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Low Cholesterol Leads to Psychological Problems?

With all the dangers associated with high cholesterol, it might come as a surprise that there might be problems with a cholesterol level that is too low. Low Cholesterol on this Moment of Science.

While low cholesterol is something we should all shoot for, having too low of a cholesterol level may cause other health related issues away from the heart. A number of researchers have discovered links between extremely low cholesterol levels and violent behavior, depression, and suicide. For example, men with exceptionally low cholesterol levels are three times as likely to commit suicide than men with average or higher levels of cholesterol.

Researchers aren't entirely sure that cholesterol does have anything to do with these findings, but some hypothesize that serotonin levels are the key to explaining these correlations. Research has shown that monkeys on low-cholesterol diets display significantly lower serotonin activity in their brains. And studies have also shown that animals that show low serotonin activity are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior.

Because of the connection between high cholesterol and heart disease, you don't want to start consuming excess cholesterol. The link between low cholesterol and these psychological problems isn't so strong that it means you're in danger. The best advice is that if you do find yourself feeling depressed or unusually aggressive, seek counseling.

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