Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health


What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol's health and healing properties

Symptoms of low cholesterol

Cholesterol food sources


What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in all animals. It is an essential part of cell membranes, and is used in the body to make bile, steroid hormones, and fat-soluble vitamins including Vitamin A, D, E and K. It plays an essential part in most body processes. Three quarters of the cholesterol in a healthy adult is made by the liver, intestines, adrenal glands and other organs in the body. The remaining quarter of the cholesterol comes from food. If there is insufficient cholesterol in the food we eat, then the body makes more.

A large part of a normal healthy human body consists of fats and cholesterol. A quarter of the brain is cholesterol. Almost half of the walls of cells (cellular membranes) are made of cholesterol; saturated fats are another major component of all cells.

Cholesterol is one of the main healing agents in the body. When there is injury or inflammation, cholesterol is produced by the liver and sent to the site for repair work. LDL cholesterol is the form in which it is sent to do the healing at the point of inflammation. After the healing is completed, it travels back to the liver as HDL cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for the production of healthy new cells where they are needed for repair, replacement or growth. This is why cholesterol levels rise after any injury, surgery, dental work, any kind of inflammation, or a bacterial or viral attack. After the repair work is completed, the level of blood cholesterol will go down again.

Most cholesterol is made by the liver. Short chain and medium chain saturated fats are converted to ketones in the liver, and some of these ketones are used to make cholesterol. Ketones (not glucose) are also the preferred source of energy for virtually all cells in the body, including the brain.

The medical and pharmaceutical industries push the myth that high levels of cholesterol are dangerous, and the cause of heart disease, arterial disease, strokes and other ailments. However, this is not correct, as plenty of research shows that high levels of cholesterol are not good predictors of heart disease, (1, 2, 3, 25) the situation is just the opposite. (24, 26, 27) Most heart attacks and strokes occur in people who do not have elevated cholesterol. High blood cholesterol levels above 6 or 7 mmol/L may sometimes indicate another health condition such as liver malfunction.

The motivation for this deception is to sell statin drugs such as Lipitor, Pravachol, Crestor and Zocor. These drugs have numerous serious nasty side-effects (4, 13) such as muscle wastage, memory loss and amnesia, decreased brain function and increased risk of diabetes, and the reason for taking statins in the first place is misguided. (25, 26)

Cholesterol is essential for good health and wellbeing. High levels of dietary cholesterol are NOT responsible for heart and arterial disease. A high level of cholesterol in the blood is not necessarily a problem, but a high level of triglycerides may be a problem. It is the oxidation of cholesterol which can cause the build-up of plaque and calcium deposition, atherosclerosis and inflammatory responses. Conventional medicine has tried to lower cholesterol for decades, yet heart disease is still the biggest killer. Doctors are slowly coming around to tackling the root causes of heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and other circulatory problems, by recommending patients cut out sugar and processed foods, limit their eating windows, and tackle systemic inflammation.

Cholesterol's health and healing properties

Symptoms of low cholesterol

Low levels of cholesterol lead to so many different ailments that it is difficult to connect the dots between the cause and the effect. One researcher whom I follow (28) defines low cholesterol as
less than 120 mg/DL or 3.1 mmol/L total cholesterol;
less than 50mg/DL or 1.3 mmol/L LDL cholesterol.
Low cholesterol, particularly when below these levels, significantly raises the risk of the following symptoms:

Cholesterol food sources

There is no cholesterol in plants, it is ONLY available from animal fats.


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10. Chavarro JE. et al. A prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility. Human Reproduction, issue 28, Feb 2007.

11. Mark R. Goldstein. Do statins prevent or promote cancer? Curr Oncol. 2008 April; 15(2): 76-77.

12. L. Dupuis, et al. Dyslipidemia is a Protective Factor in Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis. Neurology 70, no. 13 (25 March 2008): 1004-09.

13. Cholesterol-reducing Drugs May Lessen Brain Function. Science Daily, 26 February 2009, referring to Iowa State University study.

14. Rahilly-Tierney CR et al. Relation between high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and survival to age 85 years in men (from the VA Normative Aging Study). American Journal of Cardiology 2011 Apr 15;107(8):1173-7.

15. Vaarhorst AA et al. Lipid metabolism in long-lived families: the Leiden Longevity Study. Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands) 2011 Jun;33(2):219-27.

16. Williams PT. Low high-density lipoprotein 3 reduces the odds of men surviving to age 85 during 53-year follow-up. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2012 Mar;60(3):430-6.

17. Cheung MC et al. Phospholipid transfer protein in human plasma associates with proteins linked to immunity and inflammation. Biochemistry 2010 Aug 31;49(34):7314-22.

18. Berbee JF et al. Plasma apolipoprotein CI protects against mortality from infection in old age. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2008 Feb;63(2):122-6.

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21. van Duijnhoven FJ et al. Blood lipid and lipoprotein concentrations and colorectal cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Gut 2011 Aug;60(8):1094-102.

22. Atzmon G et al. Plasma HDL levels highly correlate with cognitive function in exceptional longevity. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2002 Nov;57(11):M712-15.

23. Cesar G Victora, Bernardo Lessa Horta, Christian Loret de Mola, Luciana Quevedo, Ricardo Tavares Pinheiro, Denise P Gigante, Helen Goncalves, Fernando C Barros. Association between breastfeeding and intelligence, educational attainment, and income at 30 years of age: a prospective birth cohort study from Brazil. The Lancet Global Health, Volume 3, No. 4, e199-e205, April 2015.

24. Hamazaki T, Okuyama H, Ogushi Y, Hama R. Towards a Paradigm Shift in Cholesterol Treatment. A Re-examination of the Cholesterol Issue in Japan. Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;66 Suppl 4:1-116. doi: 10.1159/000381654. Epub 2015 Apr 29.

25. Rafel Ramos, Marc Comas-Cufi, Ruth Marti-Lluch, Elisabeth Ballo, Anna Ponjoan, Lia Alves-Cabratosa, Jordi Blanch, Jaume Marrugat, Roberto Elosua, Maria Grau, Marc Elosua-Bayes, Luis Garcia-Ortiz, Maria Garcia-Gil. Statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular events and mortality in old and very old adults with and without type 2 diabetes: retrospective cohort study. BMJ 2018;362:k3359. Published 5 September 2018.

26. Ravnskov U, de Lorgeril M, Diamond DM, Hama R, Hamazaki T, Hammarskjold B, Hynes N, Kendrick M, Langsjoen PH, Mascitelli L, McCully KS, Okuyama H, Rosch PJ, Schersten T, Sultan S, Sundberg R. LDL-C Does Not Cause Cardiovascular Disease: a comprehensive review of current literature. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 10 September 2018 (online epub). doi: 10.1080/17512433.2018.1519391.

27. Marinka Steur, Laura Johnson, Stephen J. Sharp, Fumiaki Imamura, Ivonne Sluijs, Timothy J. Key, Angela Wood, Rajiv Chowdhury, Marcela Guevara, Marianne U. Jakobsen et al. Dietary Fatty Acids, Macronutrient Substitutions, Food Sources and Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease: Findings From the EPIC-CVD Case-Cohort Study Across Nine European Countries. 19 November 2021. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2021;0:e019814.

28. Eric Berg. 10 Surprising Diseases Caused by Low LDL Cholesterol. 19 December 2022.