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Lower Cholesterol Naturally – Alternatives to Statin Drugs
Huge topic. I can write a book about this, but better not yet! Two more years of medical school and by then I’ll be even more knowledgeable about how to lower cholesterol naturally.
First: What is cholesterol?
According to Stedman’s medical dictionary, cholesterol is “the most abundant steroid in animal tissues, especially in bile and gallstones, and present in food, especially rich in animal fat, it circulates in plasma complexed with proteins of different density and plays an important role in the pathogenesis of atheroma formation in arteries. “
What is the pathogenesis of atheroma? It is the initial stage of atherosclerosis which is the building up of lipids [cholesterol] plaques within the structure of the arteries. These plaques narrow the blood vessel wall and thereby limit blood flow. The restriction of blood flow causes turbulence which causes further plaque deposition. The slower speed of blood through the arteries also helps to deposit more plaque.
Natural ways to lower cholesterol:
- Exercise: damned. How many times do you have to hear it – everyone says it. Because it works better than any other medicine. Why does it work? Simple biochemistry and physiology. Exercise requires energy. Energy comes from sugar, fat and protein. When sugars and proteins are burned, fats must be converted into usable forms of energy. The liver accelerates the production of good cholesterol, HDL. HDL goes around and picks up bad cholesterol, LDL. It converts it into useful energy. So, exercising increases your energy needs and thus naturally lowers cholesterol. Exercise 30 minutes a day as often as you can during the week. Try one day a week and build up. You will become addicted to it. Better than statins.
- Eat soluble fiber: Where can you find it? In beans and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables contain insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber actually binds to cholesterol removing it from your body. Insoluble fiber increases the bulk of your stool making it more regular – which is also extremely important.
- Limit foods of animal origin: curse again. Even Stedman’s medical dictionary said that cholesterol is the most abundant steroid in the animal tissues. They didn’t say plant tissues. I’m not saying avoid it completely. Just keep an eye on him – don’t snack on endless roast beef sandwiches with mayonnaise and four types of cheese.
- Inositol: This is time-released niacin in a no-wash-out form. Niacin is a major player in cellular metabolism. If there is little niacin, then energy reactions do not go forward. If they don’t go forward, lipids build up that are directly related to high cholesterol levels. A study on time-release niacin shows its effectiveness. The study I found used pharmaceutical time-release niacin, but I believe the two are very similar – with the natural form being better. The conclusion of the study: “The results show that niacin ER [extended release] produces a beneficial effect on lipoprotein subclasses, specifically reducing atherogenic small, dense LDL particles and increasing cardioprotective large HDL particles.” Remember what I said about bad LDL and good HDL? Inositol sounds pretty good now, doesn’t it?
- Red rice with yeast: This is what pharmaceutical companies make some statins from – straight up! So why not take it in its natural state? It works pretty well. It works by limiting the progression of the cholesterol reaction. This means that the production of cholesterol slows down, which naturally lowers cholesterol. I found a great research article on PubMed for red yeast rice. The research was conducted by the Center for Human Nutrition and the natural supplement company is unbiased. Here’s another study on the cholesterol-lowering effects of a Chinese red yeast rice supplement.
- Policosanol: This is sugar wax. Sound safe? It is. It does not block the cholesterol-forming reaction as strongly as statins. Our body needs some formed cholesterol. Without it, numerous hormones would not be produced and we would be dead. Therefore, it is better to limit production moderately than to limit it severely. Policosanol has also been shown to increase HDL levels. Do statins work for this? Not. There is a good study on Policosanol that I found on PubMed. You will notice that this is not research done by a natural supplement company or with a biased interest. The name of the study is: Comparison of efficacy and tolerability of policosanol with atorvastatin in elderly patients with type II hypercholesterolemia.
Bio-Lipotrol has been proven to naturally lower cholesterol [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 seen doctor after doctor who have used Bio Lipotrol and the results are visible within a few weeks. This does not mean that you can sit on the couch and eat hamburgers and pizza while popping Bio Lipotrol capsules. I’ve said before that exercise is the best medicine – along with limiting animal fats and increasing soluble fiber. I didn’t know about Bio Lipotrol until my classmate bought it. One day I found her in the hallway and asked her what it was. She told me it worked very well on her grandmother’s high cholesterol levels. Then I became more interested. Benefits of studying medicine – you discover what works and what doesn’t.
What are the dangers of statins?
I don’t know all the dangers, but I do know one that isn’t often talked about. Statins give the false impression that the person taking them does not need to be proactive in lowering cholesterol. If the drug lowers cholesterol without it doing anything, why not snack on fatty foods? I’ll tell you why. Statins limit the production of cholesterol. They do not limit cholesterol intake. You know.
Also – statins seriously limit the production of coenzyme Q10. This is the main source of energy for the human heart and the electron transport chain. So if you are on statins, take CoQ10. I believe that statins also limit the conversion of active vitamin D. I need to verify this, but it makes sense if we follow the reactions from HMG-CoA, which is the limiting step in cholesterol synthesis.
If you want to lower your cholesterol naturally, these steps will no doubt help you. I recommend that you talk to your doctor. Most docs will listen and support you and know about this arena. If not, find a licensed and qualified naturopathic doctor who will listen to you.
This information does not tell you to stop taking statins. It’s just information. Do not stop taking statins without talking to your doctor. Only then, according to their instructions, stop taking the medication if you are using other means.
If you’re not taking statins and don’t have the money to see a doctor, these steps can help you lower your cholesterol naturally. But since I’m not a doctor yet, I’m not going to prescribe any of this information for you. It’s up to you.
I hope you are still awake. That’s a ton of information. I know I’ve been deleted. I need to get away from this computer now.
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