Five generations ago people cleaned their blood vessels by fasting one morning a week on nothing but water until noon. Their natural digestive enzymes cleansed the arteries. It worked for them. What an old-fashioned idea. *
Cholesterol build-up begins when we are young, carefree, and stressed. This plus an acidic diet (lacking in veggies) burns the inner lining of the arteries. Cholesterol is a band-aid to cover these tiny abrasions. It’s trying to help.
But there you are with high cholesterol “all of a sudden.” Your doc says it’s expected in middle aged people (your head spins ‘cuz nobody ever called you that before — sheesh).
Doc gives you a statin drug, which you know has caused muscle wasting, pain, weakness, depression, memory loss, neuropathy, etc.
‘Oh boy, poison! What’s a patient to do?’ you think, impatiently.
And if these statins do save 1 in 100 people from a heart attack, am I that one lucky guy, or am I trashing my body, like 15% of the other 99?
You know a high-veggie diet, exercise, and low stress are proven ways to lower cholesterol, but you also want something faster, like a supplement?
Niacin, a.k.a. Vitamin B3, is the tried and true supplement to lower cholesterol levels. It can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol as much as 30%. Bonus: it also reduces triglycerides and boosts HDL (good) cholesterol!
The recommended dose is 1000 to 3000 mg (1 to 3 grams) per day. It can give you a giant hot flash, 20 or 30 minutes after you take it. Not a problem; it just feels funny. Extended release niacin may not produce such a flush. The safest way to take it is by prescription, but you can get it over-the-counter. (Niacin carries a very rare chance of liver damage, so have the doc investigate your liver first.)
Soluble fiber found in beans, whole grains, and supplements like psyllium can lower LDL cholesterol up to 15%. Fiber is good for the heart, digestion, immune system and more.
You need 3 to 6 grams of fiber a day to lower cholesterol. (Fiber One cereal has 14 gm.)
How about cholesterol-reducing margarines? These contain plant derived Sterols and Stanols, which block the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Studies show 2000 mg or 2 gm per day of Sterols/Stanols will reduce LDL cholesterol by 9% to 20%.
Besides the margarine, some breakfast cereals are fortified with Sterols/Stanols, which do occur naturally in many grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts.
(Hark! Is that a whole-food healthy diet sneaking up on us?)
Red yeast rice extract has been used as a heart remedy in Asia for ages. It is fermented red yeast, grown on rice. It reduces cholesterol production in the liver, and its active ingredient is Lovastatin. Recently the FDA banned red yeast rice products containing Lovastatin, so the current supplements might not be as helpful as they used to be.
Regarding cholesterol, Dr. Andrew Weil recommends: Eat some nuts every day. Substitute whole soy protein for animal protein. Use fresh garlic regularly. Drink green tea daily. Eat lots of soluble fiber. Limit refined carbohydrates. Take coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for heart health.
* If you try that weekly fast like your ancestors did, you might take digestive enzymes with your water that morning.
Protease (a.k.a. proteolytic) enzymes taken on an empty stomach do help break down cholesterol deposits.
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