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September is National Cholesterol Education Month Ask the Wellness educator


Dear Wellness Team,

A blood test recently showed that my LDL cholesterol has become too high for the first time. My doctor wants me to try and get it down through diet and exercise for three months. If that doesn't work, he will probably recommend prescription drugs, which I want to avoid. I've switched to a low-fat diet, but having Chronic Fatigue is making it hard to increase my exercise. Are there any supplements that can help me lower my cholesterol?




Dear KC,

High blood cholesterol affects over 65 million Americans. It is a serious condition that increases your risk for heart disease. The higher your cholesterol level, the greater the risk. You can have high cholesterol and not know it. Lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens your risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of having a heart attack or dying of heart disease.

We do know that diet, exercise, and supplements all are necessary to keep cholesterol levels in check. It can be possible to lower your LDL levels even if you are unable to exercise.

Low fat diets are important, but be careful not to load up on sugar as a substitute for fat.

When we consume more sugar than our body needs (for energy or exercise), then it gets converted to glycogen and stored in case the body needs energy later. Once those stores are filled, the excess sugar gets converted in the liver to fatty acids, triglycerides, and then stored in fat cells.

Red yeast rice is one supplement that can reduce total cholesterol and LDL "bad" cholesterol. It contains the natural form of lovastatin, that chemical that statin drugs mimic. Small clinical trials have shown that it can reduce LDL by about 25% in a few months. The recommended dosage is 1,200 – 2,400 mg per day.

The plant compound, phytosterol, also lowers cholesterol by enhancing the excretion of cholesterol and reducing the synthesis and absorption of cholesterol from food. They are naturally occurring in plants, such as rice bran, wheat germ, and nuts, but it is hard to eat enough of these foods daily to get therapeutic dosages, making supplements the easier option. The optimal dosage is 2,000 mg, however, it is good to know that the effect is dose dependant, meaning, smaller quantities will lower cholesterol a little and higher quantities will lower cholesterol more dramatically.

NaturTyme's Red Yeast Rice Plus W/ CoQ10. NAC & Milk Thistle is a formula to keep cholesterol levels in check, along with turmeric to support the liver as it metabolizes cholesterol. Many NEEDS customers have told our wellness educators that they have had great results.

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