Originally Posted by boubou
I am not taking this cavalier attitude of just giving in but I'd like to know that loosing the weight, a good diet and exercise as well as the supplement will help considerably. I'm wondering if I should not just add niacin now (on top of phytosterols, ryr and fish oil that I'm already taking) or wait until the next blood test, see where things are.
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.