Cholesterol is a natural substance in our body. It used to make membranes for our cells and to make our bodies natural hormones. However too much cholesterol, particularly LDL, can damage our blood vessels. This damage, caused by deposition of LDL, increases the risk of Heart Disease and Stroke.
The Statin medications, such as Lipitor and Zocor are the standard treatment. They have been studied and proven to decrease mortality and lower LDL levels. They do have some rare side effects such as muscle aches, increased liver enzymes and weakness. These may be severe enough to stop your treatment. So here is what else you can be doing.
By no means if you are on statin medication and it is working without side effects continue using it and just use these steps as an adjunct.
Where should your LDL Level be - If you have Diabetes had a Heart attack or Bypass Surgery you should have an LDL 70 or under. If you have Coronary Artery Disease you should be under 100 If you have risk factors but no evident heart disease such as smoker, over 45 years of age, obese you should be under 130 No risk factors, no heart disease under 160
Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Many studies have shown that supplementing Omega 3 Fatty Acids significantly reduces triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Also supplementing with Omega 3 Fatty Acids the risk of non-fatal heart attack, fatal heart attack, sudden death, and all-cause mortality. This supplement is quite possibly the most beneficial supplement on the market. It now can be given as a prescription so ask your doctor about getting one. Make sure you are getting a Balance of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids.
Red Yeast Rice - Together with Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Red Yeast Rice has shown to drop LDL levels as low as statin medications. Red Yeast Rice has a similar mechanism as statin medications for lowering cholesterol. If pregnant or breastfeeding do not use, and like statins Red Yeast Rice can raise liver enzymes.
Beta Glucan - a soluble fiber derivative. It can be found in cereal grains like oats and barley and also in algae. Heard of people lowering there cholesterol by eating oatmeal? Beta glucan is the reason for the drop. Whole grain oatmeal is the best with no additives. Sprinkle on Cinnamon and you have a great meal to fight against High Cholesterol and Diabetes.
Exercise/Weight Loss - Will likely be a step on every article I write. It is amazing the benefits you can get from just a 30 minute brisk walk 3 times a week
Niacin - Or Vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid). Mostly has a benefit of raising HDL (good cholesterol) but can help lower cholesterol. If supplementing there is also a prescription available. Side effect is flushing.
Psyllium - Contains a high level of soluble dietary fiber. Has shown to cause modest drops in LDL. Take two hours after any prescription medications as it can decrease absorption of medications. It will help constipation.
Soy - Soy Protein products have shown to cause modest reductions in LDL. Best ways to get soy are through tofu and edamame
Garlic - A heart healthy spice. Has shown to reduce LDL. Can be taken as a supplement. If you plan on taking it as a supplement speak with your doctor as high levels of garlic can thin your blood.
Prevention - Things to stay away from Minimize Saturated fats - eat lean meats - fish or poultry Avoid Commercially prepared or processed foods Use skim milk or 1% Cook with oils with higher levels of unsaturated fats - corn, olive, canola, safflower oils Stop Smoking Reduce alcohol intake
Speak with your doctor before starting supplements. Do not stop your current medications. Leave it up to your doctor to make changes on your medication