Monday, October 8, 2007

Cholesterol - lower is not necessarily better

Just a quick post to follow on from Saturday's, and continuing the cholesterol theme....

Dr John Briffa's blog popped up in my google reader today, with a posting titled "When it comes to cholesterol, is lower really better?" He draws attention to:

a study in the journal Neurobiology of Aging in which Dutch researchers assessed the relationship between cholesterol levels and mental function in about 1200 individuals aged 65 or older. The participants in the study were assessed over a 6-year period. Lower cholesterol levels in this group were associated with a reduction in both general cognition and information processing speed. The authors of this study concluded that their results indicate that: “…lower total cholesterol may be considered as a frailty marker, predictive of lower cognitive functioning in elderly.”

Barry Groves has a similar article which notes several things that scientific studies have shown to be dangerous about low levels of cholesterol, including:

- an association between low blood cholesterol and cancer;

- low cholesterol means more strokes;

- an association with Alzheimer's Disease; and

- increases in suicide and aggressive behaviour.

.....pass the butter! (that is assuming of course that eating cholesterol leads to high levels in the blood.....which is not necessarily the case!)


Matt Metzgar said...

These links between low cholesterol and health problems are correlations, not causation. It is most likely that a third factor is causing both the low cholesterol and the health problem. You can't conclude from this research that lowering your cholesterol would somehow cause these health problems.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

by the same argument, you cannot argue that high cholesterol is a problem either. there may eqaully be another factor causing both the high cholesterol and the health problem.

have a look at

however with all the role that cholesterol plays in brain health I think that there may be a link here