Interviewer: cholesterol. It's supposedly terribly bad for us. We should take drugs to get it as low as possible.
Sally Fallon Morell: Well, now there's two different things we're talking about here. There's cholesterol in your blood, and there's cholesterol in the food. And even the most ardent proponents of the cholesterol theory admitted the cholesterol in the food didn't make any difference. If you eat cholesterol in your food, your body just makes less. So we never need to be afraid of the cholesterol in our food. And cholesterol-rich foods tend to be nutrient-dense foods that are really good for us. And growing children need a lot of cholesterol to form their brains and to form their guts.
Now, cholesterol in the blood, once again, I take issue with what's being said out there. I really don't think it matters. We know, for women, no matter what their levels are, there's no greater risk of heart disease. For men over the age of 60, even if your cholesterol's 1000, there's no greater risk of heart disease. For men under 60, cholesterol over 300, you are at slightly greater risk, but that doesn't mean that cholesterol is the cause of that risk. It may just be a marker. So I'm very much opposed to people trying to reduce their cholesterol with drugs.
Now high cholesterol often is a sign of a thyroid problem. And I would say that's the first thing that anyone should look at if they have high cholesterol, cholesterol over 300, to have their thyroid function tested.
Interviewer: So in terms of diet, those two are not associated? What we eat and what our cholesterol . . .
Sally Fallon Morell: There's really no association. Studies have been done on this. They find high and low cholesterol with vegetarians. They find high and low cholesterol with meat eaters. I personally eat extremely high animal food diet, lots of animal fats. I have quite low cholesterol, something I'm concerned about. Because I think it's much more dangerous to have low cholesterol than high cholesterol.
Low cholesterol is associated with more cancer, more stroke, accident, suicide, and intestinal disease, and definitely more mortality, more deaths, and younger deaths.
Interviewer: So what do you do about that? Can you actually raise your cholesterol level?
Sally Fallon Morell: Mine's not that low, but it's very difficult to raise your cholesterol when it's low. Definitely very difficult. If you have low cholesterol, and by low I mean under 160, I definitely think you need to look and see if maybe something else is going on.
We have one example on our website. Someone with very low cholesterol, it turns out they had hepatitis. And once the hepatitis was taken care of then the cholesterol came up into the normal range.