We now have the conversation going. I was asked today as to what is the best way to avoid cholesterol medications. I think that this is a wonderful question. I wanted the writer to post it on the blog so we could get rolling with the conversation.
As part of my Functional Medicine Fellowship, I have been exposed to an entirely different way to view medicine. I am a staunch believer in medicine and the miracle of healing. However, I was frustrated with my own approach and treatment plan in my own medical condition. That is why I started looking.
The backbone of all of our steroidal hormones such as progesterone, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone is cholesterol. There are some major problems when we try and lower cholesterol to a preset number, or a on-size-fits-all number. In studying the patterns of cholesterol, research proves, as published in the prestigious journal Circulation that the real laboratory test of health risk including cardiovascular disease is the triglyceride to HDL ration. The HDL is the healthy cholesterol. The function of HDL is to gather loose cholesterol and keep it from harming the blood vessels. Triglycerides are a combination of sugar and fat. When this ration, the triglyceride to HDL ratio is high, this is predictive of a 1600% increased risk of a cardiovascular event. These are the types of events that we do not want to go to.
50% of the people that present to the emergency room with a heart attack have a traditionally normal cholesterol panel. The difference is the size of the cholesterol. One of the best tests to look at cholesterol size and therefore risk is the nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This is a relatively new test that looks at the size of the cholesterol molecule. If you can imagine a tube. In this tube are really dense, small particles that are banging off the sides of the tube. Also in the tube are cotton ball sized particles that are soft and fluffy. Which of the particles do you think would cause the most damage to the tube? You are right on! It is the small particles that are banging into the walls of the vessel that are causing the most damage.
What can you do to reduce your risk?
- Start with 7-8 hours of sleep a night
- Eat whole foods--dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, low-glycemic fruits
- Shop at the perimeter of the store and avoid the aisles as much as possible
- Read your labels. This is a huge error in the American consumer
- Take 3000 mg of Omega 3 Fatty Acids per day
- Take a potent Multivitamin (Essential unless you eat entirely organic and live in a toxin free environment---no place like this on earth)
- Drink at least 64 ounces of purified water a day
- Avoid sweeteners and pop
- Reduce your risk of insulin resistance.
- Balance your hormones
- Reduce inflammation in your body--isolate your food sensitivities
- Know your Vitamin D level -- should be between 60-80 ng/dl
- Exercise to the best of your ability, strength first, cardio second if over the age of 35
- Know your thyroid functions
- Eat fiber, bowel health is essential
- Reduce your stress
- Rest and Enjoy your life