Many children with Autism suffer from cholesterol levels that are too low, but there is an effective therapy to help. The focus for years in the medical community has been on high cholesterol. High cholesterol increases our risk factors for things like heart disease and stroke and yet low cholesterol also presents health risks too. Yet most doctors would encourage low cholesterol to help ward off the risk of heart disease. But having cholesterol levels that are too low can disrupt hormone development, as well as have negative effects on the immune and nervous systems.
Cholesterol levels are a balance, just like everything in our bodies. Levels that are too high are bad as are levels that are too low. A great example of this is with sodium and potassium levels. They both require a proper balance to be beneficial. Either too low or too high cause issues in the body. Cholesterol is a precursor to the sex hormones testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and DHEA which means adequate levels are necessary for development. Cholesterol is also important in the production of the stress hormone cortisol, it is a precursor to that hormone as well.
Cortisol helps manage inflammation, sodium and potassium levels. So you can see how important cholesterol is for appropriate hormone development. It is also critical for immune function and brain development. Cholesterol is very important in cell communication. The cell membrane made up of cholesterol to a large extent and the pliability of the cell membrane is what allows cell to cell communication. Cholesterol is also crucial to the myelin covering of nerve cells. Myelin helps with the speed of the electrical impulses. So you can see how important cholesterol is to proper functioning of the human body. Dr. William Shaw and the Great Plains Labs found that many children with Autism suffer from low cholesterol. There is a genetic disorder called SLOS which manifests as extremely low cholesterol. Some kids with SLOS have cholesterol levels in the 50’s and 60’s, some even lower.
People with SLOS often have certain physical characteristics as well as behavioral issues. You can often see aggression, irritability, self injury as well as cognitive and learning problems. Some people with SLOS also have Autism. Both Dr. Shaw and I have observed through our own work with children on the spectrum that many of them suffer from low cholesterol. Their levels are not optimal but not as low as the people who suffer from SLOS. The optimal cholesterol range is between 170 and 180, I have had a child in my practice with levels of 65. Research has shown that behavioral problems, aggressive behavior and learning problems can manifest in children with levels below 160. In my practice, the average cholesterol range seems to be between 110 and 120.
It was thought that the main ways to raise cholesterol were to eat eggs, brain or liver. Eggs have 250 mg each and children with SLOS had to eat large amounts of them daily. Brain and liver usually aren’t that appealing especially to children. But there is another option today. New Beginnings, one of the supplement companies that I recommend in my practice, carries a product called Sonic Cholesterol. Sonic is a hypo-allergenic, non egg derived cholesterol supplement with 250 mg of cholesterol per capsule.
If your child has low cholesterol and you are trying to raise it to the normal levels, Sonic cholesterol can be a good choice. And in my experience, I have not seen a child’s levels go from too low to too high using Sonic. It usually takes months to really change cholesterol levels. But, changes and benefits in behavior and cognition can happen rapidly.
It is always wise to work with a physician when addressing issues of cholesterol which is why you must have physician approval to order Sonic Cholesterol from New Beginnings. Testing every few months is warranted to monitor improvement. Once your child reaches the optimal range of 170 to 180 you can reduce the dosage to what would be considered a maintenance dose. If you are working with a physician or neurologist who wants to do blood testing on your child, it is wise to request a lipid panel to see the total cholesterol values in your child. Supplementation with Sonic Cholesterol is warranted in children with levels below 160. And as I have seen in my practice, it is a very effective therapy in children with low cholesterol.