My Daily Dose/Blog
12 May 2010
Many people ask me about whether I recommend statin medications (such as lipitor or simvastatin) to lower cholesterol. There are several ways to approach this question. I always suggest dietary control first and depending on the level of increased lipid levels, animal fat restriction can be fairly strict. Diet control generally raises HDL and lowers triglyceride levels. I encourage vigorous exercise which helps to lower the LDL fraction of cholesterol, the bad cholesterol molecule.
Several food have been purported to lower cholesterol, such as fish, which are high in omega 3 fatty acids as well as soy products, beans in general, flax seeds, fruits, nuts and vegetables.
Many supplements have been purported to lower cholesterol. My experience has not really been that all that successful in lowering values with supplements. But my friend and lawyer (and should have been doctor colleague), Marty Kriegel, just sent me an article that shows some encouraging results on this front. This discusses a case study that uses a combination of berberine, red yeast rice, and policosanol.
Often I find an inherited predisposition to high lipid levels and some people, despite having a good diet and exercise regime, continue to have elevated numbers. For these people, the only thing that works to lower their numbers is a radical approach. For example my friend, Kurt S. called several years ago and was in a bit of a panic because his cholesterol was over 320 and his LDL was very high. He said he didn’t want to take medication. So I told him to go on very low fat diet and start exercising and lose some pounds. Well…he took this to heart and went on an almost zero percent diet, was completely vegetarian and exercised vigorously, 1 hour daily. In three months he lost 30 pounds, was feeling unbelievably good and his cholesterol went down to 130. I was astonished and impressed and realized the power of being determined and disciplined.
But if one can not do this and it seems best to use statin meds, one should not despair. As long as a person takes Co Enzyme Q 10 (to keep this important anti-oxidant elevated) and pays good attention to diet and exercise, then statins can be taken in small dosages and can be effective with minimal side effects (mostly muscle pains and liver irritation). And, it has been shown that statins do have an anti cancer effect.