These days with obesity levels soaring & processed foods abound, it’s no surprise when you hear so many people struggling with high cholesterol levels. Doctors are dispensing statin drugs at an increasing rate, but if your doctor tries to prescribe one of these for you – tell him/her to hold the pills because there are other, natural, options!
The trouble with statins
Most often when people go to the doctor & find out they have high cholesterol the first thing their doctor wants to do is put them on a statin drug. Statins are a type of drug that lowers cholesterol by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme, which plays a large role in the production of cholesterol in the liver.
Unfortunately, it’s not as cut & dry as simply taking a statin drug & lowering your cholesterol – there are side affects, as with any drug. Some noted side affects are:
- muscle pain & damage
- depletion of CoQ10
- liver damage
- digestive problems
- rash or flushing
- increased blood sugar or Type II Diabetes
- neurological side affects
The statins don’t only affect your body’s production of cholesterol in the liver, but they also affect several other enzymes in muscle cells(1).
Instead of putting your body at risk with taking a medication & potentially enduring side affects, why not try & lower your cholesterol naturally? I have FOUR suggestions (proven, researched methods) for lowering your cholesterol NATURALLY, without the use of statin drugs.
Extracts of the resin of the guggul tree can lower LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) levels. The active plant sterol guggulsterone acts as an antagonist ligand to farnesoid X receptor (FXR) & lowers cholesterol levels(2).
Guggul extract capsules available HERE.
#2. Chinese Red Yeast Rice
“Red yeast rice significantly reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and total triacylglycerol concentrations compared with placebo and provides a new, novel, food-based approach to lowering cholesterol in the general population.”(3)
Red yeast rice supplement available HERE.
Berberine is a compound that is isolated from an ancient Chinese herb & is a proven cholesterol lowering compound.
“Oral administration of BBR [berberine] in 32 hypercholesterolemic patients for 3 months reduced serum cholesterol by 29%, triglycerides by 35% and LDL-cholesterol by 25%.” (4)
Berberine supplement available HERE.
#4. A Low-Carbohydrate (high fat) Diet
In a study comparing the effects of both a low-carb & a high-carb diet on dietary triglycerides & cholesterol, the low-carb diet results in lower blood lipid levels & higher HDL, whereas higher carbohydrate typically seems to be associated with increased blood lipids & lower HDL levels(5).
Often times besides just looking at the LDL particle number you need to look at the particle type/SIZE. There are two types of LDL particles – small dense LDL; or large fluffy LDL. The small dense particles are the dangerous ones, whereas the large fluffy ones are showing to not prove any increased risk(6).
The bottom line…
Sometimes drugs are the only viable option, but in the case of cholesterol I think there are so many natural, alternative solutions. Food is powerful & when possible, I always like to default to using food as medicine. Hopefully one of the above choices (along with a healthy diet & exercise) will make a difference for you if you’re looking to lower your cholesterol without statin drugs.
- Mayo Clinic. High Cholesterol. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statin-side-effects/art-20046013
- Science. A Natural Product That Lowers Cholesterol As an Antagonist Ligand for FXR. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/296/5573/1703.short
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Cholesterol-lowering effects of a proprietary Chinese red-yeast-rice dietary supplement. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/69/2/231.short
- Nature Medicine. Berberine is a novel cholesterol-lowering drug working through a unique mechanism distinct from statins. http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v10/n12/full/nm1135.html
- Journal of Lipid Research. Effects of dietary carbohydrate and fat on plasma lipoproteins and apolipoproteins C-ll and C-Ill in healthy men. http://www.jlr.org/content/23/6/877.full.pdf+html
- Lab Tests Online. LDL Particle Testing. The Test. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/lipoprotein-subfractions/tab/test/