You will never learn this from your doctor – cholesterol levels can be too low. What’s more: the ideal level seems to be quite far from the official guidance as one of the famous trials explicate, elderly women showing a level of 270 units of cholesterol were five times less endangered by the risk of premature death than the ones whose levels were ideal (170 units).

It all started when patenting cholesterol-regulating drugs was made possible; the biggest pharmaceuticals suddenly faced a chance of making huge money on cholesterol. It was suddenly aggressively demonized while miracle pills reducing its levels were offered. The game was rigged as sponsored research was twenty times more likely to demonstrate that the pills will be effective (as compared to the independent agencies’ research).

Same drug was effective in one research and in other, wasn’t. The pharmaceuticals have won in the end and the public was lead to believe that cholesterol kills and it is vital to keep lowering its levels.

Is that really true though? Apparently, none knows as the levels are a very individual matter. It is a case of whether the hen or the egg was first. If, for example, a person with alcohol addiction issue dies of liver cirrhosis but also has very low cholesterol, the latter may come through in research with a false conclusion that low cholesterol kills. Same goes for cancer sufferers, they have low cholesterol because they are sick, not vice versa. Similarly, if a person’s blood vessels were damaged by homocysteine, levels of cholesterol will show as heightened. This would be caused by body’s attempts to remedy the damage (cholesterol is the main repairer here). In such cases, treating patients with blocked arteries by lowering cholesterol can be likened to treating chickenpox by putting make-up on it.

There is no ideal level of cholesterol – too low and too high can be dangerous and it is individual to a person. According to some researchers, the healthy estimate would be between 170 and 250 while for elderly women it should be slightly higher. Risk of death increases with levels below 170 and above 270. Ideal values for males between 35 and 57 years of age are 180-200 (the lowest risk of death).

In case of depression disorder, situation is quite similar. Low and high values of cholesterol increase the risk of being affected. There is no certainty whether it is a risk or a cause – while modifying the levels may be quite helpful. Very low levels of cholesterol in the blood are a red flag for a chronic liver issue, thyroid’s hyperactivity, and underactivity of adrenals or even cancers. Unless we have a very strict low-fat diet, extra tests are recommended. Once assured there is no sinister reason behind the levels of cholesterol, their regulation may be attempted. Without this substance, the body won’t be able to produce certain hormones, nourish the brain or fight infections. In theory, very low cholesterol – hypocholesterolemia – may cause depression by starving some areas of the body. Amending this is very easy: drink 50 ml of olive oil daily or consume copious amounts of desiccated coconut.

Too much cholesterol in the blood is another issue as there is no straightforward correlation between low levels of cholesterol and low levels of hormones. We may guess that there is a link but simply lowering the level with pills won’t help – one has to dig deeper to find the cause what has raised it in the first place. There are no instant solutions – generally, one should change the diet and introduce more exercise. There is no magic wand as this is the result of many years of neglect of the body’s needs.