is higher better? J. Geriatr. Cardiol. 20, 837–844 (2023).

Murata, S. et al. Blood biomarker profiles and exceptional longevity: comparison of centenarians and non-centenarians in a 35-year follow-up of the Swedish AMORIS cohort. GeroScience 1–10 (2023) doi:10.1007/s11357-023-00936-w.


About Today's Show:

Here are some aspects of the cholesterol paradox that have been discussed in recent research:

Mortality Rates:

Some studies suggest that excessively low levels of cholesterol may be associated with higher mortality rates, indicating a U-shaped or J-shaped curve instead of a linear relationship between cholesterol levels and mortality.
Brain Health:

Emerging research explores the link between low cholesterol and potential cognitive issues, including an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Cholesterol is essential for the structure and function of cell membranes in the brain.

Infectious Diseases:

There's evidence suggesting that low cholesterol levels might compromise the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to certain infectious diseases.

Hormone Production:

Cholesterol is a precursor to the synthesis of hormones, including sex hormones and vitamin D. Extremely low cholesterol levels may impact hormonal balance, leading to various health issues.

Cancer Risk:

Some studies propose a complex relationship between cholesterol levels and cancer risk. While high cholesterol may be linked to certain cancers, very low levels may also have implications for cancer development.
Inflammation and Healing:

Cholesterol plays a role in the inflammatory response and tissue repair. Extremely low cholesterol levels may affect the body's ability to respond to injuries and inflammation.
It's essential to note that the cholesterol paradox is a topic of ongoing research, and the understanding of these relationships is still evolving. The complexity of the human body and the multifaceted role of cholesterol make it a fascinating area for further investigation.

Time Stamps:


00:00 High cholesterol, as you age, is protective.

01:10 Higher HDL and higher total cholesterol is associated with greater longevity and reduction in death from cardiovascular disease.

02:00 Middle aged men have a risk from high LDL and high total cholesterol.

02:25 Low Cholesterol is associated with mortality from stroke, heart disease and cancer.

05:40 Your LDL goes up as you become more metabolically healthy.

05:50 Triglycerides enrich cholesterol particles in the insulin resistant

06:15 Test your ApoB to A1 ratio. HDL and triglycerides should be close to 1:1.

07:00 Low cholesterol is a risk factor for poor prognosis for cancer.


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