The Dangers of Low Cholesterol and Statins: Busting the Myths About High Cholesterol

For years, we’ve heard high cholesterol is bad and if you have it, your doctor has probably prescribed (or suggested) a statin drug to reduce cholesterol levels.  Recently, it’s finally been coming to light that “cholesterol” is not a bad word, and even the mainstream media has covered the issue of eggs no longer being a food to avoid (they are high in cholesterol).  Here are recent examples from the news:


Even more important are the recent articles about statins being a hazard to our health and here are some of those articles:

Low cholesterol has many negative health consequences, and particularly for mental health.  Cholesterol is literally “brain food” and when we have low cholesterol, our brain is starving and cannot function properly.  Low cholesterol has been linked with autism and many mental health disorders like depression.  Beyond cholesterol’s role in mental health, cholesterol is a very important molecule for the body in general. It is used to produce crucial hormones, vitamins, secondary messengers, and bile acids. Low values are associated with increased violent behavior, suicide, depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, Parkinson’s disease, and increased mortality from cancer. Low cholesterol values are also associated with manganese deficiency, celiac disease, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, malabsorption, and malnutrition.

Articles about Low Cholesterol by Our Laboratory Director and Partners

Cholesterol Balance – A Major Factor in Many Chronic Disorders by William Shaw, PhD:

The Role of Cholesterol in Autistic Behaviors by William Shaw, PhD:

Low Cholesterol and Its Psychological Effects by James Greenblatt, MD:

The Implications of Low Cholesterol in Depression and Suicide by James Greenblatt, MD:

Webinars on Low Cholesterol:

Low Cholesterol Can Be Detrimental to Your Health by William Shaw, PhD: 

Low Cholesterol:  A Major New Factor in Autism by William Shaw, PhD:

Oxytocin and Cholesterol Deficiency:  Health Implications in Autism and Mental Health Disorders by Kurt Woeller, DO:

Oxytocin and Cholesterol Intervention for Health Conditions by Kurt Woeller, DO:

Testing for Cholesterol:

We offer a comprehensive test for cholesterol (our Advanced Cholesterol Profile), which evaluates total cholesterol, apolipoprotein A-I (Apo A-1), apolipoprotein B (Apo B), lipoprotein (a) (Lp (a)), and homocysteine, which helps determine risk factors for vascular disease and/or neurological disease.  If you can’t do our test, you may get a basic cholesterol test done at any standard lab, perhaps as a part of other lab work being requested by your doctor.  The most important thing is the interpretation of results.  Unfortunately, many doctors may look at a number that we would consider to be too low (less than 160 mg/dL) and tell you it’s good or look at a number we think is ideal (like 185 mg/dL or higher) and tell you it’s too high.   

Patients deficient in cholesterol often have a genetic predisposition to have cholesterol deficiency.  Our GPL-SNP1000 DNA Sequencing Profile evaluates 101 different SNPs (mutations) in 18 different genes related to cholesterol deficiency, as well around 900 other genetic SNPs in the pathways we believe are the most important to evaluate in overall health. 

Healthy Cholesterol Supplementation:

One of the best ways to supplement and achieve a healthy cholesterol level is with Sonic Cholesterol, a product derived from sheep’s wool, which is exclusively sold by New Beginnings Nutritionals. (use attached bottle image)  It’s a pure and potent nutritional supplement designed to support healthy cholesterol levels. Recent scientific research has shown that 30-50 percent of individuals with autism have low cholesterol levels. Cholesterol deficiency is also associated with cancer, violent behavior, aggression, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, suicide, strokes, cataracts and increased susceptibility to gastrointestinal infections. Sonic Cholesterol is an ideal supplement solution for children and adults who have both low to low normal cholesterol levels along with a strong dislike for - or allergy to - eggs.  Click here for more information. 

Additional Resources – Studies on PubMed:

Serum cholesterol levels and suicidal tendencies in psychiatric inpatients (study):

Association of low serum total cholesterol with major depression and suicide (study):

Low Serum Cholesterol in Suicide Attempters (study):

Low serum cholesterol and external-cause mortality: potential implications for research and surveillance (study):

Low serum HDL-cholesterol levels are associated with long symptom duration in patients with major depressive disorder (study):

Differential effects of cholesterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol on ligand binding of solubilized hippocampal serotonin1A receptors: implications in SLOS (study):

The Dangers of Oxalates and the Green Smoothie Health Fad

What are Oxalates?

Scanning electron micrograph of the surface of a kidney stone showing tetragonal crystals of weddellite (calcium oxalate dihydrate).

Scanning electron micrograph of the surface of a kidney stone showing tetragonal crystals of weddellite (calcium oxalate dihydrate).

Oxalates are crystalline molecules that we absorb from our diet (high oxalate foods) or are produced by an infection, like yeast/fungal overgrowth.  These oxalates can accumulate in the body and cause inflammation.  The symptoms of oxalate accumulation include pain, nephrolithiasis, and neurological symptoms and oxalates have been associated with vulvodynia (vulvar pain) and fibromyalgia pain. Oxalates are largely known to cause/create kidney stones.  Children with autism who exhibit eye-poking behavior have also been shown to have a buildup of oxalates behind their eyes, causing tremendous pain, and thus the eye-poking.  This oxalate buildup is thought to be caused by or exacerbated by calcium deficiency and you can read about this in the article, RICKETS AND EYE-POKING IN AUTISM ASSOCIATED WITH CALCIUM DEFICIENCY.  

Figure 1 - Oxalate Pathway

Figure 1 - Oxalate Pathway

Oxalate buildup can be caused by three different sources, the most common of which is diet.  Diets that contain large amounts of oxalates can cause oxalate buildup and some of the foods highest in oxalate are spinach, soy, nuts, and berries.  The second source for oxalate buildup is Candida infection or the excess of other yeast/fungal organisms, which can convert sugars into oxalates.  The third cause of oxalate buildup is genetic polymorphisms (mutations), which will be reviewed in greater detail below.  The process by which oxalate can enter and buildup in the body is shown in Figure 1.  

Green smoothies are good for you, right?  Think again. 

Spinach has been shown to have the highest oxalate content of any food, so anyone genetically predisposed to have problems with oxalate metabolism or who has a calcium deficiency and eats spinach frequently (especially raw, and especially in green smoothies because of the large amounts of spinach that can go in them) is particularly at risk for oxalate buildup and the resulting complications.  As mentioned previously, foods high in oxalate include spinach, soy, nuts, and berries, and here is a list of foods high in oxalate.

Our Laboratory Director, Dr. William Shaw wrote an article about the dangers of oxalates and the green smoothie trend, THE GREEN SMOOTHIE HEALTH FAD: THIS ROAD TO HEALTH HELL IS PAVED WITH TOXIC OXALATE CRYSTALS, which was published in the January 2015 issue of Townsend Letter and has been incredibly popular. Click here to read the article.  He also delivered a webinar about all of this and you may view that here.  

What can you do about Oxalates?

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

The first step to address a possible oxalate problem is to find out if you currently have excess buildup of oxalates in your body, which we measure in our Organic Acids Test (OAT).   The OAT has three oxalate markers:  glyceric, glycolic, and oxalic acids.  Figures 2 and 3 are sample reports from the OAT showing results for these markers.  In addition, low B6 and increased yeast or fungal markers are associated with increased oxalates. 

Figure 4

Figure 4

The second step is to find out if you are genetically predisposed to have a problem with oxalate metabolism and there are three genetic conditions for this, hyperoxaluria type I, type II, and type III.  The three genes that can cause an issue with oxalate are AGT (AGXT), GRH-PR, and HOGA1.  AGT and GRH-PR are able to convert glyoxalate to their glycolate or glycine respectively.   Disruptions in either of these enzymes can cause oxalates to buildup.  Buildups or low values in glycolic acid can sometimes be used to determine if you have a SNP (mutation) in either GRH-PR or AGXT.  Our GPL-SNP1000 DNA Sequencing Profile covers four different genes involved with the production and elimination of oxalates and Figure 4 shows sample results for the AGTX gene (hyperoxaluria type I).  

If it’s determined that you may have a problem with oxalates, it’s important to follow a low-oxalate diet, drink plenty of water, and take a supplement like calcium-magnesium citrate, to be sure you have plenty of calcium to bind with oxalate and eliminate it in your urine before it becomes a problem.  Vitamin B6 has also been shown to be an effective treatment for oxalates.   

Additional Resources on Oxalates



Recent GPL blog post about oxalates


Clinical References on Oxalates

  • Kohmani EF. Oxalic acid in foods and its behavior and fate in the diet. Journal of Nutrition. (1939) 18(3):233-246,1939
  • Tsao G. Production of oxalic acid by a wood-rotting fungus. Appl Microbiol. (1963) May; 11(3): 249-254.
  • Takeuchi H, Konishi T, Tomoyoshi T. Observation on fungi within urinary stones. Hinyokika Kiyo. (1987) May;33(5):658-61.
  • Lee SH, Barnes WG, Schaetzel WP. Pulmonary aspergillosis and the importance of oxalate crystal recognition in cytology specimens. Arch Pathol Lab Med. (1986) Dec;110(12):1176-9.
  • Muntz FH. Oxalate-producing pulmonary aspergillosis in an alpaca. Vet Pathol. (1999) Nov;36(6):631-2.
  • Loewus FA, Saito K, Suto RK, Maring E. Conversion of D-arabinose to D-erythroascorbic acid and oxalic acid in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. (1995) Jul 6;212(1):196-203.
  • Fomina M, Hillier S, Charnock JM, Melville K, Alexander IJ, Gadd GM. Role of oxalic acid overexcretion in transformations of toxic metal minerals by Beauveria caledonica. Appl Environ Microbiol. (2005) Jan;71(1):371-81.
  • Ruijter GJG, van de Vondervoort PJI, Visser J. Oxalic acid production by Aspergillus niger: an oxalate-non-producing mutant produces citric acid at pH 5 and in the presence of manganese. Microbiology (1999) 145, 2569–2576.
  • Ghio AJ, Peterseim DS, Roggli VL, Piantadosi CA. Pulmonary oxalate deposition associated with Aspergillus niger infection. An oxidant hypothesis of toxicity. Am Rev Respir Dis. (1992) Jun;145(6):1499-502.
  • Takeuchi H, Konishi T, Tomoyoshi T. Detection by light microscopy of Candida in thin sections of bladder stone. Urology. (1989) Dec;34(6):385-7.
  • Ghio AJ, Roggli VL, Kennedy TP, Piantadosi CA. Calcium oxalate and iron accumulation in sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis Vasc Diffuse Lung Dis. (2000) Jun;17(2):140-50.
  • Ott SM, Andress DL, Sherrard DJ. Bone oxalate in a long-term hemodialysis patient who ingested high doses of vitamin C. Am J Kidney Dis. (1986) Dec;8(6):450-4.
  • Hall BM, Walsh JC, Horvath JS, Lytton DG. Peripheral neuropathy complicating primary hyperoxaluria. J Neurol Sci. (1976) Oct;29(2-4):343-9.
  • Sahin G, Acikalin MF, Yalcin AU. Erythropoietin resistance as a result of oxalosis in bone marrow. Clin Nephrol. (2005) May;63(5):402-4.
  •  Sarma AV, Foxman B, Bayirli B, Haefner H, Sobel JD. Epidemiology of vulvar vestibulitis syndrome: an exploratory case-control study. Sex Transm Infect. (1999) Oct;75(5):320-6.
  • Fishbein GA, Micheletti RG, Currier JS, Singer E, Fishbein MC. Atherosclerotic oxalosis in coronary arteries. Cardiovasc Pathol. (2008) ; 17(2): 117–123.
  • Levin RI, PW Kantoff, EA Jaffe. Uremic levels of oxalic acid suppress replication and migration of human endothelial cells. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol (1990), 10:198-207
  • Di Pasquale G, Ribani M, Andreoli A, Angelo Zampa G, Pinelli G. Cardioembolic stroke in primary oxalosis with cardiac involvement. Stroke (1989), 20:1403-1406.
  • Ziolkowski F, Perrin DD. Dissolution of urinary stones by calcium-chelating agents: A study using a model system. Invest Urol. (1977) Nov;15(3):208-11.
  • Burns JR, Cargill JG 3rd. Kinetics of dissolution of calcium oxalate calculi with calcium-chelating irrigating solutions. J Urol. (1987) Mar;137(3):530-3.
  • Kaminishi H, Hagihara Y, Hayashi S, Cho T. Isolation and characteristics of collagenolytic enzyme produced by Candida albicans. Infect Immun. (1986) August; 53(2): 312–316.
  • Shirane Y, Kurokawa Y, Miyashita S, Komatsu H, Kagawa S. Study of inhibition mechanisms of glycosaminoglycans on calcium oxalate monohydrate crystals by atomic force microscopy. Urol Res. (1999) Dec; 27(6):426-31.
  • Chetyrkin SV, Kim D, Belmont JM, Scheinman JI, Hudson BG, Voziyan PA. Pyridoxamine lowers kidney crystals in experimental hyperoxaluria: a potential therapy for primary hyperoxaluria. Kidney Int. (2005) Jan;67(1):53-60.
  • Morrison C. Ditch healthy berries to beat muscle pain: The eating plan that helped me cure my aches and pains. The Daily Mail Online. August 13, 2012. (Accessed November 21, 2014)


 There have been several recent articles, even coming from the mainstream media about the possible dangers of acetaminophen (Tylenol) use both for children and for women who are pregnant.  Our Director, William Shaw, Ph.D. wrote an article on the research done on these potential dangers in 2013 that was originally published in the Journal of Restorative MedicineEvidence That Increased Acetaminophen Use in Genetically Vulnerable Children Appears to Be a Major Cause of the Epidemics of Autism, Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity, and Asthma.  Dr. Shaw’s article has 84 references which include several studies and articles about this incredibly important topic and here is the article in full on our website, including those references:

Dr. Shaw then presented a webinar to review the findings from his article and you may watch that below:


New Research Since Dr. Shaw’s Article Supporting These Findings:

September 2014:  Associations Between Acetaminophen Use during Pregnancy and ADHD Symptoms Measured at Ages 7 and 11 Years.

October 2014:  Paracetamol: Not as safe as we thought? A systematic literature review of observational studies

February 2016:  Paracetamol use in pregnancy and infancy linked to child asthma

April 2016:  From Painkiller to Empathy Killer: Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) Reduces Empathy for Pain

September 2016:  Maternal use of acetaminophen during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders in childhood: A Danish national birth cohort study.

September 2016:  Fenton-Like Catalysis and Oxidation/Adsorption Performances of Acetaminophen and Arsenic Pollutants in Water on a Multimetal Cu–Zn–Fe-LDH

October 2016:  Association of Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy With Behavioral Problems in Childhood - Evidence Against Confounding

Do You or Your Child have a Genetic Predisposition for Acetaminophen Detoxification Problems?

Since acetaminophen (Paracetamol, Tylenol) is one of the most commonly used pain relievers, proper metabolization of acetaminophen is critical to preventing toxicity and any resulting damage. Genetic mutations that cause an increase in the metabolite NAPQI or that limit the body’s ability to detoxify acetaminophen will make a person more susceptible to adverse effects from acetaminophen usage.  Our GPL-SNP1000 DNA Sequencing Profile analyzes 7 genes and 72 specific SNPs (mutations) related to acetaminophen toxification and detoxification.  The sample test results shown below are for the glutathione transferase genes.  GSTP1 is the major detox pathway for acetaminophen.  SNPs to GSTP1 can cause impaired detoxification and lead to increased risk of asthma.  The toxic metabolite of acetaminophen, NAPQI, is detoxed by glutathione.  NAPQI is formed in about 5% of the normal dose of acetaminophen.  If you take too much, your glutathione gets depleted and you can't detox it effectively.  The acetaminophen detox pathway is also shown below.   


Recent Media Coverage:

Here are several other recent articles about the possible health consequences of acetaminophen use, including those from major media outlets like the New York Times and well-known CNN medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta: (Sanjay Gupta)


There seems to be more than enough evidence to suggest avoiding acetaminophen for children when they are ill or when receiving vaccinations, and for women to avoid it when pregnant, whenever possible.  Knowing whether or not you or your child has any of the genetic mutations that affect acetaminophen detoxification is very important as well, and we can do that with our GPL-SNP1000 DNA Sequencing Profile

Alarming results of study: Many popular foods found to have glyphosate in them.

In case you missed our post from two weeks ago about the list of popular foods found to have glyphosate in them, we are sharing this incredibly important information again, along with a new interview about it all with Dave Murphy, Founder and Executive Director of Food Democracy Now!, who sponsored the study and below is the published list: 


{See the test results and full report by Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project}. 


Here is the recent interview done by Ed Schultz on RT America with Dave Murphy, talking about these alarming findings:

Please share this information with everyone you know.  We have to be informed consumers, and the more people know about this and the dangers of glyphosate, the more we can have our voices heard that this is unacceptable!  For more information about the very real dangers of glyphosate (with many scientific references) and our urine
Glyphosate Test, click here.

GPL University Early Bird Pricing

Early bird pricing for our GPL University practitioner workshops August 6-7 in San Jose, CA ends this weekend!  Here are the details:

Organic Acids Testing Workshop – August 6

*Qualified attendees receive a FREE Organic Acids Test worth $299!

Genetic Testing & Toxic Chemical Testing Workshop – August 7

*Qualified attendees receive a FREE GPL-TOX (Toxic Organic Chemical Profile) worth $199! 

Attend both days and save $100!
*CME’s available.  Please see the Accreditation section of the workshop website for information. 

For all workshop details including the schedule, pricing, location information, and to register, go to  Hurry…early bird pricing ends this Sunday, July 10!

Got questions?  Email or call 913.341.8949. 

The Unique Vulnerability of the Human Brain to Toxic Chemical Exposure

This recent article (below) brings into question the efficacy of hand sanitizers.  While there has been discussion for some time about how these products may actually help create “superbugs” that are resistant to our normal methods of sanitation (where just soap and water would be better), our primary concern here at GPL is about the toxic chemicals used in many hand sanitizers that are then absorbed into our bodies.  The most prominent of these antibacterial chemicals may be triclosan.  Our Lab Director, Dr. William Shaw wrote about the potential neurotoxicity of triclosan in hand sanitizers and other common products in this important article, originally published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine:

Additional Information Requested on Safety of Hand Sanitizers

Antidepressants Mostly Ineffective on Kids

Antidepressants Mostly Ineffective on Kids

A new study recently published in The Lancet and summarized in the two articles below says that based on meta-analysis, antidepressants don’t seem to be very effective for children or teens.  Because there are so many underlying biomedical problems that can contribute to symptoms of depression, from nutritional deficiencies and toxic chemical exposure to infections that release neurotoxins, it’s important to look for these problems with an Organic Acids Test (OAT) and a GPL-TOX Toxic Organic Chemical Profile.  Many of these problems can be addressed and treated naturally to relieve symptoms without the use of potentially harmful drugs

Impact of Antibiotic Treatment on Infant Gut Microbiome

Impact of Antibiotic Treatment on Infant Gut Microbiome

This study was conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and published in the June 15 issue of Science Translational Medicine.  Its discoveries may help us better understand how the gut microbiome is established in us from the very beginning of life and how the combination of microbes in individual children may contribute to the risk of developing conditions like type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.  A key finding of the study was that “Children who had been exposed to antibiotic treatment had a reduction in the diversity of their microbial population…”.

Impact of Antibiotic Treatment on Infant Gut Microbiome

We know how important our gut flora diversity and balance can be to both for physical and mental health.  Here are several resources on our site for this.

It’s important to look for common infections like Candida that can disrupt our healthy gut flora and release toxins.  We also know that oral antibiotics can decrease healthy gut flora and give the opportunity for bad flora to take over, like Candida.  Proper gut balance can be restored by identifying infections via the Organic Acids Test, treating those infections with natural means when possible, and restoring the gut flora with high quality and diverse probiotics.  Read this article and view this webinar for more information on the benefit of probiotics:

Addressing Common Nutritional Deficiencies in Autism

Addressing Common Nutritional Deficiencies in Autism

This recent article in Psychiatry Advisor talks about common nutritional deficiencies seen in children with autism.  Nutritional status is always one of the first things we want to look at in children who’ve been diagnosed with autism, which we do with the Organic Acids Test (OAT) and our Calcium + Magnesium Profile.  If these patients have already been put on a gluten-free and casein-free diet (often recommended for autism), and/or other elimination diets (due to the results of food allergy testing with our IgG Food Allergy Test), or if they are just picky eaters, we want to be sure they are getting enough calcium and other important vitamins and minerals, as nutritional deficiencies can make many symptoms of autism worse and create related problems like oxalate build-up.

Addressing Common Nutritional Deficiencies in Autism

We have a wealth of information on our website about nutrition and autism.  Check out all of these potential resources:

Seven Deadly Poisons and a Law that Won’t Protect You Fast Enough:

Seven Deadly Poisons and a Law that Won’t Protect You Fast Enough:

This article recently published by The Guardian mentions some of chemicals we test in GPL-TOX, our toxic organic chemical profile, including fire retardants, vinyl chloride, and phthalates.  For more information about GPL-TOX, go to the GPL-TOX test page.  Did you get a chance to see our Lab Director, Dr. William Shaw’s webinar, Toxic Chemicals and the Increasing Rates of Chronic Illnesses?  If not,  you may check that out here.

Seven Deadly Poisons and a Law that Won’t Protect You Fast Enough: