Cholesterol has a lot of important vital functions in our body. When cholesterol level is too low either due to strict dieting, medication or natural causes, several health problems can arise.
The following health conditions can arise due to cholesterol levels that are too low.
Very low cholesterol can wreak havoc on your psyche. One large study conducted by Dutch researchers found that men with chronically low cholesterol levels showed a consistently higher risk of having depressive, aggressive and suicidal symptoms. This is because cholesterol affects the metabolism of serotonin - a feel good chemical - in our brain that helps to keep our mood stable and make us feel happy.
It can result in slower brain function. Our nerve cells are insulated by a fatty material called myelin. It is 28% cholesterol and it wrap tightly around the nerve cells and speeds up the transmission of messages to the brain. Low cholesterol can reduce myelin which slow the brain down.
A low cholesterol level can weaken our immune system and make us more susceptable to infections. Study shows that people with normal or high cholesterol have a stronger immune system than people with low cholesterol. They also have a longer life span than those with low cholesterol levels. Low cholesterol levels seem to be associated with poor or declining health.
The sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA as well as adrenal hormones aldonsterone and cortisol are made from cholesterol. The function of the sex hormones are self explanatory and having too low a level of cholesterol can result in a reduction in sex drive and may contribute to erectile dysfunction. The adrenal hormones on the other hand prevents inflammatory conditions and lack of it can cause aching and tender muscles.
It is observed that people with low levels of cholesterol are more likely to develop cancer than those with normal or high levels. Austrian researchers followed 149,000 men and women over 15 years and they found that people with low cholesterol levels suffered more deaths from cancer, liver diseases and mental disorders.
What cholesterol level is too low? a healthly level would be between 183 to 214 mg/L (4.7 to 5.5 mmoles/L). Levels below 179 mg/L (4.5 mmoles/L) can be unhealthy.