The standard definition of high cholesterol is having an excess of cholesterol in the blood, usually more than 200 mg/dl, although many doctors are now citing 180 mg/dl as the maximum of the reference range.
The reason you have “high cholesterol” is probably because you have eaten too much saturated fat (from animals) over the years. Some people, however, have an inherited type of high cholesterol. For more information on familial hypercholesterolemia please see the conventional diagnosis section.
Clinical high cholesterol is usually found in the blood values on a annual check-up. No signs or symptoms may be present even with life threatening atherosclerotic disease. This diagnosis may be a result of a life of poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive drinking, etc. You may be experiencing angina, hypertension, or kidney disease as well as the elevated blood lipids. Even though it’s quite likely you can control your high cholesterol with some basic dietary changes, there are some other disease problems which can cause this syndrome. Make sure your doctor has discussed the “rule-outs” with you; in other words make sure your high cholesterol is NOT because of:
- von Gierke’s disease
- “sluggish” liver syndrome
- pancreatic dysfunction
In industrial countries, people who are apparently symptom-free may suddenly have a massive MI (myocardial infarction, or heart attack). It may be the first indicator of disease. Therefore yearly cholesterol screens are highly recommended. Hypercholesterolemia in Western countries seems well-linked to significant morbidity (hypertension, angina) and mortality (MI, CVA or cerebral vascular accident, which usually refers to stroke). It is estimated that half the population in the U.S. will die from Congestive Heart Disease (CHD) and the results of atherosclerosis. Coronary bypass surgery is one of the most common operations now performed, even though it carries inherent risks and research has shown that its effect is generally transient, with patients often experiencing repeat symptoms only 2-3 years post-surgery. Chelation therapy offers some hope, but it remains controversial and only a few physicians have adequate training to perform this technique. New research suggests that prevention and natural treatment offer the healthiest, most lasting and least costly route to recovery.
Cholesterol levels have become the source of much national fear, even though cholesterol is one of the most valuable substances in the human body. Cholesterol is needed for strong cell walls, as a precursor for hormone production, and as a coating around nerves, to name just a few of its very important functions. Cholesterol is made in the liver in amounts up to 2000 mg/day. Cholesterol associated with high density lipoprotein, HDL (and Apolipoprotein A-1), is generally considered to be beneficial to the body, as it works to remove cholesterol from blood vessel walls and the the blood itself, bringing it to the liver for processing and excretion. Cholesterol associated with the low density lipoprotein, LDL (and Apolipoprotein B), is generally thought to be harmful to the body as it carries cholesterol into the bloodstream and can therefore place it into the intima of the arterial walls, promoting atherosclerotic processes. Very low density lipoproteins, VLDLs, become LDLs in the liver and are therefore also generally thought to be harmful.
For many years, this theory placed the effect of high cholesterol as the major etiologic agent in the epidemic of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease experienced in Western nations. However, recent evidence suggests other important factors, such as atherosclerosis.
The best approach to prevention of high cholesterol is regular aerobic exercise and a low animal-fat diet. There are also specific nutritional approaches which include eating a low sugar diet (because where there’s sugar, there’s often fat too), with a high fiber content and, of course, low or no extra cholesterol and a low Sodium or Sodium-restricted diet . To get to the point of prevention, in other words to bring down you high cholesterol at the beginning of your therapy, try 2 or 3 weeks of a vegetarian cleansing diet or a series of short juice-only fasts . Do not attempt a fast unsupervised. Work with a doctor or an experienced friend.
Foods that have specific ability to dissolve blood fats and therefore can hlep reduce high cholesterol include:
- garlic, wheat germ, liquid chlorophyll, alfalfa sprouts, buckwheat, watercress, rice polishings, apple, celery, cherries
- foods high in water-soluble fiber: flax seed, pectin, guar gum, oat bran
- onions, beans, legumes, soy, ginger, alfafa, yogurt
- omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (high quality fats) available in raw vegetable, nut, and seed oils; salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, and black currant oil.
If you are willing to make fresh juices, the following ones are beneficial for high cholesterol,
according to Dr. Bernard Jensen:
- carrot and pineapple with honey
- liquid chlorophyll
- parsley, alfalfa, and pineapple
- carrot, celery, parsley, and spinach
- carrot and spinach
- carrot, beet, and celery
- celery, lettuce, and spinach
- asparagus and honey
Of course, you must have guessed by now that there’s a list of foods you SHOULDN’T eat.
Please strongly consider avoiding:
- trans-fatty acids, hydrogenated oils (margarine, vegetable shortenings, imitation butter spreads, most commercial peanut butters) and oxidized fats (deep fried foods, fast food, ghee, barbequed meats)
- refined, simple carbohydrates: sucrose, white flour, processed foods
Supplements to consider:
- Vitamin B3 100 mg three times daily, working up to 6 g daily. (Monitor for POSSIBLE LIVER PROBLEMS). Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin and very often produces an intense whole-body flushing reaction that can last up to several hours after taking the supplement. A modified form of the vitamin, which is still useful for lowering cholesterol in most people, is called NIACINAMIDE. Also, remember that the optimal dose must be worked up to. Don’t start with a high dose. Consistency is the key here. Taking niacin for a few weeks then quitting is not going to lower your choelsterol, especially if you continue to eat red meat.
- omega-3 fatty acids: EPA 5-10 g daily
- Vitamin B6 40 mg and folate 5 mg
- Vitamin C 3 g daily
- Vitamin E
- Magnesium 500 mg daily
- Bromelain (a digestive enzyme derived from pineapple stems)
- Chromium 200 mcg daily
- Zinc (Hooper, 1980)
- Copper 2 mg daily
- L-carnitine 3 g daily
- phosphotidyl ethanolamine
- rice bran oil 3 g daily
Plant medicines have been used for hundreds of years to contorl and help all sorts of physical and even mental complaints. Before attempting to use plant medicine yourself, please consutl with a qualified herbalist or naturopathic doctor. At the very least go to the library and coose a variety of books to educate you on the topic. Plant medicines can be TOXIC. It is very important to know what you’re doing here. Also, you can waste time and money if you don’t know the best plant to use, or what form or dose to take. However, with these warnings, the following list of herbal (botanical) medicine approaches to high cholesterol is provided as a guideline.
- Allium cepa (garlic) lowers cholesterol
- Allium sativum (onion) also lowers cholesterol
- Commiphora mukul (guggalon gum), an East Indian botanical, is particularly useful because it lowers LDL and VLDL while raising HDL (“good” cholesterol).
- Eletherococcus senticosus (known as Siberian ginseng, although it isn’t actuallly a form of ginseng) lowers cholesterol and also increases overall stamina with regular use.
- Panax ginseng is useful in hyperlipidemia because it reduces total serum cholesterol, triglycerides and raises serum HDL-cholesterol levels.
- Vaccinium myrtillus (blue berries) reduces serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in primary hyperlipidemia.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a 3,000+ year old system of diagnosis and therapeutics which works primarily in stimulating the body’s natural “vital force” (known as Qi – pronounced chee). There are several areas of TCM, including diet and nutrition, acupuncture and moxibustion (a stick of compressed mugwort which is burned and held close to the body to insert Qi into the area of distress), Qi Gong (slow breath and movement exercises) and medicinal herbs. Chinese medicinal herbs to be considered for high cholesterol, with the guidance of a qualified acupuncturist or Chinese herbalist:
- Cir Q (patent)
- Tienchi Ginseng Tablet (patent)
- Siler and Platycodon F. (Fang Feng Tong Sheng San) works well for obese patients with cardiac disorders, habitual constipation, a strong pulse, abdominal firmness and fullness, facial reddening
- Saliva Shou Wu (patent)
The Qi of the body travels through 12 maor and two “extra” meridians. The energy of each meridian congeals in tiny “pools” along the course of the meridian which can be tapped into to move sluggish energy or draw out excess energy. These pools of Qi are where the acupoints are located. The more than 400 primary acupoints are located in very specific locations on the surface of the skin and are useful for treating not only local complaints, but tap in, each and every one, to an organ system, an emotional state, a sensory pattern (such as vision or hearing) and may also have other special applications. TCM acupoints points to consider after assessing the person constitutionally, as well as for the speicif problem such as in this case, high cholesterol, are the following:
- yi shu (extra point)
- Urinary Bladder-20
- Triple Warmer-4
- Triple Warmer-5
- Conception Vessel-22
- Conception Vessel-12
- Conception Vessel-9
- Conception Vessel-6
Probably the most famous point combination in China for high cholesterol is:
- Liver-3 and Stomach-36 which together help resolve increased blood lipids
homeopathic remedies to consider:
- Cholesterolinum: if necessary, with regular lab work every three months; starting with higher potencies and descending
- Carbo vegetabilis: patient is sluggish, fat and lazy; very debilitated; general venous stasis, bluish skin, limbs cold; the simplest food distresses; digestion slow, food putrifies before it digests; aggravation from rich fatty foods
- Ferrum metallicum: obesity, patient looks strong, but is weakly anaemic and chlorolic with pseudo-plethora; worse after any active effort; muscles flabby and relaxed; irregular distribution of blood; sanguine temperment; distention and pressure in stomach after eating; aggravation from fats, oils; intolerance of eggs
- Nitric acid: person dark complexioned and past middle life; hydrogenoid constitution; irritable; vindictive; hopeless despair; love fat and salt; longing for indigestible things; great hunger with sweetish taste
- Nux vomica: patient is thin active irritable, seeks stimulants, takes preferably rich and stimulating food; indulges in alcohol; has late hours; thick head; dyspepsia and irritable temper; easily chilled and avoids open air
- Pulsatilla: mild, gentle, yielding disposition; seeks open air; symptoms ever changing; averse to fat food, cannot tolerate it; eructations; taste of food remains a long time Â· Sulphur: great acidity; sour eructation; craving for fats; food tastes too salty; very selfish; averse to business; worse standing, worse warmth of bed; better in dry warm weather; very weak and faint around 11 A.M.
- aloe vera
- lemon (helps to dissolve blood clots; acts as a chronic alterative) on front and back
- magenta (a cardiotonic) on chest
- scarlet (acts as a stimulant to the kidneys and adrenals) on kidneys
- Stress management training in group of 23 patients showed the following results after 24 days: 20% decrease in plasma cholesterol, 44% increase in duration of exercise, 55% increase in total work performed, a 6% increase in ventricular ejection fraction from rest to maximal exercise, and 91% decrease in anginal episodes.
- Four year evaluation: 13,000 male patients age 35-57 were assigned to usual care or to intervention designed to reduce smoking, hypertension, and serum cholesterol. The intervention group showed a strong decrease in all three risk factors over the four years, while the control group showed a moderate decrease (indicative of societal changes in health attitudes). Â· Clogging the channels of joy; fear of accepting joy.
Visualizations, affirmations and behavior modification:
- Intervention project for type A behavior pattern showed decrease in serum cholesterol which exceeded the decrease in serum levels for patients only treated with psychotherapy. These results were maintained six months after treatment.
- Relaxation techniques reinforced by biofeedback for six weeks where the patients practiced twice a day and incorporated the exercises into everyday activities reduced mean blood pressure from 170/102 to 148/89, and reduced mean cholesterol from 241 to 217.
- Biofeedback-aided relaxation and meditation reduced blood pressure, pulse rate, and smoking habits as well as serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and free fatty acids.
affirmation (from Louise Hay):I choose to love life. My channels of joy are wide open. It is safe to receive.