High Cholesterol - Beyond Statin Medications

by Marcie Millar, RD, LDN, Cert in Herbal Medicine & DSHEA Law

When it comes to reducing your cholesterol levels there are many healthy ways to reduce it successfully. I use a systematic holistic approach including labwork, medications, medication history, nonprescription supplements and history, food habits, exercise, lifestyle, genetics. Most important is what will be therapeutic and realistic for the individual client. Some are not having success with prescriptions, having side effects or do not want to take medication. Many are overeating fats, sugars, flour based foods, not getting enough fiber or exercise.

When you think about food understand that if your cholesterol levels are fasting – you have not eaten for 8-12 hours - those numbers reflect what you liver is making not the eggs you ate 2 days ago. The number in your fasting lipid profile that can be increased by food is your Trigyceride level from too much sugar, flour, (simple carbs) and alcohol. HDL, the good cholesterol your body needs is increased by exercise, lots of veggies, healthy fats and if appropriate a small amount of dry wine with a meal.

I ask clients to bring in a recent fasting lipid profile copy that reflects what they are eating and taking. I review the numbers: Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL,Triglyceride and ratios. The total cholesterol number is a combination of the numbers. Maybe, your HDL or good cholesterol is high and is raising your total level. Few people have true genetic high cholesterol this means that your cells cannot take in cholesterol so it is very high in your blood.

LDL contributes to plaque build up in your arteries and veins. Some people with a marginally high LDL are on medication - I think diet and exercise should be tried first. Others have medication side effects – muscle pain or increased liver enzymes. Many are looking for alternatives. Those on low dose of medication with good results should take Co Q10 as ubiquinol - 60mg daily to offset side effects and depletion of this heart nutrient. For those wanting an alternative to medication or not responding to diet and exercise a trial of Red Yeast Rice Extract (RYRE) with the Co Q10 at researched doses can be a good choice. Use only RYRE that has been tested for the active ingredients in the raw materials. These include monoclonins, phytosterols, beta sitosterol, campesterol and sigmasterol – they should be the same in each batch. Of note extracts of RYRE has been consumed as food and medicine in China since 800 A.D.

Triglycerides are trouble makers associated with fatty liver, obesity and Diabetes. Weight loss, no simple carbohydrate, no alcohol and high fiber diet are key. Supplementally, purified high EPA fish oil, liver support, carnitine and lipase are very helpful.

Certain foods like garlic, ginger, turmeric, walnuts, fish, steel cut oat meal, flax meal and green tea in addition to a high fiber plant based diet can help lower cholesterol.

Together with my clients we develop a food plan and if needed supplemental support based on each person’s labwork, medication, supplements and lifestyle. Consistency for 3 months is a must to accurately compare repeat labs with the previous labs and document your success.

Marcie Millar, RD,LDN | 401-782-6800 | vitaminsmartdirectionsinc.com