Cholesterol too low because vegetarian - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-28-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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I just found out that unlike most Americans my cholesterol is too LOW. My doctor isn't too concerned but says it is too low but my dad is. Turns out low cholesterol leads to anxiety and depression which I have both of. My first panic attack started right after I went veg this July. My dad says cholesterol comes from meat and dairy and that last year when I wasn't veg my cholesterol was normal. And so ofcourse my parents are advising I eat meat again. I can't do that not after what I've learned about factory farming, not after realizing eating animals is wrong, I don't even Like meat. I feel like crying everyones telling me I need to start eating meat to raise it and my dad won't stop harassing me about it saying I'm being stubborn and a veg diet isn't healthy for someone like me I don't know what to do. My number is 109. Any suggestions? Similair problem? Thanks I'm so frustrated right now.

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#2 Old 01-28-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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109 is normal in some Asian countries. The Americanized doctors are used to seeing people with high cholesterol, so their views on what is high and low are skewed to the average Americans' unhealthiness. My advice - don't worry. And you could have depression, etc. without low cholesterol, as many people do. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and exercise, get outside, and spend time with friends. Do yoga.
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#3 Old 01-28-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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Whenever any yahoos (like parents & doctors, neither of which have much nutrition education...) start harpin', I merely dig up a journal-published study to throw in their face...



Quote:
Finally, it is important to note that the study by Iribarren et al9 was not designed to address the issue of whether cholesterol-lowering treatment is associated with excess risk of noncoronary deaths. In particular, cholesterol-lowering treatment has been related to an excess of violent deaths, including suicide.15 It is important to recognize that individuals with serum cholesterol sufficiently elevated to require drug or diet therapy are certainly a different group altogether from individuals with low cholesterol caused by lifestyle or genetic factors. Moreover, a reduction in cholesterol from 240 mg/dL or higher, even by as much as 20%, does not result in a "low" serum cholesterol level. The present report9 did not distinguish individuals with a reduction in cholesterol resulting from treatment for hypercholesterolemia from those with a spontaneous drop. Thus, the current findings reported by Iribarren et al9 cannot be related directly to clinical trials of reduction of hypercholesterolemia.



The public health significance of the report by Iribarren et al is the evidence it provides that population-based recommendations for lowering cholesterol levels will not lead to adverse health consequences. They conclude that the reported association of low cholesterol levels with increased mortality is probably due to cholesterol-lowering effects of existing disease. Their results offer reassurance for individuals with "naturally occurring" low cholesterol levels and support for the notion that national guidelines to reduce cholesterol are consistent with public health interests.



http://www.circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/...full/92/9/2365



In my reading of this, basically they are saying that correlation doesn't imply causation. Something parents and doctors sometimes forget...
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#4 Old 01-28-2010, 06:25 PM
 
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In fact, mayo clinic states this:



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Ideally, keep your total cholesterol below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), and your LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L) — or below 70 mg/dL (1.8 mmol/L) if you're at very high risk of heart disease. An adult who eats a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet may have an LDL cholesterol level between 40 and 50 mg/dL (1.0 and 1.3 mmol/L) and a total cholesterol level of 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L).



You are higher than what the Mayo says they see with adults eating a low-fat low-cholesterol diet, the way I'm reading it. The doctor mentions the anxiety angle, but fails to mention what the paper above mentions about other likely lifestyle contributors by people with low cholesterol by way of chronic illness.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cho...-level/AN01394





All this said, I'd love to hear what others might have researched on this topic.
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#5 Old 01-28-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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wow, that's awesome! Most of us should be so lucky. I've never even heard of side effects from having too low of a cholesterol. Our body manufactures it's own, that's why we don't need too much, and shouldn't ingest too much additional cholesterol.



What's more important, is knowing what the actual numbers are....what is your HDL (good cholesterol), and what is your LDL (bad cholesterol), then to know what the ratio is, and what are your triglycerides? A number by itself, doesn't say too much, but the whole picture does. Just out of curiosity....are you getting enough of the healthy fats in your diet? Like olive or canola oil, avacados and nuts?

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#6 Old 01-28-2010, 06:35 PM
 
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All cases where I'm finding low cholesterol as the diagnosis for anxiety and depression, there are actually numerous other factors causing the body to have low cholesterol.



The case study I'm reading now mentions that the patient:



Was "vastly overweight"

Ate a very S.A.D. diet of pizza, ice cream, etc

Did not exercise at all

Had low readings of cholesterol managing compounds & hormones:

Hormonal levels were as follows (normal range are shown in parentheses):



* DHEA-S 87 (65-380 ug/dL)

* Pregnenolone 30 (10-230 ng/dL)

* Total estrogen 87 (61-437 pg/mL)

* Progesterone 0.4 (0.2-28 ng/mL)

* Total testosterone 33 (14-76 ng/dL)
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#7 Old 01-28-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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well, I hadn't heard these until I just went looking for it.....these are some symptoms associated with too low of cholesterol, but also in the context of peopl who are on chol. lowering drugs, and continuing to try to lower the numbers even more. "If your cholesterol dips too low, you will increase your risk of depression, stroke, violent behavior, and suicide."





Next question.....how are your mom and dad's cholesterol numbers? Possibly you guys are genetically predisposed to not have to worry about it too much. I have read numerous articles that genetics does play a huge part in a person's numbers. Say for example you were experiencing the opposite, that with a fantastic diet, you still had critically high cholesterol....well, at that point, they would probably say it was genetics, if your diet was super clean.

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#8 Old 01-28-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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My HDL is 29. I forget the LDL. I get alot of olive oil and a moderate amount of nuts. I'm considering talking to my doctor alone and see what he thinks I got all this information from my dad who recieved the call. I'm willing to eat more eggs and dairy even though I was trying to cut them out. My cholesterol has always been low but not this low. I'm just wondering if it's even because my diet because honestly I ate a very small amount of meat as an omni.

And thanks for that info Junglist I'm going to read into that some more.

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#9 Old 01-28-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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Here's a Dr Weil Q & A on this subject. (He's alright, I guess...)



Q \t

Cholesterol: Can It Go Too Low?

Are there any dangers of having too low a cholesterol level? Mine has been in the 90's for a few months now.

A \t





You raise an interesting question. Back in 1994, the American Heart Association Task Force on Cholesterol Issues put out a statement entitled "Very Low Cholesterol and Cholesterol Lowering" which noted that there is an increase in deaths from trauma, cancer, hemorrhagic stroke and respiratory and infectious diseases among those with total cholesterol levels less than 160 mg/dl. However, a substantial portion of those deaths seemed to be due to poor health unrelated to low cholesterol.



Since then, several studies have found a connection between low cholesterol and depression and anxiety. For example, results of a study in the Netherlands published in 2000 showed that middle-aged men with low cholesterol are more likely than other men to have symptoms of severe depression. An earlier study at Duke University Medical Center found that healthy young women with cholesterol levels below 160 mg/dl were more likely to score high on measures of depression and anxiety than women with normal or high cholesterol (the normal range is 180 to 200 mg/dl). None of the women were being treated for depression or anxiety.



One of the Duke researchers, psychologist Edward Suarez says that some evidence suggests that having low cholesterol alters the way brain cells function and that brain cells with low levels of cholesterol may have fewer than normal receptors for the mood-elevating neurotransmitter serotonin which could lead to depression by preventing the cells from receiving and using this vital brain chemical.

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Two more recent studies from the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry in Germany linked low cholesterol with an increased risk of suicide, depression, impulsivity and aggression. Here, researchers speculated that a decreased consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3s may be a risk factor and that increasing intake of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids might lower the risk. By the way, large trials of the statin drugs used to reduce cholesterol showed no increase in suicide among those participating.



These are all intriguing findings, but if you're not feeling depressed or anxious, there's probably no need to worry that your low cholesterol levels will lead you in that direction, and no other evidence that low cholesterol levels are unhealthy. However, as a precaution, you might want to increase your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from sardines, salmon or other oily fish.



Dr. Andrew Weil



Answer (Published 3/14/2002)

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA43423
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#10 Old 01-28-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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Funny thing is my dad has high cholesterol both genetically and poor diet.

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#11 Old 01-28-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junglist View Post

Here's a Dr Weil Q & A on this subject. (He's alright, I guess...)



Q \t

Cholesterol: Can It Go Too Low?

Are there any dangers of having too low a cholesterol level? Mine has been in the 90's for a few months now.

A \t





You raise an interesting question. Back in 1994, the American Heart Association Task Force on Cholesterol Issues put out a statement entitled "Very Low Cholesterol and Cholesterol Lowering" which noted that there is an increase in deaths from trauma, cancer, hemorrhagic stroke and respiratory and infectious diseases among those with total cholesterol levels less than 160 mg/dl. However, a substantial portion of those deaths seemed to be due to poor health unrelated to low cholesterol.



Answer (Published 3/14/2002)

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA43423



That's interesting, so it's coincidence. Kind of like when they tried liking eating disorders and vegetarians.

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#12 Old 01-28-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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Your ratio is 3.758:1 Which is in the healthy range, almost to optimal, which is 3.3: or 3.5:1 depending on who's paper you're reading.
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#13 Old 01-28-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KirstenKat View Post

That's interesting, so it's coincidence. Kind of like when they tried liking eating disorders and vegetarians.



Yes exactly, this is that "Correlation does not imply causation" phrase in action.
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#14 Old 01-28-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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Ok that makes me feel better thank you. So I guess the big question is how can I raise it while sticking my my diet? I know the suggested number is 140 to 200 so I'd feel comfertable with it at 130 or 140

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#15 Old 01-28-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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Here's a list of ways, kind of. (Written from the perspective of the average omni diet I'm sure.)



It's more about increasing your HDL count, which is what you want anyway.



http://heartdisease.about.com/cs/cho...a/raiseHDL.htm
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#16 Old 01-28-2010, 09:07 PM
 
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Thanks for the info. I recently donated blood for the first time being veg. It will be interesting to see how my blood chemistry/cholesterol changed.
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#17 Old 01-28-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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I had the same problem. My Doctor recommended eating walnuts and taking flax seed oil to increase my omega-3 intake, and doubling the amount of leafy greens I was eating to up my calcium intake. That did the trick for me, I haven't had a problem since.
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