LDL Cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol (low density cholesterol) is believed to be the cause of plaque build up in your arteries. Plaque narrows the blood vessel and so makes it more difficult for your block to flow freely and at some point be a cause of a heart attack.

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It has is common for health care providers to measure blood lipids (fats} and your LDL levels will be one part of this lab report. Here is what your numbers mean:

  1. a LDL Cholesterol reading of 190 mg/dL or higher is considered to be very highand it needs remediation.
  2. A reading of 160 - 189 is considered to be high and your health care providerwill probably advise that you get it lower as soon as possible
  3. Reports of 130 - 159 is considered to be borderline high.
  4. Level of 100 - 129 is considered to be near optimal
  5. A reading of less than 100 is usually considered optimal for most people. But for those who are at very high risk for heart disease or have a history of heart trouble, a reading of less than 70 is preferred

SPECIAL NOTE: LDL cholesterol measurements tend to be higher in winter than in the rest of the year. Seniors should try to have their blood test done in late Spring or Summer. If your health care provider insists that it be done in late Fall or Winter, it would be a good idea to repeat the test during the summer months. Many health care providers want everyone who does not have optimal LDL Cholesterol numbers to begin taking a prescription drug immediately. There are a number ofnatural alternatives, however, and many people ask to be given a few months to see if they can reduce their LDL Cholesterol levels naturally.

It is important to remember that problems with blood lipids (fats) are almost always a life style issues. Make a few changes in your life and you will have better bloodlipid reports.

Here are some natural treatments to reduce your LDL Cholesterol.

  • Diet, Nutrition If you eat a Mediterranean diet, it is unlikely that you would have problems with high cholesterol. But eating habits that relay on hard cheese, red meat and eggs for nutrition are a problem. Do cut back. Instead add a handful of walnuts or almonds each day, oatmeal or oat bran and include an apple every day. Use olive oil as much as possible. Eat fish with omega-3 fatty acids....and if you are concerned about the high contaminants in so many fish (including mercury), use fish that are lower on the food chain such as sardines, who do not feed on other fish.

    Trans fats are another problem. Many restaurants are cutting back on their use of trans fats. And most foods bought in grocery stores now give information about trans fats in eachproduct. The best advice: AVOID. If you can not avoid them, eat as little of trans fatsas you can.

  • Grapefruit pectin is useful. . As early as 1988, researchers knew that grapefruit pectin (the while part inside the rind of a grapefruit) was effective in reducing bad cholesterol.

    Dr. James Cerda of the University of Florida is the person associated with these studies, He fed pigs high fat diet but gave grapefruit pectin to half the pigs. After 9 months of both groups of animals eating the same diet, the pigs who had also been given grapefruit pectin had one third the arterial blockage as those who did not consume the pectin.

    Practical advice. Pectin can be bitter so many people buy canisters of grapefruit pectin which they add to some other food. They sprinkle it in salads or on sandwiches or they stir a scoopful in orange juice. Grapefruit pectin also comes in capsules.

    Some added benefits of this grapefruit pectin , is that it reduces the rate of entry of carbohydrates into your blood stream and so lowers insulin secretion - a real benefit for thosewith diabetes or pre diabetic insulin reaction. Grapefruit and other citrus fruits also protect against cancer.Japanese researchers have said that grapefruit is an 'anti-mutagen'. It reverses cellular changes that lead to the division and growth of cancer cells.

  • Another dietary supplement that can help is Lecithin.

  • Psyllium is useful for reducing LDL. Psyllium is often sold as a product to prevent constipation.
  • Policosinol is another substance found to be effective in reducing LDL Cholesterol. Polixoanol is a substance found in sugar cane and so it is not surprising that much of the research on it has been done by scientists from Cuba which is a major grower of sugar cane. But a researcher from Bonn, Germany came to the same conclusion: Policosinol is effective in lowering LDL Cholesterol. these studiesshow reduction of LDL by 16 - 25% in only 12 weeks.

    To read abstracts of studies about this natural treatment go to Policosonol and LDL Cholesterol

What is interesting to me is that natural alternatives have proven very effective in lowering 'bad cholesterol'. There are no problems with 'drug side effects' and most of the natural treatments are less expensive than many prescription medications.

Why not give them a try? If your LDL Cholesterol numbers are high, make some changes immediately. Ask your health care provider to give you 3 - 6 months to see if you can bring your blood lipids into better health condition on your own with a natural treatment. And you may find that using these natural approaches will also help you take off a few pounds, look and feel better.

For further reading:

  1. Benefits of Olive oil
  2. Reduce LDL cholesterol with apples
  3. Garlic's cholesterol effects are listed towards the end of the article
  4. Tai Chi has many health benefits including normalizing cholesterol
  5. Read about increasing your HDL cholesterol
  6. Over view of Blood lipids