The number of people looking for natural cholesterol lowering is staggering. Why? Well, according to the latest medical guidelines, up to 42% of the adult population has high cholesterol levels, putting them at risk of heart disease. The "safe" level of cholesterol keeps getting lowered all the time, which means even more people have "high" cholesterol.
The second most commonly prescribed drug is a "statin" (a type of cholesterol lowering medication). Once you need these medications, you're pretty much on them for life to keep your cholesterol where it's supposed to be. The problem is they're expensive and have side effects, so you want to be off them right?
Here's a controversial statement for you:
Your cholesterol level isn't that important.
To explain that bold statement I first need to explain the process of atherosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries"- the underlying problem of all cardiovascular disease:
What if you could stop step #3? You would stop the whole inflammatory response and it's the chronic inflammation that is the problem in heart disease.
Here's a simpler analogy:
You know when you buy a picture frame and they put the price tag right on the front of the glass? You peel the price tag off and the whole thing comes off. Excellent- you're done, right? No. You touch the spot where the price tag was and now you can see dirt stuck to the sticky residue. So you take a paper towel to clean it off- now you have dirt and paper towel stuck to it. If you used something sticky to try and peel that off, you would just keep adding to it, and you'd have a larger lump of goo and dirt and paper, right? Well, think of the glass as the inside of your blood vessel. The price tag is the damage. The sticky residue is the cholesterol- not a problem until dirt (oxidation) sticks to it.
To make my point about natural cholesterol lowering, I had to show you that cholesterol is not the problem- oxidation is. If you can prevent the oxidation, you prevent the inflammation and therefore prevent atherosclerosis. That's probably why over half of the people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol- because it isn't the problem! I highly recommend reading my page on heart disease to learn more about this inflammation issue. Go ahead now, then come back and finish....
Since antioxidants are natural anti-inflammatories, they are perfect for people wanting natural cholesterol lowering. They won't lower your cholesterol, but they'll prevent it from becoming oxidized.
Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids is a good idea as well. There was a study done a few years ago- a huge, well-designed, controlled study that you can trust the results from. People were given either a statin (the cholesterol-lowering drugs everybody's taking) or omega-3's. Cardiovascular disease was lowered by 21% and death by 16% in the statin group , but cardiovascular disease was lowered by a whopping 32% and death by 23% in the omega-3 group. Amazing! Especially since taking omega-3's doesn't lower your cholesterol at all. They DO have an anti-inflammatory effect though.
So what would you rather take? A statin with all it's risks and side effects or an omega-3 supplement with no side effects and actually works better (AND has lots of other benefits!) Hmmmm... don't have to ponder this one too long. The study is even more proof that statins may not work because of lowering cholesterol at all, but by decreasing inflammation (because they also have an anti-inflammatory effect on your blood vessels).
Why weren't the results of this important study publicized by the media? I don't want to make unfounded accusations here, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions to that- I know what MY theory is...
The reason high cholesterol is linked to a higher risk of heart disease is simply because there is more cholesterol around to get oxidized. So it still makes sense to get your LDL "bad" cholesterol as low as possible. How do you do that? Here's a couple of strategies for natural cholesterol lowering:
Exercise. (I know- not what you were hoping for. But hey, if you're looking for a natural cure...) It's the only natural cholesterol lowering agent out there. Combined with a proper, healthy diet, it's the only thing that has been shown to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol (besides medications). Diet alone won't do it. So get exercising, because your doctor will still want to see those numbers lowered.
You could also try drinking a psyllium fiber drink twice a day. Studies show only a slight decrease in cholesterol with this, but it might be just enough. Besides everybody needs more fiber in their diet for all the other benefits anyway! Just don't start at that dose all at once- you'll be VERY uncomfortable. And make sure you drink lots too.
You can see that there's not a whole lot to be done for natural cholesterol lowering. I hope you've figured out by now that it's probably more important to prevent that cholesterol from getting oxidized.
There is a regimen that we have had great success with for people who are interested in natural cholesterol lowering as an alternative to medications. Simply fill out this form and it will be immediately delivered to you via e-mail.
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