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Cholesterol: What Matters, and What Does Not

Please provide ways to lower cholesterol (LDL) through diet and other means (not medication). I must lower this number by 5 points within the next few months. Thank you.

The total cholesterol in your blood is the aggregate of many subtypes of cholesterol, of which LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein) are the 2 major components. Although conventional medicine places heavy emphasis on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, there is no correlation between total cholesterol levels and heart disease. Let me repeat that–there is no correlation between total cholesterol levels and heart or vascular disease, heart attacks or strokes.

Besides that, cholesterol is an important precursor for our natural corticosteroids, testosterone, estrogens, aldosterone (to regulate salt and water in the body); even vitamin D comes from cholesterol. In fact, cholesterol is an excellent anti-oxidant, and offers significant anti-oxidant protection at the cell membrane level. It is the potential for the LDL component of cholesterol to oxidize that gives it its bad name. But, if your other antioxidants are at good levels, there is no concern.

Those points having been made, if you do want to raise your HDL levels and lower your LDL levels, there are safe ways to do that:

1. Red yeast rice

2. Green tea extract

3. Niacin (in the inositol hexaniacinate form). These can be obtained from your local health food stores.

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I, too, took several statins – and then rheumatism symptoms caused an internist and my regular doc to put their heads together and decide it might be the statins.  It was; took quite a few months but slowly as the statins dissipated and left my body, the aches went away, the rheumatism factor went down, and the cholesterol count went up.  However, niacin, garlic, losing weight [also slowly], exercise, less salt, fewer fats, and other things have helped.  My same two fingers have begun to show rheumatism symptoms [weakness, pain & swelling]; but so far, so good, they are still straight; no statins going in, just Zetia.  I wonder if Zetia has any statin reaction to it???

Zetia and statins work in different ways. Statins interfere with the production of cholesterol synthesis, and at the same time interfere with the production CoEnzyme Q10, which is very important for our energy systems in our body. That is why you have the leg aches–there is not enough energy being produced for the muscles to function.

Zetia blocks the absorption of cholesterol and ‘related phytosterols.’ Since I think the higher levels of cholesterol is healthier for us, I do not recommend anything that lowers cholesterol levels, except good diet.

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Cholesterol and Liver Questions

I have a concern. I know I can trust you to give me a straight answer. I had blood work done yesterday. My ALT Serum was 16 in June 2010. Yesterday it was up to 36. I understand it should be below 33. The only difference was the Dr. put me on SloNiacin 500mg 2x/day. She did this for my cholesterol (which I don’t believe in and after taking Lipitor 2 times and having bad reaction to it I will not touch Statin drugs.)

My cholesterol went from 282, June 2010 to 219. Chol density lipoprotein went from 5.2 to 4.8, HDL from 44 to 46, LDL from 160 to 158 and triglicerides from 121 to 75. So the niacin appears to be doing its job there , but I am concerned about my liver.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all you do.

I consider liver enzyme levels below 26 as being healthy. The normals typically go up into the 30s and 40s, which demonstrates the difference between alternative medicine interpretation and conventional medicine.

Because any number of toxins may make the levels rise, the best way to find out is to stop the Niacin, see the levels drop, re-initiate the Niacin and watch the levels rise again. There is a form of Niacin that will never cause liver abnormalities, but that form may not do what you need it to do. Since from my perspective there is no need for cholesterol levels in the 200s to go down, I don’t see the need to use anything that lowers the total cholesterol level. However, other options to lower cholesterol include gugolipids, red yeast rice, fiber.

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Niacin for Cholesterol: What We’ve Been Saying for Years

The Wall Street Journal reported a recent study, comparing the vitamin Niacin made into a drug, Niaspan, and Zetia, a cholesterol absorption blocking agent used to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.  Although there were only 208 patients, the vitamin showed a Continue reading Niacin for Cholesterol: What We’ve Been Saying for Years

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Calories Count? Or Carbs? Or What?

Calorie Counters Have it Right, Diet Study Says

Recently released information in the Wall Street Journal shows that calories do count—that it isn’t what you eat, but how much. Participants were put in one of four diet groups—2 low-fat groups and 2 high-fat groups, with a high-protein and normal-protein groups being the other parameter. All diets were Continue reading Calories Count? Or Carbs? Or What?