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Old 08-21-2010, 08:57 PM   #1
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How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

I was searching for how to lower my cholesterol as I have an ungodly family history of heart disease.

I tried Niacin, gave me unbearable body wide welting and itchy flushing.

I tried the statins with only a 10-20 point drop.

Then, I saw a story on CBS about a doctor who was lowering cholesterol and reversing heart disease. His name is Caldwell Esselstyn. I switched to his diet.

I went from 250 cholesterol to 110. Weight from 210 to 165. Its that simple.

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Old 08-22-2010, 02:03 PM   #2
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

Congratulations Delafoo.

But....what are your three ratios' ?

TC/HDL, LDL/HDL and the most important one - Trig's/HDL.

Yack.

Last edited by yackedar; 08-22-2010 at 02:04 PM.

 
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:42 PM   #3
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

You know, that kind of a drop-well, it must require some sort of major lifestyle change. What exactly was it that worked for you and how long did it take to achieve this dramatic drop?

Last edited by moderator2; 08-22-2010 at 04:04 PM.

 
Old 08-22-2010, 04:05 PM   #4
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

Pretty simple. Eat a diet that 3/4 of the world already eats. No meat or dairy products, no eggs, no oil.

We in America think this is limited but there is a ginormous variety in the diet.

It is up to the individual. Dr. Dean Ornish has a great text out now called "The Spectrum" that is a much more lienant version that lets you eat based on just that a spectrum He gives you the information, i.e. eat more healthfully (more fruits and vegetables) to become more healthy, without cutting everything out.

Since diet has been established as the major reason we have heart disease in America, aside from those ultra-rare individuals whose liver's produce too much LDL, changing this changes the cause. Dr. Ornish and Dr. Esselstyn have both made several publications showing reversal of heart disease. Dr. Ornish just got Medicare approved for his program.

Ultimately it is up to you, the individual. I would suggest getting a text by one of the two men.

For me the choice was simple. As I am in a job that allows me to see people before, during and after heart surgeries I made the decision NOT to go through that myself.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

Delafoo,

Would you please provide us with your previous and current full lipid profile test results along with the dates of the tests.

All diets discussed on this board including the one you followed, have never shown such a dramatic TC drop of 56%.

It would be good to hear from other members who have also tried this approach.

Yack.

Last edited by yackedar; 08-23-2010 at 12:37 PM.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 01:34 PM   #6
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yackedar View Post
Delafoo,

Would you please provide us with your previous and current full lipid profile test results along with the dates of the tests.

All diets discussed on this board including the one you followed, have never shown such a dramatic TC drop of 56%.

It would be good to hear from other members who have also tried this approach.

Yack.
I will post those later today.
Its actually not that unheard of according to many of the physician's who have run these trials. I will be getting printoffs of my labs later today and will repost then.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 02:57 PM   #7
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

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Originally Posted by yackedar View Post
All diets discussed on this board including the one you followed, have never shown such a dramatic TC drop of 56%.
The diet in question appears pretty extreme by rich country standards (though rural poor people in poor countries may eat that way because they cannot afford much else), so it may be very rare for that to happen, since it requires someone eating an unhealthy rich country diet to switch to a very different diet with no (or very little) "cheating". (Plus, there was exercise and loss of (presumably) body fat involved as well.)

 
Old 08-23-2010, 03:08 PM   #8
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

Wow. I don't know about this diet. I can get behind no red meat or poultry, but not shunning fish. And I can get behind cutting out most oils but not olive and avocado. And no nuts? Still, if the evidence shows it works, it's worth looking at to see why. Perhaps I could incorporate part of it into my diet, but certain things I just can't see not eating because MANY other studies have shown them to be healthy and good for the heart. I would lean towards the fact that it works because it's vegan but I don't think it would be less effective with moderate amounts of nuts, avocados and olive oil.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 05:16 PM   #9
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

Seems like an extreme diet to me.....I'm pretty sure I could not follow a diet like that long term. That said, I really have no desire to see my cholesterol fall that low. From the books I have read recently, 110 is simply too low.

One of the major problems the average person (such as myself) has is that the information out there is all over the map. Some doctors think that unless you have a number of risk factors, a TC of 200 is no problem. When you consider that half of the people who have cardiac events, have lower cholesterol levels-you know something else has to be involved and that probably is inflammation.

Myself, if I could achieve a TC of 200, an LDL of 140 and a HDL of 50-I'd be thrilled....especially if I could do that without statins.

Years ago my Mom was in a nursing home (went in at age 88 and passed away at 91) and a doctor I met there told me once that there were darn few vegans there...and that MOST of the residents did NOT have low cholesterol.

I'm hoping to reduce my TC some and have cut out the products completely that list trans-fats and I'm also reducing sugar intake. Just not sure I could live without some lean meat once in a while, some low-fat dairy and I thinks eggs are one of natures best foods in moderation. Just my 2 cents worth.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 05:28 PM   #10
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

While I wait to reply with my labs...
Yes. Information is everywhere. There are many interests in the nutrition debate. Namely, beef, dairy, sugar industries, and phamaceutical industries who profit off of you being fat, sick, diabetic, and hypertensive.

Dr. Esselstyn's dies is for PREVENTING AND REVERSING HEART DISEASE. As such, if you do not have heart disease at the moment, or do not have a strong family history, then this is clearly not the diet for you.

Another physician author who offers similar advice is Dean Ornish, MD. He has a new book out called the Spectrum. Essentially his diet is this: eat LESS meat (not eliminate)... eat LESS saturated oils, exercise MORE. To the degree you want to change is the degree which you should do these things.

Dr. Ornish's book is good in that he simply gives you the information, shows you where you can go, and you decide what works and doesn't work. Many people on his program still eat meat, occasional treats as well... its really 'the book' to have if you aren't trying to do something radical like me.

As for cholesterol... several physicians who have published reversal of heart disease by diet suggest <150 total. This is as there is little to no evidence of heart disease events below this number.

As to numbers, a 20 year + study funded by the NIH showed many Chinese, who eat primarily a vegetable based diet had <100 total cholesterol. The study's main researcher, T. Colin Campbell, wrote a text about it called The China Study. Also a good read.

Overall, if you are looking to lower your cholesterol with diet, possibly lower your current meds that you are on or prevent having to go on meds, but you do not want to give up many foods that you hold dear, then check out The Spectrum.

bb

 
Old 08-23-2010, 08:56 PM   #11
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

My labs:

12/31/09

Trigs 138 (normal)
Cholesterol 250 (High)
HDL 23 (good cholesterol... should be above 40... way low).
LDL 158 (High. Normal is 1-129.9).
LDl/HDL Ratio 6.32 High (Normal is 0-3.5)
Chol/HDL Radio 8.4 (High, Normal is 0-5).

Now, before you start posting, well, normal/high is such and such, values for lab results vary by hospital.

Follow up:

8/1/09

Trigs 89 (50 point drop), and normal.
Cholesterol 110 (Almost a 100 point drop!)
HDL 20 (still low. It seems most everyone in my family has low HDL).
LdL 83 (75 point drop, way normal).
ldl/hdl ratio 4.42 (still high as my hdl is low)
chol/hdl ratio (6.32 (still high due to hdl).

My physician said the 8.4 Cholesterol/HDL ratio was a death sentence given my family history (both grandfathers died young of heart attacks, two uncles died young of heart attacks, a 1st cousin about my age had a massive MI at this time), my sex (male), my weight ~200lbs at 5'9", and my blood pressure: 140/90, pulse around 80-90.

My new stats are above with my weight now at 165 and still losing, average BP is 114/76, pulse now around 54-60.

This is with DIET only... and yes for many Americans we see it as RADICAL... (75% of the world calls it normal because they do not have access or the means to afford the rich food, and the diseases of kings that we have).

I started an exercise, stretching, relaxation program this week and will repost on my new stats. I'm hoping to further lower my LdL and increase my HDL.

Now... as I stated earlier... My grandfathers and uncles died around 31-35. I am doing this because I am 31 with two daughters.I want to see my grandchildren.

However, I realize that for most, as we have been conditioned to believing that the American diet is normal, that a change to what we actually ate not too long ago as a species, is seen as abnormal (hence most of our diseases are referred to diseases of Kings and Queens, because they did have access to a constant supply of rich foods).

As such, I would recommend Dr. Ornish's book The Spectrum. He has several books out. If you get an earlier one it is likely to be more along the lines of my diet, as his first mission was to establish reversal of heart disease, which he did.

However (again), not everyone has heart disease. There are many biological and genetic factors (and environmental) as to how you respond to what you eat. Thus, his book talks about makings small changes to get to where you want to go. NOT going all radical gung ho.... it is all a choice. If you choose to have Ice Cream and Cake one day, you can choose to eat more healthfully the next. We as a culture assign personas to food; i.e. 'that is a 'bad' food, 'that is a 'good' food.' When in reality food is food. So if we do choose to 'splurge' one day, there is no need for guilt that we usually have from eating a 'bad' food. Its all about choice.

I post here because I hope that others may be able to make changes too. Not necessarily the same changes I have made, but small changes do have an effect. That is the point. You don't have to hit the gym for an hour. Maybe park a little farther from the store. Maybe pass up your normal Whopper for a chicken salad. Maybe switch a steak for a salmon, or maybe instead of 5 steaks a week, 3. If it adds a year to your life... a more healthful year, then it is worth considering.


Lastly, I should note... this was DIET ONLY. NO EXERCISE. Though I am now starting an exercise plan now a year later.

Also, Dr. Ornish's diet plan... more of a informed eater plan... he doesn't shun meat or fish or seafood or oils. This was discouraged in Dr. Esselstyns because oils have been shown (and published in peer reviewed journals) to decrease the elasticity of the veins (arteries too). This slowed movement allows LDL to enter the endothelium more readily, leading to more atherosclerosis. Keep in mind, all of his patients were post bypass patients, for whom they were told Medical Science could do no more. They were told to go home and wait to die. For them, oil could be deadly.

While I stick mostly do Dr. Esselstyn's diet, I do on occasion have chicken (maybe once a month or so)... I do on occasion have a cookie... or Ice Cream... its just not the norm like it was. And my lab values have remained the same.

This is something that if you do, you will have to keep your Dr. Informed of. If you are on BP meds and lose weight and your BP goes lower as a result, it may need adjusted. If you no longer require as much insulin, because there is less of you, your meds may need adjusted. And if you're eating healthier, your lipids may go down, and you may need less. If your doctor doesn't want to hear about it, I suggest you find one that is at least supportive. There are SEVERAL... over 100, peer-reviewed, published articles showing the effects of diet on diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease...

Again, something to consider. small choices.

Last edited by delafoo; 08-23-2010 at 09:18 PM.

 
Old 08-23-2010, 10:20 PM   #12
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

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Originally Posted by delafoo View Post
HDL 20 (still low. It seems most everyone in my family has low HDL).

Lastly, I should note... this was DIET ONLY. NO EXERCISE. Though I am now starting an exercise plan now a year later.
Lack of exercise likely has something to do with low HDL. Exercise is well known to raise HDL.

Also, exercise will help maintain and build muscle weight. Weight loss by diet only without exercise tends to lose both fat (desired loss) and muscle (undesired loss). In some cases, people losing weight without exercise end up with too high a body fat percentage despite being in the "normal" weight range, a condition sometimes called "normal weight obesity" in academic studies and "skinny fat" in common use. Those with "normal weight obesity" are much more likely to have metabolic issues like obese people, including problems with blood sugar control and blood lipid problems.

Regarding Chinese people, note that it is the poor rural farmers who consume the healthy diet, get lots of exercise, and have favorable blood lipid levels. Those in the richer cities tend to have less healthy habits, leading to more obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.. While many of the world's people would consider the described healthy diet normal, they would not pass up the less healthy foods that become more available as one gets richer. So, to many people, it is a matter of "resisting temptation" when poverty does not enforce the dietary limitations. Of course, that does not mean that it cannot be done, as your example shows.

Last edited by tjlhb; 08-23-2010 at 10:33 PM.

 
Old 08-24-2010, 06:53 AM   #13
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

And... as stated above, Dr. Ornish has found that such 'radical' changes do not need to be made to simply become more healthy. Small changes have an effect as well.

 
Old 08-24-2010, 09:47 AM   #14
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delafoo View Post
And... as stated above, Dr. Ornish has found that such 'radical' changes do not need to be made to simply become more healthy. Small changes have an effect as well.
One's genetic background can make a difference. Some people may find substantial improvement with relatively small changes in diet and exercise. Others may need to go "extreme" with the diet and exercise in order to bring blood lipids (and blood pressure and blood sugar) to healthy levels.

In general it is better to do all you can with the lifestyle changes before reaching for the drugs (prescription or OTC or "alternative"). Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of patients and doctors see the drugs as a first resort rather than a last resort.

 
Old 08-24-2010, 10:11 AM   #15
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Re: How I dropped my Cholesterol from 250 to 110, no meds.

Agreed.

Something interesting that Dr. Ornish is currently researching: As many American's do not know... genes are not set. They are not static. They respond to what the environment is. For example, you go outside, the sun hits your skin, your body recognizes this and goes to your DNA (your genes) and gets the code for melanin. This is then transcoded through a process and is made into protein which then becomes melanin. (I cut out quite a bit or this would be a biochemistry lesson).

Some people do indeed have better genetic predispositions to eliminating cholesterol and lipids. Some do not. However, Dr. Ornish's current research has shown that even if you have 'bad' genes these can be turned off or minimized based on their environment, aka what you eat.

Some of his current research is showing males with several poor pre-dispositions for prostate cancer have been able to turn off, down regulate and minimize their 30 some odd bad genes. The research is ongoing (and started as this was evidenced in heart patients as well) but further supports the all around benefits of a more healthful diet.

Last edited by mod-anon; 08-24-2010 at 12:33 PM. Reason: removed quote

 
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