Yikes! My doctor gave me the news I had hoped to never hear. He said I have sticky-icky cholesterol [the LDL kind] in my blood. Lab results indicate that my cholesterol numbers are more like what you’d expect from someone who lives on fried foods and tons of donuts, and other delicious things soaked with unhealthy fats. Fortunately, I’m not a big fan of those kinds of foods.
How did I end up with too much LDL then? Heredity. My mother had high cholesterol, as did her dad. As far as I know, no-one on her side of the family had heart disease. This makes me question the LDL panic that has swept our nation over the last decade, and whether or not it’s the true culprit behind hardening of the arteries and coronary disorders.
Like most every doctor on the planet with a patient who has high LDL, mine recommended that I take a cholesterol lowering medication. I respect his counsel and expertise, but I also know that there are alternatives to many prescription drugs.
In pursuit of answers, I read reports and study results concerning cholesterol’s link to heart disease and strokes. As it turned out, finding the truth was a bit like attending a political party debate where both sides know that they are right, and everyone listening to them wonders who to believe.
To my total chagrin, the heart disease villain hides behind mounds of reports and studies, theories and healthcare philosophies. In comparison, a “natural” treatment was easy to pinpoint. At least, there’s consensus among healthcare practitioners about what works and what doesn’t work.
Not wanting to keep such a good thing to myself, I’m taking the information I gathered from hours of tedious reading and summarizing it into something that I hope you will find helpful and not boring.
Each of the alternatives on here are shown in multiple studies to build heart health and get those cholesterol numbers to a range that keeps doctors smiling. These “natural remedies” may not work for everyone, but they work for a lot of people. This being the case, I’m giving them a try. For some accountability, I’ll write again to let you know how it’s going. And, who knows, maybe this will encourage you in your pursuit of improved health.
There are literally thousands of articles, and dozens of studies that have been conducted on this whole topic of cholesterol management and treatment alternatives. From the pages and pages of material that I read, I’ve narrowed the mountain of information down to five important steps that can significantly contribute to healthy cholesterol, strong hearts and arteries. Here they are: 1. The mineral Magnesium, preferably as Magnesium Taurate. 2. A low sugar and starch free lifestyle. 3. Low amounts of saturated fats. 4. Moderate exercise, thirty-minutes a day, 6x/week. 5. Krill oil supplement
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll begin implementing each of these 5 steps. I think the hardest ones for me will be consistently exercising and keeping sugars to a minimum. Eliminating starches might be a bit tricky, also because my husband likes his potatoes and pasta.
Here’s a little more information from the studies and reports:
- Magnesium: in some ways, it acts like a low dose “natural statin” without harmful side effects and is excellent for overall health. [A little more about statins and Magnesium in a second]. Typically, a life style improvement is also needed along with Magnesium to adjust especially high cholesterol levels to a range accepted by most physicians.
- This brings us to the second step that my husband and I are making; reducing starches and sugars. Starches convert to sugar during digestion, and sugar of all types contributes to cholesterol production.
- We’ve all heard about the dangers of saturated fats. The liver coverts it to cholesterol. Eliminating all fats is a bad idea, as the human body needs some fat for energy. The kind of fats most recommended are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and Omega 3.
- The next step is something I’m sure most of you relate to. It’s a need for more physical activity. I’m getting my heart rate up by doing something that is not on my list of favorites. If you see a woman jogging for three-minutes and then walking for six, and jogging for three more and walking for another six, and then jogging, etc.—that’s me. This type of exercise is where it’s at for a woman who has run fewer times than I’d like to admit in the past 20 years.
Moderate activity, such as fast walking, jogging, dancing or aerobics greatly reduces LDL and improves HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
- Lastly, a Krill oil supplement. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Krill oil 1-3 g per day (BMI-dependent) was found to be effective for the reduction of glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and HDL, compared to both fish oil and placebo.”
To sum it up, Magnesium and Krill oil are excellent supplements for coronary and heart health. When combined with exercise and a low sugar, low saturated fat meal plan [notice I didn’t say diet], my LDL cholesterol should drop to healthy levels.
The Nitty Gritty of Statins: they are produced by pharmaceuticals and are cholesterol lowering medications. Something that I found interesting is that Red Yeast Rice is a natural low dose statin and is the base ingredient in two popular statin drugs.
While the good news is that statins work for most everyone; the bad news is that prescription medications containing statins and Red Yeast Rice deplete the body’s natural CoQ10, a vital nutrient for healthy brain and heart health. For this reason, many health professionals recommend that those who take cholesterol lowering medications and those who take Red Yeast Rice also take a CoQ10 supplement.
Where Spirituality Fits in all of This: When I first heard about my lab results, I was discouraged, but later I was encouraged while remembering a miracle that I witnessed a number of years ago. While ministering in Northern California, a gentleman in the congregation came forward to receive prayer for his high cholesterol. In answer to prayer, the Lord did a miracle for him. Days later, his wife told me that he no longer has high cholesterol and he was even able to go off of his medication. For this I’m especially grateful.
Faith and prayer are essential for wholeness. In over 15 years experience as a minister, my team and I have witnessed hundreds of people testify of complete relief from all sorts of symptoms following prayer. Seeing men and women who had suffered with chronic conditions instantly free through God’s power is one of the greatest joys of my life.
It’s so easy to over focus on working hard and doing all the “right” things to be healthy, but forget that our relationship with God has to be a priority if we are going to be whole and happy individuals. So, I’m closing this article with one final word of encouragement.
Pray daily. Prayer is communication with God, the Creator. It won’t do you any good to worry about the big and little things in life; roll them over onto the Lord and leave them there. He loves you with a love that is so huge as to be immeasurable.
And now for that boring disclaimer that is at the end of every health related article. Of course, I’m not a health care professional, and this little bit of writing is not a health claim, a health cure, or a health prescription. If you choose to go off of statins, you might want to see if your doctor will work with you. The only prescription that I will give is one for life—have faith in God and pray for all needs.
- Why Krill Oil is Good for Your Health, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/10/krill-oil-supplementation.aspx
- Low Magnesium Linked to Heart Disease, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/255783.php
- Nutrition and Healthy Eating, Dietary Fats: Know which types to eat, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550?pg=2
- Evaluation of the effects of Neptune Krill Oil on the clinical course of hyperlipidemia, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15656713
- Dr. Sinatra, CoQ10 Facts: What You Should Know, http://www.drsinatra.com/coq10-facts-what-you-should-know
- University of Maryland Medical Center, Coenzyme Q10, http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/coenzyme-q10