low cholesterol

  1. When cholesterol gets too low

    So you've followed your mainstream doctor's advice and brought your LDL cholesterol levels crashing down to meet the latest guidelines, probably with the help of drugs such as statins.

    And now, instead of good health, you're sicker than ever. You might even find yourself locked in a life-or-death battle with a disease such as cancer.

    What went wrong?

    It's not bad luck. If it's not a side effect of those cholesterol meds, it's the low cholesterol itself -- because low levels of LDL can be every bit as dangerous as too-high levels, and a new study confirms just one of the risks.

    Researchers went into the medical histories of 201 cancer patients and 402 patients without the disease, digging through nearly 20 years of LDL data on each.

    And, wouldn't you know it, they found that the cancer patients all had consistently lower levels of cholesterol in the years and even decades before they were diagnosed with the disease.

    The study isn't proof that low LDL causes cancer, but I've seen similar research in the past -- and I think the link is pretty real. And it's not the only risk of bringing your levels down too far.

    Your body actually needs a certain amount of cholesterol. Your heart and brain both need it... and it's needed to manufacture key hormones. That's why low levels have been linked to depression, anxiety, memory problems and more.

    And besides, the actual level is only part of the picture here.

    What many doctors don't realize is that cholesterol is about more than just hitting a certain number on a chart. The oxidation of that cholesterol plays a much bigger role in arterial health, and I predict that in a few years you'll be hearing a lot more about it -- probably once they have a drug to sell for it.

    But you don't need to wait for that med or take any other drug -- because there are safe and natural ways to control your cholesterol and its oxidation. I'll have much more on this in the June issue of my printed newsletter, Health Revelations. If you subscribe now, I'll make sure you're one of the first to get it.

  2. Fats beat sadness

    Looks like the old maxim "fat and happy" isn't too far off -- but it's not fat in your body that'll lift your mood.

    It's fat in your diet.

    We've known for ages that the brain thrives on healthy fats, and now researchers say they can actually see the reaction unfold -- and that the right fatty acids can dramatically raise spirits in minutes.

    The researchers recruited 12 healthy, non-obese volunteers and randomly assigned them to get either a solution of fatty acids or saline during a series of mood-altering experiments.

    To make sure no one knew whether they were getting the fatty acids or the saline solution, the volunteers were fed via gastric tubes. (Aren't you glad you didn't volunteer for this study?)

    The volunteers also had to listen to depressing music and watch images of sad faces, all while connected to functional MRI machines so researchers could watch for changes in brain activity as the experiments unfolded.

    The researchers wrote in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that the music and pictures caused moods to dip by an average of 2.5 points on a 10-point scale before anyone was given either solution.

    Once those gastric tubes kicked in, however, the volunteers given fatty acids saw a quick rebound -- eventually losing just one point on that 10-point scale.

    The saline group, on the other hand, saw no changes.

    The MRIs backed up what the patients reported: The music and images altered brain activity by up to 4 percent, which may not sound like much, but actually represents a huge change.

    Once again, fatty acids reversed the negative activity, leading to changes in less than one percent of the brain.

    Compare that to antidepressant drugs, which can take weeks to work -- if they even work at all (and since most of them barely beat placebos in studies, don't bet your dinner on it).

    It's not the first link between fatty food and a good mood. A 1998 study found that a single month of low-fat dieting was enough to boost anger and hostility. Other studies have linked low cholesterol – both in the diet and in the blood -- to depression and even suicide.

    Yet the mainstream -- and even the U.S. government -- wants you to get less of those fats?

    I'd get angry... but I can't right now. I just had a steak.

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