Is Low LDL Cholesterol a Problem?

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol, Q&As
Last Reviewed 02/16/2014

Having a low LDL cholesterol number, which means it is below the recommended level, has been associated with immune and memory problems. Be careful not to let your LDL cholesterol get too low.

Is Low LDL Cholesterol a Problem? Transcript

Dr. Sinatra:  I have heard that your cholesterol can be too low. Is this true?

Absolutely. Listen folks, if your cholesterol is low, and I mean very low, this can impact your immune system as well as your memory. For example, in patients taking statin drugs where the cholesterol has gone very low or the LDL has gone below 60, there have been many case studies demonstrating dementia or total global amnesia where patients have totally forgotten who they are or where they came from. Also, in children who are very low cholesterol and they get staph, we call it MRSA, resistant staph, these children need a higher cholesterol to combat the infection. So, I worry about cholesterol when it's too low. I worry from the mental point of view as well as the immune system point of view.

So, there's a sweet spot with cholesterol and the MRFIT study demonstrated this as well. This is a shocker, folks. In the MRFIT study where they studied tens of thousands of men, men with cholesterols greater than 330 had less hemorrhagic stroke. Think about that-less hemorrhagic stroke than men with cholesterols less than 180. So, there's something about cholesterol that helps to repair blood vessels. So, don't be focused on lowering the cholesterol too much. If you lower it too much, you may have a price to pay.

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