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Lower Cholesterol Naturally – Alternatives to Statin Drugs
Great topic. I could write a book on this but better not yet! Two more years of med school though and then I’ll have a better understanding of how to lower cholesterol naturally.
First: What is cholesterol?
According to Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, cholesterol is “a steroid abundant in animal tissues, especially in bile and gallstones, and found in food, especially rich in animal fats, circulating in the plasma mixed with the virus of many densities and plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the formation of atheroma in the arteries.
What is the pathogenesis of atheroma? It is the initial stage of atherosclerosis that is the building of fat [cholesterol] plaques between the structures of the arteries. These plaques narrow the vessel wall thereby limiting blood flow. The restriction of blood flow causes a disorder that further increases the deposition of plaque. Slower blood flow through the arteries helps to deposit plaque more efficiently.
Ways to lower cholesterol naturally:
- Sport: Exalted. How many times do you have to listen – everyone says. Because it works better than any drug out there. Why does it work? Simple Biochemistry and Physiology. Exercise requires energy. Energy comes from sugars, fats and proteins. When sugars and proteins are burned, fats must be converted into usable forms of energy. The liver steps up by making good cholesterol, HDL. HDL goes around and takes the bad cholesterol, LDL. It turns this into usable energy. Therefore, by exercising, your energy requirements increase thereby lowering cholesterol naturally. Exercise 30 minutes a day as often as you can a week. Try one day a week and plan. You will become addicted to it. Better than statins.
- Eat a melting pot: Where can you find that? Contains beans and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables contain insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber actually binds to cholesterol to remove it from your body. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stools making it more regular – which is very important too.
- Limiting fatty foods: damn again. Even Stedman’s Medical Dictionary says that cholesterol contains many steroids animal bodies. They don’t say plant material. I’m not saying avoid it completely. Just keep your eyes peeled – don’t cut down on the endless steak sandwiches with mayo and four kinds of cheese.
- Inositol: This is a time-release niacin in an over-the-counter form. Niacin is a major player in cellular metabolism. If a person has less niacin, then energy reactions do not go forward. If they do not go further, lipids accumulate which directly leads to high levels of choleterol. Research on time-release niacin shows its effectiveness. The research I found used pharmaceutical time release niacin but I believe these two are very similar – with a superior natural form. The bottom line of the study: “The results show that niacin ER [extended release] exerts a beneficial effect on lipoprotein subclasses, in particular reducing the more atherogenic small, dense LDL particles and increasing the large cardioprotective HDL particles.” Remember what I said about bad LDL and good HDL?
- Red yeast rice: This is what pharmaceutical companies make some statin drugs from – straight! So why not take it in its natural state? It works very well. It works by stopping the cholesterol reaction from going further. This means that cholesterol production is reduced thereby lowering cholesterol naturally. I found a great research article on PubMed for Red Yeast Rice. The research was conducted by the Center for Human Nutrition and is not biased by the natural supplement industry. Here’s another study on the cholesterol-lowering effects of a Chinese red-yeast-rice supplement.
- Policosanol: This is sugar wax. Something safe? It was. It does not suppress cholesterol as strongly as statin drugs. Our bodies need some cholesterol. Without it, many hormones would not be produced and we would be dead. Therefore, it is better to limit production moderately rather than limit it unnecessarily. Policosanol has also been shown to increase HDL levels. Do statin drugs do this? Never. There is good research on Policosanol that I found on PubMed. You’ll notice it’s not research done by the natural supplement industry or with biased interests. The title of the study is: Comparison of efficacy and tolerability of policosanol with atorvastatin in elderly patients with type II hypercholesterolemia.
Bio-Lipotrol has been shown to lower cholesterol naturally [http://www.healthegoods.com/product/bio-lipotrol-biogenesis-biolipotrol/natural-health-supplements]. Bio Lipotrol contains Red Yeast Rice, Inositol, Policosanol and Guggal Gum extract. I have visited with doctor after doctor who has used Bio Lipotrol and results are seen within a few weeks. Now this does not mean that you can sit on your couch eating hamburgers and pizza while popping Bio Lipotrol capsules. I have already said that exercise is the best medicine – with the limitation of animal fats and the increase in soluble fiber. I didn’t know about Bio Lipotrol until my colleague bought it. I met him in the hall one day and asked him what it was. He told me it worked well on his grandmother’s high cholesterol levels. Then I became more interested. The benefits of being in med school – you see what works and what doesn’t.
What are the risks of statin drugs?
I don’t know all the dangers but I know one that is not always faced. Statin drugs give the false impression that the person taking them does not have to be the first to lower cholesterol. If a drug reduces cholesterol without doing anything, why not click on fatty foods? I will tell you why. Statin drugs limit cholesterol production. They do not limit cholesterol intake. He did.
Also – statin drugs inhibit the production of Coenzyme Q10 significantly. This is an important energy source for the human heart and electron transport chain. So if you are on statin drugs, take CoQ10. I believe that statin drugs also limit the conversion of active vitamin D. This I need to check but it makes sense if you follow the downstream reactions from HMG-CoA, which is the limiting step in cholesterol production.
If you want to reduce cholesterol naturally, these steps will help you without a doubt. I recommend having a sit-down conversation with your doctor. Most docs will listen to you and be supportive and understanding about this arena. If not, find a licensed physician and practitioner who will listen to you.
This information does not tell you to stop taking your statin drugs. It’s just information. Do not stop taking statin drugs without consulting your doctor. Only then, under their guidance, stop the meds if you do other methods.
If you are not on statin drugs and do not have the money to see a doctor, these steps can help you lower cholesterol naturally. But as I am not a doctor yet, I do not prescribe any of this information to you. It’s yours.
I hope you wake up again. That is a lot of information. I know I’m doomed. I have to leave this computer now.
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