How To Naturally Lower Cholesterol
It goes without saying that diet and exercise are the best, first-line defenses against rising cholesterol numbers. In many instances, these lifestyle changes work well.
However, they don’t always work in everyone. Sometimes a person will need additional help beyond diet and lifestyle; in our experience this is pretty common.
It’s important to know however, that there’s a lot more to balancing cholesterol numbers than just taking a prescription (statin) medication.
But first of all, why should you care about your cholesterol numbers, and what do they even mean?
When we look at cholesterol in the bloodstream, it’s typically broken down into 4 main components:
- HDL (high-density lipoproteins) - AKA “good cholesterol”
- LDL (low-density lipoproteins) - AKA “bad cholesterol”
- Total Cholesterol (generally the sum of HDL + LDL cholesterols)
- Triglycerides - Different from cholesterol, this is a type of fat in the bloodstream.
It’s well-established that elevated LDL and triglycerides contribute to the development of heart disease. Now, before we dive into all the new theories out there (which are beyond the scope of this article), let me just add that there’s a critical component in the formation of heart disease (elevated LDL + Triglycerides aren’t necessarily an automatic reason for heart disease) and that is inflammation.
A person may have elevated LDL and have no evidence of heart disease while a person with ‘normal’ levels may have a lot of heart disease. This goes back to inflammation - if a person has low levels of inflammation and elevated cholesterol, they may not have any heart disease while the opposite is also true - normal cholesterol levels and a high inflammatory burden can absolutely lead to heart disease.
So then, what’s the point of trying to lower cholesterol based on this?
Well, because it’s not easy to determine if a person’s inflammatory load is causing heart disease - it’s tough to predict. Yes, there are tests and scans we can do, but a good first line defense is to just make sure cholesterol numbers are kept within the accepted standard range - ideally without resorting to prescription medications.
Why Use Natural Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements:
- There’s a risk of specific side-effects from the standard prescription medications (statins) used for cholesterol - certain people may experience fatigue, muscle pain, sexual dysfunction, liver and nerve damage.(1)
- Statin drugs only target the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol - this is only one aspect of the development of heart disease. It’s equally important to have high levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol for its protective effects.
- Statin drugs also don’t target triglycerides - another important component in the development of heart disease.
- Statins don’t affect the size and density of cholesterol molecules - small, dense cholesterol molecules are more dangerous in how they can influence the development of heart disease in comparison to larger, less dense molecules. Some of this is also dictated by genetics, diet, and lifestyle. You can learn about your cholesterol molecule sizing by getting a test called a Lipoprotein Fractionation - ask your doctor!
What Should You Do For High Cholesterol?
Conventional medicine will tell you to take a med for your cholesterol and of course suggest that you diet and exercise.
But, there’s so much more to preventing heart disease than just taking a statin medication!
The great thing about natural medicines for high cholesterol is that they’ll not only lower the ‘bad’ cholesterol but they can help raise the good cholesterol and most importantly lower inflammation, without the side effects of statin medications.
Lowering inflammation is important for more than heart disease as well - many, many health conditions have their origins in inflammation!
If you have high cholesterol, just taking a pill is missing the mark. We like to get a comprehensive set of labs done on all of our patients so have a much more detailed understanding of their cardiovascular risk based on inflammatory markers and they types of cholesterol they have.
- Lipoprotein Fractionation: This is the test that tells you about the size and density of your cholesterol particles. If you have smaller, dense cholesterol particles, that would mean a more vigorous treatment plan would ensue vs if you had larger, less dense particles. Just looking at a basic lipid panel won’t tell you the whole story.
- hs-CRP (Highly Sensitive C-Reactive Protein): This test measures inflammation in the body, specifically in the blood stream. Inflammation in the blood vessels is a key trigger in the formation of artery disease.
- Hemoglobin A1c: Commonly tested in diabetics, we look at this test in everyone. It gives a historical reading of your blood sugar levels over the last 3 months - elevated blood sugar over time is a contributor to the development of heart disease.
- Fibrinogen: This is a protein that contributes to blood clotting. Too much of this is associated with negative outcomes for heart attack and stroke. If it’s too high it can be lowered with diet and natural cholesterol lowering agents, too.
- Insulin: A hormone that pulls sugar into the cells to be metabolized, high levels signify a danger of not only heart disease but also diabetes (which in turn leads to heart disease). Oftentimes no one will look at insulin levels and only blood sugar - this is backwards because by the time blood sugars are up insulin has been high for a while, creating more inflammation.
Natural Cholesterol Lowering Medicines
Here are the best natural remedies for high cholesterol:
- Cholesterol Formula - a comprehensive collection of several proven natural cholesterol lowering agents. One of our best-selling products, it helps lower LDL and raise HDL, plus it contains heart-strengthening ingredients as well.
- Choleast is a similar product to Cholesterol Formula mentioned above however it is a red yeast rice-based product. Red yeast rice extract contains a naturally-occur statin known as Monacolin K.
- Omega-3 fatty acids- proven to lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation. Note! Never take a combination ‘ fish oil’ product - they often contain more pro-inflammatory omega fats than you need!
- 5-MTHF - this is the active form of folic acid that works in tandem with vitamin B12 to lower the levels of homocysteine. What’s homocysteine? It’s a naturally occurring amino acid that’s produced in the body which is considered a risk factor in the development of heart disease.
- CoEnzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring compound found in especially high concentrations within the heart. It’s vital in the creation of energy within cells. Statin prescription drugs are notorious for their side effect of depleting this energy-producing nutrient. Because of its importance in overall health, it’s an important nutrient to supplement.
You can lower cholesterol and inflammation by using a combination of natural remedies for cholesterol, lowering inflammation, regular exercise and a healthy diet.