This blog is to elaborate on what I recommended to Sue as this is a hugely important topic. For her it was a shock as she is in great shape has an awesome figure but still her triglycerides were elevated and the doctor proposed statin drugs which scared her due to side effects like muscle weakness, neuropathy and low energy. She had seen this first hand with her own father and wanted alternatives. So first let’s examine the combination of causes for higher cholesterol levels as it’s never one thing especially when you take genetics into account. Such genetics does not mean you are on the road to lifelong prescriptions with horrible side effects. It means you must realize that there are a group of actions you must take to maximize your natural healing ability to control high cholesterol and maximize health.
The root causes of high cholesterol may surprise you. It is a combination of the aging process whereby hormone levels and enzyme levels are not in balance, diet and activity/exercise levels which influence body processes that keep “homeostasis” or balance in hormone production and enzyme production. As we age there are actions we must take to keep us off prescription drugs and the dangers of foreign chemicals. These are non-negotiable by the way; ALL must be employed for life, quite literally.
If you are over the age of 40 and are not exercising 3-4 time per week, you will experience some sort of health challenge. Sorry about that, but the truth shall set you free. Exercise prompts the body to maximize hormone production, enzyme production and energy production. Most people do not know that high cholesterol has a basis in blood sugar swings, the improper production of insulin or in most cases the resistance that is developed to insulin. If you are producing a lot of insulin BUT the insulin receptors are resistant to the signals of insulin, you end up with blood sugar swings and the whole hormone “feedback loop” is upset. The hormones insulin, testosterone, estrogen, thyroid are all out of balance and the result is high cholesterol, moodiness, lack of energy, depression, lack of ambition, lack of sex drive and finally the onset of disease.
So on the exercise front, 20-30 minutes of some sort of cardio/strength training exercise (walking, running, cross trainer at the gym) will start the process of moving back toward homeostasis or balance. Strength training using free weights or machines is key to developing lean muscle as muscle burns more fat and creates much more energy promoting fat loss. At my age I prefer a circuit training as I complete it in 35 minutes with a full body workout and add 20 minutes of cardio. You do not have to look like Arnold to get the benefit of strength training; you can look lean and sexy and be a fat burning machine!
Next is diet; increasing quality protein and veggies of the colorful variety is key. I like whey protein shakes for complete protein for breakfast as it starts the day with usable protein, good energy and does not spike blood sugar like sugary cereals and empty carbohydrates. Those are banned from our diet as staples but I enjoy carbs in moderation as a "treat". I add several frozen strawberries to my shake and a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, one of the healthiest fats on the planet with many health benefits and add a big scoop of full fat yogurt for probiotics and additional protein. This prompts your metabolism to start the energy burning process (read weight/fat loss).
The rule is to minimize carbohydrates that are refined like white sugar or refined grains like white bread, potato’s and white rice. My motto is, “If it’s white, do not bite. Green or Brown, chow it down!” This will serve you well. Although this is a simplification of what the details are, in the future you can read more in my upcoming book; "The 10 Non-Negotiable Rules for Wellness and Healthy Aging". I have evolved on eating saturated fats from quality grass fed meats, poultry and fish. I'd rather see someone eating the "real" fats from grass fed butter while eliminating empty carb's and grain based breads as the insulin spikes are devastating. Eggs and quality proteins are a great addition so fear not the fat!
Next is supplementation. Since we are a society that thinks that there is some ”magic” pill for everything we have to get ourselves out of that mentality. Make no mistake, prescription drugs are targeted, specific and powerful assaults on some symptom or cause in the body. They are like a sledgehammer, not subtle but very specific and usually devastating. We get relatively instant results which we like but the side effects are a disaster. Supplementation on the other hand supports the normal body process of self-healing and takes time. If it took you 48 years to get high cholesterol then please do all the steps mentioned consistently and give it at least a year to be fair.
So for high cholesterol, in addition to the activity and diet changes, here are the major supplements that will have a big impact: Red Krill Oil or a pure Omega 3 fish oil. B-12 in sub lingual form: spray, lozenge or drops. Vitamin D-3. An OPC antioxidant product and Co Q-10.
Krill Oil is more concentrated in Omega 3's than most fish oil supplements plus its rich in Astaxanthin a key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that also reduces cholesterol and helps in stopping lipid oxidation which is dangerous (oxidation makes cholesterol gummy).
A sub lingual B-12 (under the tongue or spray) also helps control excess Triglycerides and the stress hormone cortisol that contributes to weight gain, unstable bile production in the liver that results in higher cholesterol in the blood.