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CHOLESTEROL - has anyone lowered it naturally?

(46 Posts)
CuriousMama Thu 14-Mar-13 19:27:32

Dp's had to go on statins as his cholesterol is 7.3. I'm pretty worried about the side effects as is he.

He wants to try to lower it without the statins if possible? Has anyone managed this? He'll talk to his GP about it just thought I'd ask on here first.

He did used to exercise a lot more a few years ago. So more exercise is on the agenda.


my dp went from 8.4 to 5.2. he gave up dairy (turns out allergic separate issue), stopped smoking, started running and then gave up alcohol.he also eats huge quantities of homemade soup for lunch. it's been a gradual reduction.the last point we have directly attributed to giving up the booze.he's not miserable and he really enjoys his running.

CuriousMama Thu 14-Mar-13 20:28:48

Thanks for that denialandpanic. Did he not have to go on statins then? This gives me hope.

careergirl Thu 14-Mar-13 21:16:09

mine was 6.1 and reduced it naturally by shifting some weight and taking on board more fibre. I also take the yoghurt cholesterol lowering drinks. It came down to I think 5. something but within normal range anyway

CuriousMama Fri 15-Mar-13 00:11:36

Thanks careergirl.I put those drinks on the shopping list. Plus advocados, linseed, and lots more. He's up for it though and cutting down on sat fats. He has done that already though.

CuriousMama Fri 15-Mar-13 08:28:24

My shopping list is a lot different to normal. We do eat a lot of veg anyway but there's nuts and avocado, things like that on it. Plus benecol type drinks. Won't be buying sausages etc..

Dahlialover Fri 15-Mar-13 09:59:41

Mine went from 6.5 to 4.9

Cut out full fat dairy (still have low fat for the calcium and vitD - w/rose do nice lf yogurt but it is hard to find). Occasional cheese on top of things, mixed with breadcrumbs and herbs (or for christmas). Cut out biscuits, especially the chocolate wafer sort which seem to have a huge proportion of saturated fat. I make cakes with flora and make the ones with more fruits and seeds and interesting things in. I have a recipe for 'italian lemon cake' which is eggs, sugar, ground almonds and lemon rind and essence.

More pulses, nuts (almonds and walnuts) and porridge and seeds. More fish, less red meat and regular chicken but not too much (chicken is nearly all Omega6 oils which is not good if you are trying to get your Omega3 balance up)

I just put Helmans light mayonaise on sandwiches (which is rape seed oil) if needed and have given up putting fat on bread/toast, as the low fat spreads taste of nothing and make the toast wet. Sometimes I use mushed up avocado as a spread.

Use rape seed oil or olive oil for cooking in reduced quantities. I toss my parboiled potatoes in 1tbsp of rape seed oil and put them on a flat tray for roasties. Use nice olive oils and nut oils for salads. More avocado nuts or seeds in salad and herbs.

Also, I am trying to keep to low GI as the it is easy to end up with more sugar (and alcohol) as they are 'low fat'.

PS - high cocoa plain chocolate. Cocoa butter and coconut milk and palm oil are also high saturated fats

This sounds complicated! Sorry confused

digerd Fri 15-Mar-13 17:15:11

Eat loads of olives.

Elibean Fri 15-Mar-13 17:21:45

I lowered mine from 6.something to 5, by taking Benecol drinks every single day.

I also cut out biscuits, cakes and chocolate (didn't eat all that much red meat in the first place) and made sure I doubled my oily fish intake to at least 2x week.

No statins - though I would take them if I needed to: dh has the genetic type of high cholesterol, not touched by diet, and he is fine on them!

Elibean Fri 15-Mar-13 17:22:36

ps my GP - who is not usually swayed by anything alternative or food related - absolutely swears by the plant stanol thing (Benecol etc). If I did just one thing, it would be that. My mother lowered her cholesterol that way too.

Abra1d Fri 15-Mar-13 17:28:27

I use plant stanols and saw a small drop. I have gone back on to butter, though, because I cannot see that the small amount I eat makes any difference and I hate margarine. Some people say that vegetable oils are not good for your cholesterol either.

careergirl Fri 15-Mar-13 19:41:58

i also use the flora pro-activ as well as take the benecol

mercibucket Fri 15-Mar-13 19:56:25

Is he actually at risk with that level cholesterol? Mine is that high and I'm not bothering to do anything. I don't smoke, do a fair bit of exercise etc

mercibucket Fri 15-Mar-13 19:56:26

Is he actually at risk with that level cholesterol? Mine is that high and I'm not bothering to do anything. I don't smoke, do a fair bit of exercise etc

CuriousMama Fri 15-Mar-13 23:45:11

Thanks everyone.

fruitscone Sat 16-Mar-13 14:50:46

The 5:2 diet (2 days fasting, 5 days normal eating per week) is supposed to be very good for reducing cholesterol. Michael Mosely did a Horizon programme on it in August and there has been loads in the media and he now has a book out. I think he reduced his cholesterol considerably doing this. I have been doing it and don't know about my cholesterol but I have lost 1.5 stone in weight and it is very very doable.

CuriousMama Sat 16-Mar-13 15:05:06

I've seen that diet. I'll mention it thanks.

BIWI Sat 16-Mar-13 15:09:34

You can control it by diet - but also you need to ask if it's really a problem. IMVHO the real problem is putting everyone on statins. The side effects are awful.

It's worth bearing in mind that the medical profession keeps changing their minds about what constitutes 'high' as well.

And there is controversy about cholesterol levels and whether getting them low or not is a good idea. Low cholesterol levels are associated with high levels of heart disease amongst women!

have a read of this and I would also recommend that you buy a book called "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Dr Malcolm Kendrick.

A real eye-opener!

BIWI Sat 16-Mar-13 15:11:35
BIWI Sat 16-Mar-13 15:14:14

And I have c+p this piece, also by Zoe Harcombe because I think it's so interesting:

"Fat does not clog up our arteries

If a juggernaut were travelling around the road transport system – which roads would clog up? The minor roads and country lanes would be impassable and the motorways would continue to run with little disruption. Fat never clogs veins. By a process of common sense, therefore, fat also never clogs arteries. It would make no sense whatsoever that the only parts of the blood circulatory system that got clogged up were the ‘motorways’ – the widest and the fastest flowing pathways.

Without getting into the detail of different chain length fatty acids, it is a reasonable assertion to make that fat is not even travelling freely in the blood stream. Fat and water don’t mix so, since blood is effectively water, fat cannot travel freely around the blood system. Fat travels around in lipoproteins – along with cholesterol, protein and phospholipids. The idea that fat somehow leaps out of the lipoproteins to attach itself to the arterial wall to try to clog up the system and kill us is ludicrous at every level.

The far more likely explanation for narrowing of the arteries is that the wall of the arteries (called the endothelial wall), quite uniquely, can suffer damage such that a ‘lesion’ (think of a lesion as a ‘scab’), forms. The body is so clever and self protective that the body cannot and does not risk the scab breaking away and freely floating in the blood stream – as this could cause a blockage. The lining of the endothelial wall tries to repair itself and forms a new layer over the scab – sucking the scab back into the lining of the artery wall in so doing. That’s how smart and life preserving our bodies are. The trouble is – if we continue to be exposed to whatever was damaging the lining of the arteries (suspects are smoking, processed food, pollution, stress – modern aspects of modern life implicated in a modern disease) – we continue to form lesions. We only need too many ‘scabs’ in one area, and the repair kit being unable to keep up, and we could be in trouble – big heart attack or stroke kind of trouble.

This brings us on to the ‘repair kit’. The best repair nutrient of all – the body’s chief anti-oxidant, anti-blood-clotter and repairer of blood vessels is vitamin E. Another trouble is – vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, found in nature’s real fat foods (meat, fish, eggs etc), which we are continually telling people to avoid! Another huge irony is that cholesterol and fat are the two main repair substances in the body. So, a lesion forms and cholesterol will head to the area to do its repair job and to try to fix the scab. Then, if the person dies because there’s only so much cholesterol can do, pathologists find cholesterol around the scab – at the scene of the crime so to speak – and blame cholesterol for causing the damage. How unfair is that?! Police are always at the scene of the crime, but no one accuses the police of committing all the crimes!

When will we see the most obvious fact of modern life and modern illness? Man-made things are harming us and nature’s natural things have always been there to help us. The more we have of the former and the less we have of the latter, the more ill health we risk.

The final trouble is that food, drink and drug companies are bigger than many countries and they want to grow even bigger. Food and drink makes us fat and sick and we then need drugs and surgery to manage obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, damaged joints and limbs – it is a perfect symbiotic relationship.

Good fats are those made by nature; bad fats are those made by man – that’s all we need to know. The idea that unsaturated fats are good and saturated fats are bad is actually quite funny if you know the composition of food…

Nature puts saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in foods in the ‘right’ measure. As an example – in 100 grams of pork chop (United State Department of Agriculture example food – pork chop, boneless, raw, lean and fat), there is no carbohydrate, there are 21 grams of protein and 4.2 grams of fat. The rest is water (75%). Of the 4.2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams are saturated and 2.7 grams are unsaturated. The (very small) part of this pork chop that is fat is 47% monounsaturated fat, 40% saturated and 13% polyunsaturated fat. Do we really think that the 40% of our pork chop is trying to kill us while the 47% monounsaturated fat is trying to save us – presumably with the 13% polyunsaturated fat providing backup? It is utterly ludicrous."

SirEdmundFrillary Sat 16-Mar-13 15:21:05

My understanding is there is 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol, and it's the ratios that matter, so if he can up the proportion of 'good' that would be good :P i.e. oily fish and avocado, etc.

Although who can tell? That's what they say now but it might all change again.

I apologise to everyone also for recent strangeness of my posts, the result of unwellness.

CuriousMama Sat 16-Mar-13 15:28:29

Thanks for all that information BIWI.

SirEF I hope you're feeling better now? Not that I've noticed any strange posts.

SirEdmundFrillary Sat 16-Mar-13 15:34:05

smile Thank you, curious.

Also, I think oatbran is good. I've been told it lowers it. The one I get is in an orange packet, if that helps grin

BIWI Sat 16-Mar-13 15:35:39

Hope it helps, CuriousMama.

purplewithred Sat 16-Mar-13 15:42:03

theres a check the doctor can do on your cardiac risk over the next 10 years, taking into account your cholesterol levels (good, bad, ratio, triglycerates), weight, height, BP, family history, can't remember. That will tell you a) if you have to worry and b) what you should worry about (might be on a website somewhere)

My cholesterol was 6.5 or something but very good ratio of good:bad, plus low bp, no family history, etc so my cardiac risk is very low.

BIWI Sat 16-Mar-13 15:44:17

.... but don't forget there's a lot of money in recommending statins ...

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Sat 16-Mar-13 15:47:17

BIWI - thought I'd fine you here smile <<< What BIWI said, twice!

He can do it through diet, but first of all he needs to decide if it's actually a problem or not... the book BIWI recommended is good (I borrowed it from the library or I'd send you mine).

I should have mentioned earlier that dp had cholesterol tested in first place as he had a very bad family cardiac history.shockingly bad.

CuriousMama Mon 18-Mar-13 08:26:51

Thanks again all. I'll get him some oatbran SirEF.

He does have a bad family history, as do I. My bp is low though, sometimes a bit too low. His is pretty high but does differ.

His cholesterol test wasn't a fasting one. His mum told him it should've been? He's going to get tested at the chemist fasting.

We're stocked up on the yoghurt drinks, nuts, avocados and some other things. Plus he's eating much healthier. He cooked salmon new pots and fresh veg for dinner yesterday. I do tend to cook low fat anyway tbh except for dss. Dp cooks too and is usually good but is keen to change a lot now.

CuriousMama Mon 18-Mar-13 08:29:48

BIWI just ordered that book from the library thanks.

digerd Mon 18-Mar-13 09:36:40

Cholesterol must be tested on an empty stomach - nothing for 12 hours before.
If much too high and with a family of cardio vascular problems, he probably will be given Statins by GP and advised to take more exercise and reduce his fat intake.

A man I know, stopped his Statins and lowered his Cholesterol eating loads of Olives every evening after work.

CuriousMama Mon 18-Mar-13 18:21:24

Thanks digerd.

dolcedeleite Wed 20-Mar-13 22:56:51

I have gestational diabetes and raised cholesterol! And wanted to address both naturally. Heard the soluble fibre from oats is good for glucose response and lowering cholesterol - too goof to be true right?

So I started eating porridge each morning (which didn't effect my bloods to badly) and also using sachets of this fibre from company - you need a couple of servings of oats a day and there was no way I wanted to eat porridge more than once.

This combined with stopping gaining any more baby weight and light exercise has helped with both sets of numbers.


dolcedeleite Wed 20-Mar-13 22:59:39

Also. As with some of the posts above. I don't eat low fat! I pay more attention to reducing the amount of carbs I eat (particularly the more refined ones).

I've never eaten much processed fat and am convinced that it was my rather embarrassingly high carb consumption that drove my LDL numbers up.

StaticSockMonster Wed 20-Mar-13 23:10:57

I was diagnosed with high cholesterol in 2006 following the death of my sister. We found out that she had very high cholesterol after she had died (she didn't know either and it wasn't because of that that she passed away). When I was tested it was 9 point something. (My mums was higher and my dad and brother were both 8 point something)
I was referred to a specialist who advised that it was genetic and statins were the only way to reduce it substantially.
I exercise regularly, eat a healthy balanced diet and rarely drink alcohol.
The specialist advised that my diet etc was good but I needed the statins as it wouldn't reduce enough on its own.

So it's coming up to seven years that iv been taking them and the specialist advised I'd be on them for life.
When I first started the only side effects it has was I sometimes get light headed.
I occasionally get recurring cramp in my legs but if it goes on for more than I few days iv been told to stop the tablets for a week then start again.
The only other side effects I get are if the chemist prescribes a "cheaper" brand.

I think your DP maybe needs to see how he goes on with them. There are several sorts so will hopefully find something that suits him.

digerd Thu 21-Mar-13 07:22:19

High Cholesterol does not cause problems for everybody. My niece was always 6, and then 7 while pregnant, but as she has low blood pressure, that shows it is not clogging her arteries and veins. And has never been prescribed Statins.

An obese man 30 kilos, had 11, and was given an Angiogramm fully expecting his arteries to have clogging. But they were surprisingly , for the medics, as clean as a whistle.

Cholesterol has many functions for the body, including repairing cells and insulating nerves.

digerd Thu 21-Mar-13 07:35:26

When my cholesterol was 6.3 ,I was put on Statins, although I am very slim and can't afford to lose any weight.
I was put on the highest does as the lower didn't work, and after 1 year, it was 3.5. As I had problems with weakening muscles < doc said it was ageing>, I came off the Statins for a year, and after 6 weeks, my legs felt better.
A year later it was 6.9, so DR insisted, due to other problems, that I go back on the 40mg per day at night.
I decided to eat lots of olives as well and in 3 months it was down to 4.3.

digerd Thu 21-Mar-13 07:38:48

oops 'dose'

CuriousMama Thu 21-Mar-13 08:25:10

Thanks for this information. He'll go back on them if he can't lower it naturally. Plus he needs to be tested after not eating. Our local chemist tests so that's handy.

digerd Thu 21-Mar-13 21:05:38

A finger tip test is not as reliable as a blood test at drs, I was told.
I too worry that my cholesterol is too low to repair all my <ageing> cells, but there is no way of testing that.

The best indication is if the blood pressure is fine, then the amount of Cholesterol - bad- is not clogging up the veins and arteries. Or an Angiogramm but that is too expensive and rather traumatising for many to undergo. So, GPs put those whose BP is even a little over the < reduced >ideal of 120/80 on Statins if Cholesterol over 6.

My niece with her 7, and low blood pressure, is very fit and never gets ill or even has a cold. Sits at work at a pc all day and has a perfect oxygen level in her blood.

CuriousMama Fri 22-Mar-13 08:34:25

His bp was over 140/89 ish but fluctuates. He's 57 so it is worrying. He's at the hospital soon for another test probably have bloods done then. Thanks for the information digerd.

BecauseImWoeufIt Fri 22-Mar-13 08:46:42

Do you have a blood pressure monitor, CuriousMama? It's really worth buying one - Boots sell a range - and they're not necessarily that expensive.

140/89 is at the high end, and indicates a possible problem, but it's not actually high in itself. There is also always the risk of 'white coat syndrome' where BP is artificially raised by the stress of having it taken. (This is recognised by the medical profession as a real issue, btw!)

I had the same problem about 6 months ago, and it just didn't make sense - I'd lost (by then) 1.5 stones, and had been exercising hard for 6 months. I'd also cut down on the amount of booze I was drinking - all things that are supposed to lower your BP.

I have a home monitor, and started to monitor myself. The readings at home were always lower than when I was at the GP and now, a further 6 months on, another half a stone down and taking more exercise, my last reading was about 122/75 - so very acceptable. (I'm 53 by the way, so no spring chicken!)

Does your DH do any exercise? That really helps with BP.

CuriousMama Fri 22-Mar-13 09:20:24

Glad to hear yours has gone down BIWI.

Yes we have a monitor and it fluctuates at home.

He does exercise, was dancing a lot last night, walks and cycles (not as much of that though) and I'm going to dig out the Shred for us both to do.

He could do with losing 2 stones perhaps? That'll help a lot.

digerd Fri 22-Mar-13 16:08:56

40 at 57 is fine but the diastolic of 89 is a bit high. The one above fluctuates massively when exercising, stressed, angry etc. to when you are calm and relaxed.

digerd Fri 22-Mar-13 16:09:34


CuriousMama Fri 22-Mar-13 17:32:15

He hasn't taken it for a few weeks I'll get him to do it tonight see if it's lowered?

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