Just as an update, I had an email exchange with Chris Kresser and he was more inclined to think some nutrient deficiency or impaired liver function. He asked me if I was sensitive to smells and sure enough I am highly sensitive which apparently can indicate manganese deficiency and could account for the cholesterol and the sensitivity. Anyway, I'm going to talk further with him and maybe follow through with some of his ideas and suggestions. I'll keep you posted if we make any discoveries or even raise my numbers a bit. Thanks for all your help!
I can't seem to find much in the way of reliable info about this issue so thought I'd ask here. For the last 20 years since I've been testing my cholesterol my total is in the range of 85-95. My ratios are good. Of course for years I thought this was fabulous because people would simply gush about how lucky I was to have these kind of numbers. A few years ago when I learned maybe not so much I started to inquire and could find no one who thought this was an issue. I seem to find some information that links levels like mine to increases in stroke, cancer, infections depression, and suicide. I have had depression all my life and have taken medication for it for many years. I could never resolve it any other way. Anyway I'm concerned but don't know where to turn for reliable information. It seems most studies are using people taking statins with artificially lowered levels or people taking steroids who have jacked their numbers that way.
I bought some pregnenolone because I came across a few sources that recommended it and took it for a few days but felt uneasy doing that so I stopped. I've seen suggestions to lower my intake of cholesterol to force my body to produce more but that doesn't really make sense to me (does that make any sense from a Paleo perspective?) I should note that all this time of being tested over the last 20 years I have been eating a high fat/high cholesterol diet so all testing took place under those same conditions.
Would a naturopath or some other type health care provider be more helpful than the internists I've talked to about this? I'm just at a complete loss and am open to any and all suggestions be it supplements, changes in diet or sources of information to get help.
Have you looked at 'How to Raise HDL'?,
Also, I was never previously aware of this, but apparently low manganese can cause hypocholesterolemia. (Spinach and seaweeds seem good paleo sources).
Also I wouldn't necessarily worry too much about having innately low cholesterol. Though there is a clear u-shaped curve for mortality with cholesterol, this might well be simply because ill health causes low cholesterol, rather than low cholesterol being intrinsically harmful.
Out of interest, have you tried eating lots of liver and kidneys? The jury still seems to be out on whether dietary cholesterol has any effect on our levels and a pound of either would give you @1.5g cholesterol. That's insignificant to some-one with normal levels, but might be worth a try in your case, and it can't do any harm- it might sort out some latent micronutrient deficiency at least.
Some things that can cause low cholesterol include:
hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland, liver disease, malabsorption, inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestines (e.g., Crohn's diease), malnutrition.
hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland liver disease malabsorption inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestines malnutrition Manganese deficiency has also been linked to low cholesterol levels (hypocholesterolemia).
I'm sure you have researched plenty but thought I would throw the above out.
The only very low Cholesterol I have seen among a few of my friends...110 to 160 is in the endurance biking field...hundreds of miles a week. And they are all carb loaders all the time.
Since you have been functioning fine so far, I think if it were me, I would go 100% ketogenic for 6 months and then test. More saturated fat would be my plan.
What an interesting problem! I would ask this question on the various Paleo blogs, especially the ones owned by scientific/medical types. One of them (Cordain? Sisson? Wolfe? I'm probably misspelling all their names...) would have some interesting insights, probably completely with metabolic pathways and uptake channel drawings...
Do you have any obsession foods? I'm thinking of a guy who kept going to the hospital because of his blood pressure would drop to dangerous levels. In the hospital he'd get better quickly but as soon as he went back to work it'd drop again. Turned out he was addicted to licorice (ate it in the car to work) which in high quantities blocks Potassium which caused blood pressure drop. Maybe some nut or herb? Junk food with trans-fats or a dye?
Along the same lines, you might have an allergic reaction to some food. Gluten, Lactose, nuts - I know those can cause "problems" but don't know if too-low cholesterol would be one of them. Have you tried any elimination diets?
I'm not a doctor, but I think cutting back on cholesterol wouldn't do much, and might even be dangerous if you don't want to drop further.
And have you lived in one region the whole time - could it be environmental?
Best of luck! I hope you let us know if you find anything!
I would presume that, assuming your parents lived a decently long while (and had similiar numbers) it would be okay. I'm not one to suggest going to a natropath.
I'm in a somewhat similar situation (64 HDL, 57 LDL, total 121, and like 45 trigs). But eh, I've seen plenty of people with numbers like that go well with health, so I leave it alone (although mine are a good bit higher than 90... ./shrug).
Dietary saturated fat (and fat in general) can have a very limited impact (oddly enough, it drives some CW doctors crazy about how much people care about their numbers), and dietary cholesterol has almost none. So just trying to maximize the "good" aspect of your numbers ( HDL > LDL ) would be a decent target.
Are you under the care of a physician? If so, I can't imagine even those in conventional medicine giving you a pat in the back saying you're in great health. I think even those guys will be concerned. And you're taking no statin.
I believe the concern is with regard to cancer. I guess we can call this hypocholesterolimia, familial if your parents also had such low levels.
If you're seeing a naturopath, one guys comes to mind: the Healthy Skeptic. Chris Kresser.