Q. Your column about the dangers of low cholesterol caught my attention.
For years I avoided all fat in my diet but then I was unable to conceive. After including fat in my diet briefly I became pregnant but lost the baby when I returned to my no-fat regimen.
After the miscarriage my gynecologist told me my cholesterol (94) was not sufficient for making the sex hormones I need to sustain a pregnancy. I changed my diet, raised my cholesterol to 114, and had a healthy, normal, successful pregnancy.
I am no longer willing to eat and live like a fanatic. I now eat a more balanced diet with more vegetable-derived fat and keep my cholesterol around 114.
A. Some people incorrectly assume that cholesterol is harmful. While too much is dangerous, we could not survive without it. Cholesterol is a building block for cell membranes and a number of hormones. Cholesterol also appears to affect mood. Very low levels may predispose some people to depression.
The healthiest range for cholesterol seems to be between 140 and 200. As you found, an extreme diet avoiding all fat can drop cholesterol levels below this range and is not healthy.