Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve been slacking in keeping up the blog, but if you’re here to learn how to lower your cholesterol, what more do I need to say? I’ve given you all the info you need to get it done – the rest is up to you.
I’ll recap: about a 2 years ago, my doctor wanted to put me on Lipitor. I was 43, cholesterol around 250 (had been 200+ for years), low HDL, high Triglycerides and high LDL. My HDL/cholesterol ratio was 10+. I was a walking cardiac event waiting to happen.
The depressing part was that I was living a healthy lifestyle. Non-smoker, exercised 5 days a week, both weight training and cardio, my weight was good (185 @ 6 feet tall). I ate pretty much everything I wanted though, only in moderation (hence no weight problem). Plenty of fruit, oatmeal a few times a week, whole wheat bread, low fat crap, etc….
So I walked out the of the doctor’s office that day feeling there was no way I was ready to start taking a pill a day for the rest of my life. I’ll spare you the boring details of my research, but I hit the Internet and came up with a plan:
- Slow carb diet (no grains, no dairy, no starches, limited fruit, no processed sugar)
- 5,000mg fish oil/day (2,500 am, 2,500 pm)
- 1,000mg niacin/day (in the morning)
- 4,000iu Vitamin D3 (2,000 am, 2,000 pm)
I followed the slow carb diet with about 80 – 90% adherance. I’d eat a bit of ‘regular’ dinner with the family, and I had 1 cheat day a week where I ate whatever I wanted.
General guidelines for a healthy cholesterol profile:
- Total Cholesterol: under 200 (the lower the better)
- LDL : under 130 (the lower the better)
- HDL: 60 or higher. Under 40 is considered bad (the higher the better)
- Trigylcerides: under 150 (the lower the better)
- HDL/Cholesterol ratio: less than 4 (the lower the better)
My initial cholesterol readings in May 2009 (these were the numebrs that made the doc want to put me on Lipitor):
- Total Cholesterol: 248
- Triglycerides: 192
- HDL: 21
- LDL: 171
- HDL/Cholesterol Ratio: 11.8
Is that ugly or what?
I adopted my dietary and supplement changes toward the end of May 2009. In October 2009, about 5 months after I started, I had my cholesterol tested again. You can already see the improvements:
- Total Cholesterol: 198
- Triglycerides: 116
- HDL: 48
- LDL: 127
- Cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 4.11
- Total Cholesterol: 217
- Triglycerides: 88
- HDL: 55
- LDL: 145
- Cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 3.96
February 2010 (some regression here, probably due to the holiday food and less strict with the diet due to time off):
- Total Cholesterol: 239
- Triglycerides: 123
- HDL: 56
- LDL: 159
- Cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 4.30
- Total Cholesterol: 217
- Triglycerides: 100
- HDL: 69
- LDL: 128
- Cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 3.14
So a month later in March after the bad readings in February (which were still better than where I started), after getting strict on the deit again, I was looking very good with a HDL/Cholesterol ration that put me in the half-normal risk category.
Now it was then that I got lazy and didn’t go and get my cholesterol checked anymore. I kept up the diet and supplements though. I figured I was a lot better off than where I’d been in May 2009, and now I have some new numbers to confirm.
I was applying to increase my level of life insurance coverage, and part of the rigamaroll was to get a blood test. After not testing in so long, but still sticking to my diet and supplement regimine, I was very curious to see where I was. Drumroll please….
- Total Cholesterol: 197
- Triglycerides: 71
- HDL: 66
- LDL: 117
- Cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 2.98
So there you go. Almost 2 years after making my diet and supplement changes, I’ve made and kept significant changes in my profile that took me from the way above normal risk range (a HDL/cholesteral ratio of 10+) to a risk of 1/2 normal.
Another important ratio is LDL/HDL. The lower here, the better, with the goal to be 3.3 or under to be in the lowest risk category:
May 2009: LDL/HDL ratio: 8.14
March 2011: LDL/HDL ratio: 1.77
Not bad, huh?
With my genetic predisposition (heart disease, high cholesterol, and cardiac events on both sides of my family), I’m probably about as good as I’m going to get, but that good is a below-average risk now, which is far better than where I started!
So it works. Take the supplements (see above), eat the lower your cholesterol diet, and watch your numbers improve!