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J-rap

Home treatments/routines/supplements for high cholesterol?

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My cholesterol is creeping up, and my doc has suggested the possibility of medication or else a change in diet, etc.  I actually eat pretty well!  I walk a lot.  I think high cholesterol runs in my family.  What have you tried that helps?  I rarely eat junk food.  I limit my desserts.  I DO eat lots of cheese and peanuts!  I eat chicken but little other meat.  No pop or juice.  A few years ago I was taking fish oil daily, and my cholesterol was quite good.  I haven't been taking it for about a year though.  Would that make a difference?  Other ideas?

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red yeast rice supplements.

eat oatmeal. the real stuff - not the instant oats packets.

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I had my cholestrol skyrocket after being on keto.  My doctor suggested going vegan to help with the cholesterol.  It wasn't great for my fat loss, but it did drastically drop my cholesterol.

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2 hours ago, J-rap said:

My cholesterol is creeping up, and my doc has suggested the possibility of medication or else a change in diet, etc.  I actually eat pretty well!  I walk a lot.  I think high cholesterol runs in my family.  What have you tried that helps?  I rarely eat junk food.  I limit my desserts.  I DO eat lots of cheese and peanuts!  I eat chicken but little other meat.  No pop or juice.  A few years ago I was taking fish oil daily, and my cholesterol was quite good.  I haven't been taking it for about a year though.  Would that make a difference?  Other ideas?

My cholesterol came down 100 points in two months when I did Atkins.

There is no proof that one's diet causes high cholesterol. There is no proof that high cholesterol *causes* heart problems. And if it runs in your family but heart problems don't, well, then I don't know that you'd have to work on the cholesterol, KWIM?

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High cholesterol runs in DH’s family. He has tried various supplements to help control it. He’s had it down to 220. He did take Lipitor for awhile but hates doing meds. I’ve given up the battle😕He does cardio 4x a week, 60 minutes and lifts weights 3x a week. He looks the picture of health. His dad died of a heart attack at 62, the age DH is now, hence my concern.

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Mine runs high, as does my sister's. She's on a statin for other reasons and it stays nice and low. My doctor says my calculated risk of a heart event in the next 10 years is too low to think about statins yet, and I prefer to not take meds if I don't have to. I reduced my cholesterol from 270s to 230ish with some dietary changes, but I did several things, so not sure what helped. I was already eating oatmeal for breakfast daily and exercising 5x/week. I started tracking my saturated fat on My Fitness Pal with a goal of 12 gm per day (it's often a little over, but usually pretty close). Biggest dietary change was cutting way down on cheese. I still eat pizza several times a month, but I don't do cheese-heavy dishes and if I put it on tacos or in a salad, I consider 1/2 oz a serving for me. I also started taking fish oil daily and adding flaxseed meal to my oatmeal. When my triglycerides were still high the nurse going over the results with me said reducing sugar would help that, and when I worked on that triglycerides went down too.

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3 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

red yeast rice supplements.

eat oatmeal. the real stuff - not the instant oats packets.

I completely forgot about red yeast rice supplements!  I do remember reading about them at one point and thinking that would be a good thing to try.  Thanks for the reminder!

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2 hours ago, Ellie said:

My cholesterol came down 100 points in two months when I did Atkins.

There is no proof that one's diet causes high cholesterol. There is no proof that high cholesterol *causes* heart problems. And if it runs in your family but heart problems don't, well, then I don't know that you'd have to work on the cholesterol, KWIM?

I know, I do wonder about that....

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1 hour ago, May said:

High cholesterol runs in DH’s family. He has tried various supplements to help control it. He’s had it down to 220. He did take Lipitor for awhile but hates doing meds. I’ve given up the battle😕He does cardio 4x a week, 60 minutes and lifts weights 3x a week. He looks the picture of health. His dad died of a heart attack at 62, the age DH is now, hence my concern.

Sorry -- I "liked" yours because I understand...  I know that high cholesterol does just run in some families, like mine.   Maybe someday we'll find that those numbers aren't as important as we think, as long as other things are under control.  I do know that I don't want to go on meds either.

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1 hour ago, Ali in OR said:

Mine runs high, as does my sister's. She's on a statin for other reasons and it stays nice and low. My doctor says my calculated risk of a heart event in the next 10 years is too low to think about statins yet, and I prefer to not take meds if I don't have to. I reduced my cholesterol from 270s to 230ish with some dietary changes, but I did several things, so not sure what helped. I was already eating oatmeal for breakfast daily and exercising 5x/week. I started tracking my saturated fat on My Fitness Pal with a goal of 12 gm per day (it's often a little over, but usually pretty close). Biggest dietary change was cutting way down on cheese. I still eat pizza several times a month, but I don't do cheese-heavy dishes and if I put it on tacos or in a salad, I consider 1/2 oz a serving for me. I also started taking fish oil daily and adding flaxseed meal to my oatmeal. When my triglycerides were still high the nurse going over the results with me said reducing sugar would help that, and when I worked on that triglycerides went down too.

Yes, I'm thinking the two changes I can make immediately are to decrease cheese (😫) and add fish oil supplements again.  The second one is easy.  The first will be much harder!

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5 hours ago, J-rap said:

My cholesterol is creeping up, and my doc has suggested the possibility of medication or else a change in diet, etc.  I actually eat pretty well!  I walk a lot.  I think high cholesterol runs in my family.  What have you tried that helps?  I rarely eat junk food.  I limit my desserts.  I DO eat lots of cheese and peanuts!  I eat chicken but little other meat.  No pop or juice.  A few years ago I was taking fish oil daily, and my cholesterol was quite good.  I haven't been taking it for about a year though.  Would that make a difference?  Other ideas?

This was me. Decreasing the cheese and increasing oatmeal really helped.

For me, decreasing cheese is easiest if I decide I'm only going to eat really really good cheese and I stop buying "cheap" stuff. Then cheese becomes a treat instead of a staple. Also, if you try some recipes from cultures that don't eat cheese, or who don't put cheese in everything, that can really help. My sister married an Asian and he is always grossed out by how much cheese there is in every dish.

Emily

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I have always had high cholesterol. I thought it was just a family thing, but my doctor suggested that true family cholesterol would be much higher.

I have brought my overall cholesterol to normal and improved my good cholesterol, while reducing my resting heart rate by:

- eating lots of veg and fruit, some whole grains and moderate lean protein. I eat FF cheese on occasion and small quantities of red meat when my husband cooks. I rarely eat white rice, bread or pasta

- oatmeal every day and I now drink oat milk instead of dairy. I use olive or rapeseed oil or nut butters instead of butter

- I added in vigorous exercise to supplement the walking and yoga

Good luck!

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3 hours ago, EmilyGF said:

This was me. Decreasing the cheese and increasing oatmeal really helped.

For me, decreasing cheese is easiest if I decide I'm only going to eat really really good cheese and I stop buying "cheap" stuff. Then cheese becomes a treat instead of a staple. Also, if you try some recipes from cultures that don't eat cheese, or who don't put cheese in everything, that can really help. My sister married an Asian and he is always grossed out by how much cheese there is in every dish.

Emily

I do like oatmeal, so that's something I can definitely do.  I think you're absolutely right about the cheese, and getting the really good cheese instead.  Another thing I've noticed about good cheese is that you don't need as much because it's so flavorful.  I'll miss my daily snack of cheese and crackers though!  

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1 hour ago, Laura Corin said:

I have always had high cholesterol. I thought it was just a family thing, but my doctor suggested that true family cholesterol would be much higher.

I have brought my overall cholesterol to normal and improved my good cholesterol, while reducing my resting heart rate by:

- eating lots of veg and fruit, some whole grains and moderate lean protein. I eat FF cheese on occasion and small quantities of red meat when my husband cooks. I rarely eat white rice, bread or pasta

- oatmeal every day and I now drink oat milk instead of dairy. I use olive or rapeseed oil or nut butters instead of butter

- I added in vigorous exercise to supplement the walking and yoga

Good luck!

Is FF cheese fat-free cheese?  More and more I'm thinking cheese must be the big culprit for me!  I wonder how peanuts/peanut butter fares in all of this?  That's my other vice, but not nearly as much as cheese.  Just trying to think of a good substitute for cheese that would satisfy my daily mid-afternoon cravings for a savory protein heavy snack... 

ETA:  Oat milk is a good idea.

Edited by J-rap

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14 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Is FF cheese fat-free cheese?  More and more I'm thinking cheese must be the big culprit for me!  I wonder how peanuts/peanut butter fares in all of this?  That's my other vice, but not nearly as much as cheese.  Just trying to think of a good substitute for cheese that would satisfy my daily mid-afternoon cravings for a savory protein heavy snack... 

ETA:  Oat milk is a good idea.

No, full fat cheese.  I have experimented with low fat cheese, but I don't find it very satisfying.

For me, the umami kick of cheese can be replaced by nut butters on a tiny whole-grain cracker.  I'm partial to pumpkin seed butter, which also doesn't have the environmental load of almonds.  You can check the fat balance of different butters.

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Last September, I found out my cholesterol was well over 300. I have high cholesterol since I was in my 20s, but never that high. It scared me.

I did start a statin but also did a lot of research. What I decided to try and what has worked for me is following a whole-foods, plant-based diet with low/no added oils (like using oils for cooking, including olive oil) and significantly reduced natural fats (nuts and avocados are high in natural fats, so I cut way back on those). This type of eating also means little processed food and reducing sugar intake. Lots of books out there about this type of eating; look for books by Drs. Esselstyn, Campbell, McDougall, Greger, Barnard, Fuhrman.... Forks Over Knives also covers this way of eating.

I can eat tons of fruits and veggies, lots of whole grains and legumes. I pretty much gave up dairy.

Because my cholesterol was so incredibly high, I did start a statin. I also drastically altered my diet. In only two months, my cholesterol went from 336 to 119. While I am sure the statin played a big part, I believe the larger change came from altering my eating.

My goal is to get off statins while still maintaining low cholesterol.

It wasn't hard for me to give up cheese. Peanut butter (or any nut butter) was hard; I still eat peanut butter, just a lot less. The hardest diet change was giving up my splash of whole milk in my coffee; I now use a plant-based milk instead. It took me a full month to get used to it but it seems normal now.

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4 hours ago, Stacia said:

Last September, I found out my cholesterol was well over 300. I have high cholesterol since I was in my 20s, but never that high. It scared me.

I did start a statin but also did a lot of research. What I decided to try and what has worked for me is following a whole-foods, plant-based diet with low/no added oils (like using oils for cooking, including olive oil) and significantly reduced natural fats (nuts and avocados are high in natural fats, so I cut way back on those). This type of eating also means little processed food and reducing sugar intake. Lots of books out there about this type of eating; look for books by Drs. Esselstyn, Campbell, McDougall, Greger, Barnard, Fuhrman.... Forks Over Knives also covers this way of eating.

I can eat tons of fruits and veggies, lots of whole grains and legumes. I pretty much gave up dairy.

Because my cholesterol was so incredibly high, I did start a statin. I also drastically altered my diet. In only two months, my cholesterol went from 336 to 119. While I am sure the statin played a big part, I believe the larger change came from altering my eating.

My goal is to get off statins while still maintaining low cholesterol.

It wasn't hard for me to give up cheese. Peanut butter (or any nut butter) was hard; I still eat peanut butter, just a lot less. The hardest diet change was giving up my splash of whole milk in my coffee; I now use a plant-based milk instead. It took me a full month to get used to it but it seems normal now.

Wow, that's incredible!  Very inspiring. 

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15 hours ago, J-rap said:

My cholesterol is creeping up, and my doc has suggested the possibility of medication or else a change in diet, etc.  I actually eat pretty well!  I walk a lot.  I think high cholesterol runs in my family.  What have you tried that helps?  I rarely eat junk food.  I limit my desserts.  I DO eat lots of cheese and peanuts!  I eat chicken but little other meat.  No pop or juice.  A few years ago I was taking fish oil daily, and my cholesterol was quite good.  I haven't been taking it for about a year though.  Would that make a difference?  Other ideas?

FWIW -- DH's cardiologist says that fish oil helps with triglycerides much more than LDL.

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Can you give the breakdown? What is HDL, what is LDL, what your triglycerides are? There are several doctors that have done the research showing that statin meds are NOT a good option for women without a previous heart attack, and I'm pretty sure there is no evidence that they ARE a good option. I know I listened to a story on that on NPR years ago, a woman who had a book on it. 

Sugar/carbs tend to be more an issue than fats, because the body sends the cholesterol to the damaged arteries to try to heal them, like a bandaid. Cutting off the supply of bandaids isn't ht answer, the answer is to stop the damage to the arteries, which is from high blood sugar usually. Now, obviously there are exceptions, medicine is complicated, but in general that seems to be how the whole thing works. High triglycerides would be a signal that blood sugar is an issue, as would a highish A1C. Did they do an A1C?

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4 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Oh, and exercise. Exercise is huge. Doesn't have to be strenuous. 

Exercise and diet did not affect Mr. Ellie's cholesterol at all.

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12 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Can you give the breakdown? What is HDL, what is LDL, what your triglycerides are? There are several doctors that have done the research showing that statin meds are NOT a good option for women without a previous heart attack, and I'm pretty sure there is no evidence that they ARE a good option. I know I listened to a story on that on NPR years ago, a woman who had a book on it. 

Sugar/carbs tend to be more an issue than fats, because the body sends the cholesterol to the damaged arteries to try to heal them, like a bandaid. Cutting off the supply of bandaids isn't ht answer, the answer is to stop the damage to the arteries, which is from high blood sugar usually. Now, obviously there are exceptions, medicine is complicated, but in general that seems to be how the whole thing works. High triglycerides would be a signal that blood sugar is an issue, as would a highish A1C. Did they do an A1C?

My overall cholesterol level is 262, triglycerides are 113, LDL is 164, and HDL is 82.

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Some more ideas to consider:

Nattokinase, an enzyme, could help.

https://selfhacked.com/blog/nattokinase/

Stretching can help keep arteries supple although you’d probably not want to rely on it solely.

Sauna can help prevent cardiovascular problems and Alzheimer's.

https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes/jari-laukkanen

Testing ldl particle size is probably worth doing at some point.

https://heartmdinstitute.com/heart-health/vap-test-cholesterol-particle-size/

Some people with a family history of high cholesterol have been helped by taking a good quality curcumin and bioperene (black pepper) supplement. Thorne Research makes a good one called Meriva.

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If you aren't on any medications than consider intermittent fasting. Dr. Jason Fung wrote a book on it and has many YT videos about the subject.

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18 minutes ago, Mona said:

If you aren't on any medications than consider intermittent fasting. Dr. Jason Fung wrote a book on it and has many YT videos about the subject.

This is something I've heard about that has intrigued me.  My ds does this.

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1 hour ago, Ellie said:

Exercise and diet did not affect Mr. Ellie's cholesterol at all.

Sorry, I think I did say (or meant to say) that there are cases where the general rules do not apply, and that medicine/biology are complex. Just that for some people it can make all the difference, and is a good starting place. And that the standard diet recommendations of low fat usually don't work if you replace that fat with processed carbs as so many do. That the high cholesterol is a symptom, not the root problem. 

 

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Ok, so total cholesterol isn't good to look at because your HDL, which you want to be high, is very high, which is excellent! It's very protective against heart disease. I think there is usually also a ratio somewhere on the results of HDL and LDL, you might want to look at that and see where you are. Especially since your Triglycerides are normal. Do you have any high blood pressure issues? That can cause damage that signals the body to send out more LDL. And did they check blood sugar?

But really, with that high an HDL, and good triglycerides, I personally would NOT go on a medication with many known side effects and last I checked no research proving benefit in women without heart disease. Do you get exercise? Eat soluble fiber?

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2 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Ok, so total cholesterol isn't good to look at because your HDL, which you want to be high, is very high, which is excellent! It's very protective against heart disease. I think there is usually also a ratio somewhere on the results of HDL and LDL, you might want to look at that and see where you are. Especially since your Triglycerides are normal. Do you have any high blood pressure issues? That can cause damage that signals the body to send out more LDL. And did they check blood sugar?

But really, with that high an HDL, and good triglycerides, I personally would NOT go on a medication with many known side effects and last I checked no research proving benefit in women without heart disease. Do you get exercise? Eat soluble fiber?

My blood pressure is low to normal, and my glucose levels are within the norm.  I don't do strenuous exercise but walk a lot, daily.  I do try and eat fiber...  I eat a lot of legumes and vegetables.  (Almost always with cheese.  :)) 

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5 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

This book might be helpful, it is written by a woman cardiologist. Slapping men's treatments on women's bodies has not worked out real well, and she goes into why, and alternatives to try. https://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Statins-Alternatives-Cholesterol-Lowering/dp/1451656394

Interesting...  Looks like a good read.  The odd thing is that my dh and I eat almost exactly the same... he eats just a little worse, I'm a little more strict about it.  His cholesterol is perfect.  ????

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2 hours ago, J-rap said:

This is something I've heard about that has intrigued me.  My ds does this.

 

Well then, you should also check out Satchin Panda and time-restricted eating which is not the same as intermittent fasting but many people do both to treat health problems.

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17 hours ago, BeachGal said:

 

Well then, you should also check out Satchin Panda and time-restricted eating which is not the same as intermittent fasting but many people do both to treat health problems.

Super interesting site -- thanks!

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