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High Cholesterol Message Board


High Cholesterol Board Index


[QUOTE=Allison965;3231990]My goal is to be "extra healthy" for 3 months, and then if my LDL goes down, maintain the healthy diet, but give myself just a little more freedom. I love, love, love good food too much to give it all up forever!
[/QUOTE]


You sound like me when I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol.

Everyone is sooooo different when it come this health issue. You may be one of the lucky people where diet and exercise work. I don't think there are many in this category, however.


So... I'm going to say to you what my Doctor said to me when I took your attitude of dealing with high cholesterol:

"What do you think you are going to do the rest of your life... eat food you really don't like... ignore parties and situations because of your cholesterol...? Do you think you are going to exercise dutifully the rest of your life...?

The answer is No! You may be able to keep up the regimine for 6 months to a year, but you will faulter... you will want a piece of pizza... you will want a BBQ burger or BBQ'd ribs... you will want Prime rib at Christmas... if you haven't been previously exercising daily, you will get tired of constant exercise. To think you can give up all the foods you like and exercise for the rest of your life is just plain not realistic.

You are way more likely to succeed in lowering your cholesterol by using a medication."

How's that for a frank talk from my Doctor...? I have to say after 16 years of dealing with high cholesterol, he is right on the money. Wayyyy difficult to eat correctly everyday... unless you are a Munk hidden away on a mountain top. Same with execise if fitness was not already your lifestyle.


Having given you my Doctor's spiel, here is some of my experiences during my 16 years of trying to control my cholesterol.


My experience with low fat diets is that my cholesterol went through the roof. I ate zero animal fat for 9 months.

The problem with low fat is you end up eating a whole lot of carbs. And carbs can really raise your triglycerides and LDL.

I have had much better luck on diets low in carbs. Fat didn't make a difference... and still doesn't. I don't eat too much red meat... I eat mostly chicken... always have. That's another reason my Doctor wanted to put me on meds... I've always eaten fresh food made at home and not too much fat.

Exercise is good for your health regardless... and may help a tad... but in my case it didn't help much. The problem is that cholesterol is made in the liver... and in my case, it appears that nearly 100% of the cholesterol in my blood is produced by my liver, so low fat doesn't help me directly with lowering my cholesterol.

I did Atkins... low carbs... which was great because I lost a lot of weight and my HDL improved 25%. But my overall cholesterol numbers were still unacceptable. But still much better than the low-fat diet I did.

Statins work fairly well, but I did not ever like the side effects. I tried three different statins for a couple years each. One of the statins I was taking was removed from the market because it was killing folks. I won't ever consider statins again as a form of treatment.

I tried a prescription Bile acid sequestrants... but you had to take about 16 pills a day at intervals. After a week of this, I knew I wouldn't continue for the rest of my life with a regimine like this, so I stopped taking them.

The latest med I started about a year ago is Niaspan... it's extended release niacin... which is just vitamin B-3. All my cholesterol numbers dropped about 50% form taking Niaspan, so now I'm a Niaspan advocate. For the first time in 16 years my cholesterol numbers are in the "normal" range.

So... my short answer is, yes, eat and exercise the best you can... but also don't deprive yourself too much... eat some of the foods you have grown to enjoy, too. But I would look further into Niaspan... to see if that would work for you, and if you can afford it or have insurance for it. You take it once a day at bedtime. And it's just vitamin B-3. Not everyone goes without side effects on Niaspan either. Some find the flushing intollerable, others like me, no issues at all. But you will never know until you try it.

Good luck. :)
[QUOTE=Allison965]I also stopped eating salads with regular salad dressing. This has been one of the hardest changes for me as I LOVE salads -- especially when they are smothered with Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing!
[/quote]

These dressings are low in carbs... and do not have all that much fat. I suggest you continue with these salads... but try tossing the salad before eating it as you use a whole lot less dressing this way.


[quote]I also eat a lot less cheese -- this is almost killing me! I LOVE cheese!
[/quote]

Nope... I wouln't give up cheese either. Just keep to hard cheeses like parmasain, Jack, cheddar, and swiss. No soft cheeses like brie or cheesecake. I would think Blue cheese is considered a hard cheese.

One last thing... if you are going to drink milk, only drink whole milk and not too much. Dairy's load low-fat and zero-fat milk with sugar, but don't have to tell you because they add it in the form of lactose, which is milk sugar.


[quote]Giving up red meat isn't so hard (although I do love a great burger), but it's giving up the cheese and the salad dressing that is really killing me!
[/quote]

See my response above



[quote]Oh-- and the Haagen Daas coffee ice cream. I really miss that! [/quote]

Get use to missing this... there is nothing healthy about this. Stick to black coffee... all the sugar is bad... bad... bad.

[quote] I really prefer not to take any drugs of any kind if possible. I am sort of "drug phobic". I think I would have to be close to dying to start taking drugs, regardless of what my doctor says.
[/quote]

Remember, Niaspan is just a high dose of Vitamin B3 (niacin)... not really a medication in the traditional sense. Not really any different than the other mega vitamins I take.



Your HDL is wonderful... personally... I would only cut out the sugar and sweets from your diet and leave the rest alone. Tossing your salad really does help a lot, however.
A little olive oil and garlic, some whole grain Italian bread to dip in the oil , a glass of red wine (or beer) and you're all set. Niacin later and your HDL will at least hit the 40's (mine hits 70 with the this outstanding medically derived diet and no niacin). bad breath and booze.....:angel:
[QUOTE=mmvic;3240621]A little olive oil and garlic, some whole grain Italian bread to dip in the oil , a glass of red wine (or beer) and you're all set. Niacin later and your HDL will at least hit the 40's (mine hits 70 with the this outstanding medically derived diet and no niacin). bad breath and booze.....:angel:[/QUOTE]

Hey mmvic,

Your HDL is in the 70's! That is great :) My Doctor has me on a program right now trying To boost my HDL. Currently my HDL is at 42. I have been taking 1,000mg immediate release Niacin and got threw the headaches and flush. Now after one month on 1,000mg my body is used to it. I spoke with my Doctor today and he advised I can take up to 2,000mg immediate release. I wanted to ask you if increasing to 2,000mg will make a big difference. I am currently taking
Red yeast Rice to keep my LDL under control and my LDL is currently at 75. How many points of HDL can one typically expect to gain on 2,000mg immediate release Niacin? I am also concerned about over loading my liver but was advised that immediate release Niacin is not harsh on your liver compared products like Slo-Niacin. I was also told that Niacin is best for increasing HDL lowering Triglycerides, but has a minimal impact on your LDL. As of my test last August here are my numbers…

Total 135
LDL 75
HDL 42
Trig 83

I am going to have another lipid panel done this coming February and will give a full report. I hope that 2,000mg of Niacin will help my HDL.

I trust my Doctor and could not be in better hands but I am just concerned that 2,000mg of Niacin will lower my cholesterol to much. But my Doctor advised me that Niacin will boost my HDL and lower my Trig but will have a very minimal impact on my LDL. Thus as my HDL goes up I know my total cholesterol will go up as well.
[QUOTE=Arizona77;32***60] But my Doctor advised me that Niacin will boost my HDL and lower my Trig but will have a very minimal impact on my LDL. [/QUOTE]


I think directionally this is true... however, it was not true for me. My LDL dropped 50%... but then again, I'm taking 3000 mg niacin a day.

Niacin is interesting the way it affects cholesterol numbers differently for each person... and the same regarding the side effects.
Arizona77, normal HDL for me is around 60 and it went up more to near 70 with extra fish oil, olive oil in food, plant stanols and a little booze plus lots and lots of excercise. ...Okay, the excercise didn't raise it but it makes me feel better. FYI, I'm also a pescatarian.

I've taken ryr for about 3 years with good results. I've also followed Linus Pauling's recommendations for vitamin c and e and certain supplements for over 20 years. I'm still kicking and healthy with very low blood pressure. I also can run faster - 22 min 5km runs 4x a week- and lift more than people half my age. Some maybe genetics but the rest is diet and common sense. Get your HDL up by niacin, fish oil whatever and follow DASH or Mediterrenean diet and you'll do well.

Most recent work published in the last month plus earlier studies have shown strong evidence that high HDL, not low LDL, is most important to prevent cardiac issues. The HDL is thought to flush lipids from the blood stream and prevent artherotic changes in blood vessels.
[QUOTE=mmvic;3242547]Arizona77, normal HDL for me is around 60 and it went up more to near 70 with extra fish oil, olive oil in food, plant stanols and a little booze plus lots and lots of excercise. ...Okay, the excercise didn't raise it but it makes me feel better. FYI, I'm also a pescatarian.

I've taken ryr for about 3 years with good results. I've also followed Linus Pauling's recommendations for vitamin c and e and certain supplements for over 20 years. I'm still kicking and healthy with very low blood pressure. I also can run faster - 22 min 5km runs 4x a week- and lift more than people half my age. Some maybe genetics but the rest is diet and common sense. Get your HDL up by niacin, fish oil whatever and follow DASH or Mediterrenean diet and you'll do well.

Most recent work published in the last month plus earlier studies have shown strong evidence that high HDL, not low LDL, is most important to prevent cardiac issues. The HDL is thought to flush lipids from the blood stream and prevent artherotic changes in blood vessels.[/QUOTE]


mmvic,

Thanks for your response. I am happy that Red yeast Rice has worked well for you as too! I have been on it for three years and it has kept me off of taking any prescription statins. I am currently on 1,000mg immediate release Niacin at bed time to help boost my HDL. Right now my HDL is at 42. My LDL is at 75 and Trig are at 83. I also take fish oil daily. If I may ask how many mg of Vitamin C do you take a day? I know that Pauling followers take very high dosages of Vitamin C. I currently take 1,000mg a day. Would you recomend me upping my Vitamin C? If so how much? I have heard really good things about Pauling's studies. Also I do cardio 30mins 4X week and eat right. Even though doing cardio 30mins 4x week and lifting weights has not raised my HDL...I love working out as well and I am really into fitness too!





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