Alternative Therapies Community
541 Members
Avatar universal


Ok, I am close to giving up on this route. I'm making one last go at it, though. I am a young male with no other risk factors besides high cholesterol. I found out about my issues with cholesterol in december of last year. I don't remember all my numbers, but my Total Cholesterol was 289. My triglycerides were through the roof. My good cholesterol was extremely low and bad cholesterol was extremely high. At the time, I was overweight and pre-hypertensive. I decided NOT to add another med, so i made my best effort at a diet. So far, i've lost 60+ pounds and currently have great BP/resting pulse readings. My BMI is normal. I have not incorporated exercise into this yet, because I've spent too much energy in the overhaul of my diet. I've made massive changes.

To the point, it hasn't been enough. It HAS made an improvement. My triglycerides now are right around 100. My total cholesterol went down to 219, but has since gone up again to 227....mainly because i had a vacation and since then, I have been fairly generous with my diet. In any event, I intend to give this one last go on my own without meds and i want to go full force. I am adding cholesterol lowering foods to my diet. I have already added them, but I don't think I've done it in the quantities that I really need. At some point, I also intend to add exercise. In particular, aerobic exercise.

First, my question for anyone who has read this far, is what supplements should I consider to be worth the money? I have added omega-3 fish oil under the suggestion of my doctor. I'm leary of this only because it works mainly on triglycerides, according to the information I've read, and it works very little on HDL/LDL. At least, that's what I've read. I hope someone will correct me if i'm wrong. Since I have no problems right now with my triglycerides, I'm not sure how this will help...but I'm willing to give it a go anyway.

I have read conflicting evidence that cinnamin supplements will help, as well as cloves. My question is are there ANY effective suppliments OTC that I can try and that do not have adverse effects? I have not tried niacin or niamicin (spelling?) yet...and my Doctor didn't really recommend it. She said I could try it but didn't seem to think too much of it.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. So far, my Doctor has not gone the statin route because I am too young and she wants to try everything else first. I totally agree with her, which is why I'm here looking for new ways to tackle this.
10 Responses
Avatar universal
First speak to your doctor about what I'm recommending!!
Get serious about food. Part of this must be to eat a plant-based diet. Depending on a patient’s particular profile, I suggest either the Dean Ornish heart-reversal diet or the South Beach Diet. If you know anything about heart disease, the Ornish diet is better because it
most effectively cleanses the system of excess fat.The South Beach Diet is usually for those with risk factors but no known heart disease. This diet allows more latitude and can still get a person to the recommended targets.The Ornish diet puts no restriction on calorie intake  mainly because it’s hard to consume too many calories eating fruits and vegetables  you’ll need to limit your calories on the South Beach Diet or a Mediterranean diet (another good one). A typical unrestricted diet for the average adult contains about 2,400
calories per day. Aim to keep your calorie intake to between 1,500 and 1,800 calories. The lower end is for women; the higher end is for men. Maintain your ideal body weight.
One way to judge your ideal body weight is via body mass index (BMI). Your BMI represents the percentage of your total body weight that’s due to fat. It should be under 25. Many health clubs have simple handheld devices that provide a BMI reading. These also can be purchased at drug stores.
your total cholesterol count unless you already had a weight problem was probably in the
120s. That’s the range that’s typical in populations without heart disease. So think “high school (that's what your number probably was in H.S.)
For many of us, that’s a long way to go.You’ll need to approach this target weight, though,
to sufficiently change your biochemistry.
You need to start exercising five days a week for one hour per day. Walking is generally the best exercise available because it doesn’t place too much stress on the knees, hips, and back. If you like to run, you may want to mix running into your walks, or ride a bike.
You must get plenty of sleep Not just eight hours a night, but eight to 10 hours on a regular basis. Sleep is the body’s main way of dealing with stress.
Specifically, and this might surprise you, lack of sleep results in the liver pumping out excess cholesterol!
Slash your cholesterol counts. Remember, there are only two ways to reduce your
cholesterol: Stop the production of cholesterol in your liver, or stop its absorption in the small intestine.
Adding supplements to your diet can help reduce cholesterol, but most people have to be at their targets, eating right, and exercising before supplements can help them stay there.
One supplement works through the liver just
like a statin — because it is a statin, a natural one. Mevastatin is produced naturally by red rice yeast. You can add red rice yeast to your diet by picking up a container at the
health foods store. (I suggest Nature's Plus Herbal Actives Red Yeast Rice Extended Release 600 mg)  
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and vitamin B3 (niacin), remain the champions of the
supplements. Both fish oil and niacin boost HDL, plump up LDL particles, and reduce inflammation.  flaxseed contains three ingredients that aid in maintaining heart health. Flaxseed is rich with the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, which contain both
plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, plus soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed seems to help not only with a person’s cholesterol profile but even in maintaining heart rhythm.
Organic grape juice, apples, and other foods that contain pectin help eliminate cholesterol
through the gut. Garlic has a mild effect as well. A glass of red wine a day, because it contains resveratrol, an antioxidant, also helps maintain heart health. Be careful, though: Two glasses of red wine a day increases cancer risk. In this light, I’d recommend having a glass of red wine no more than 2 or 3 times per week. Wine and other alcoholic beverages also cause triglyceride counts to climb. Oatmeal, oat bran, and other whole grain products can help with a small reduction, about 5 percent, in total cholesterol.

I like Krill oil
Just look that it has total Phospholipids 420, total MG per serving 300, at least 160 mg EPA
and 90 mg DHA and 1 1/2 mg of Astaxanthin. you could have to take 2 pills to get the total
mentioned above even if the bottle says to take 1 per day.
Avatar universal
Buy a heart rate monitor the type that straps around your chest! then to calculate your heart rate when you wake up in the morning have a watch with a second hand by your bed side don't get out of bed and check your heart rate
for 15 seconds then multiply that by 4 that's your heart rate! Now do this calculation. The Karvonen Formula is a mathematical formula that helps you determine your target heart rate zone. The formula involves using your maximum heart rate (MHR) minus your age to come up with a target heart rate range (which is a percentage of your MHR). Staying within this range will help you work most effectively during your cardio workouts.

Below is an example of the Karvonen formula for a 23 year old person with a resting heart rate of 65 beats per minute (*to get your resting heart rate, take your pulse for one full minute when you first wake up in the morning or after you've resting for a while). This formula also includes an updated calculation of maximum heart rate (the previous formula was 220 - age, which has now been shown to be inaccurate):

206.9 - (0.67 x 23 (age)) = 191
191 - 65 (resting heart rate) = 126
126 * 65% (low end of heart rate zone) OR 85% (high end) = 82 OR 107
82 + 65 (resting heart rate) = 147
107 + 65 (rhr) = 172
The target heart rate zone for this person would be 147 to 172

Now do the PEAK 8 exercise routine.
I first heard about Peak 8 fitness from Dr Mercola.  Dr Mercola makes a very good point in his articles and videos about Peak 8. He references the body structure of a marathon runner or cyclist and questions if that’s the body shape you’re really aspiring to. It’s obvious when we look at these extreme athletes that endurance training is not building a strong body structure at all, instead it’s building a body that’s extremely lean, devoid of all fat and without a lot of muscle. I love a few bumps and curves on bodies. I love it so much that I wish I had a few more!!!

The basic concept of Peak 8 is to quickly raise your heart rate 8 times for very short bursts, with a cooling down period in between. Ideally you’ll be sprinting or cycling full throttle for 20-30 seconds with a 90 second cool down in between each outburst.

This is the fastest way to lose fat and build muscle in the body. Peak 8 actually stimulates the growth hormone in the body. I encourage you to visit Dr Mercola’s site to learn more about Peak 8 fitness because I personally feel that it is one of the best ways to exercise, especially considering the speed at which you can lose fat and build muscle.

I highly recommend you read this article and watch the videos on the page. It will give you all the information you need to know about Peak 8 – Flood Your Body With This “Youth Hormone” In Just 20 Minutes

What you eat after Peak 8 training does matter

It’s recommended that you do not eat sugar or carbohydrate for 2 hours after the Peak 8 exercise because these foods can impact the release of the growth hormone in the body. The link below shows the peak 8

1340994 tn?1374197577
Good news!  Simply adding Metamucil every day has been shown to lower cholesterol!  It thickens to a gel after you drink it and it soaks up cholesterol as it goes through.  My boyfriend, who is a very fit fireman who still has high cholesterol, just tried it.  He says it makes him feel great!  Everything works better, and he never knew he needed more fiber.  So it is helping him two ways.  

He got the capsules, and it says you need to take 5 or 6 to get the cholesterol benefit.  Just read the package to make sure you get the right dose.  There is one with added calcium too.  (Calcium at night may offer pain relief and help with sleep).  

On top of that, add ground flax seed to your diet.  It has more of the good stuff than fish oil, without the risk of heavy metal contamination.  You can stir it into hot cereal, yogurt, etc.  
Avatar universal
Metamucil isn't bad but a better product is Konsyl Original Formula Psyllium Fiber.
180749 tn?1443598832
This breathing technique will help to control the cholestrol. Do kapalbhati for 30 minutes, twice a day. Check you level after 3 months, and tell your doctor what you did. Check you weight every week.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Kapalbhati pranayam -(Do it before eating) Push air forcefully out through the nose about once per second. Stomach will itself go in(contract in). The breathing in(through the nose) will happen automatically. Establish a rhythm and do for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
Not for pregnant women. Seriously ill people do it gently.
Avatar universal
I wouldn't use metamucil because of the additives, and I would never use it regularly because the body gets used to laxatives and doesn't digest well anymore on its own.  Gymdandee gave better advice with cholesterol by suggesting oat bran, because for cholesterol what you want is soluble fiber -- metamucil and psyllium are mostly insoluble, for digestion, not for cholesterol reduction.  Other good sources of this fiber are beans and rice bran.  And the reduction is long-term, not short term, with the strategy you're following.  Quite frankly, you're doing very well -- your current cholesterol isn't really at a dangerous level anymore providing you're eating plenty of antioxidant rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables.  As for fish oil, it's all HDL -- it has nothing to do with triglycerides except insofar as you're replacing triglyceride rich food with HDL rich food, so your notion that fish oil doesn't help with HDL is incorrect -- again, it is HDL.  As Gymdandee suggested, flax oil is also high in HDL, and if you by the high lignan variety it has also shown to possibly inhibit cancer, but it's duplicative of the fish oil so not that important an addition.  If you're on certain medications, such as antidepressants, they can raise cholesterol, so be aware of what you're taking.  I think really the only thing you need to do now is add exercise and you're home free.  Exercise does several things besides just encouraging more weight loss.  It builds muscle at the expense of fat, and moves everything though your body more quickly, including toxins and, better yet, cholesterol.  Keep in mind that you don't want too little cholesterol, either -- you can't manufacture hormones without it.  And be careful about generalizations, such as the South Beach diet etc.  No diet fad has ever been shown to keep weight off or do it healthfully.  The long-term changes you're making are the way to go.  Not everything is suited to be a vegetarian -- some people are, some aren't.  For some, it can increase cholesterol.  It all depends on how your particular digestive system works, and some believe it has something to do with blood type as well.  Different groups of people have adapted differently over the centuries.  So whatever you do will be an experiment until you find what works for you.    
Avatar universal
thanks everyone for all the info. i was not expecting nearly as much as what you all provided. it's rather overwhelming, actually.

i have found that doing everything all at once simply doesn't work, so i hope to incorporate little bits of what have been provided here slowly over time. as far as going on a diet...i do not believe in them. i only believe in striving to eat healthier. i know this goes against what a lot of people believe, but i think that by eating better foods, you dont really have to be restrictive on calories, etc. so far, i've lost around 30% of my heaviest weight on diet alone and i've kept it for a year. i couldn't have done this by using a totally restrictive diet. however, i know that my diet isn't perfect. far from it, actually. i intend to really focus on lean meants and oatmeal, grape juice, etc. i also intend to focus on reducing the amount of meat i eat in a day.

as far as fish oil goes, i was basing my knowledge on studies done on lovaza. i will have to go back and read it again. in any event, i really want to increase my good cholesterol, and in turn, reduce my bad. i think it is unrealistic to assume my total cholesterol can ever naturally be under 200 unless i become super lean and fit...something i seriously doubt will ever happen. however, i'd like to try to get it as close to 200 as possible so as to simply postpone going on a statin for as long as possible. being that my cholesterol is already above where it 'should' be...i have no doubt that as i age, it will only go up so eventually i will probably have to go on a med. i'd rather that day be in my late 30's or 40's than in my 20's, though.

i appreciate the info.....lots for me to go through and try to find what will work for me. so far i'm taking 2 grams of omega-3 fish oil daily. do you think niacin would be a good addition? and does anyone have any clue as to what percentage of change these can have on cholesterol?

as to the sleep.....yeah, i wish i could get 8 hours a night. maybe one of these days! i'm sure it doesn't help that i'm a long time insomniac who refuses to take sleeping pills. haha
Avatar universal
Niacin (Nicotinic Acid) (B-3) helps release energy from carbohydrates.  When taken in very high doses, it can help improve cholesterol levels, lowering LDL cholesterol, raising HDL cholesterol, and lowering elevated triglycerides. A recent study found that adding high dose niacin to statin drug treatment in people with heart and vascular disease did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events (including heart attacks and stroke) despite improving HDL and triglyceride levels (NIH News, May 26, 2011). Patients in the study were given 1,500 to 2,000 mg per day of extended-release nicotinic acid as Niaspan, a prescription drug. The study was stopped when a small increase in ischemic stroke was noted among those taking Niaspan compared to those taking placebo. A modified form of niacin called inositol hexanicotinate (or hexaniacinate) is said to cause less flushing than regular niacin. It may also reduce cholesterol levels. It has been studied particularly as a treatment for intermittent claudication (a kind of leg cramping caused by hardening of the arteries), Niacinamide  is another form of niacin; it does not lower cholesterol.
Niacin has documented effects for improving cholesterol profile, but only when taken in doses that are far higher than the RDAs and ULs, ranging from 1,000 mg to 4,000 mg (1 to 4 grams) per day. Liver injury is a real possibility when niacin is used in this way.  the amount of niacin in inositol hexanicotinate is about 85%, If the front of the bottle says 600 mg inositol hexanicotinate, the product should be expected to have about 500 mg of niacin.
Upper Limit: Daily doses over 50 mg per day have been associated with flushing of the skin, including reddening, burning, tingling, itching and pain. Starting with a lower dose and then gradually increasing it as may taking the supplement with food. Slow-release niacin and products made from nicotinamide (or niacinamide) and inositol hexanicotinate are also less likely to cause this reaction. at doses over 1,500 mg (1.5 grams) of niacin or 3,000 mg (3 grams) of nicotinamide per day liver toxicity can occur and may be more common among people taking slow-release niacin (though it is also possible that the flushing side effect simply makes many people unable to use high dosages of ordinary niacin). Niacinamide may increase blood levels of anticonvulsant drugs.

Avatar universal
References From the previous post!

1. DiLorenzo PA. Pellagra-like syndrome associated with isoniazid therapy. Acta Derm Venereol. 1967;47:318-322.

2. Ishii N, Nishihara Y. Pellagra encephalopathy among tuberculous patients: its relation to isoniazid therapy. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1985;48:628-634.

3. Illingworth DR, Stein EA, Mitchel YB, et al. Comparative effects of lovastatin and niacin in primary hypercholesterolemia. A prospective trial. Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1586-1595.

4. Guyton JR, Goldberg AC, Kreisberg RA, et al. Effectiveness of once-nightly dosing of extended-release niacin alone and in combination for hypercholesterolemia. Am J Cardiol. 1998;82:737-743.

5. Vega GL, Grundy SM. Lipoprotein responses to treatment with lovastatin, gemfibrozil, and nicotinic acid in normolipidemic patients with hypoalphalipoproteinemia. Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:73-82.

6. Lal SM, Hewett JE, Petroski G, et al. Effects of nicotinic acid and lovastatin in renal transplant patients: a prospective, randomized, open-labeled crossover trial. Am J Kidney Dis. 1995;25:616-622.

7. Canner PL, Berge KG, Wenger NK, et al. Fifteen year mortality in Coronary Drug Project patients: Long-term benefit with niacin. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1986;8:1245-1255.

8. Guyton JR, Blazing MA, Hagar J, et al. Extended-release niacin vs gemfibrozil for the treatment of low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:1177-1184.

9. Elam MB, Hunninghake DB, Davis KB, et al. Effect of niacin on lipid and lipoprotein levels and glycemic control in patients With diabetes and peripheral arterial disease. The ADMIT Study: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2000;284:1263-1270.

10. Morgan JM, Capuzzi DM, Guyton JR, et al. Treatment effect of Niaspan, a controlled-release niacin, in patients with hypercholesterolemia: A placebo-controlled trial. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 1996;1:195-202.

11. Elliott RB, Pilcher CC, Fergusson DM, et al. A population based strategy to prevent insulin-dependent diabetes using nicotinamide. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 1996;9:501-509.

12. Pozzilli P, Visalli N, Signore A, et al. Double blind trial of nicotinamide in recent-onset IDDM (the IMDIAB III study). Diabetologia. 1995;38:848-852.

13. Polo V, Saibene A, Pontiroli AE. Nicotinamide improves insulin secretion and metabolic control in lean type 2 diabetic patients with secondary failure to sulphonylureas. Acta Diabetol. 1998;35:61-64.

14. Head KA. Inositol hexaniacinate: a safer alternative to niacin. Altern Med Rev. 1996;1:176-184.

15. Sunderland GT, Belch JJ, Sturrock RD, et al. A double blind randomised placebo controlled trial of hexopal in primary Raynaud's disease. Clin Rheumatol. 1988;7:46-49.

Avatar universal
Learn About Fiber Supplements Next Week -- Register Now

Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Many couples are turning to acupuncture to treat infertility. But does it work? We take a closer look.
Is treating glaucoma with marijuana all hype, or can hemp actually help?
If you think marijuana has no ill effects on your health, this article from Missouri Medicine may make you think again.
Healing home remedies for common ailments
Learn ow this ancient healing Indian medicine can work for you
Before your drop a dime at the pharmacy, find out if these popular cold and flu home remedies are a wonder or a waste