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ChristianZane 12-08-2005 03:25 PM

My cholesterol lowering SUCCESS story without meds
 
I'm 38, male, never really bothered to check my cholesterol. Been lurking here for months. About four months ago, I had an annual physical and these lipid numbers came back:

HDL: 25
LDL: 180
Trigs: 370
Total: 248

I was shocked, I am not a smoker and I exercise religiously, and I am generally healthy, my blood pressure was perfect as was everthing else. My doctor suggested Lipitor and I said "no way", I wanted to give it another two months and see how I could improve on it. So I stopped eating things like potato chips and added oat bran etc to my diet, I also jogged 3x than normal. Six weeks later, I went in for another test, and to make a long story short, my numbers all went [B]UP[/B]. I was dumbfounded. I called my mother who admitted to me that we have a family history of high cholesterol, and that both my mother and father are on Lipitor. So I made the decision I would try Niacin first, but I decided to try one more 5 week program that made alterations to my diet before doing that. And here is what I added, which was more or less on a daily basis:

[SIZE=3]
-Ready made oatmeal in the little packets, just add hot water (make sure sugar content is low). Add 1 tsp of cinnamon.
-Nuts: walnuts, almonds and (small amounts) of macadamia nuts.
-1oz of dark chocolate (must be [I]70% cocoa content[/I]).
-Dried prunes.
-One glass (5oz) of red wine.
-One glass of Minute Maid "Healthy Heart" OJ.
-Sprinked olive oil all over my salads, if and when I ate them.
-Omega-3 fish oil tablets (must be filtered, ie no cholesterol on label).[/SIZE]

I still did eat steak every two weeks, and didn't really alter the rest of my diet, but I did eat all the things above daily. I arrived at the decision to add the above foods after buying 8 books on cholesterol, and they all came to a consensus that those worked. And eating chocolate and red wine and nuts was a THRILL for me, almost a daily treat. After five weeks of this, my cholesterol levels came back today as:

HDL: 29.1
LDL: 110
Trigs: 146
Total: 177

My doctor said that low HDL like that is hereditary, and not much to worry about when the rest of the numbers are normal or better than normal. Also apparently stress has a lot to do with cholesterol, so I made a conscious choice over the last couple of months to chill out, not sure if that had anything to do with it. Keep in mind that the chocolate and macadamias will add saturated fat to your diet, so you will need to REDUCE other intakes of these fats, not just add that on top of what you are already eating. So that's my story, may or may not work for you, but it did for me, good luck! :)

JJ 12-08-2005 04:51 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering SUCCESS story without meds
 
[QUOTE=ChristianZane]I'm 38, male, never really bothered to check my cholesterol. Been lurking here for months. About four months ago, I had an annual physical and these lipid numbers came back:

HDL: 25
LDL: 180
Trigs: 370
Total: 248

I was shocked, I am not a smoker and I exercise religiously, and I am generally healthy, my blood pressure was perfect as was everthing else. My doctor suggested Lipitor and I said "no way", I wanted to give it another two months and see how I could improve on it. So I stopped eating things like potato chips and added oat bran etc to my diet, I also jogged 3x than normal. Six weeks later, I went in for another test, and to make a long story short, my numbers all went [B]UP[/B]. I was dumbfounded. I called my mother who admitted to me that we have a family history of high cholesterol, and that both my mother and father are on Lipitor. So I made the decision I would try Niacin first, but I decided to try one more 5 week program that made alterations to my diet before doing that. And here is what I added, which was more or less on a daily basis:

[SIZE=3]
-Ready made oatmeal in the little packets, just add hot water (make sure sugar content is low). Add 1 tsp of cinnamon.
-Nuts: walnuts, almonds and (small amounts) of macadamia nuts.
-1oz of dark chocolate (must be [I]70% cocoa content[/I]).
-Dried prunes.
-One glass (5oz) of red wine.
-One glass of Minute Maid "Healthy Heart" OJ.
-Sprinked olive oil all over my salads, if and when I ate them.
-Omega-3 fish oil tablets (must be filtered, ie no cholesterol on label).[/SIZE]

I still did eat steak every two weeks, and didn't really alter the rest of my diet, but I did eat all the things above daily. I arrived at the decision to add the above foods after buying 8 books on cholesterol, and they all came to a consensus that those worked. And eating chocolate and red wine and nuts was a THRILL for me, almost a daily treat. After five weeks of this, my cholesterol levels came back today as:

HDL: 29.1
LDL: 110
Trigs: 146
Total: 177

My doctor said that low HDL like that is hereditary, and not much to worry about when the rest of the numbers are normal or better than normal. Also apparently stress has a lot to do with cholesterol, so I made a conscious choice over the last couple of months to chill out, not sure if that had anything to do with it. Keep in mind that the chocolate and macadamias will add saturated fat to your diet, so you will need to REDUCE other intakes of these fats, not just add that on top of what you are already eating. So that's my story, may or may not work for you, but it did for me, good luck! :)[/QUOTE]

Hey good for you Christian. Sometimes we can get those numbers down with diet and exercise, even if it is a struggle at times.

Six months ago I added green tea and cinnamon to my diet, and have no idea if it was a fluke or what, but my TC went from 232 to 198 and my LDL 161 to 126. Overall I have been doing the oatmeal etc. but it just brought the numbers down a lil, so who knows. I did also add nuts and extra vitamin C, 1,000 mgs. a day as well. We will see in Jan. if it is still working or not.

Finally got hubby doing the oatmeal and cinnamon, plus the vitamin C, but no way will he do the tea. LOL No problem, at least I got him to do 3 out of 4. He has a wicked Trigs problem, as he is also type 2 diabetic, so I am really hoping his new routine will bring them down, as he usually runs around 400. His TC is always good, but those Trigs. are what we want to really get to. Yes, he does the fish oil also, but after doing it for 2 years with no improvement, he isn't as religious about it as he was before. Oh well, just have to wait and see how it all goes.

Keep up the good work, nice to see good reports..... :wave:

gardeninggal 12-08-2005 05:27 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering SUCCESS story without meds
 
[QUOTE=JJ]Hey good for you Christian. Sometimes we can get those numbers down with diet and exercise, even if it is a struggle at times.

Six months ago I added green tea and cinnamon to my diet, and have no idea if it was a fluke or what, but my TC went from 232 to 198 and my LDL 161 to 126. Overall I have been doing the oatmeal etc. but it just brought the numbers down a lil, so who knows. I did also add nuts and extra vitamin C, 1,000 mgs. a day as well. We will see in Jan. if it is still working or not.

Finally got hubby doing the oatmeal and cinnamon, plus the vitamin C, but no way will he do the tea. LOL No problem, at least I got him to do 3 out of 4. He has a wicked Trigs problem, as he is also type 2 diabetic, so I am really hoping his new routine will bring them down, as he usually runs around 400. His TC is always good, but those Trigs. are what we want to really get to. Yes, he does the fish oil also, but after doing it for 2 years with no improvement, he isn't as religious about it as he was before. Oh well, just have to wait and see how it all goes.

Keep up the good work, nice to see good reports..... :wave:[/QUOTE]
JJ, My husband won't drink green tea either so I bought him Green tea extract and he is happy to take the capsules, right now he takes 400mg. I drink the tea and you know you can add some juice to it just to sweeten it a little. I really believe in the tea if for no other reason is it fights cancer. I read once that cancer cells can't grow in it's presence. So many of the good tips we get on this site have many other benefits as well. :)

JJ 12-08-2005 07:11 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering SUCCESS story without meds
 
[QUOTE=gardeninggal]JJ, My husband won't drink green tea either so I bought him Green tea extract and he is happy to take the capsules, right now he takes 400mg. I drink the tea and you know you can add some juice to it just to sweeten it a little. I really believe in the tea if for no other reason is it fights cancer. I read once that cancer cells can't grow in it's presence. So many of the good tips we get on this site have many other benefits as well. :)[/QUOTE]

Right now I am going to see how his tests are next month. I don't want to pile too much on him, then we won't know what is working. I really had to laugh the other nite when he took a sip of mine, the face he made reminded me of my kids when they were small and U gave thm something they didn't like. LOL Sometimes I add cranberry juice or extra lemon to mine, but to be honest, it really doesn't bother me.

Funny, I don't like it when it is hot, but after I cool it and shove it in the fridge as iced tea, I like it as much as reg. iced tea. Sometimes I even mix the 2 together, as I drink iced tea, all year long. Hubby got an article the other day from the VA, as that is where he gets his medical checkups etc., and he hands it to me and said.."Here, there is a great article in there on green tea"! I told him, yup, same article I read on the web and in other magazine articles, but guess it didn't convince him to drink it. Oh well, don't want to get on his case too much, he is really trying the other stuff and being very good about his diet, so for now, I will HUSH UP!!! LOL

Have a good one, and enjoy your tea too...... :wave:

ChristianZane 12-08-2005 07:11 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering success story
 
During my first round of trying to lower cholesterol, I did eat oatmeal, it wasn't until I was pouring on gobs of cinnamon did my numbers seem to dramatically change. Mind you I still eat garbage occassionaly, such as oily Mexican food and Ruth's Chris steaks, so I don't eat like a saint all the time. I'm not sure what above changed it, probably a combination, but there is no reason not to eat dark chocolate (70% cocoa content), red wine and a handful of yummy nuts including macadamia everyday! I used to think that was splurging, but it actually is making me healthy! The Minute Maid OJ is easy, just drink it whenever you want during the day. I would rather take a pill (whether it's Niacin or a statin) and be able to eat anything I want, but I don't mind the above additions to my diet and take NO pills. Again this worked for me, it may not work for you, but I have solid proof it did.

ChristianZane 12-08-2005 07:18 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering success story
 
Be careful about taking high doses of green tea extract, a study recently completed by University of Mississippi researchers indicates that extremely high doses of green tea extract actually may activate - rather than shut down - genetic mechanisms that help certain tumors survive and grow. I think most of the benefits from green tea come from brewing, not pill form. I myself take tea green extract tablets, that include pomegranate and berry extracts, but in low doses.

Lenin 12-09-2005 06:00 AM

Re: My cholesterol lowering success story
 
Christian,

Your improvement is remarkable. THe drop in LDL and triglycerides is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
But that leaves you with a still miserably low HDL. Genetic or not, and I believe it is to a large exent, it is STILL considered a serious risk factor by and of itself.

Since you got it up 4 points or +16%, push harder with the red wine, perhaps 2 glasses. Alcohol works best on HDL's.
If you can't get a tolerable showing of 35 or more, you might consider trying niacin to raise it.

ChristianZane 12-09-2005 02:13 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering success story
 
Hi Lenin, thanks for the comments. I think there's a bit of a hysteria in the medical community about getting cholesterol numbers to fabricated and pre-determined numbers. I agree my HDL is low, but this is a genetic thing. I'm doing a ton of research about low HDL levels when all the other numbers are normal, and it's still inconslusive on what to do. My doctor says that there isn't enough evidence at this time to say that drug treatment in my case is beneficial. However, there is no evidence saying that it is harmful either... so I may slowly work my way into some niacin over the coming months, but nothing near the 3g's that most books recommend. Cheers.

Rick49 12-09-2005 02:23 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering SUCCESS story without meds
 
[QUOTE=JJ]He has a wicked Trigs problem, as he is also type 2 diabetic, so I am really hoping his new routine will bring them down, as he usually runs around 400. His TC is always good, but those Trigs. are what we want to really get to.

Keep up the good work, nice to see good reports..... :wave:[/QUOTE]
I lowered my triglycerides from 350 to97 by following a low glycemic index diet. It will help with his diabetes also. I got a friend of mine, who is type two diabetic, to try it and he found the same thing. He was also able to reduce his dosage of metformin in half.

Rick

HubbleRules 12-09-2005 02:29 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering success story
 
[QUOTE=ChristianZane]Hi Lenin, thanks for the comments. I think there's a bit of a hysteria in the medical community about getting cholesterol numbers to fabricated and pre-determined numbers. I agree my HDL is low, but this is a genetic thing. I'm doing a ton of research about low HDL levels when all the other numbers are normal, and it's still inconslusive on what to do. My doctor says that there isn't enough evidence at this time to say that drug treatment in my case is beneficial. However, there is no evidence saying that it is harmful either... so I may slowly work my way into some niacin over the coming months, but nothing near the 3g's that most books recommend. Cheers.[/QUOTE]


ChristianZane,

I never heard of such an incredible drop in cholesterol thru diet and lifestyle changes alone! Congratulations!! I wish we all could do as well.

Unfortunately for many the issue boils down to genetics, and lifestyle and diet changes don't have the desired result no matter how hard the person tries. It's either prescription drugs or supplements for these individuals.

I also have low HDL (usually around 35)... I've tried many things to raise it (aerobic exercise, one or two glasses of red wine daily, low dose Niacin of 500mg/day, losing weight), and yet it sticks like a bug on the windshield...

I'm on Policosanol now and am hoping it will finally give me some improvement. I've also started drinking one cup of green tea per day (all I can stand!!). I'm also taking 500mg of slow release Niacin... I do admit I have to do better with diet, and stick to more low-glycemic-index carbs than I do presently...

You should feel proud of your accomplishment.

HubbleRules
:cool:

lane413 12-09-2005 06:34 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering SUCCESS story without meds
 
[QUOTE=Rick49]I lowered my triglycerides from 350 to97 by following a low glycemic index diet. It will help with his diabetes also. I got a friend of mine, who is type two diabetic, to try it and he found the same thing. He was also able to reduce his dosage of metformin in half.

Rick


:wave: Hi Rick! My mom is diabetic and i would like her to try the glycemic index diet. Is there a web site you can recommend w/o being edited by the moderator? thanx. :D

HubbleRules 12-09-2005 07:52 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering SUCCESS story without meds
 
[QUOTE=lane413][QUOTE=Rick49]I lowered my triglycerides from 350 to97 by following a low glycemic index diet. It will help with his diabetes also. I got a friend of mine, who is type two diabetic, to try it and he found the same thing. He was also able to reduce his dosage of metformin in half.

Rick


:wave: Hi Rick! My mom is diabetic and i would like her to try the glycemic index diet. Is there a web site you can recommend w/o being edited by the moderator? thanx. :D[/QUOTE]

Try downloading this file from the Canadian Diabetes Association:

[IMG]http://www.diabetes.ca/files/Diabetes_GL_FINAL2_CPG03.pdf[/IMG]

Also, here is a quick-list of low-medium-high glycemic foods from their web site:

LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX FOODS (55 or less)
(choose most often vvv)

Skim milk
Plain Yogurt
Soy beverage
Apple/plum/orange
Sweet potato
Oat bran bread
Oatmeal (slow cook oats)
All-Bran™
Converted or Parboiled rice
Pumpernickel bread
Al dente (firm) pasta
Lentils/kidney/baked beans
Chick peas


MEDIUM GLYCEMIC INDEX FOODS (56-69)
(choose more often vv)

Banana
Pineapple
Raisins
New potatoes
Popcorn
Split pea or green pea soup
Brown rice
Couscous
Basmati rice
Shredded wheat cereal
Whole wheat bread
Rye bread

HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX FOODS
(choose less often v )
Watermelon
Dried dates
Instant mashed potatoes
Baked white potato
Parsnips
Rutabaga
Instant rice
Corn Flakes™
Rice Krispies™
Cheerios™
Bagel, white
Soda crackers
Jellybeans
French fries
Ice cream
Digestive cookies
Table sugar (sucrose)

HubbleRules
:cool:

ChristianZane 12-10-2005 11:48 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering success story
 
Someone messaged and me asked what all those foods I posted do to cholesterol:

[U][B]Oatmeal[/B][/U]
Oatmeal is full of soluble fiber, which lowers LDL levels. When you digest fiber, it becomes gooey, it sticks to cholesterol and stops it from being absorbed. So instead of getting that cholesterol into your system, and your arteries, you simply get rid of it as waste. And any oat bran supplements selectively lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.

[B][U]Heart Wise OJ[/U][/B]
That stuff is loaded and fortified with plant sterols which significantly reduces LDL or "bad" cholesterol in a study of people with normal to borderline high total cholesterol who consumed two 8 fl oz servings per day with meals for 8 weeks.

[B][U]Dark chocolate (70% cocoa content)[/U][/B]
Contains flavonoids called procyanidins & epicatechins; flavonoids are part of a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols which decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation. Reduces the risk of blood clots. Increases blood flow in arteries. May lower high blood pressure. Cocoa has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels because it consists mainly of stearic acid and oleic acid. Stearic acid is a saturated fat but unlike most saturated fatty acids, it does not raise blood cholesterol levels. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, does not raise cholesterol and may even reduce it.

[B][U]Dried prunes[/U][/B]
The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods like prunes in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies. Prunes' soluble fiber helps normalize blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which food leaves the stomach and by delaying the absorption of glucose (the form in which sugar is transported in the blood) following a meal. The propionic acid produced from prunes' insoluble fiber may also be partly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering properties of fiber. In animal studies, propionic acid has been shown to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering the activity of this enzyme, propionic acid helps lower blood cholesterol levels. In addition, prunes' soluble fibers help to lower cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body via the feces.

[U][B]Omega-3 supplements (FILTERED)[/B][/U]
Researchers now believe that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the omega-3s, is particularly beneficial for protecting against heart and vessel disease, and for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

[B][U]Red Wine[/U][/B]
Red wines are a significant source of saponins, which are believed to promote heart health by binding to cholesterol and preventing the absorption of cholesterol in the blood. T he plant compounds are also thought to play a role in inflammation, which could have beneficial effects in reducing heart disease and cancer risks. Saponins are believed to come from the waxy skin of grapes and dissolve into the wine during the wine making process. Aside from wine, other sources of saponins include olive oil and soybeans.

[B][U]Macadamia nuts[/U][/B]
Macadamia nuts contain high levels of monounsaturated fat which produces lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Replacing the saturated fat in the typical diet with monounsaturated fat could reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Unlike many high-fat foods, which contain high levels of saturated fats, macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, which appear to have beneficial effects.

[B][U]Almonds[/U][/B]
Almonds either roasted, raw, or in a butter form reduce LDL cholesterol in men and women with high cholesterol blood levels. Also an increase in the HDL (high density lipoprotein) level in the group consuming almond butter.

[B][U]Walnuts[/U][/B]
A host of studies have shown that increasing the dietary intake of monounsaturated-dense walnuts has favorable effects on high cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. Earlier research had already suggested that several polyphenolic compounds found in walnuts, specifically ellagic and gallic acid, possessed antioxidant activity sufficient to inhibit free radical damage to LDL cholesterol.

HubbleRules 12-11-2005 03:26 AM

Re: My cholesterol lowering success story
 
ChristianZane,

Thanks for all that information - it is very useful.

I've actually been eating slow-cooked oats for some time (I put either cinnamon or - believe it or not - olive oil on it). I usually have 1 cup (dried) each day - usually eat it for lunch...

I take 3-4 grams of Omega-3 Fish Oil (filtered), and have a good amount of olive oil each day ( I just love it)... I probably have about 1/3 cup per day - I use it in place of butter...

I eat almonds frequently. I also have a glass of red-wine with dinner. I don't eat much red meat at all, mostly poultry or fish, and I've been increasing my intake of veggies.

I'll try the dark chocolate and other nuts, and get some dried prunes (which I like anyhow). I already get plenty of plant sterols in a few supplements that I take.

In addition to the above, I know you said you still have a little red meat, and salads. Did you cut out dairy? What do you usually eat in addition to the diet you listed - or is the diet the bulk of what you consume?

I've never had much luck changing my cholesterol thru diet. I usually find that when I lose weight, my triglycerides go down, but other than that, I've never been able to budge my HDL, and my LDL usually doesn't respond much to what I eat. Even when I was in college and thin as a rail, I had high cholesterol. But I'm willing to give another diet a try...

HubbleRules
:cool:

ChristianZane 12-11-2005 12:51 PM

Re: My cholesterol lowering success story
 
I don't eat any dairy except for non-fat yogurt occasionally, I put soymilk in my coffee. The rest of my diet mainly consists of fruits and cereals (oat variety) for breakfast along with nuts, a salad for lunch of even a subway sandwich (I add my own meats, like turkey and stuff), I have a "snack" meal late afternoon which is the oatmeal, prunes, etc, and for dinner it just depends, sometimes I eat healthy and sometimes I eat garbage, but I always get in that chocolate and red wine :) I read somewhere that diet can only affect cholesterol by 20%, but that wasn't true in my case. My HDL is a problem who as it is stuck on the high 20s which isn't good, my doc says it's genetic and nothing I can do about it other than supplements of Niacin (which I am willing to try) or pharmeceutical drugs (statins) which I won't try.


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