Can My Cholesterol Be Too Low?

Can My Cholesterol Be Too Low?

When it comes to cholesterol, most conversations and concerns are centered around high levels. This is understandable, given the widely recognized increased risks of severe medical conditions associated with high cholesterol. 

However, the pendulum can swing the other way too. Low cholesterol may be a rare occurrence that’s not commonly discussed, but it can still result in serious health concerns if left unchecked.

Here at Dose, our mission is to support your wellness journey in any way that we can. That includes helping you to understand all aspects of your health, even the often-overlooked concept of low cholesterol. 

We're here to provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your health and to offer effective doses of natural ingredients to help you lead a healthier, happier life.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the dangers of low cholesterol, the signs to look out for, and a few lifestyle changes that you can make to achieve ideal cholesterol levels. 

What Is Cholesterol? 

Despite its bad reputation, your body needs cholesterol. In fact, it’s so important that the liver naturally produces it. 

Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) that plays several crucial roles in our body’s daily operations as it works behind the scenes to keep us healthy. 

For starters, cholesterol has a hand in constructing cell membranes, the outer layer of each cell in our body. It's like the bricks and mortar of our cellular structure, giving our cells shape and integrity.

In addition to its role in cell construction, cholesterol also aids in the production of certain hormones. These include cortisol, which helps us respond to stress, and sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone.

Cholesterol also plays a role in vitamin D absorption, a crucial vitamin for bone health and immune function. It's like the welcoming committee for vitamin D, ensuring it's properly absorbed and utilized by our body.

Are There Different Types of Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is often used as an umbrella term, but there are several different types of cholesterol

The two main types of cholesterol are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol:

  • LDL cholesterol is referred to as “bad cholesterol” because it can often lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Arterial plaque is one of the higher risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • HDL cholesterol is known as “good cholesterol” as it has the opposite effect. High HDL levels can help to lower LDL levels by collecting it from your bloodstream and taking it to the liver to be eliminated.

Can Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low? 

It is possible for cholesterol levels to be too low. While a lot of attention is given to the dangers of high cholesterol levels — often linked to heart health problems — it's equally important to be aware that low cholesterol levels can also lead to health concerns.

LDL cholesterol helps to transport cholesterol to the parts of your body that need it. If you have low LDL cholesterol levels, then your body might not get the cholesterol it needs to function at its best. 

On the other hand, low HDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol works to remove the excess cholesterol from your bloodstream. Without enough of it, that cholesterol can build up in your arteries. 

So, while it's important to avoid excessively high cholesterol levels, it's equally crucial to ensure your cholesterol levels don't dip too low. 

What Causes Low Cholesterol?

Low cholesterol (hypolipidemia) can be caused by a variety of factors. Let's break a few of the most common examples down: 

  • Malnutrition: A lack of proper nutrition can lead to low blood cholesterol levels. This is because your body needs certain nutrients to produce cholesterol.
  • Hyperthyroidism: This condition, characterized by an overactive thyroid gland, can lower cholesterol levels. This is due to the increased metabolic rate associated with hyperthyroidism.
  • Sluggish liver: Since the liver plays a crucial role in cholesterol production, any stress affecting the liver can result in lower cholesterol levels.
  • Malabsorption disorders: These are conditions that prevent your body from properly absorbing nutrients, which can lead to low cholesterol.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, particularly those designed to lower cholesterol, can have the undesired side effect of causing cholesterol levels that are too low.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can affect various body functions, including cholesterol production, potentially leading to low cholesterol levels.

What Are the Signs of Low Cholesterol?

Low cholesterol can present with a range of signs that can impact your daily life. These signs can sometimes be subtle and may be mistaken for other health issues, which makes it important to be aware of them and seek medical advice from your healthcare provider if you're experiencing any concerns.

Some possible signs of low cholesterol levels include:

  • Digestive issues: Cholesterol plays a role in the production of bile, which aids digestion. Low cholesterol can result in less bile production, leading to digestive problems.
  • Fatigue: Lower levels of cholesterol can lead to feelings of fatigue or tiredness, as cholesterol is essential for the production of certain hormones that regulate energy.
  • Poor concentration and memory: Cholesterol is vital for brain function, and low levels of cholesterol can negatively affect cognitive abilities, leading to issues with concentration and memory.
  • Mental health disorders: Some studies suggest a link between low cholesterol levels and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, more research is needed to fully understand this relationship.
  • Frequent infections: Cholesterol plays a role in the immune system function. Low cholesterol may affect your body's ability to fight off infections, leading to them occurring more frequently.
  • Unexpected weight loss: While weight loss isn’t always a sign of a health condition, it can occur with low cholesterol, particularly if it's due to malabsorption disorders or malnutrition.
  • Nervous system issues: Cholesterol is essential for the structure and function of neurons. Low cholesterol levels can potentially lead to issues with the nervous system.
  • Low blood pressure: While high cholesterol is often associated with high blood pressure, very low cholesterol levels can sometimes be associated with low blood pressure.
  • Difficulty absorbing fat-soluble vitamins: Cholesterol aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Low cholesterol can lead to difficulties absorbing these important vitamins.
  • Hormonal imbalances: Cholesterol is a crucial building block for hormones. Low cholesterol levels can lead to hormonal imbalances, as the body may struggle to produce sufficient hormones.

How Is Low Cholesterol Diagnosed and Treated?

Diagnosing low cholesterol typically involves a simple blood test, often referred to as a lipid panel, that’s conducted by a qualified healthcare professional. This cholesterol test measures your total cholesterol levels: LDL (low-density lipoprotein), HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and triglycerides.

Cholesterol levels are typically measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. 

Here are the generally accepted ranges for cholesterol levels:

Total Cholesterol

  • Low: Less than 160 mg/dL
  • Optimal: 180-200 mg/dL
  • High: 240 mg/dL and above

LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol

  • Low: Less than 70 mg/dL
  • Optimal: 70-129 mg/dL
  • High: 160 mg/dL and above

HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol

  • Low: Less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women
  • Optimal: 60 mg/dL and above
  • High: HDL cholesterol is considered protective, so higher levels are typically not a concern


  • Low: No specific range, as low triglycerides are typically not a concern
  • Optimal: Less than 150 mg/dL
  • High: 200 mg/dL and above

If your cholesterol numbers are found to be low, treatment will depend on the underlying cause. It may involve dietary changes, such as increasing your intake of healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, and olive oil. 

In some cases, medication may be necessary to help regulate cholesterol levels. If an underlying health condition is contributing to low cholesterol, treating that condition will likely be a part of your treatment plan.

Is It Possible To Prevent Low Cholesterol? 

It's often possible to prevent low cholesterol by maintaining a balanced diet and lifestyle. This might involve eating a varied diet that includes adequate amounts of dietary cholesterol and healthy fats, staying active, and avoiding habits that can negatively impact your health, such as smoking or excessive saturated fat consumption.

Regular health checks are also key to preventing low cholesterol. These checks, which should include cholesterol testing, can help monitor your cholesterol levels and catch any potential issues early. If your cholesterol starts to dip below the desired range, early detection allows you to take steps to bring it back up before it becomes a problem.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to cholesterol, most people are focused on reducing their cholesterol levels. However, having too little cholesterol can be just as bad as having too much. For optimal health, the goal should be to maintain balanced cholesterol levels. 

If you’ve been experiencing some of the symptoms associated with low cholesterol listed above, then it’s best to schedule an appointment with your doctor to undergo a lipid panel. The results will help determine where your cholesterol levels are and whether or not they’re too low. The doctor will then make recommendations for how to achieve a better balance. 

Dose is here to support you every step of the way on your wellness journey. Add Dose For Cholesterol to your daily routine — a simple step that could have a big impact on helping you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and overall well-being.


What is Cholesterol? | American Heart Association

Cholesterol in the Cell Membrane—An Emerging Player in Atherogenesis | PMC

Vitamin D and Its Role in the Lipid Metabolism and the Development of Atherosclerosis | PMC

LDL and HDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides | CDC

LDL Cholesterol: How Low Can You (Safely) Go? | Harvard Health

Hypolipidemia: A Word of Caution | PMC

Regulation of Bile Acid and Cholesterol Metabolism by PPARs | PMC

Low Brain Cholesterol: Separating Fact From Fiction | Psychology Today

Cholesterol, Mood, and Vascular Health: Untangling the Relationship | PMC

Impact of Cholesterol Metabolism in Immune Cell Function and Atherosclerosis | PMC

Cholesterol Metabolism and Homeostasis in the Brain | PMC