Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Without Statin Drugs?
Managing your cholesterol levels are important. High cholesterol levels in the blood raise your risk of heart attack and stroke. To combat this heath condition, the medical community usually promotes taking statin drugs.
How do statins work? Statins inhibit the enzyme that allows production of cholesterol in the liver. It does not have an effect on lowering the lipoproteins (VLDL and LDL) which are also a risk marker and are the transportation molecules that take the cholesterol to organs and tissues for the processing of hormones. New research has shown, that altering the amount of the lipoproteins, the transportation molecules, has a more positive effect on managing cholesterol levels. Research has also found that taking statin drugs does help reduce heart attack and stroke with PRE-EXISTING heart disease, but not in those that do not.
Statin drugs can also have some nasty side effects. Possible side effects are as follows:
- Frequent interactions with other medications
- Muscle and joint aching
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
More serious side effects are as follows.
- Possible liver damage
- Possible kidney damage
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Possible development of type 2 diabetes
- Myositis (muscle swelling)/ rhabdomyolysis (muscle break down)
If taking statin drugs is something you want to avoid, there are natural alternatives. The number one supplement for reducing cholesterol levels in taking Niacin (B3). Niacin has been shown to reduce the production of the VLDL and LDL’s and increase production of HDL’s. Studies have been shown that Niacin can reduce LDL levels by 15-25% and decrease triglycerides (fatty energy molecules) by 2-50%, and increase HDL levels by 15-25%. To achieve these results, Niacin must be taken at a dosage between 1-4 mg daily. Even niacin has some side effects, but they are not serious:
- Upset stomach/ nausea
In addition to supplementing with Niacin, adding garlic, fiber and Omega – 3 fatty acids is recommended. An anti-inflammatory dose of Omega – 3 fatty acids is 3600mg a day. Fiber consumption should be around 25-30g per day though fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods.
Exercise, particularly resistance training is an essential component of lower LDL levels and increasing HDL levels. Resistance training should be performed three to five days a week.
Always consult your physician before changing or stopping your medication regiment or there could be potential negative side effects.