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    Old 06-18-2004, 09:37 AM   #1
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    What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    I just found out my cholesterol is too high. My total is 230. I don't know the breakdown of the numbers, but the doctor said my triglycerides were too high, although my HDL is at a "desirable" level. He prescribed a drug called Lopid, but I've been doing much reading on statins and have found them to be very dangerous. Plus I have read many posts from people here on these boards to find they are having the same side effects from these drugs that my friend's husband is having, mostly muscle aches and cramping. I have decided NOT to take the Lopid and try and do this thing on my own. I went to a site specifically for information on Lopid and it said that this drug should only be prescribed in "extreme" cases and only if a lifestyle change (diet and exercise) has not improved cholesterol levels. Well I haven't even tried that yet, so why would my doctor prescribe such a dangerous drug without knowing any of my history (he is a new doctor, I've only seen him twice) and without asking me first if I want to try and get my levels down from eating healthier and exercising more? This has me a little concerned and MORE than a little skeptical.

    I've already begun a low-fat diet and am trying to incorporate cholesterol-lowering foods into my regime, including a bowl of oatmeal every day. I've also decided to start walking, even if only around the block, several times a week. But I also want to take a supplement that's been proven to help reduce bad cholesterol and raise the good, and also reduce triglycerides. I've read about fish oil, garlic oil (or powders), niacin (which tends to have side effects), and a couple of others, but I wanted to post here and see if any of you can recommend a particular one or maybe post success stories on which supplement, if any, worked for you.

    Any information and advice would be *SO* much appreciated

     
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    Old 06-18-2004, 10:58 AM   #2
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Also, what are the recommended dosages for things like fish oil, etc? I can't find anywhere on how much to take (miligrams and whatnot).

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 10:59 AM   #3
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Try fish oil..high quality (like Carlson's) and equivalent to 2000 Mg DHA/EPA daily. This should lower your triglycerides. I think that'a all you may require, if you watch your diet and exercise. Your total # isn't that bad to begin with and that should come down as well. Good luck!

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 11:40 AM   #4
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Thanks for the reply

    I've been doing some reading and I'm finding more and more articles saying that fish oil by itself actually RAISES LDL cholesterol. What's up with that???

    I called my doctor's office and found out that my triglycerides are above 400! How can my triglycerides be that high when my total cholesterol is only 238 (I thought it was 230, just found out by calling the doctor). Good grief, how am I still able to walk around??? He said my LDL and triglycerides combined was a total of 814. I don't understand that. Where does the 238 number fit into all of this if the other numbers total WAY over that amount?

    I'm so confused about all of this that I'm not sure what to do. I found something else that says it helps to lower triglycerides without side effects and it's called Pantethine, or Calcium Pantothentate. Has anyone heard of this or tried it?

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 11:53 AM   #5
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Also, they told me my HDL was 6.0. What does that mean? All of the levels I'm reading here have actual round numbers, like 45 or 60 or something like that. What does 6.0 mean?

    I hope I'm not asking too many questions, but I'm new at this cholesterol thing and I don't mind telling you that I'm a little worried.

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 11:58 AM   #6
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    The first thing I would do would be to get a copy of the tests. If your total is 230, it sounds like most of it is triglycerides. If you get them down, then your total level would be pretty good. I don't understand where he gets the 814 unless your trigs are much higher than 400, maybe closer to 650. Any number higher than 400 is not taken into account when estimating the total cholesterol.

    The most effective way to lower triglycerides for most people is to cut carbohydrates in your diet. When I did this, my number dropped in half. If your trig level is really high, you may need medication also. I would find out exactly what the numbers are first.

    The HDL result makes no sense, especially since he told you your number was desirable. Maybe he meant 60 instead of 6.

    Last edited by JacquelineL; 06-18-2004 at 12:05 PM.

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 01:56 PM   #7
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LV40
    Also, they told me my HDL was 6.0. What does that mean? All of the levels I'm reading here have actual round numbers, like 45 or 60 or something like that. What does 6.0 mean?

    I hope I'm not asking too many questions, but I'm new at this cholesterol thing and I don't mind telling you that I'm a little worried.
    Boy...I don't blame you for being confused! I'll try and sort it out if I can. The basic formula is LDL=TC -HDL- TRIG/5. So your TRIGS only contribute 1/5 of the TRIG total to the TOTAL CHOLESTEROL (TC). If the TRIGS are very high (I think above 500), then that realtionship breaks down.OK..let's move on ...I think that "6.0" refers to the TC/HDL ratio. If that's true, then your HDL was 238/6=40.Is this correct?? If not, then I don't know what that # refers to. If it IS 40, need to raise that HDL and lower the Total to get the ratio below 4.0. You really need to get the Dr to EXPLAIN the #s to you!

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 02:19 PM   #8
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LV40
    Thanks for the reply

    I've been doing some reading and I'm finding more and more articles saying that fish oil by itself actually RAISES LDL cholesterol. What's up with that???
    Fish Oil will have a MINIMAL effect on raising your LDL. Some studies show that taking GARLIC with it cancels out any minor elevations. The lowering of your TRIG should be significant with fish oil...I went from 187 to 100 on fish oil.

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 02:26 PM   #9
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Thanks for the added replies

    My doctor didn't really explain ANYTHING to me. He came into the room, barked about my triglycerides being too high and slapped a prescription in my hand for a drug that I've discovered through my own research to be dangerous. In fact, he didn't even show me my numbers, he was in and out of the room so fast I didn't have time to think straight about what I wanted to ask him and I had to call the office today to get my numbers over the phone. And I still don't understand it. The person on the phone said that since my triglycerides were so high that they couldn't get a sufficient reading (something about not being able to break it down) on my LDL. Whatever the heck THAT is supposed to mean.

    I'm also overweight. I've got to eat less food and eat less fat. I think once my weight comes down, my cholesterol will come down as well. I want to do this myself first, or at least try. I've gone many years eating fattenings foods and drinking alcohol (which is probably what shot my triglycerides up so high) and I want a chance to correct that. I'm going to start eating healthier, back off of the drinking as much as I can and do my best to avoid taking these potentially dangerous medications. I think the medications should be a last resort rather than tossed at you as soon as the doctor finds bad readings. That's the trouble with some doctors these days, they automatically put you on prescription meds without looking into alternatives and without taking into consideration that some of these meds can be life-threatening.

    I bought some fish oil today. Maybe that will help. Since side effects are rare and not dangerous, it sure couldn't hurt things any. I want to do this naturally. Maybe I'll fail, who knows? But I've got to at least try!

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 02:28 PM   #10
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Thanks, rahod, about the note on the fish oil. How much do you personally take?

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 04:38 PM   #11
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    I take 2900 mg total EPA/DHA content. BTW, you should monitor your blood sugar if you have high TRIGS. Your range should be 70-105 fasting and no higher than 140 (30-60 min after a meal).

     
    Old 06-18-2004, 05:47 PM   #12
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    My blood sugar is ok, thankfully. I have a monitor at home that I use to check it now and then (my mother had diabetes so I'm conscious of it) and my doctor said I had no signs of diabetes at all. But that could change if I don't get my weight down, which I am working on.

    Thanks for the reply on the fish oil amounts

     
    Old 06-19-2004, 08:03 AM   #13
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    LV,

    The reason that the doctor was talkking in terms of Lopid (not a statin) is that it is specifically for very high triglycerides.
    You
    n are right in assuming that alcohol is an offender- it's probably the WORST offender for high tri's.
    (I once had my tri's taken after 2 Manhattans (don't ask!) Anyway my normal 100-150 was up to 500 (above 400 LDL's aren't even measured.) Even above 300 tri, the LDL approaches meaninglessness (if calculated.)

    Avoid high sugar meals, get weight way down, avoid booze and retest.

    Lopid isn't the WORST drug if you really need it (but it's got more than it's share of problems.)
    It does cut coronary risk considerably in those with very high triglycerides- not much use otherwise.
    BUT DO retest to be sure you aren't medicating for a fluke reading (or a ton of sugar or gin the night before.)

     
    Old 06-19-2004, 09:40 AM   #14
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    *lol*, no, I didn't have any alcohol the night before. But since I'm a regular drinker, my triglycerides will probably STAY elevated unless I quit completely.

    Now, the doctor said that my HDL was fine. So it's probably the triglycerides giving me such a high reading. I know the Lopid is specifically for that, but I'm afraid to take it. I did some research on the drug and read WAY too many horror stories. I have a son to take care of, I don't need to end up in the hospital for some crazy side effect to drugs.

     
    Old 06-19-2004, 11:22 AM   #15
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    Re: What are the 'stats' on cholesterol-lowering supplements?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LV40
    *lol*, no, I didn't have any alcohol the night before. But since I'm a regular drinker, my triglycerides will probably STAY elevated unless I quit completely.

    Now, the doctor said that my HDL was fine. So it's probably the triglycerides giving me such a high reading. I know the Lopid is specifically for that, but I'm afraid to take it. I did some research on the drug and read WAY too many horror stories. I have a son to take care of, I don't need to end up in the hospital for some crazy side effect to drugs.
    I drank too much also (almost 2 liters of wine a night ). I didn't have to quit though...I cut my drinking by more than 50% and it made a big difference. You need to confront the drinking and then STRICTLY control the amount you drink. I now limit my wine drinking to a specfic time interval (between 7 and 9:30PM) and I limit the # of glasses by marking it down on a piece of paper

     
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