Statins are drugs that can lower your cholesterol. They work by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has built up in plaques on your artery walls, preventing further blockage in your blood vessels and heart attacks.
You may think that once your cholesterol goes down, you can stop taking medication. But, if your cholesterol levels have decreased after you take a statin, you’ll likely need to stay on it indefinitely. If you stop taking it, your cholesterol levels will probably go back up.
The exception may be if you make significant changes to your diet or lose a lot of weight. Substantial lifestyle changes may help you lower your cholesterol without continuing to take the medication, but don’t make any changes to your lifestyle or medications without talking to your doctor first. The side effects of statins
Although statins are well tolerated by most people, they do have side effects, some of which may go away as your body adjusts to the medication.
Common, less serious side effects: -Muscle and joint aches (most common) -Nausea
If you’re looking for an all-natural way to lower your cholesterol — in addition to watching what you eat and exercising — there are plenty of dietary supplements on the market that claim to do the trick. Each year seems to bring a new alternative remedy — garlic, ginseng, or artichoke extract, for example — that users tout as the next best thing to get cholesterol under control. What new supplement are we referring to? Red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is a fungus that grows on rice and contains small amounts of a naturally occurring form of lovastatin, a type of statin that is also found in prescription medications.
Compared to that of most dietary supplements, the evidence of red yeast rice’s efficacy is quite strong — which isn’t entirely surprising, given that red yeast rice is, in effect, a low-dose statin. In studies over the years (including in several high-quality trials), various red yeast rice preparations have been shown to lower LDL by around 20 to 30 percent, comparable to a prescription statin.
More recent studies have backed up these results. In the most recent trial, a study of patients who had stopped taking statins due to muscle pain, red yeast rice capsules lowered total cholesterol and LDL by 15 percent and 21 percent, respectively (compared to 5 percent and 9 percent for placebo).
Red yeast rice is a potentially effective way to lower cholesterol, but its potency makes some experts wary — and suspicious. The amount of lovastatin in red yeast rice pills varies widely across brands — so much so that some brands appear to be spiked with lovastatin, according to an analysis performed by a consumer watchdog group. Inadvertently ingesting too much of a statin can cause side effects (such as muscle pain), and due to the safety concerns, experts discourage using off-the-shelf red yeast rice. Like always, talk to your doctor before taking this supplement.
Eating fatty fish can be heart healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil — or omega-3 fatty acids — reduces the risk of sudden death.
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in: Mackerel
You should bake or grill the fish to avoid adding unhealthy fats. If you don’t like fish, you can also get small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like ground flaxseed or canola oil. You can take an omega-3 or fish oil supplement to get some of the benefits, but you won’t get other nutrients in fish, such as selenium. If you decide to take a supplement, just remember to watch your diet and eat lean meat or vegetables in place of fish.
Dietary modifications combined with weight loss can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 20 to 30 percent. Heart-healthy diets promote fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and limit foods high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. Vegetable shortening and any item made with hydrogenated oil contains trans fat and should be avoided. What sets heart-healthy diets apart from others is the emphasis on good fats, such as those found in fish, nuts, olive oil, avocados, and seeds. When used in place of saturated and trans fats, these oils—known as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats—can help reduce cholesterol. Some research also indicates that avoiding refined carbs may boost “good” HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Refined carbohydrates include white rice, white bread, soft drinks, and baked goods. People who are obese—having a body mass index more than 30—tend to have lower levels of “good” HDL and higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides than people of normal weight. Losing weight can help bring your good cholesterol up and your bad cholesterol down. Research shows that for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight that an obese or overweight person loses, they may be able to raise their HDL by .35 mg/dL.
Some research suggests that what you eat to lose weight may also affect your cholesterol outcome. According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who ate a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet high in plant-based protein (such as tofu, beans, and nuts) had the biggest LDL-lowering benefit compared to people who lost weight on other kinds of diets.
If you have high total cholesterol, seeking natural and dietary remedies for reducing your level of “bad” cholesterol and raising your level of “good” cholesterol can help improve your long-term heart health. Certain fruit juices are recommended for improving your cholesterol levels. Although the evidence is not certain, these juices may provide benefits with relatively few risks.
Cholesterol is a substance that’s needed by the body and is produced within the body and consumed in foods. There are two types of cholesterol in the body: HDL or “good” cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. It’s the level of each and the balance of the two that’s important for heart health, according to the American Heart Association. It’s important for your doctor to monitor these levels for you.
Several juices are thought to have positive effects on cholesterol levels. In particular, pomegranate, grape and cranberry juice may help raise “good” cholesterol levels or lower “bad” cholesterol levels. These fruits contain antioxidants, such as polyphenols in the case of pomegranates, that are thought to improve cholesterol levels. Fortified Juices – Other carefully chosen juices may help lower your “bad,” or LDL, cholesterol levels. Look for juices and foods that have been fortified with plant sterols or stanals, which block cholesterol absorption. Orange juice, in particular, can be found with these substances added and has been shown to reduce LDLs by more than 10 percent. At least two 8-oz. servings of fortified orange juice per day is required to achieve this result.
Statins are a class of medicines that are frequently used to lower blood cholesterol levels. The drugs are able to block the action of a chemical in the liver that is necessary for making cholesterol.
Although cholesterol is necessary for normal cell and body function, very high levels of it can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition where cholesterol-containing plaques build up in arteries and block blood flow. By reducing blood cholesterol levels, statins lower the risk of chest pain (angina), heart attack, and stroke. Several types of statins exist such as atorvastatin, cerivastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, mevastatin, pitavastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, and simvastatin. Atorvastatin and rosuvastatin are the most potent, while fluvastatin is the least potent. These medicines are sold under several different brand names including Lipitor (an atorvastatin), Pravachol (a pravastatin), Crestor (a rosuvastatin), Zocor (a simvastatin), Lescol (a fluvastatin) and Vytorin (a combination of simvastatin and ezetimibe). Mevastatin is a naturally occurring statin that is found in red yeast rice.
Green tea contains catechin polyphenols, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a very powerful antioxidant that has been known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels, and also inhibit abnormal formation of blood clots.
The particular reason green tea is always cited as a superior health choice when it comes to tea, is its minimal processing. Green tea leaves are withered and steamed rather than fermented like black and oolong teas. This is what prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized, resulting in its catechins and EGCG to be more concentrated. Although green tea is not being “prescribed” for lowering LDL cholesterol levels, the evidence is clear that it can help with lowering the “bad” cholesterol levels. When consumed regularly, green tea contributes to an overall healthier lifestyle and even to the prevention of heart disease.