Rethinking Low Cholesterol DietsWomen | Dr. Igor Schwartzman | June 17, 2010 at 7:00 am
Next time someone tells you to watch your cholesterol, consider this: low-cholesterol diets have actually been shown to cause hormone-imbalances, obesity and diabetes. The emphasis on a low-fat diet reduces the intake of fat and causes an increased consumption of carbohydrates and trans fats. For women, lack of adequate levels of cholesterol in the body can be a real issue of hormone imbalances.
Why cholesterol is the most important molecule in the body:
- It is the main component of cell membranes and plays a major role in the endocrine system.
- It serves as precursor (a chemical compound that makes another compound) in the synthesis of steroid hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids.
- It is vital for hormone-making (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, aldosterone, cortisol, and DHEA)
- It is necessary for rescue-work (cholesterol plaques are formed when there is injury to the blood vessel wall)
Is there such a notion as low-cholesterol? Absolutely. But if you do not have enough cholesterol, you will not be able to make the hormones you need! In these cases, it is critical to explore the hormone imbalances all of which play an important role in the body’s hormonic orchestra.
If you have low cholesterol:
- Increase your consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, primarily omega-3‘s (fish oil, salmon, sardines, coconut oil, avocados
- Avoid low-fat, low-cholesterol diets and foods
- Consider having your other hormones checked
Dr. Igor Schwartzman practices naturopathic medicine with a strong emphasis in women's health, hormone imbalances, and thyroid disorders at Whole Family Wellness Center in Portland, Oregon. He is a co-founder of WellWire.com.