Why Low Cholesterol Isn't Always the Answer


Understanding the biology and physiology of estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone gives us insight on how critical they are to the optimal function of the body. When they are deficient, as in menopause, it’s preferable, whenever possible, to utilize pharmaceutical bioidentical hormones to restore the very same hormones which have been in your body since you went through puberty. Cholesterol, which some people regard as something “bad”, is actually the basic building block for all the hormones made by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Care should be taken to not aggressively lower cholesterol to extremely low levels with cholesterol lowering drugs because it can cause marked disruption in production of these vital hormones.

Jerry, a 58-year-old successful businessman, came to see me because of fatigue and sexual dysfunction. Because of his fatigue he was considering selling his business and taking early retirement. He had always enjoyed a healthy sex drive and lots of energy but now he was considering “calling it quits” and taking early retirement.

I diagnosed him with profoundly low testosterone but I also noted that his total cholesterol was only 105! I learned he had been started on a cholesterol-lowering drug the previous year that corresponded to the time frame when he developed his sexual dysfunction and fatigue. I made a modest reduction in his cholesterol medication and his testosterone level normalized without the need for testosterone replacement. Cholesterol lowering drugs can be life-saving but all these possible effects need to be considered. All this is further evidence that everything in our body is there for a reason. When you introduce drugs that cause drastic changes, adverse consequences can occur.

Excerpt from “Outliving Your Ovaries” © 2012 by Marina Johnson MD. Dr. Johnson was a medical writer and pharmacist before medical school and utilized these skills to research 450 medical journal articles to develop her book. She has no financial conflicts of interest or ties to any pharmaceutical company. Her only objective is determining the most effective, safest therapy for patients.

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