Cholesterol • How to lower it
Cholesterol is a sterol. It is the primary material for many of the hormones produced in your body. Cholesterol plays a vital role in how every cell works. Cholesterol is necessary for the production of Vitamin D and digestive bile. You must have adequate cholesterol.
As you see from the following information, how much is enough to keep you healthy is in dispute.
A Harvard Framingham Cholesterol Study from the 50’s and 60’s identified a total count of 300 as “good.” Today, doctors recommend 130. I have found no reasonable explanation of why that changed so drastically, but there is research that suggests heart disease is not caused by high cholesterol and that having higher cholesterol (than current recommended levels) may protect against cancer.
In his book, “Stop Worrying About Cholesterol,” Dr. Richard Tapert reports that in the 30-year follow-up of the Framingham Study, high cholesterol was not predictive of heart attack at all after the age of 47. You can read his comments on www.avoidheartattack.com, or in his book.
Most doctors recommend increased testing as you age, so these two positions appear to be at cross-purposes. Please do some research before taking drugs to lower cholesterol. If you decide to use a drug, please research the possible side-effects and contra-indications.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL?
One usually doesn’t know one has high cholesterol (without regular testing) until there is an emergency.
Cholesterol is measured in a blood test and is expressed in two numbers labeled HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, and LDL for low-density lipoproteins. We usually refer to HDL as good cholesterol and LDL as bad cholesterol (though calling these lipoproteins cholesterol may be a misstatement). What we aim to achieve is a balance between the two types because LDL that is too high is believed (by mainstream) to increase risk for heart disease and stroke. There is another way to look at it, though, which is that both HDL and LDL are absolutely necessary for dealing with important body functions and when they are elevated, it may be because they are required for correcting an underlying condition. Please see the link in the NOTES below.
Back in 2008, WHO estimated the global prevalence of raised total cholesterol among adults as 39% for men and 40% for women.
Your doctor might prescribe statin drugs as well as recommend lifestyle changes.
Possible side effects of statins are muscle and liver damage, increased blood sugar problems and neurological side effects.
If, after research and clearance from a trusted health care professional, you decide to try and lower your cholesterol naturally, the following are areas for consideration and research. It may be that following the recommendations below will positively affect an underlying condition, even if you don’t know what that is, and in turn, your cholesterol levels will decrease.
There is disagreement about the dangers of saturated fat as it relates to cholesterol. Some recent studies suggest that dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol in about 3/4 of the population. Even for those who respond to dietary cholesterol with an increase in overall cholesterol, it doesn’t appear to affect the ratio or increase the risk of heart disease.
Notwithstanding the above, and recognizing that the reasons for elevated cholesterol are in dispute, a healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and imbalance. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent nutrition plan.
FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING
- Artichoke leaves
- Bone Broth
- Citrus fruits
- Dark chocolate
- High fiber foods
- Olive oil
- Omega 3-rich foods (like salmon and other cold water fish)
- Spinach (believed to keep cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls)
- Vitamin C-rich foods
FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID
- All inflammatory foods
- Excess saturated fats
- Margarine may contain trans fats and thereby may increase LDL and lower HDL.
- Processed foods of any kind
- Processed sugars
- Smoking plays havoc with cholesterol
- Trans fats (eliminate)
- Unfiltered coffee (i.e. don’t let coffee grounds come in extended contact with hot water like in a French press).
TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS
- Artichoke tea
- Black tea
- Green tea keeps blood vessels relaxed and the flavonoids may prevent the oxidation of LDL.
- Holy Basil
- Milk thistle
- White tea
HERBS AND SPICES
- Arjuna TA
- Fo ti
- Olive leaf extract
Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath.
OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS
The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.
- Activated charcoal
- Artichoke leaf extract
- Diatomaceous earth
- Garlic supplement
- Guggul extract
- Omega 3’s
- Red Rice Yeast (Thorne is a good brand)
- Soluble fiber supplement
- Vitamin E
Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.
Aerobic exercise helps to decrease LDL and to increase HDL. Losing weight, a nice side benefit of exercise along with a good diet, also tends to lower overall cholesterol. That exercise is beneficial is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.
There is some evidence that stress can cause an increase in cholesterol. Possibly because stress influences primary health choices, like diet and exercise. Or, it might be because cholesterol increases to deal with the increased cortisol. Stay calm. Anxiety always undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to stay mellow. Check out the Stress entry for some relaxation techniques.
- Acupressure (https://www.herbalshop.com/natural-healing/acupressure-massage-for-high-cholesterol-in-the-blood/)
- Chinese Medicine
- Homeopathy (see NOTES below)
- A wholesome, balanced diet
- Regular exercise
- Low stress levels
- Quality sleep
- http://www.afibbers.org/forum/read.php?10,125769 is a report of an interview with a doctor and published on a health forum. If you can ignore all the typos, it is an excellent source of information about the functions of cholesterol and a fresh point of view about whether or not our efforts are well spent in targeting high cholesterol rather than targeting the reasons our cholesterol levels are high.
- Homeopathy treats the whole person, by considering the totality of their symptoms. Therefore, if Cholesterol is not a stand-alone problem (and what is?), then considering the whole patient will address underlying causes. Although “DrHomeo” may not view cholesterol the same as the doctor in the link above, the article is included for the list of remedies often used for elevated cholesterol. Https://www.drhomeo.com/cholesterol/natural-homeopathic-remedies-for-high-cholesterol/