6 Describe Three Differences Between Plant And Animal Cells Natural Remedies for High Cholesterol

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Natural Remedies for High Cholesterol

With two-thirds of the US population overweight and the numbers growing, problems often associated with weight issues, such as high cholesterol, are also rising. It is estimated that fifty percent of the population has an increased plasma lipid level. Because high cholesterol is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, natural remedies for high cholesterol are needed.

What is cholesterol and where is it found?

Cholesterol is a combination of fat and steroid and is an important building block for cell membranes everywhere in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart. It is also used to make hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D. The liver makes about 80% of the body’s cholesterol, and the rest comes from food. Dietary cholesterol is found mainly in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products, with organ meats (such as liver) being higher in cholesterol content. Plant foods do not contain cholesterol, so vegetarians generally have lower cholesterol levels than omnivores.

How does cholesterol cause heart disease?

Different carriers for cholesterol in the blood, such as LDL and HDL. If a person has too much LDL, it can be deposited in the arteries, forming a hard substance called plaque. As plaque builds up, it causes atherosclerosis, or the narrowing and hardening of the artery walls. This can occur in the arteries of the heart, causing heart disease, as well as in other areas of the body such as the carotid arteries to the brain and the arteries that supply blood to the legs. HDL helps remove cholesterol from the artery walls and transport it back to the liver for excretion or to other organs. Therefore, when looking at the ratios of LDL and HDL, high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL (high LDL/HDL ratios) are risk factors for atherosclerosis and will require natural remedies for high cholesterol. On the other hand, low levels of LDL and high levels of HDL (low LDL/HDL ratios) are desirable.

Risk factors for high cholesterol:

  • Having a “western” lifestyle – eating a high amount of fat and animal protein; having little exercise
  • Increasing age
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia – an inherited form of high cholesterol that can lead to early heart disease
  • Low economic status
  • For a given cholesterol level, one trait affects the risk for coronary heart disease
  • Asian-Indians have the highest risk
  • Europeans have an intermediate risk
  • Kannada have the least risk
  • Secondary causes by other diseases – Diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, liver disease

What are the typical medications for high cholesterol?

Statin drugs, such as Lipitor, are often used for high cholesterol. They are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, which inhibit the endogenous production of cholesterol but do not help with dietary cholesterol reduction. Therefore, cholesterol should also be monitored. The risks of taking statin drugs include increased liver enzymes and possible liver damage, so this needs to be looked at. Statin drugs can also cause muscle pain and damage, which can be imbalanced with CoQ10. Because dietary changes can be enough for most people to treat high cholesterol, medications should be stopped for 6 months while the diet is changed to see if this alone is effective. Exceptions to this are patients with genetic disorders and patients with a history of atherosclerosis. Combining dietary changes with other natural remedies for high cholesterol can be an even faster way to lower cholesterol levels.

Natural remedies for high cholesterol

Cholesterol levels can be adjusted through diet and exercise, and this should be the mainstay of treatment. Supplements can also be added on to help lower cholesterol. Below is a general maintenance guide:

  • Because saturated fat has been linked to increased cholesterol, this should be limited by reducing the consumption of animal products.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits and limit known sugars
  • Exercise can help increase HDL and decrease LDL
  • Increase soluble fiber for increased cholesterol absorption – beans, oats, barley, fruit pectins, psyllium, and flax meal
  • Soy protein (> 20 grams per day) to reduce the production of cholesterol
  • Red yeast rice prevents the absorption of cholesterol
  • Niacin helps raise HDL and lower LDL
  • Pantethine also raises HDL and lowers LDL; also reduces total cholesterol

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