High Cholesterol High Pharmaceutical Gain
How to Reduce Cholesterol Levels without a Statin
Statin drugs are the number one most highly used drugs in America! Not surprising, doctors and the like have us all running scared from elevated cholesterol levels. Though this isn’t something to laugh about, it is certainly not a death sentence. Many factors lead to advanced heart disease and heart attack. Cholesterol is only one of the major risk factors for cardiac events.
Cholesterol Changes are not always Diet Related
Cholesterol can be accumulated two ways: through the diet (exogenously) and made by the liver (endogenously). Many people think that the main problem with elevated cholesterol levels is diet, but many people can have elevated cholesterol despite their diet. If someone truly has a terrible diet, eats fast food often, eats a lot of sugar, and lives sedentarily, then we would expect them to have elevated triglycerides in addition to high cholesterol, especially LDL or the “bad” cholesterol. But many people have changed their diets and don’t consume a diet high in cholesterol and unhealthy fats, but they continue to have elevated cholesterol.
Cholesterol is made in the liver for various reasons. For one reason, it is a precursor to all steroid hormones, including the hormones of menopause, testosterone, and your important stress hormone, cortisol. Cholesterol is also very important in brain function and is an important part of the cell membrane. Many people going through a lot of stress in their lives or hormone changes will elevate cholesterol as a way to increase these hormones. Cholesterol is also a very protective molecule (when not in excess), therefore the body will increase cholesterol when under physical stress (such as elevated chronic inflammation). Cholesterol is a fat molecule and does a good job of absorbing toxicity; therefore many people having internal health problems will have elevated cholesterol.
Elevation in cholesterol is your body’s answer to a problem. The body is asking for extra cholesterol to use as a cushion. Taking a drug will only stop your body from making the cholesterol, it will not stop the body’s problem that triggered the cholesterol production in the first place. Repeating that in a slightly different way, taking a drug to reduce cholesterol does not help the internal health problem. Furthermore, if your body is craving the cholesterol to be used as protection and a drug is introduced to decrease cholesterol production, then you are creating a bigger problem. Your body will still want to use the cholesterol left in your system as protection, therefore it will no longer supply cholesterol to the “less important” areas in your body, such as brain, muscle, hormones, etc….
The two main side effects associated with the use of cholesterol medication are memory loss and muscle weakness or fatigue.
To recap, just turning off the making of cholesterol in the liver through a drug is NOT the answer. Changing the body’s internal environment so that it no longer feels it necessary to make more cholesterol is the true answer.
Is Your Cholesterol Elevated Because of Your Diet?
Here is an easy way to examine and evaluate your blood work to determine if diet is the true cause of your elevated cholesterol. If you look at your numbers and your HDL is low (under 40) and your LDL is high (over 125) and your total cholesterol is over 200, you are not looking so good. Now look at your triglycerides. This is the true answer. If your TGs are in the 250s or higher, then you can significantly change your cholesterol through dietary changes. If you have been doing everything you can to change your cholesterol through diet and your triglycerides are 45, then we know 100 % that your elevated cholesterol has nothing to do with your diet. This doesn’t mean that you should eat what ever you want, but it does mean that you just can’t sit there with elevated cholesterol continuing to think that if you just do a little bit better with your diet, then your cholesterol will decrease. Please consult a naturopathic physician for further advice on decreasing your cholesterol or contact your regular physician to take action focused at your cholesterol levels.
Dietary and Lifestyle Suggestions for Reducing Cholesterol
The National Institute of Nutrition recommends that every individual should consume at least 300 grams of vegetables (50 gms of green leafy vegetable, 200 gms of other vegetables and 50 gms of root vegetables) and 100 grams of fruit daily.
Include the following foods in your diet:
Apple cider vinegar
Beans and Legumes
Deep colored vegetables and fruits
Best Sources of Fat for increasing good “HDL” cholesterol:
Handful of nuts such as walnuts or almonds
Seeds such as flax seeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds
Wild caught salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and lake trout
Habits that beat high cholesterol:
Get regular exercise. Work up to cardiovascular exercise 30 minutes per day in addition to some light weight lifting or strength training. If you haven’t exercised regularly before, consult your physician and a physical trainer to help you set your limits and achievement goals.
Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake
Reduce intake of saturated fats that come from high fat animal products such as butter, red meat, milk and other dairy products, palm oil
Avoid all fried foods or any other “trans” fat items. Most products that have been fried have trans fat. Look for the word “hydrogenated” on the label and do not purchase any products that have been hydrogenated. Trans fats are found in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes and they directly raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad,” cholesterol, and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good,” cholesterol.