More evidence of adverse effects due to low cholesterol levels has emerged in a study carried out in Hawaii.
Researchers followed 3572 Japanese/American men aged 71-93 years, for about 20 years, during which time their cholesterol was measured four times.
They found that men with the lowest cholesterol levels (2.09-4.32 mmol/L) were 28 to 40 per cent more likely to die than those with higher levels.
Few studies have assessed cholesterol over such a long period. While the findings overall are not new, they show that long term low cholesterol increases the risk of death. And the earlier individuals start to have lower cholesterol concentrations, the greater the risk of death.
The authors now question whether there is "scientific justification for attempts to lower cholesterol to concentrations below 4.65 mmol/L in elderly people" (Lancet, 2001; 358: 351-5).