While cholesterol has been vilified as something that should be as low as possible to prevent heart disease, it's actually a crucial component for good health and too low a level can have serious repercussions for your health. Cholesterol is found not only in your bloodstream but also in every cell in your body, and is necessary for the production of cell membranes, virtually every steroid hormone, vitamin D and bile acids that help you digest fat. Cholesterol also plays an important role in the formation of memories and is vital for healthy neurological function. For example, low cholesterol levels have been shown to increase your risk of depression and suicide, in some cases rather dramatically. As noted by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, a quarter of all the cholesterol in your body is found in your brain, where it performs the function of an antioxidant. A number of studies have demonstrated that, contrary to popular belief, higher cholesterol levels are associated with better brain health. According to senior research scientist Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., insufficient fat and cholesterol in your brain play a crucial role in the Alzheimer's disease process, detailed in her 2009 paper "APOE-4: The Clue to Why Low Fat Diet and Statins May Cause Alzheimer’s."

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