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73 Comments

  1. Laurie, Thank you for sharing this information. My family has had a horrible history of cholesterol issues. I counted myself lucky making it to my 50s with a minor issue of triglycerides, which is not the familial issue. I was able to resolve that problem, but now, years later, my LDL is climbing out of control no matter what I do. So far, I have been able to stand my ground about no statins. (I don’t respond to most medications well and work hard to do it the natural way.) My sister is struggling as well. She is doing the niacin thing under the guidance of her medical provider…shock! I am going to work on this list and continue searching for ways to bring it down.
    I recently read about amla, or Indian gooseberry, which is used in Ayervedic medicine. I think I found a reliable source and want to see if that will work. But most natural alteratives, you need to commit to at least 3 months, if not longer, to see how your body is going to respond to it/them and how well. I try to commit to a 6 month minimum.
    BTW – the “lab” schedule you end up on when you start taking statins is more to check on what that stuff is doing to you body than it is to see how your cholesterol numbers are responding. That was courtesy of a provider or clinical staff who has worked with my husband over the many years of him being on statins and other meds.
    Thanks again for such great information.

    1. There are many different options out there, but statins do not seem like a good one to me.

      Another study, “No association between ‘bad cholesterol’ and elderly deaths

      “An international team of experts has found that older people with high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) live as long, and often longer, than their peers with low levels of LDL-C. The findings, resulting from an analysis of past studies involving more than 68,000 participants over 60 years of age, call into question the ‘cholesterol hypothesis’ which suggests people with high cholesterol are at risk of dying and need statin drugs to lower their cholesterol.”

  2. Have heard of drinking a little bit of water that an egg plant was boiled in daily will bring down your number ? I have a customer that says this has brought hers down a lot . She is in her early 70 s in great shape ,slender and very active so her high numbers must be inherited ? ( she cut egg plant in chunks boils it 10 min in large pot of water, cools it then dips out the pulp and stores the water in fridge ) she said it was working for her and her husband……

    1. I hadn’t heard of this, but some online searching does show that some people use eggplant to lower cholesterol. One site places eggplant and lemon slices in a pitcher of water in the fridge and tells people to drink the water.

    1. I hunted down the abstract for that study and re-linked it. The abstract doesn’t give details on dosage in terms of how many blueberries they ate, only that they consumed varying amounts of blueberry polyphenols. The “time and dose dependent manner” means that their blood work changed over time depending on the dose they were given.

      The title of the study is a mouthful, as they usually are “Intake and time dependence of blueberry flavonoid-induced improvements in vascular function: a randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover intervention study with mechanistic insights into biological activity.

      Their results and conclusions:

      RESULTS:
      We observed a biphasic time-dependent increase in FMD, with significant increases at 1-2 and 6 h after consumption of blueberry polyphenols. No significant intake-dependence was observed between 766 and 1791 mg. However, at 1 h after consumption, FMD increased dose dependently to ≤766 mg total blueberry polyphenol intake, after which FMD plateaued. Increases in FMD were closely linked to increases in circulating metabolites and by decreases in neutrophil NADPH oxidase activity at 1-2 and 6 h.

      CONCLUSIONS:
      Blueberry intake acutely improves vascular function in healthy men in a time- and intake-dependent manner. These benefits may be mechanistically linked to the actions of circulating phenolic metabolites on neutrophil NADPH oxidase activity.

      So it looks like the blueberries started to kick in around 1-2 hours after consumption, and continued to positively influence blood chemistry for at least 6 hours. (But they didn’t test after 6 hours, so there’s no clear indication of when the impact subsides.)

      Blueberries, like most brightly colored fruits and vegetables, are high in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Reduce inflammation, and blood cholesterol levels may go down because the cholesterol crew has fewer repairs to make.

  3. really great amount of FACTUAL info throughout the site, dies the C M A or Ag Can know you exist? gt ready for them to raid you if they don’t. Anyhoo the item on the walnut balls reallllly is important.
    Over in Norfolk county the Kernals Peanuts have REAL peanut BUTTER in many forms, like peanut butter chocolate fudge ice cream; great for desert after the double garlic black peanuts that are put into a chicken, pork or haddock fried rice and veggie supper. deciding which will be eaten first, your walnut bars or quinoa oat barley power bars i make when i want a mid morning or mid afternoon munch. if you want the recipe sent to you send a reply, the medic can’t get it through his head how
    throwing in the burdock weed leaves along with recipes like you put out helps keep the cholesterol and weight levels down. again lots of good ideals for solid thinking on not just for eating.
    ‘ber, my nick name

    1. I suspect we’re on some watch or another for simply encouraging people to grow their own food. My husband used to have pretty high security clearance back in the military, and I’ve had to have background checks done for entering nuke plants, so were white listed back in the day, but it’s been a while. You may find this satire piece I wrote some years ago humorous – “Homeschool Family Raided by SWAT Team for Possession of Raw Milk and Thorium Reactor“.

      Good recipes are always welcome.

  4. I’ve been told that mine was very high Dr wanted to put me on meds but I asked if it were possible to give me a year to lower on my own I’ve read some horrible stories regarding Statins. Reading this article will help me to do so. Thank you so very kindly for your advice.

  5. Again, the medical profession has it wrong. Cholesterol is an IMPORTANT part of a healthy person, especially the older we get. It is, very generally speaking, the ‘grease’ that helps keep our joints working. It is also NOT the cause for heart disease!

    Carbohydrates consumed, antioxidant intake, smoking, weight (especially around the middle), lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and HEALTHY saturated fats, all combine to increase your risk factor of heart disease.

    All the above suggested ways to reduce cholesterol are great suggestions though.

    1. Carol – did you read page 2 of the article? (I broke it into two pages because it was so long, but perhaps I should go back to one.) Cholesterol is not the enemy. It is essential to life and health. Unfortunately, many people are forced by their healthcare providers or healthcare plans to try and lower their cholesterol – thus the post.

  6. Hello!
    I’ll be 60 on Tuesday…Yay! And I’ve just been told my cholesterol is high. I don’t remember the numbers as I was in shock after my Dr. said that on the phone!
    I have a super food smoothie for breakfast and lunch with toast and lingon berry jam (yum). For the last year and a half.
    Most all of the things that are supposed to lower cholesterol I consume daily.
    Apparently it’s another part of being a woman this age. Again, Yay!
    I’m still reading a lot about it, thanks for your information! Coconut oil, is that high in cholesterol or does it help lower my numbers?
    Thank you!

      1. I really appreciate you taking the time to dig, I was finding the same thing.
        Thanks lots, glad I found you, so much information I can’t wait to read!

  7. Great article
    I am 52, i checkd my blood and i came to know my SERUM TRIGL YCERIDE is 580 , i am planing have some herble medicine, Curry leavs ,cooking with cocount milk and rice ,like as a soup. You have any idea about this? I got this infor from local aurwedic docter in my town.

    1. Curry is well know for its anti-inflammatory properties. In the article “Health Benefits of Curry Leaves“, they state:

      Many research shows that curry leaves have properties that can help in lowering one’s blood cholesterol levels. Packed with antioxidants, curry leaves prevent the oxidation of cholesterol that forms LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). This in turn helps in increasing the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) and protects your body from conditions like heart disease and atherosclerosis.

  8. My doc recommended a low carb diet and I have stuck to it faithfully for about a year. My HDL is on the high side of normal( can you have too much good cholesterol?) And my LDL is ten points over the limit. I read an article stating that there is a subset of people whose lipids don’t respond to a low carb diet. I will continue this diet for other reasons, but will also try your suggestions. Thanks!

    1. Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, just someone who does a lot of research.

      Generally speaking, I think the push to put people on cholesterol lowering medications is a really bad idea. Cholesterol performs many critical functions in the body, including addressing inflammation.

      If you have elevated levels of HDL, maybe it’s trying to work on healing some sort of inflammation in the body? In your diet, have your tried eliminating common allergens to see if it makes a difference? Are you eating plenty of foods that are high in anti-oxidants, including leafy greens and other bright colored veggies, and raw foods? Do you include fermented foods to improve gut health? Have you tried adding a spore based probiotic supplement (such as Totnes’ Probiotics) to aggressively rebuild helpful bacteria in the gut (including the lower intestinal tract, where many probiotics can’t reach)? Most of us have had our gut health compromised via antibiotics, stress and other environmental toxins, so a good quality probiotic can make a big difference in overall health. Probiotics have been a big part of addressing my own health issues, and I firmly believe that they would be a benefit in many other conditions, too. At the very least, they shouldn’t hurt.

  9. I like your article and will be following a lot of the suggestions you made. But I have a problems with owning a cat. For one thing I’m allergic to cat hair and most importantly, I have a german shephard. So that suggestion will NOT be followed. But will take your book to my doctor on Friday. Thanks again for this.

  10. Great article! I grew up in a family of skinny people slowly dying from cholesterol related illnesses. Through the 80’s, we adjusted our diet to include a plethora of “substitute” foods. Over the years, I’ve watched my dad become less and less healthy, as my grandfather and his brothers did. All take/took statins, and my brother is on his way, if he isn’t already. I’m happy to say that, even though I’m overweight, by eating real foods, including butter, eggs, and red meat (mostly venison, I’ll concede), for several decades now I don’t have any of those health issues. I firmly believe all the fake stuff we ate and the damage the statins cause (my dad is diabetic from them) has diminished their lives instead of helped.

  11. I use all the ones you listed and still have high cholesterol. I just found out about these two and are adding these to my diet! Dr. Oz says they work.
    Add these to the list.
    PURSLANE (Portulaca oleracea)
    Goji berries.
    I just ordered seeds to grow my own because their are none in the city here.

  12. Great post Laurie,

    One of the natural, and interesting, ways to reduce the level of cholesterol is sleeping.

    Our bodies metabolizes cholesterol as we sleep. This is the exact reason why it is recommended to take statin drugs before we go to sleep.

    Those who get too little sleep or too much sleep are more prompt to have higher levels of bad cholesterol and lower levels of good cholesterol. Sleeping time intervals that are not normal are believed to interrupt the way cholesterol is metabolized by our bodies.

    Additional advantage of getting enough sleep intervals is that you will have more stamina to be more physically active, which will benefit your cholesterol levels.

  13. Great information, keep up the good works, information thats natural and, makes sense is truly valuable. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  14. What about those who are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol? My husband has tried the diet changes to no avail. He is not overweight and gets moderate exercise.

    1. If he is otherwise healthy, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about it, as there are numerous studies that link higher cholesterol levels with longevity. You can read more at, “The Benefits of Cholesterol“. If he has other health concerns, you should work with a trained health professional. I can share general information, but it’s not safe or legal for me to give specific advice.

  15. Thanks for this post. I don’t know anyone who feels better taking statin drugs. I would much rather manage my cholesterol with diet and lifestyle. So far, my tests all come back looking great on the HDL and lipid panels and I hope to keep it that way

  16. Have the yearly check up next week and remembered this post. Thank you! I’m taking a copy to the doc. 🙂

    1. Have you ever watched “My Cat from Hell”? It’s got some good tips for dealing with difficult cats and helping them learn to be the good companions we’d like them to be. One high energy cat showed up and adopted us last summer, and we’ve have to really work with him to get him to be a much more loveable fellow.

        1. It’s a really neat show. The turnaround in the cats is amazing. Miss Kitty, our older female cat, does the ankle attack sometimes, too, when she’s feeling sassy, but not too often.

  17. Thank you for this post! I’m so glad it poped up in my pinterest feed. My 12 year old has a cholesterol of 200. No mention of drugs….yet! I’m glad to have a few other more natural options to try. It was also interesting to read why we need cholesterol. Knew that had to be a reason if our bodies produce it. No way is she going on meds.

  18. Thanks for sharing this information, Laurie. I recently had a wellness check that showed my ldl cholesterol was slightly higher than optimal. Their recommendation was to switch to low fat foods and exercise more…exercise yes, low fat foods…not so sure. I’m going to try increasing vit c, magnesium, and some of your other suggestions (and exercise too). Thanks!

    1. My niece, who is a nurse, says that very little time is spent on nutrition, and from what I have seen from my own health care practitioner, I would agree. It takes a long time to change long held dogmas. Good luck!

  19. I have been diagnosed with extremely high triglycerides (over 300) and my doc put me on Lipitor first, then Crestor. I had terrible muscle pain and weakness with both and did not continue with the prescription. I went for a few years before getting my lipid panel, changing the food I eat (more Paleo) and exercising more. As a result, my next lipid panel showed a whopping increase to over 600 and my doc said it was the highest she had ever seen. She recommended I change my diet and start on LiVaLo a newer statin that was not supposed to have the same side effects. After doing some research, I found that my age 63 and lack of any familial heart disease could make my high levels a non-issue. Paleo diets are also reported to increase levels as well. I would rather eat pure and healthy and feel better than revert to how I was previously. The meds are outrageously expensive also $280 for a month supply of 15 pills. That is close to 1/3 my monthly income. Totally makes no sense for me to take these meds. I’m glad more medical professionals are speaking out on this topic, and thanks for posting it here. We can all be more healthy without Big Pharma if we do some of the things on your list!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Pamela. I’ve seen loved ones have terrible side effects from the medications, and I don’t wish that on anyone. Good for you for doing your research.

  20. Real good article. I am looking for more information on Coconut oil. I recently has by pass surgery and my cardiologist is saying to reduce saturated fats, one of whom is coconut oil. I realized this is a plant based saturated fat so this is why I am looking for my information. Thank you for all the good resources

    1. Hi Catherine.

      You may want to check out this recent article on Dr. Oz and share it with your doctor. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/surprising-health-benefits-coconut-oil

      Information blaming saturated fats for heart disease is based primarily on a study that used oxidized (damaged) fats, force fed in large amounts. This site offers a comprehensive discussion of the saturated fat/cholesterol myth – http://chriskresser.com/specialreports/heartdisease

      You’re very welcome, and have a great holiday season.

  21. Thanks Laurie for the very well put together post!
    My Mom and Mother-in-law are both on cholesterol lowering drugs and I don’t think either one of them need them. My Mother-in-law is 85 years old and is in great health, will go for a 5 mile walk when the weather permits or rides a stationary bike for an hour, lifts weights and eats really well (I even got her to to start drinking Kombucha) and has no problems with her heart or blood flow.
    My Mom is stiff and osteoarthritic and she notices that she feels much better when she is off her Cholesterol meds. I’m going to print this off for her.

    1. There are so many people I know who are affected by this that I just felt I had to say something about it. Those side effects are nasty! Give you mom a hug for me – and your MIL, too, if you can catch her. 🙂

  22. This gave me a big smile! By the way… it is very true! Sure, cats all have very different personalities… same a people all act different! 🙂

    1. Maybe the cat thing is tied into their purrs?

      “The Cat’s Purr – A Biomechanical Healing Mechanism?” – http://consciouscat.net/2009/09/14/the-cats-purr-a-biomechanical-healing-mechanism/

      “In a 2006 study conducted by Fauna Communications, researchers found that the frequency of a cat’s purr (between 25 and 140 Hz), convers the same frequencies that are therapeutic for bone growth and fracture healing, pain relief, swelling reduction, wound healing, muscle growth and repair, tendon repair, and mobility of joints.”

    1. Thanks, Adrienne. Actually, that study didn’t see the same correlation with dog owners, perhaps because dogs require more care (walks, attention) or maybe due to the differing personalities of dog and cat owners. Other studies have shown that dogs are very good at lifting depression and reducing anxiety, so dogs may have a less direct effect on reducing cholesterol.

      1. I can’t imagine a cat would reduce your cholesterol, but a dog wouldn’t. People who own cats either can’t find them or they are wrapping their wounds after being bitten or scratched 🙂

        1. Kristen – That is so not true! My 2 cats follow me around most all the time. And on the rare occasion that they are out of my sights, all it takes is for me to yell “PARTY MIX!!!” and they come running for a treat. Bo biting, no scratching.